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"And this consideration is also of great use to them, who envy at the prosperity of the wicked, and the success of persecutors, and the baits of fishes, and the bread of dogs. God fails not to sow blessings in the long furrows, which the ploughers plough upon the back of the church: and this success, which troubles us, will be a great glory to God, and a great benefit to his saints and servants, and a great ruin to the persecutors, who shall have but the fortune of Theramenes, one of the thirty tyrants of Athens, who escaped, when his house fell upon him, and was shortly after put to death with torments by his colleagues in the tyranny."
He tells us that it is useless to live in continual fear of death.
"For if you fear death, you shall never the more avoid it, but you make it miserable. Fannius, that killed himself for fear of death, died as certainly as Porcia, that ate burning coals, or Cato that cut his own throat."
Speaking of restitution for unintention.il injuries he says,
"And when Ariarathes, the Cappadocian king, had, but in wantonness, stopped the mouth of the river Melanus, although he intended no evil, yet Euphrates being swelled by that means, and bearing away some of the strand of Cappadocia, did great spoil to the Phrygians and Galatians; he therefore by the Roman senate was condemned in three hundred talents, towards reparation of the damage. Much rather therefore, when the lesser part of the evil was directly intended."
We are also told, when he speaks of "care of our time," either for the sake of illustrating his subject or his own lore,
"Thus Nero went up and down Greece, and challenged the fiddlers at their trade. ./Eropus, a Macedonian king, made lanterns. Harcatius, the king of Parthia was a mole-catcher: and Biantes, the Lydian, filed needles. He, that is appointed to minister in holy things, must not suffer secular affairs and sordid arts to eat up great portions of his employment: a clergyman must not keep a tavern, nor a judge be an innkeeper: and it was a great idleness in Theophylact, to spend his time in his stable of horses, when he should have been in his study, or the pulpit, or saying his holy offices. Such employments are the diseases of labor, and the rust of time which it contracts, not by lying still, but by dirty employment."
The style of Taylor abounds in Latinisms, and he frequently shows his erudition by the use of a literal instead of Vol. i. 19
the usual derivative. He speaks of an "excellent pain," because excellent means great. He speaks of "serpents" in the grave, because " creeping things" is expressed in Latin by serpentes. Again, the gospel is said to have been preached iSturaig, to the common people, but Taylor will have it, idiots.
But another archaism, obvious to the most cursory reader, and one which gives a peculiar and remarkable effect to his style, is his use of the comparative degree unconnected with any comparison. He speaks of "a ruder breath of wind," "a new and stranger baptism," "the air's looser garment, or the wilder fringes of the fire."
In common with most men of his age, he was under the influence of the schoolmen, "whose subtle distinctions and endless subdivisions were made the model of style, as well as the land-marks of intellect." Preaching once upon the gunpowder plot, from the passage where the apostles wished to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans, he labors to show that both the plot and the request of the disciples were of apostolic origin, inasmuch as the church of Rome, founded by the apostle Peter, has given encouragement to such atrocious projects!
His sermons, though abounding in learned references and conceits, were, most of them, preached to rustics, at Golden Grove, the residence of Lord Carbery. It may be that Taylor added these accomplishments of style in preparing his sermons for the press; but it is well known that the most ignorant audiences in those days were remarkably fond of learned sermons. The well known saying of the countrymen, in regard to the great and learned but simple and unaffected Pocock, is a confirmation of this remark; for they were pleased to say of him, "that though he was a kind and neighborly man, he was no Latinist."
We cannot omit to insert several passages as specimens of Taylor's manner and style. The first is a well known passage, exquisitely beautiful, but forced in its application, and leaving the impression upon the mind of the reader, that it was made like a wonderful piece of fine gold net work, expressly for ornament.
"For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest, than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below. So is the prayer of a good man."
He is speaking of the prayers of unclean and wicked persons.
"A good man will not endure them; much less will God entertain such reekings of the Dead sea and clouds of Sodom. For so an impure vapor, begotten of the slime of the earth by the fevers and adulterous heats of an intemperate summer-sun, striving by the ladder of a mountain to climb up to heaven, and rolling into various figures by an uneasy, unfixed revolution, and stopped at the middle region of the air, being thrown from his pride and attempt of passing towards the seat of the stars, turns into an unwholesome flame, and, like the breath of hell, is confined into a prison of darkness, and a cloud, till it breaks into diseases, plagues, and mildews, stink and blastings: so is the prayer of an unchaste person; it strives to climb the battlements of heaven, but because it is a flame of sulphur, salt, and bitumen, and was kindled in the dishonorable regions below, derived from hell, and contrary to God, it cannot pass forth to the element of love, but ends in barrenness and murmur, fantastic expectations, and trifling imaginative confidences; and they at last end in sorrows and despair. Every state of sin is against the possibility of a man's being accepted; but these have a proper venom against the graciousness of the person, and the power of the prayer. God can never accept an unholy prayer, and a wicked man can never send forth any other; the waters pass through impure aqueducts and channels of brimstone, and therefore may end in brimstone and fire, but never in forgiveness, and the blessings of an eternal charity."
On early death:
"But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and at first it was as fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as a lamb's fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and at night, having lost some of its leaves and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces."
We should be glad to quote his description of the death bed of the saint and sinner, and many other specimens of his amazing conceptions and power of expression, but are prevented by want of room.
The writings of Taylor would be read with advantage by those who in the early period of their attempts at composition are troubled, as we all have been, in the construction and arrangement of sentences. There is a flowing ease in Taylor's manner, the effect of which remains upon the mind of the reader, as the sound of gentle winds when they have passed, or the strain of music that has died away, leave the soul disposed to harmony in its thoughts and actions. The manner in which he introduces incidents into his discourse, though the facts themselves are not always valuable, deserves to be studied as a model of that art whose perfection is to conceal the appearance of art. The entire conviction which he seemed to have of the vanity of the world, his constant effort to impress this conviction upon men, the counsels of heavenly wisdom drawn from inward experience, as well as the striking divertisements of his discourse, and many other reasons which might be designated, make us think of Jeremy Taylor as the Ecclesiastes of the English Pulpit.
The following lines by Taylor are found with other poetical effusions from his own pen, in " Festival Hymns," at the close of his " Golden Grove."
A MEDITATION ON DEATH,
Death, the old serpent's son!
But those black days are done;
Bishop Heber makes up an illustrious triumvirate with the names of Barrow, and Hooker, and Jeremy Taylor, ana (quoting another author) says that " Hooker is the object of our reverence, Barrow of our admiration, and Jeremy Taylor of our love." In comparing Taylor with the two other writers, we are reminded of a passage in his writings, suggested to us by a friend, in which he expresses some such thought as this, that prayer should not wind up and down like a river, nor break its course into a thousand inlets. Now this is an exact characteristic of his own mind. Barrow and Hooker, are like streams, deep, full, sounding streams, rolling right onward to the sea. Taylor is a sunny river, that loves the meadows, and stretches forth its arms into the fields, and laughs while the little streams play into its bosom, and wanders where it will, while its hundred brothers fear the voice of the great deep, and plunge into their home. The writings of Barrow and Hooker are like the measured and more stately strains of an organ, governed by an apparent skill. Taylor heeds not the rules or the proportion of music, but, like a great JEolian harp, when you think that its strains are about to cease, the restless melodies of his soul break out in another strain and still another, till you are absolutely wearied with delight.
Will not the glory of the millennium consist in part in the increased number of such minds? As surely as the Lord God is a sun, those new heavens will sparkle with ten thousand beautiful planets, reflecting the glory of the bnly wise God. The mind of man will in those days come to its perfection. Early sanctification will prevent the present dreadful perversion and waste of its powers, and holiness will ennoble its conceptions. O scenes surpassing fable, when Miltons and Taylors will shed their light upon the world, or rather when it will be seen that even such minds were only faint types under an old dispensation of the perfect intellectual glories of Messiah's reign. For is not the light of the moon to be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven fold? The only consolation when we think that we shall not see those times on earth, is in a hope of the society of the angels of God, and of the spirits of just men made perfect. But if all which has been said is true, if redemption extends to man's entire nature, if the cultivation of'the mind must accompany the cultivation of the heart, in order to answer the designs of Him who gave us being, how great the responsibility resting upon every Christian to know to its full extent