Part 4 out of 7
many of Lord Bacon's illustrations, has more wit than meaning. But it is
a good trick of rhetoric. The vividness of the image, 'per se', makes
men overlook the imperfection of the simile. "You see my hand, the hand
of a poor, puny fellow-mortal; and will you pretend not to see the hand
of Providence in this business? He who sees a mouse must be wilfully
blind if he does not see an elephant!"
Ib. s. 100.
The error of the first James,--an ever well-intending, well-resolving,
but, alas! ill-performing monarch, a kind-hearted, affectionate, and
fondling old man, really and extensively learned, yea, and as far as
quick wit and a shrewd judgment go to the making up of wisdom, wise in
his generation, and a pedant by the right of pedantry, conceded at that
time to all men of learning (Bacon for example),--his error, I say,
consisted in the notion, that because the stalk and foliage were
originally contained in the seed, and were derived from it, therefore
they remained so in point of right after their evolution. The kingly
power was the seed; the House of Commons and the municipal charters and
privileges the stock of foliage; the unity of the realm, or what we mean
by the constitution, is the root. Meanwhile the seed is gone, and
reappears as the crown and glorious flower of the plant. But James, in
my honest judgment, was an angel compared with his son and grandsons. As
Williams to Laud, so James I was to Charles I.
Restraint is not a medicine to cure epidemical diseases.
A most judicious remark.
Ib. s. 103.
The least connivance in the world towards the person of a Papist.
It is clear to us that this illegal or 'praeter'-legal and desultory
toleration by connivance at particular cases,--this precarious depending
on the momentary mood of the King, and this in a stretch of a questioned
prerogative,--could neither satisfy nor conciliate the Roman-Catholic
potentates abroad, but was sure to offend and alarm the Protestants at
home. Yet on the other hand, it is unfair as well as unwise to censure
the men of an age for want of that which was above their age. The true
principle, much more the practicable rules, of toleration were in
James's time obscure to the wisest; but by the many, laity no less than
clergy, would have been denounced as soul-murder and disguised atheism.
In fact--and a melancholy fact it is,--toleration then first becomes
practicable when indifference has deprived it of all merit. In the same
spirit I excuse the opposite party, the Puritans and Papaphobists.
Ib. s. 104.
It was scarcely to be expected that the passions of James's age would
allow of this wise distinction between Papists, the intriguing restless
partizans of a foreign potentate, and simple Roman-Catholics, who
preferred the 'mumpsimus' of their grandsires to the corrected
'sumpsimus' of the Reformation. But that in our age this distinction
should have been neglected in the Roman-Catholic Emancipation Bill!
Ib. s. 105.
But this invisible consistory shall be confusedly diffused over all
the kingdom, that many of the subjects shall, to the intolerable
exhausting of the wealth of the realm, pay double tithes, double
offerings, double fees, in regard of their double consistory. And if
Ireland be so poor as it is suggested, I hold, under correction, that
this invisible consistory is the principal cause of the exhausting
A memorable remark on the evil of the double priesthood in Ireland.
Dr. Bishop, the new Bishop of Chalcedon, is to come to London
privately, and I am much troubled at it, not knowing what to advise
his majesty as things stand at this present. If you were shipped with
the Infanta, the only counsel were to let the judges proceed with him
presently; hang him out of the way, and the King to blame my lord of
Canterbury or myself for it.
Striking instance and illustration of the tricksy policy which in the
seventeenth century passed for state wisdom even with the comparatively
wise. But there must be a Ulysses before there can be an Aristides and
Poor King James's main errors arose out of his superstitious notions of
a sovereignty inherent in the person of the king. Hence he would be a
sacred person, though in all other respects he might be a very devil.
Hence his yearning for the Spanish match; and the ill effects of his
toleration became rightly attributed by his subjects to foreign
influence, as being against his own acknowledged principle, not on a
Ib. s. 107.
I have at times played with the thought, that our bishoprics, like most
of our college fellowships, might advantageously be confined to single
men, if only it were openly declared to be on ground of public
expediency, and on no supposed moral superiority of the single state.
Ib. s. 108.
That a rector or vicar had not only an office in the church, but a
freehold for life, by the common law, in his benefice.
O! if Archbishop Williams had but seen in a clear point of view what he
indistinctly aims at,--the essential distinction between the nationalty
and its trustees and holders, and the Christian Church and its
Ib. s. 111.
I will represent him (the archbishop of Spalato) in a line or two,
that he was as indifferent, or rather dissolute, in practice as in
opinion. For in the same chapter, art. 35, this is his Nicolaitan
doctrine:--'A pluralitate uxorum natura humana non abhorret, imo
fortasse neque ab earum communitate.'
How so? The words mean only that the human animal is not withholden by
any natural instinct from plurality or even community of females. It is
not asserted, that reason and revelation do not forbid both the one and
the other, or that man unwithholden would not be a Yahoo, morally
inferior to the swallow. The emphasis is to be laid on 'natura', not on
'humana'. Humanity forbids plural and promiscuous intercourse, not
however by the animal nature of man, but by the reason and religion that
constitute his moral and spiritual nature.
Ib. s. 112.
But being thrown out into banishment, and hunted to be destroyed as a
partridge in the mountain, he subscribed against his own hand, which
yet did not prejudice Athanasius his innocency:--[Greek: ta gar ek
basanon para taen ex archaes gn_omaen gignomena, tauta ou t_on
phobaethent_on, alla t_on basanizont_on esti boulaemata.]
I have ever said this of Sir John Cheke. I regret his recantation as one
of the cruelties suffered by him, and always see the guilt flying off
from him and settling on his persecutors.
Ib. s. 151.
I conclude, therefore, that his Highness having admitted nothing in
these oaths or articles, either to the prejudice of the true, or the
equalizing or authorizing of the other, religion, but contained
himself wholly within the limits of penal statutes and connivances,
wherein the state hath ever challenged and usurped a directing power,
Three points seem wanting to render the Lord Keeper's argument
1. the proof that a king of England even then had a right to dispense,
not with the execution in individual cases of the laws, but with the
laws themselves 'in omne futurum'; that is, to repeal laws by his own
2. the proof that such a tooth-and-talon drawing of the laws did not
endanger the equalizing and final mastery of the unlawful religion;
3. the utter want of all reciprocity on the part of the Spanish monarch.
In short, it is pardonable in Hacket, but would be contemptible in any
other person, not to see this advice of the Lord Keeper's as a black
blotch in his character, both as a Protestant Bishop and as a councillor
of state in a free and Protestant country.
Ib. s. 152.
Yet opinions were so various, that some spread it for a fame, that, &c.
Was it not required of--at all events usual for--all present at a
Council to subscribe their names to the act of the majority? There is a
modern case in point, I think, that of Sir Arthur Wellesley's signature
to the Convention of Cintra.
Ib. s. 164.
For to forbid judges against their oath, and justices of peace (sworn
likewise), not to execute the law of the land, is a thing
unprecedented in this kingdom. 'Durus sermo', a harsh and bitter pill
to be digested upon a sudden, and without some preparation.
What a fine India-rubber conscience Hacket, as well as his patron, must
have had! Policy with innocency,' 'cunning with conscience,' lead up the
dance to the tune of ''Tantara' rogues all!'
Upon my word, I can scarcely conceive a greater difficulty than for an
honest, warm-hearted man of principle of the present day so to
discipline his mind by reflection on the circumstances and received
moral system of the Stuarts' age (from Elizabeth to the death of Charles
I), and its proper place in the spiral line of ascension, as to be able
to regard the Duke of Buckingham as not a villain, and to resolve many
of the acts of those Princes into passions, conscience-warped and
hardened by half-truths and the secular creed of prudence, as being
itself virtue instead of one of her handmaids, when interpreted by minds
constitutionally and by their accidental circumstances imprudent and
rash, yet fearful and suspicious; and with casuists and codes of
casuistry as their conscience-leaders! One of the favorite works of
Charles I was Sanderson 'de Juramento'.
Ib. s. 200.
Wherefore he waives the strong and full defence he had made upon
stopping of an original writ, and deprecates all offence by that maxim
of the law which admits of a mischief rather than an inconvenience:
which was as much as to say, that he thought it a far less evil to do
the lady the probability of an injury (in her own name) than to suffer
those two courts to clash together again.
All this is a tangle of sophisms. The assumption is, it is better to
inflict a private wrong than a public one: we ought to wrong one rather
than many. But even then, it is badly stated. The principle is true only
where the tolerating of the private wrong is the only means of
preventing a greater public wrong. But in this case it was the certainty
of the wrong of one to avoid the chance of an inconvenience that might
perchance be the occasion of wrong to many, and which inconvenience both
easily might and should have been remedied by rightful measures, by
mutual agreement between the Bishop and Chancellor, and by the King, or
by an act of Parliament.
Ib. s. 203.
'Truly, Sir, this is my dark lantern, and I am not ashamed to inquire
of a Dalilah to resolve a riddle; for in my studies of divinity I have
gleaned up this maxim, 'licet uti alieno peccato';--though the Devil
make her a sinner, I may make good use of her sin.' Prince, merrily,
'Do you deal in such ware?' 'In good faith, Sir,' says the Keeper, 'I
never saw her face.'
And Hacket's evident admiration, and not merely approbation, of this
base Jesuitry,--this divinity which had taught the Archbishop 'licere
uti alieno peccato'! But Charles himself was a student of such divinity,
and yet (as rogues of higher rank comfort the pride of their conscience
by despising inferior knaves) I suspect that the 'merrily' was the
Sardonic mirth of bitter contempt; only, however, because he disliked
Williams, who was simply a man of his age, his baseness being for us,
not for his contemporaries, or even for his own mind. But the worst of
all is the Archbishop's heartless disingenuousness and moon-like nodes
towards his kind old master the King. How much of truth was there in the
Spaniard's information respecting the intrigues of the Prince and the
Duke of Buckingham? If none, if they were mere slanders, if the Prince
had acted the filial part toward his father and King, and the Duke the
faithful part towards his master and only too fond and affectionate
benefactor, what more was needed than to expose the falsehoods? But if
Williams knew that there was too great a mixture of truth in the
charges, what a cowardly ingrate to his old friend to have thus curried
favor with the rising sun by this base jugglery!
Ib. s. 209.
He was the topsail of the nobility, and in power and trust of offices
far above all the nobility.
James I was no fool, and though through weakness of character an unwise
master, yet not an unthinking statesman; and I still want a satisfactory
solution of the accumulation of offices on Buckingham.
Ib. s. 212.
Prudent men will continue the oblations of their forefathers' piety.
The danger and mischief of going far back, and yet not half far enough!
Thus Hacket refers to the piety of individuals our forefathers as the
origin of Church property. Had he gone further back, and traced to the
source, he would have found these partial benefactions to have been mere
restitutions of rights co-original with their own property, and as a
national reserve for the purposes of national existence--the condition
'sine qua non' of the equity of their proprieties; for without
civilization a people cannot be, or continue to be, a nation. But, alas!
the ignorance of the essential distinction of a national clerisy, the
'Ecclesia', from the Christian Church. The 'Ecclesia' has been an
eclipse to the intellect of both Churchmen and Sectarians, even from
Elizabeth to the present day, 1833.
Ib. s. 214.
And being threatened, his best mitigation was, that perhaps it was not
safe for him to deny so great a lord; yet it was safest for his
lordship to be denied. ... The king heard the noise of these crashes,
and was so pleased, that he thanked God, before many witnesses, that
he had put the Keeper into that place: 'For,' says he, 'he that will
not wrest justice for Buckingham's sake, whom I know he loves, will
never be corrupted with money, which he never loved.'
Strange it must seem to us; yet it is evident that Hacket thought it
necessary to make a mid something, half apology and half eulogy, for the
Lord Keeper's timid half resistance to the insolence and iniquitous
interference of the minion Duke. What a portrait of the times! But the
dotage of the King in the maintenance of the man, whose insolence in
wresting justice he himself admits! Yet how many points, both of the
times and of the King's personal character, must be brought together
before we can fairly solve the intensity of James's minionism, his
kingly egotism, his weak kindheartedness, his vulgar coarseness of
temper, his systematic jealousy of the ancient nobles, his timidity, and
'Sir,' says the Lord Keeper, 'will you be pleased to listen to me,
taking in the Prince's consent, of which I make no doubt, and I will
shew how you shall furnish the second and third brothers with
preferments sufficient to maintain them, that shall cost you nothing.
... If they fall to their studies, design them to the bishoprics of
Durham and Winchester, when they become void. If that happen in their
nonage, which is probable, appoint commendatories to discharge the
duty for them for a laudable allowance, but gathering the fruits for
the support of your grandchildren, till they come to virility to be
Williams could not have been in earnest in this villanous counsel, but
he knew his man. This conceit of dignifying dignities by the Simoniacal
prostitution of them to blood-royal was just suited to James's
Part II. s. 74.
... To yield not only passive obedience (which is due) but active
'Which is due.' What in the name of common sense can this mean, that is,
speculatively? Practically, the meaning is clear enough, namely, that we
should do what we can to escape hanging; but the distinction is for
decorum, and so let it pass.
Ib. s. 75.
This is the venom of this new doctrine, that by making us the King's
creatures, and in the state of minors or children, to take away all
our property; which would leave us nothing of our own, and lead us
(but that God hath given us just and gracious Princes) into slavery.
And yet this just and gracious Prince prompts, sanctions, supports, and
openly rewards this envenomer, in flat contempt of both Houses of
Parliament,--protects and prefers him and others of the same principles
and professions on account of these professions! And the Parliament and
nation were inexcusable, forsooth, in not trusting to Charles's
assurances, or rather the assurances put in his mouth by Hyde, Falkland,
and others, that he had always abhorred these principles.
Ib. s. 136.
When they saw he was not 'selfish' (it is a word of their own new
Singular! From this passage it would seem that our so very common word
'selfish' is no older than the latter part of the reign of Charles I.
Ib. s. 137.
Their political aphorisms are far more dangerous, that His Majesty is
not the highest power in his realms; that he hath not absolute
sovereignty; and that a Parliament sitting is co-ordinate with him in
Hacket himself repeatedly implies as much; for would he deny that the
King with the Lords and Commons is not more than the King without them?
or that an act of Parliament is not more than a proclamation?
What a venomous spirit is in that serpent Milton, that black-mouthed
Zoilus, that blows his viper's breath upon those immortal devotions
from the beginning to the end! This is he that wrote with all
irreverence against the Fathers of our Church, and showed as little
duty to the father that begat him: the same that wrote for the
Pharisees, that it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every
cause,--and against Christ, for not allowing divorces: the same, O
horrid! that defended the lawfulness of the greatest crime that ever
was committed, to put our thrice-excellent King to death: a petty
schoolboy scribbler, that durst grapple in such a cause with the
prince of the learned men of his age, Salmasius, [Greek: philosophias
pasaes aphroditae kai lyra], as Eunapius says of Ammonius, Plutarch's
scholar in Egypt, the delight, the music of all knowledge, who would
have scorned to drop a pen-full of ink against so base an adversary,
but to maintain the honor of so good a King ... Get thee behind me,
Milton! Thou savourest not the things that be of truth and loyalty,
but of pride, bitterness, and falsehood. There will be a time, though
such a Shimei, a dead dog in Abishai's phrase, escape for a while ...
It is no marvel if this canker-worm Milton, &c.
A contemporary of Bishop Racket's designates Milton as the author of a
profane and lascivious poem entitled Paradise Lost. The biographer of
our divine bard ought to have made a collection of all such passages. A
German writer of a Life of Salmasius acknowledges that Milton had the
better in the conflict in these words: 'Hans (Jack) von Milton--not to
be compared in learning and genius with the incomparable Salmasius, yet
a shrewd and cunning lawyer,' &c. 'O sana posteritas!'
Ib. s. 178.
Dare they not trust him that never broke with them? And I have heard
his nearest servants say, that no man could ever challenge him of the
What! this after the publication of Charles's letters to the Queen! Did
he not within a few months before his death enter into correspondence
with, and sign contradictory offers to, three different parties, not
meaning to keep any one of them; and at length did he not die with
something very like a falsehood in his mouth in allowing himself to be
represented as the author of the Icon Basilike?
Ib. s. 180.
If an under-sheriff had arrested Harry Martin for debt, and pleaded
that he did not imprison his membership, but his Martinship, would the
Committee for privileges be fobbed off with that distinction?
To make this good in analogy, we must suppose that Harry Martin had
notoriously neglected all the duties, while he perverted and abused all
the privileges, of membership: and then I answer, that the Committee of
privileges would have done well and wisely in accepting the
under-sheriff's distinction, and, out of respect for the membership,
consigning the Martinship to the due course of law.
'That every soul should be subject to the higher powers.' The higher
power under which they lived was the mere power and will of Caesar,
bridled in by no law.
False, if meant 'de jure'; and if 'de facto', the plural 'powers' would
apply to the Parliament far better than to the King, and to Cromwell as
well as to Nero. Every even decently good Emperor professed himself the
servant of the Roman Senate. The very term 'Imperator', as Gravina
observes, implies it; for it expresses a delegated and instrumental
power. Before the assumption of the Tribunitial character by Augustus,
by which he became the representative of the majority of the
people,--'majestatem indutus est,--Senatus consulit, Populus jubet,
imperent Consules', was the constitutional language.
Ib. s. 190.
Yet so much dissonancy there was between his tongue and his heart,
that he triumphed in the murder of Caesar, the only Roman that exceeded
all their race in nobleness, and was next to Tully in eloquence.
There is something so shameless in this self-contradiction as of itself
almost to extinguish the belief that the prelatic royalists were
conscientious in their conclusions. For if the Senate of Rome were not a
lawful power, what could be? And if Caesar, the thrice perjured traitor,
was neither perjured nor traitor, only because he by his Gaulish troops
turned a republic into a monarchy,--with what face, under what pretext,
could Hacket abuse 'Sultan Cromwell?'
[Footnote 1: By Thomas Plume. Folio, 1676.--Ed.]
'Ea omnia super Christo Pilatus, et ipse jam pro sua conscientia
Christianus, Caesari tum Tiberio nuntiavit.'
Apologet, ii. 624. See the account in Eusebius. Hist. Eccl. ii. 2.--Ed.]
[Footnote 3: See 'M. T. Ciceronis de Republica quae supersunt. Zell.
[Footnote 4: See 'supra'.--Ed].
[Footnote 5: Folio. 1693.--Ed.]
[Footnote 6: See The Church and State.--Ed.]
NOTES ON JEREMY TAYLOR.
I have not seen the late Bishop Heber's edition of Jeremy Taylor's
'Works'; but I have been informed that he did little more than
contribute the 'Life', and that in all else it is a mere London
booksellers' job. This, if true, is greatly to be regretted. I know no
writer whose works more require, I need not say deserve, the
annotations, aye, and occasional animadversions, of a sound and learned
divine. One thing is especially desirable in reference to that most
important, because (with the exception perhaps of the 'Holy Living and
Dying') the most popular, of Taylor's works, 'The Liberty of
Prophesying'; and this is a careful collation of the different editions,
particularly of the first printed before the Restoration, and the last
published in Taylor's lifetime, and after his promotion to the episcopal
bench. Indeed, I regard this as so nearly concerning Taylor's character
as a man, that if I find that it has not been done in Heber's edition,
and if I find a first edition in the British Museum, or Sion College, or
Dr. Williams's library, I will, God permitting, do it myself. There
seems something cruel in giving the name, Anabaptist, to the English
Anti-paedo-baptists; but still worse in connecting this most innocent
opinion with the mad Jacobin ravings of the poor wretches who were
called Anabaptists, in Munster, as if the latter had ever formed part of
the Baptists' creeds. In short 'The Liberty of Prophesying' is an
admirable work, in many respects, and calculated to produce a much
greater effect on the many than Milton's treatise on the same subject:
on the other hand, Milton's is throughout unmixed truth; and the man who
in reading the two does not feel the contrast between the
single-mindedness of the one, and the 'strabismus' in the other, is--in
the road of preferment.
GENERAL DEDICATION OF THE POLEMICAL DISCOURSES. 
Vol. vii. p. ix.
And the breath of the people is like the voice of an exterminating
angel, not so killing but so secret.
That is, in such wise. It would be well to note, after what time 'as'
became the requisite correlative to 'so,' and even, as in this instance,
the preferable substitute. We should have written 'as' in both places
probably, but at all events in the latter, transplacing the sentences
'as secret though not so killing;' or 'not so killing, but quite as
secret.' It is not generally true that Taylor's punctuation is
arbitrary, or his periods reducible to the post-Revolutionary standard
of length by turning some of his colons or semi-colons into full stops.
There is a subtle yet just and systematic logic followed in his
pointing, as often as it is permitted by the higher principle, because
the proper and primary purpose, of our stops, and to which alone from
their paucity they are adequate,--that I mean of enabling the reader to
prepare and manage the proportions of his voice and breath. But for the
true scheme of punctuation, [Greek: h_os emoige dokei], see the blank
page over leaf which I will try to disblank into a prize of more worth
than can be got at the E.O.'s and little goes of Lindley Murray. 
Ib. p. xv.
But the most complained that, in my ways to persuade a toleration, I
helped some men too far, and that I armed the Anabaptists with swords
instead of shields, with a power to offend us, besides the proper
defensitives of their own ... But wise men understand the thing and
are satisfied. But because all men are not of equal strength; I did
not only in a discourse on purpose demonstrate the true doctrine in
that question, but I have now in this edition of that book answered
all their pretensions, &c.
No; in the might of his genius he called up a spirit which he has in
vain endeavored to lay, or exorcise from the conviction.
Ib. p. xvii.
For episcopacy relies not upon the authority of Fathers and Councils,
but upon Scripture, upon the institution of Christ, or the institution
of the Apostles, upon a universal tradition, and a universal practice,
not upon the words and opinions of the doctors: it hath as great a
testimony as Scripture itself hath, &c.
We must make allowance for the intoxication of recent triumph and final
victory over a triumphing and victorious enemy; or who but would start
back at the aweless temerity of this assertion? Not to mention the
evasion; for who ever denied the historical fact, or the Scriptural
occurrence of the word expressing the fact, namely, 'episcopi,
episcopatus?'? What was questioned by the opponents was,
1;--Who and what these 'episcopi' were; whether essentially different
from the presbyter, or a presbyter by kind in his own 'ecclesia', and a
president or chairman by accident in a synod of presbyters:
2;--That whatever the 'episcopi' of the Apostolic times were, yet were
they prelates, lordly diocesans; were they such as the Bishops of the
Church of England? Was there Scripture authority for Archbishops?
3;--That the establishment of Bishops by the Apostle Paul being granted
(as who can deny it?)--yet was this done 'jure Apostolico' for the
universal Church in all places and ages; or only as expedient for that
time and under those circumstances; by Paul not as an Apostle, but as
the head and founder of those particular churches, and so entitled to
determine their bye laws?
DEDICATION OF THE SACRED ORDER AND OFFICES OF EPISCOPACY.
Ib. p. xxiii.
But the interest of the Bishops is conjunct with the prosperity of the
King, besides the interest of their own security, by the obligation of
secular advantages. For they who have their livelihood from the King,
and are in expectance of their fortune from him, are more likely to
pay a tribute of exacter duty, than others, whose fortunes are not in
such immediate dependency on His Majesty.
The cat out of the bag! Consult the whole reigns of Charles I. and II.
and the beginning of James II. Jeremy Taylor was at this time
(blamelessly for himself and most honourably for his patrons) ambling on
the high road of preferment; and to men so situated, however sagacious
in other respects, it is not given to read the signs of the times.
Little did Taylor foresee that to indiscreet avowals, like these, on the
part of the court clergy, the exauctorations of the Bishops and the
temporary overthrow of the Church itself would be in no small portion
attributable. But the scanty measure and obscurity (if not rather, for
so bright a luminary, the occultation) of his preferment after the
Restoration is a problem, of which perhaps his virtues present the most
Ib. p. xxv.
A second return that episcopacy makes to royalty, is that which is the
duty of all Christians, the paying tributes and impositions.
This is true; and it was an evil hour for the Church,--and led to the
loss of its Convocation, the greatest and, in an enlarged state-policy,
the most impolitic affront ever offered by a government to its own
established Church,--in which the clergy surrendered their right of
Ib. p. xxvii.
I mean the conversion of the kingdom from Paganism by St. Augustine,
Archbishop of Canterbury; and the Reformation begun and promoted by
From Paganism in part; but in part from primitive Christianity to
Popery. But neither this nor the following boast will bear narrow
looking into, I suspect.
Like all Taylor's dedications and dedicatory epistles, this is easy,
dignified, and pregnant. The happiest 'synthesis' of the divine, the
scholar, and the gentleman was perhaps exhibited in him and Bishop
In all those accursed machinations, which the device and artifice of
hell hath invented for the supplanting of the Church, 'inimicus homo,'
that old superseminator of heresies and crude mischiefs, hath
endeavoured to be curiously compendious, and, with Tarquin's device,
'putare summa papaverum.'
His next onset was by Julian, and 'occidere presbyterium,' that was
his province. To shut up public schools, to force Christians to
ignorance, to impoverish and disgrace the clergy, to make them vile
and dishonorable, these are his arts; and he did the devil more
service in this fineness of undermining, than all the open battery of
ten great rams of persecution.
What felicity, what vivacity of expression! Many years ago Mr.
Mackintosh gave it as an instance of my perverted taste, that I had
seriously contended that in order to form a style worthy of Englishmen,
Milton and Taylor must be studied instead of Johnson, Gibbon, and
Junius; and now I see by his introductory Lecture given at Lincoln's
Inn, and just published, he is himself imitating Jeremy Taylor, or
rather copying his semi-colon punctuation, as closely as he can. Amusing
it is to observe, how by the time the modern imitators are at the
half-way of the long breathed period, the asthmatic thoughts drop down,
and the rest is,--words! I have always been an obstinate hoper: and even
this is a 'datum' and a symptom of hope to me, that a better, an
ancestral, spirit is forming and will appear in the rising generation.
Ib. p. 5.
First, because here is a concourse of times; for now after that these
times have been called the last times for 1600 years together, our
expectation of the great revelation is very near accomplishing.
Rather a whimsical consequence, that because a certain party had been
deceiving themselves for sixteen centuries they were likely to be in the
right at the beginning of the seventeenth. But indeed I question whether
in all Taylor's voluminous writings there are to be found three other
paragraphs so vague and misty-magnific as this is. It almost reminds me
of the "very cloudy and mighty alarming" in Foote.
S. i. p. 4.
If there be such a thing as the power of the keys, by Christ
concredited to his Church, for the binding and loosing delinquents and
penitents respectively on earth, then there is clearly a court erected
by Christ in his Church.
We may, without any heretical division of person, economically
distinguish our Lord's character as Jesus, and as Christ, so far that
during his sojourn on earth, from his baptism at least to his
crucifixion, he was in some respects his own Elias, bringing back the
then existing Church to the point at which the Prophets had placed it;
that is, distinguishing the 'ethica' from the 'politica,' what was
binding on the Jews as descendants of Abraham and inheritors of the
patriarchal faith from the statutes obligatory on them as members of the
Jesus fulfilled the Law, which culminated in a pure religious morality
in principles, affections, and acts; and this he consolidated and
levelled into the ground-stead on which the new temple 'not made with
hands,' wherein Himself, even Christ the Lord, is the Shechinah, was to
rise and be raised.
Thus he taught the spirit of the Mosaic Law, while by his acts,
sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and demission of the
Comforter, he created and realized the contents, objects, and materials
of that redemptive faith, the everlasting Gospel, which from the day of
Pentecost his elect disciples, [Greek: t_on mystaeri_on hierokaerykes],
Were Sent forth to disperse and promulgate with suitable gifts, powers,
In this view, I interpret our Lord's sayings concerning the Church, as
applying wholly to the Synagogue or established Church then existing,
while the binding and loosing refers, immediately and primarily as I
conceive, to the miraculous gifts of healing diseases communicated to
the Apostles; and I am not afraid to avow the conviction, that the first
three Gospels are not the books of the New Testament, in which we should
expect to find the peculiar doctrines of the Christian faith explicitly
delivered, or forming the predominant subject or contents of the
S. viii. p. 25.
Imposition of hands for Ordination does indeed give the Holy Ghost,
but not as he is that promise which is called 'the promise of the
Alas! but in what sense that does not imply some infusion of power or
light, something given and inwardly received, which would not have
existed in and for the recipient without this immission by the means or
act of the imposition of the hands? What sense that does not amount to
more and other than a mere delegation of office, a mere legitimating
acceptance and acknowledgment, with respect to the person, of that which
already is in him, can be attached to the words, 'Receive the Holy
Ghost', without shocking a pious and single-minded candidate? The
miraculous nature of the giving does not depend on the particular kind
or quality of the gift received, much less demand that it should be
confined to the power of working miracles.
For "miraculous nature" read "supernatural character;" and I can
subscribe this pencil note written so many years ago, even at this
present time, 2d March, 1824.
S. xxi. p. 91.
'Postquam unusquisque eos quos baptizabat suos putabat esse, non
Christi, et diceretur in populis, Ego sum Pauli, Ego Apollo, Ego autem
Cephae, in toto orbe decretum est ut unus de presbyteris electus
superponeretur cateris, ut schismatum semina tollerentur.'
The natural inference would, methinks, be the contrary. There would be
more persons inclined and more likely to attach an ambition to their
belonging to a single eminent leader and head than to a body,--rather to
Caesar, Marius, or Pompey, than to the Senate. But I have ever thought
that the best, safest, and at the same time sufficient, argument is,
that by the nature of human affairs and the appointments of God's
ordinary providence every assembly of functionaries will and must have a
president; that the same qualities which recommended the individual to
this dignity would naturally recommend him to the chief executive power
during the intervals of legislation, and at all times in all points
already ruled; that the most solemn acts, Confirmation and Ordination,
would as naturally be confined to the head of the executive in the state
ecclesiastic, as the sign manual and the like to the king in all limited
monarchies; and that in course of time when many presbyteries would
exist in the same district, Archbishops and Patriarchs would arise 'pari
ratione' as Bishops did in the first instance. Now it is admitted that
God's extraordinary appointments never repeal but rather perfect the
laws of his ordinary providence: and it is enough that all we find in
the New Testament tends to confirm and no where forbids, contradicts, or
invalidates the course of government, which the Church, we are certain,
did in fact pursue.
Ib. s. xxxvi. p. 171.
But those things which Christianity, as it prescinds from the interest
of the republic, hath introduced, all them, and all the causes
emergent from them, the Bishop is judge of.... Receiving and disposing
the patrimony of the Church, and whatsoever is of the same
consideration according to the fortyfirst canon of the Apostles.
'Praecipimus ut in potestate sua episcopus ecclesice res habeat'. Let
the Bishops have the disposing of the goods of the Church; adding this
reason: 'si enim animte hominum pretiosae illi sint creditae, multo
magis eum oportet curam pecuniarum gerere'. He that is intrusted with
our precious souls may much more be intrusted with the offertories of
Let all these belong to the overseer of the Church: to whom else so
properly? but what is the nature of the power by which he is to enforce
his orders? By secular power? Then the Bishop's power is no derivative
from Christ's royalty; for his kingdom is not of the world; but the
monies are Caesar's; and the 'cura pecuniarum' must be vested where the
donors direct, the law of the land permitting.
Such are the delinquencies of clergymen, who are both clergy and
subjects too; 'clerus Domini', and 'regis subditi': and for their
delinquencies, which are 'in materia justiae', the secular tribunal
punishes, as being a violation of that right which the state must
defend; but because done by a person who is a member of the sacred
hierarchy, and hath also an obligation of special duty to his Bishop,
therefore the Bishop also may punish him; and when the commonwealth
hath inflicted a penalty, the Bishop also may impose a censure, for
every sin of a clergyman is two.
But why of a clergyman only? Is not every sheep of his flock a part of
the Bishop's charge, and of course the possible object of his censure?
The clergy, you say, take the oath of obedience. Aye! but this is the
point in dispute.
Ib. p. 172.
So that ever since then episcopal jurisdiction hath a double part, an
external and an internal: this is derived from Christ, that from the
king, which because it is concurrent in all acts of jurisdiction,
therefore it is that the king is supreme of the jurisdiction, namely,
that part of it which is the external compulsory.
If Christ delegated no external compulsory power to the Bishops, how
came it the duty of princes to God to do so? It has been so since---yes!
since the first grand apostasy from Christ to Constantine.
Ib. s. xlviii. p. 248.
Bishops 'ut sic' are not secular princes, must not seek for it; but
some secular princes may be Bishops, as in Germany and in other places
to this day they are. For it is as unlawful for a Bishop to have any
land, as to have a country; and a single acre is no more due to the
order than a province; but both these may be conjunct in the same
person, though still, by virtue of Christ's precept, the functions and
capacities must be distinguished.
True; but who with more indignant scorn attacked this very distinction
when applied by the Presbyterians to the kingship, when they professed
to fight for the King against Charles? And yet they had on their side
both the spirit of the English constitution and the language of the law.
The King never dies; the King can do no wrong. Elsewhere, too, Taylor
could ridicule the Romish prelate, who fought and slew men as a captain
at the head of his vassals, and then in the character of a Bishop
absolved his other homicidal self. However, whatever St. Peter might
understand by Christ's words, St. Peter's three-crowned successors have
been quite of Taylor's opinion that they are to be paraphrased
thus:--"Simon Peter, as my Apostle, you are to make converts only by
humility, voluntary poverty, and the words of truth and meekness; but if
by your spiritual influence you can induce the Emperor Tiberius to make
you Tetrarch of Galilee or Prefect of Judaea, then [Greek: katakyrieue]
--you may lord it as loftily as you will, and deliver as Tetrarch or
Prefect those stiff-necked miscreants to the flames for not having been
converted by you as an Apostle."
Ib. p. 276.
I end with the golden rule of Vincentius Lirinensis:--'magnopere
curandum est ut id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus
Alas! this golden rule comes full and round from the mouth; nor do I
deny that it is pure gold: but like too many other golden rules, in
order to make it cover the facts which the orthodox asserter of
episcopacy at least, and the chaplain of Archbishop Laud and King
Charles the Martyr must have held himself bound to bring under it, it
must be made to display another property of the sovereign metal, its
malleableness to wit; and must be beaten out so thin, that the weight of
truth in the portion appertaining to each several article in the
orthodox systems of theology will be so small, that it may better be
called gilt than gold; and if worth having at all, it will be for its
show, not for its substance. For instance, the 'aranea theologica' may
draw out the whole web of the Westminster Catechism from the simple
creed of the beloved Disciple,--'whoever believeth with his heart, and
professeth with his mouth, that Jesus is Lord and Christ,'--shall be
saved. If implicit faith only be required, doubtless certain doctrines,
from which all other articles of faith imposed by the Lutheran, Scotch,
or English Churches, may be deduced, have been believed 'ubique, semper,
et ab omnibus.' But if explicit and conscious belief be intended, I
would rather that the Bishop than I should defend the golden rule
APOLOGY FOR AUTHORIZED AND SET FORMS OF LITURGY.
Preface, s. vi. p. 286.
Not like women or children when they are affrighted with fire in their
clothes. We shaked off the coal indeed, but not our garments, lest we
should have exposed our Churches to that nakedness which the excellent
men of our sister Churches complained to be among themselves.
O, what convenient things metaphors and similes are, so charmingly
indeterminate! On the general reader the literal sense operates: he
shivers in sympathy with the poor shift-less matron, the Church of
Geneva. To the objector the answer is ready--it was speaking
metaphorically, and only meant that she had no shift on the outside of
her gown, that she made a shift without an over-all. Compare this sixth
section with the manful, senseful, irrebuttable fourth section--a folio
volume in a single paragraph! But Jeremy Taylor would have been too
great for man, had he not occasionally fallen below himself.
Ib. s. x. p. 288.
And since all that cast off the Roman yoke thought they had title
enough to be called Reformed, it was hard to have pleased all the
private interests and peevishness of men that called themselves
friends; and therefore that only in which the Church of Rome had
prevaricated against the word of God, or innovated against Apostolical
tradition, all that was pared away.
Aye! here is the 'ovum,' as Sir Everard Home would say, the
'proto'-parent of the whole race of controversies between Protestant and
Protestant; and each had Gospel on their side. Whatever is not against
the word of God is for it,--thought the founders of the Church of
England. Whatever is not in the word of God is a word of man, a
will-worship presumptuous and usurping,--thought the founders of the
Church of Scotland and Geneva. The one proposed to themselves to be
reformers of the Latin Church, that is, to bring it back to the form
which it had during the first four centuries; the latter to be the
renovators of the Christian religion as it was preached and instituted
by the Apostles and immediate followers of Christ thereunto specially
inspired. Where the premisses are so different, who can wonder at the
difference in the conclusions?
Ib. s. xii. ib.
It began early to discover its inconvenience; for when certain zealous
persons fled to Frankfort to avoid the funeral piles kindled by the
Roman Bishops in Queen Mary's time, as if they had not enemies enough
abroad, they fell foul with one another, and the quarrel was about the
Common Prayer Book.
But who began the quarrel? Knox and his recent biographer lay it to
Dr. Cox and the Liturgists.
Ib. s. xiii. p. 289.
Here therefore it became law, was established by an act of Parliament,
was made solemn by an appendant penalty against all that on either
hand did prevaricate a sanction of so long and so prudent
Truly evangelical way of solemnizing a party measure, and sapientizing
Calvin's 'tolerabiles ineptias' by making them 'ineptias usque ad
carcerem et verbera intolerantes!'
Ib. s. xiv. ib.
But the Common Prayer Book had the fate of St. Paul; for when it had
scaped the storms of the Roman See, yet a viper sprung out of Queen
Mary's fires, &c.
As Knox and his friends confined themselves to the inspired word,
whether vipers or no, they were not adders at all events.
Ib. xxvi. p. 296.
For, if we deny to the people a liberty of reading the Scriptures, may
they not complain, as Isaac did against the inhabitants of the land,
that the Philistines had spoiled his well and the fountains of living
water? If a free use to all of them and of all Scriptures were
permitted, should not the Church herself have more cause to complain
of the infinite licentiousness and looseness of interpretations, and
of the commencement of ten thousand errors, which would certainly be
consequent to such permission? Reason and religion will chide us in
the first, reason and experience in the latter ... The Church with
great wisdom hath first held this torch out; and though for great
reasons intervening and hindering, it cannot be reduced to practice,
yet the Church hath shewn her desire to avoid the evil that is on both
hands, and she hath shewn the way also, if it could have been insisted
If there were not, at the time this Preface, or this paragraph at least,
was written or published, some design on foot or 'sub lingua' of making
advances to the continental catholicism for the purpose of conciliating
the courts of Austria, France and Spain, in favor of the Cavalier and
Royalist party at home and abroad, this must be considered as a useless
and worse than useless avowal. The Papacy at the height of its influence
never asserted a higher or more anti-Protestant right than this of
dividing the Scriptures into permitted and forbidden portions. If there
be a functionary of divine institution, synodical or unipersonal, who
with the name of the 'Church' has the right, under circumstances of its
own determination, to forbid all but such and such parts of the Bible,
it must possess potentially, and under other circumstances, a right of
withdrawing the whole book from the unlearned, who yet cannot be
altogether unlearned; for the very prohibition supposes them able to do
what, a few centuries before, the majority of the clergy themselves were
not qualified to do, that is, read their Bible throughout. Surely it
would have been politic in the writer to have left out this sentence,
which his Puritan adversaries could not fail to translate into the
Church shewing her teeth though she dared not bite. I bitterly regret
these passages; neither our incomparable Liturgy, nor this full,
masterly, and unanswerable defence of it, requiring them.
Ib. s. xlv, p. 308.
So that the Church of England, in these manners of dispensing the
power of the keys, does cut off all disputings and impertinent
wranglings, whether the priest's power were judicial or declarative;
for possibly it is both, and it is optative too, and something else
yet; for it is an emanation from all the parts of his ministry, and he
never absolves, but he preaches or prays, or administers a sacrament;
for this power of remission is a transcendent, passing through all the
parts of the priestly offices. For the keys of the kingdom of heaven
are the promises and the threatenings of the Scripture, and the
prayers of the Church, and the Word, and the Sacraments, and all these
are to be dispensed by the priest, and these keys are committed to his
ministry, and by the operation of them all he opens and shuts heaven's
No more ingenious way of making nothing of a thing than by making it
every thing. Omnify the disputed point into a transcendant, and you may
defy the opponent to lay hold of it. He might as well attempt to grasp
an 'aura electrica'.
Apology, &c. s. ii. p. 320.
And it may be when I am a little more used to it, I shall not wonder
at a synod, in which not one Bishop sits in the capacity of a Bishop,
though I am most certain this is the first example in England since it
was first christened.
Is this quite fair? Is it not, at least logically considered and at the
commencement of an argument, too like a 'petitio principii' or
'presumptio rei litigatae'? The Westminster divines were confessedly not
prelates, but many in that assembly were, in all other points, orthodox
and affectionate members of the Establishment, who with Bedell,
Lightfoot, and Usher, held them to be Bishops in the primitive sense of
the term, and who yet had no wish to make any other change in the
hierarchy than that of denominating the existing English prelates
Archbishops. They thought that what at the bottom was little more than a
question of names among Episcopalians, ought not to have occasioned such
a dispute; but yet the evil having taken place, they held a change of
names not too great a sacrifice, if thus the things themselves could be
preserved, and Episcopacy maintained against the Independents and
Ib. s. v. p. 321.
It is a thing of no present importance, but as a point of history, it is
worth a question whether there were any divines in the Westminster
Assembly who adopted by anticipation the notions of the Seekers, Quakers
and others 'ejusdem farinoe.' Baxter denies it. I understand the
controversy to have been, whether the examinations at the admission to
the ministry did or not supersede the necessity of any directive models
besides those found in the sacred volumes:--if not necessary, whether
there was any greater expedience in providing by authority forms of
prayer for the minister than forms of sermons. Reading, whether of
prayers or sermons, might be discouraged without encouraging
unpremeditated praying and preaching. But the whole question as between
the prelatists and the Assembly divines has like many others been best
solved by the trial. A vast majority among the Dissenters themselves
consider the antecedents to the sermon, with exception of their
congregational hymns, as the defective part of their public service, and
admit the superiority of our Liturgy.
P.S.--It seems to me, I confess, that the controversy could never have
risen to the height it did, if all the parties had not thrown too far
into the back ground the distinction in nature and object between the
three equally necessary species of worship, that is, public, family, and
private or solitary, devotion. Though the very far larger proportion of
the blame falls on the anti-Liturgists, yet on the other hand, too many
of our Church divines--among others that exemplar' of a Churchman and a
Christian, the every way excellent George Herbert--were scared by the
growing fanaticism of the Geneva malcontents into the neighbourhood of
the opposite extreme; and in their dread of enthusiasm, will-worship,
insubordination, indecency, carried their preference of the established
public forms of prayer almost to superstition by exclusively both using
and requiring them even on their own sick-beds. This most assuredly was
neither the intention nor the wish of the first compilers. However, if
they erred in this, it was an error of filial love excused, and only not
sanctioned, by the love of peace and unity, and their keen sense of 'the
beauty of holiness' displayed in their mother Church. I mention this the
rather, because our Church, having in so incomparable a way provided for
our public devotions, and Taylor having himself enriched us with such
and so many models of private prayer and devotional exercise--(from
which, by the by, it is most desirable that a well arranged collection
should be made; a selection is requisite rather from the opulence, than
the inequality, of the store;)--we have nothing to wish for but a
collection of family and domestic prayers and thanksgivings equally (if
that be not too bold a wish) appropriate to the special object, as the
Common Prayer Book is for a Christian community, and the collection from
Taylor for the Christian in his closet or at his bed side. Here would
our author himself again furnish abundant materials for the work. For
surely, since the Apostolic age, never did the spirit of supplication
move on the deeps of a human soul with a more genial life, or more
profoundly impregnate the rich gifts of a happy nature, than in the
person of Jeremy Taylor! To render the fruits available for all, we need
only a combination of Christian experience with that finer sense of
propriety which we may venture to call devotional taste in the
individual choosing, or chosen, to select, arrange and methodize; and no
less in the dignitaries appointed to revise and sanction the collections.
Perhaps another want is a scheme of Christian psalmody fit for all our
congregations, and which should not exceed 150 or 200 psalms and hymns.
Surely if the Church does not hesitate in the titles of the Psalms and
of the chapters of the Prophets to give the Christian sense and
application, there can be no consistent objection to do the same in its
spiritual songs. The effect on the morals, feelings, and information of
the people at large is not to be calculated. It is this more than any
other single cause that has saved the peasantry of Protestant Germany
from the contagion of infidelity.
Ib. s. xvii. p. 325.
Thus the Holy Ghost brought to their memory all things which Jesus
spake and did, and, by that means, we come to know all that the Spirit
knew to be necessary for us.
Alas! it is one of the sad effects or results of the enslaving Old
Bailey fashion of defending, or, as we may well call it, apologizing
for, Christianity,--introduced by Grotius and followed up by the modern
'Alogi', whose wordless, lifeless, spiritless, scheme of belief it alone
suits,--that we dare not ask, whether the passage here referred to must
necessarily be understood as asserting a miraculous remembrancing,
distinctly sensible by the Apostles; whether the gift had any especial
reference to the composition of the Gospels; whether the assumption is
indispensable to a well grounded and adequate confidence in the veracity
of the narrators or the verity of the narration; if not, whether it does
not unnecessarily entangle the faith of the acute and learned inquirer
in difficulties, which do not affect the credibility of history in its
common meaning--rather indeed confirm our reliance on its authority in
all the points of agreement, that is, in every point which we are in the
least concerned to know,--and expose the simple and unlearned Christian
to objections best fitted to perplex, because easiest to be understood,
and within the capacity of the shallowest infidel to bring forward and
exaggerate; and lastly, whether the Scriptures must not be read in that
faith which comes from higher sources than history, that is, if they are
read to any good and Christian purpose. God forbid that I should become
the advocate of mechanical infusions and possessions, superseding the
reason and responsible will. The light 'a priori', in which, according
to my conviction, the Scriptures must be read and tried, is no other
than the earnest, 'What shall I do to be saved?' with the inward
consciousness,--the gleam or flash let into the inner man through the
rent or cranny of the prison of sense, however produced by earthquake,
or by decay,--as the ground and antecedent of the question; and with a
predisposition towards, and an insight into, the 'a priori' probability
of the Christian dispensation as the necessary consequents. This is the
holy spirit in us praying to the Spirit, without which 'no man can say
that Jesus is the Lord:' a text which of itself seems to me sufficient
to cover the whole scheme of modern Unitarianism with confusion, when
compared with that other,--'I am the Lord (Jehovah): that is my name;
and my glory will I not give to another'. But in the Unitarian's sense
of 'Lord,' and on his scheme of evidence, it might with equal justice be
affirmed, that no man can say that Tiberius was the Emperor but by the
Ib. s. xxix. p. 331.
And that this is for this reason called 'a gift and grace,' or issue
of the Spirit, is so evident and notorious, that the speaking of an
ordinary revealed truth, is called in Scripture, 'a speaking by the
spirit', 1 Cor. xii. 8. 'No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by
the Holy Ghost'. For, though the world could not acknowledge Jesus for
the Lord without a revelation, yet now that we are taught this truth
by Scripture, and by the preaching of the Apostles, to which they were
enabled by the Holy Ghost, we need no revelation or enthusiasm to
confess this truth, which we are taught in our creeds and catechisms,
I do not, nay I dare not, hesitate to denounce this assertion as false
in fact and the paralysis of all effective Christianity. A greater
violence offered to Scripture words is scarcely conceivable. St. Paul
asserts that 'no man can.' Nay, says Taylor, every man that knows his
catechism can; but unless some six or seven individuals had said it by
the Holy Ghost some seventeen or eighteen hundred years ago, no man
could say so.
Ib. s. xxxii. p. 334.
And yet, because the Holy Ghost renewed their memory, improved their
understanding, supplied to some their want of human learning, and so
assisted them that they should not commit an error in fact or opinion,
neither in the narrative nor dogmatical parts, therefore they wrote by
And where is the proof?--and to what purpose, unless a distinct and
plain diagnostic were given of the divinities and the humanities which
Taylor himself expressly admits in the text of the Scriptures?
And even then what would it avail unless the interpreters and
translators, not to speak of the copyists in the first and second
centuries, were likewise assisted by inspiration?
As to the larger part of the Prophetic books, and the whole of the
Apocalypse, we must receive them as inspired truths, or reject them as
simple inventions or enthusiastic delusions.
But in what other book of Scripture does the writer assign his own work
to a miraculous dictation or infusion? Surely the contrary is implied in
St. Luke's preface. Does the hypothesis rest on one possible
construction of a single passage in St. Paul, 2 'Tim'. iii. 16.?
And that construction resting materially on a [Greek: kai (theopneustos,
kai _ophelimos)] not found in the oldest MSS., when the context would
rather lead us to understand the words as parallel with the other
assertion of the Apostle, that all good works are given from God,--that
is, 'Every divinely inspired writing is profitable, &c'.
Finally, will not the certainty of the competence and single mindedness
of the writers suffice; this too confirmed by the high probability,
bordering on certainty, that God's especial grace worked in them; and
that an especial providence watched over the preservation of writings,
which, we know, both are and have been of such pre-eminent importance to
Christianity, and yet by natural means?
But alas! any thing will be pretended, rather than admit the necessity
of internal evidence, or than acknowledge, among the external proofs,
the convictions and spiritual experiences of believers, though they
should be common to all the faithful in all ages of the Church!
But in all superstition there is a heart of unbelief, and, 'vice versa',
where an individual's belief is but a superficial acquiescence,
credulity is the natural result and accompaniment, if only he be not
required to sink into the depths of his being, where the sensual man can
no longer draw breath. It is not the profession of Socinian tenets, but
the spirit of Socinianism in the Church itself that alarms me. This,
this, is the dry rot in the beams and timbers of the Temple!
Ib. s. li. p. 348.
So that let the devotion be ever so great, set forms of prayer will be
expressive enough of any desire, though importunate as extremity
This, and much of the same import in this treatise, is far more than
Taylor, mature in experience and softened by afflictions, would have
written. Besides, it is in effect, though not in logic, a deserting of
his own strong and unshaken ground of the means and ends of public
Ib. s. s. lxix. lxx. pp. 359-60.
These two sections are too much in the vague mythical style of the
Italian and Jesuit divines, and the argument gives to these a greater
advantage against our Church than it gains over the Sectarians in its
We well know who and how many the compilers of our Liturgy were under
Edward VI, and know too well what the weather-cock Parliaments were,
both then and under Elizabeth, by which the compilation was made law.
The argument therefore should be inverted;--not that the Church (A. B.,
C. D., F. L., &c.) compiled it; 'ergo', it is unobjectionable; but (and
truly we may say it) it is so unobjectionable, so far transcending all
we were entitled to expect from a few men in that state of information
and such difficulties, that we are justified in concluding that the
compilers were under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
But the same order holds good even with regard to the Scriptures. We
cannot rightly affirm they were inspired, and therefore they must be
believed; but they are worthy of belief, because excellent in so
universal a sense to ends commensurate with the whole moral, and
therefore the whole actual, world, that as sure as there is a moral
Governor of the world, they must have been in some sense or other, and
that too an efficient sense, inspired.
Those who deny this, must be prepared to assert, that if they had what
appeared to them good historic evidence of a miracle, in the world of
the senses, they would receive the hideous immoral doctrines of Mahomet
or Brahma, and thus disobey the express commands both of the Old and New
Testament. Though an angel should come from heaven and work all
miracles, yet preach another doctrine, we are to hold him accursed.
'Gal.' i. 8.
Ib. s. lxxv. p. 356.
When Christ was upon the Mount, he gave it for a pattern, &c.
I cannot thoroughly agree with Taylor in all he says on this point. The
Lord's Prayer is an encyclopedia of prayer, and of all moral and
religious philosophy under the form of prayer. Besides this, that
nothing shall be wanting to its perfection, it is itself singly the best
and most divine of prayers. But had this been the main and primary
purpose, it must have been thenceforward the only prayer permitted to
Christians; and surely some distinct references to it would have been
found in the Apostolic writings.
Ib. s. lxxx. p. 358.
Now then I demand, whether the prayer of Manasses be so good a prayer
as the Lord's prayer? Or is the prayer of Judith, or of Tobias, or of
Judas Maccabeus, or of the son of Sirach, is any of these so good?
Certainly no man will say they are; and the reason is, because we are
not sure they are inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
How inconsistent Taylor often is, the result of the system of
economizing truth! The true reason is the inverse. The prayers of Judith
and the rest are not worthy to be compared with the Lord's Prayer;
therefore neither is the spirit in which they were conceived worthy to
be compared with the spirit from which the Lord's Prayer proceeded: and
therefore with all fulness of satisfaction we receive the latter, as
indeed and in fact our Lord's dictation.
In all men and in all works of great genius the characteristic fault
will be found in the characteristic excellence. Thus in Taylor, fulness,
His arguments are a procession of all the nobles and magnates of the
land in their grandest, richest, and most splendid 'paraphernalia': but
the total impression is weakened by the multitudes of lacqueys and
ragged intruders running in and out between the ranks.
As far as the Westminster divines were the antagonists to be
answered--and with the exception of these, and those who like Baxter,
Calamy, and Bishop Reynolds, contended for a reformation or correction
only of the Church Liturgy, there were none worth answering,--the
question was, not whether the use of one and the same set of prayers on
all days in all churches was innocent, but whether the exclusive
imposition of the same was comparatively expedient and conducive to
Let us not too severely arraign the judgment or the intentions of the
good men who determined for the negative. If indeed we confined
ourselves to the comparison between our Liturgy, and any and all of the
proposed substitutes for it, we could not hesitate: but those good men,
in addition to their prejudices, had to compare the lives, the
conversation, and the religious affections and principles of the
prelatic and anti-prelatic parties in general.
And do not we ourselves now do the like? Are we not, and with abundant
reason, thankful that Jacobinism is rendered comparatively feeble and
its deadly venom neutralized, by the profligacy and open irreligion of
the majority of its adherents?
Add the recent cruelties of the Star Chamber under Laud;--(I do not say
the intolerance; for that which was common to both parties, must be
construed as an error in both, rather than a crime in either);--and do
not forget the one great inconvenience to which the prelatic divines
were exposed from the very position which it was the peculiar honor of
the Church of England to have taken and maintained, namely, the golden
mean;--(for in consequence of this their arguments as Churchmen would
often have the appearance of contrasting with their grounds of
controversy as Protestants,)--and we shall find enough to sanction our
charity as brethren, without detracting a tittle from our loyalty as
members of the established Church.
As to this Apology, the victory doubtless remains with Taylor on the
whole; but to have rendered it full and triumphant, it would have been
necessary to do what perhaps could not at that time, and by Jeremy
Taylor, have been done with prudence; namely, not only to disprove in
part, but likewise in part to explain, the alleged difference of the
spiritual fruits in the ministerial labors of the high and low party in
the Church,--(for remember that at this period both parties were in the
Church, even as the Evangelical, Reformed and Pontifical parties before
the establishment of a schism by the actually schismatical Council of
Trent,)--and thus to demonstrate that the differences to the
disadvantage of the established Church, as far as they were real, were
as little attributable to the Liturgy, as the wound in the heel of
Achilles to the shield and breast-plate which his immortal mother had
provided for him from the forge divine.
Ib. s. lxxxvi. p. 361.
That the Apostles did use the prayer their Lord taught them, I think
needs not much be questioned.
'Ad contra', see above. But that they did not till the siege of
Jerusalem deviate unnecessarily from the established usage of the
Synagogue is beyond rational doubt. We may therefore safely maintain
that a set form was sanctioned by Apostolic practice; though the form
was probably settled after the converts from Paganism began to be the
majority of Christians.
Ib. s. lxxxvii. p. 361.
Now that they tied themselves to recitation of the very words of
Christ's prayer 'pro loco et tempore', I am therefore easy to believe,
because I find they were strict to a scruple in retaining the
sacramental words which Christ spake when he instituted the blessed
Not a case in point. Besides it assumes the controverted sense of
[Greek: ohut_os] as "in these words" 'versus' "to this purport." Grotius
and Lightfoot, however, have settled this dispute by proving that the
Lord's prayer is a selection of prayers from the Jewish ritual: and a
most happy and valuable inference against novelties obtruded for
novelty's sake does Grotius draw from this fact.
When I consider the manner in which the Jews usually quoted or referred
to particular passages of Scripture, it does not seem altogether
improbable that the several articles of the 'Oratio Dominica' might have
been the initial sentences of several prayers; but I have not the least
doubt that by the loud utterance of the 'My God! my God! why hast thou
forsaken me?' our blessed Redeemer referred to and recalled to John and
Mary that most wonderful and prophetic twenty-second Psalm.
And what a glorious light does not this throw on the whole scene of the
crucifixion, and in what additional loveliness does it not present the
god-like character of the crucified Son of Man!
With the very facts before them, of which the former and larger portion
of the Psalm referred to resembles a detailed history rather than a
prophecy,--with what force, and with what lively consolation and
infusion of stedfast hope and faith, when all human grounds of hope had
sunk from under them, must not the obvious and inevitable inference have
flashed on the convictions of the holy mother and the beloved disciple!
"If all we now behold was pre-ordained and so distinctly predicted; if
the one mournful half of the prophecy has been so entirely and
minutely fulfilled, after so great a lapse of ages, dare we, can we,
doubt for a moment that the glorious remainder will with equal
fidelity be accomplished?"
Thus to his very last moments did our Lord (setting as it beseemed the
sun of righteousness to set) manifest with a wider and wider face of
glory his self-oblivious love. In the act he was offering, he himself
was a sacrifice of love for the whole creation; and yet the cup
overflowed into particular streams; first, for his enemies, his
persecutors, and murderers; then for his friends and humanly nearest
relative; 'Woman, behold thy son!' O what a transfer!
Nor does the proposed interpretation preclude any inward and mysterious
sense of the words 'My God! my God!'--though I confess I have never yet
met with a single plausible resolution of the words into any one of the
mysteries of the Trinity, or the Incarnation, or the Passion. Nay, were
there any necessity for supposing such an allusion, which there is not,
the obvious interpretation would, I fear, too dangerously favor the
heresy of those who divided and severed the divinity from the humanity;
so that not the incarnate God, very God of very God, would have atoned
for us on the cross, but the incarnating man; a heresy which either
denies or reduces to an absurdity the whole doctrine of redemption, that
is, Christianity itself, which rests on the two articles of faith;
first, the necessity, and secondly, the reality of a Redeemer--both
articles alike incompatible with redemption by a mere man.
Ib. s. lxxxviii. p. 362.
And I the rather make the inference from the preceding argument
because of the cognation one hath with the other; for the Apostles did
also in the consecration of the Eucharist use the Lord's Prayer; and
that together with the words of institution was the only form of
consecration, saith St. Gregory; and St. Jerome affirms, that the
Apostles, by the command of their Lord, used this prayer in the
benediction of the elements.
This section is an instance of impolitic management of a cause, into
which Jeremy Taylor was so often seduced by the fertility of his
intellect and the opulence of his erudition. An antagonist by exposing
the improbability of the tradition, (and most improbable it surely is),
and the little credit due to Saint Gregory and Saint Jerome (not
forgetting a Miltonic sneer at their saintship), might draw off the
attention from the unanswerable parts of Taylor's reasoning and leave an
impression of his having been confuted.
Ib. s. lxxxix. p. 362.
But besides this, when the Apostles had received great measures of the
spirit, and by their gift of prayer composed more forms for the help
and comfort of the Church, &c.
Who would not suppose, that the first two lines were an admitted point
of history, instead of a bare conjecture in the form of a bold
assertion? O, dearest man! so excellent a cause did not need such
Ib. p. 363.
And the Fathers of the Council of Antioch complain against Paulus
Samosatenus, 'quod Psalmos et cantus, qui ad Domini nostri Jesu
Christi honorem decantari solent, tanquam recentiores, et a viris
recentioris memorioe editos, exploserit.'
This Sam-in-satin-hose, or Paul, the same-as-Satan-is, might, I think,
have found his confutation in Pliny's Letter to Trajan. 'Carmen Christo,
quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem.'
Ib. s. xc. p. 364.
Which together with the [Greek: ta apomnaemoneumata t_on prophaeton],
the 'lectionarium' of the Church, the books of the Apostles and
Prophets spoken of by Justin Martyr, and said to be used in the
Christian congregations, are the constituent parts of liturgy.
An ingenious but not tenable solution of Justin Martyr's [Greek:
apomnaemoneumata t_on apostol_on] which were presumably a Gospel not the
same, and yet so nearly the same, as our Matthew, that its history and
character involve one of the hardest problems of Christian antiquity. By
the by, one cause of the small impression--(small in proportion to their
vast superiority in knowledge and genius)--which Jeremy Taylor and his
compeers made on the religious part of the community by their
controversial writings during the life of Charles I is to be found in
their undue predilection for Patristic learning and authority. This
originated in the wish to baffle the Papists at their own weapons; but
it could not escape notice, that the latter, though regularly beaten,
were yet not so beaten, but that they always kept the field: and when
the same mode of warfare was employed against the Puritans, it was
suspected as Papistical.
Ib. s. xci. pp. 364-5.
For the offices of prose we find but small mention of them in the very
first time, save only in general terms, and that such there were, and
that St. James, St. Mark, St. Peter, and others of the Apostles and
Apostolical men, made Liturgies; and if these which we have at this
day were not theirs, yet they make probation that these Apostles left
others, or else they were impudent people that prefixed their names so
early, and the Churches were very incurious to swallow such a bole, if
no pretension could have been reasonably made for their justification.
A rash and dangerous argument. 1810.
A many-edged weapon, which might too readily be turned against the
common faith by the common enemy. For if these Liturgies were rightly
attributed to St. James, St. Mark, St. Peter, and others of the Apostles
and Apostolical men, how could they have been superseded? How could the
Church have excluded them from the Canon?
But if falsely, and yet for a time and at so early an age generally
believed to have been composed by St. James and the rest, it is to be
feared that the difference will not stop at the point to which Paul of
Samosata carried it;--a fearful consideration for a Christian of the
Grotian and Paleyan school. It would not, however, shake my nerves, I
The Epistles of St. Paul, and the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse of
St. John, contain an evidence of their authenticity, which no
uncertainty of ecclesiastic history, no proof of the frequency and
success of forgery or ornamental titles (as the Wisdom of Solomon)
mistaken for matter of fact, can wrest from me; and with these for my
guides and sanctions, what one article of Christian faith could be taken
from me, or even unsettled?
It seems to me, as it did to Luther, incomparably more probable that the
eloquent treatise, entitled an Epistle to the Hebrews, was written by
Apollos than by Paul; and what though it was written by neither? It is
demonstrable that it was composed before the siege of Jerusalem and the
destruction of the Temple; and scarcely less satisfactory is the
internal evidence that it was composed by an Alexandrian.
These two 'data' are sufficient to establish the fact, that the Pauline
doctrine at large was common to all Christians at that early period, and
therefore the faith delivered by Christ. And this is all I want; nor
this for my own assurance, but as arming me with irrefragable arguments
against those psilanthropists who as falsely, as arrogantly, call
themselves Unitarians, on the one hand; and against the infidel fiction,
that Christianity owes its present shape to the genius and rabbinical
'cabala' of Paul on the other: while at the same time it weakens the
more important half of the objection to, or doubt concerning, the
authenticity of St. Peter's Epistles.
To this too I attach a high controversial value (for the beauty and
excellence of the Epistles themselves are not affected by the question);
and I receive them as authentic, for they have all the circumstantial
evidence that I have any right to expect.
But I feel how much more genial my conviction would become, should I
discover, or have pointed out to me, any positive internal evidence
equivalent to that which determines the date of the Epistle to the
Hebrews, or even to that which leaves no doubt on my mind that the
writer was an Alexandrian Jew.
This, my dear Lamb, is one of the advantages which the previous evidence
supplied by the reason and the conscience secures for us. We learn what
in its nature 'passes all understanding', and what belongs to the
understanding, and on which, therefore, the understanding may and ought
to act freely and fearlessly: while those who will admit nothing above
the understanding ([Greek: phronaema sarkos]), which in its nature has
no legitimate object but history and outward 'phoenomena', stand in
slavish dread like a child at its house of cards, lest a single card
removed may endanger the whole foundationless edifice. 1819.
Ib. s. xcii. p. 365.
Now here dear Jeremy Taylor begins to be himself again; for with all his
astonishing complexity, yet versatile agility, of powers, he was too
good and of too catholic a spirit to be a good polemic. Hence he so
continually is now breaking, now varying, the thread of the argument:
and hence he is so again and again forgetting that he is reasoning
against an antagonist, and falls into conversation with him as a
friend,--I might almost say, into the literary chit-chat and un with
holding frankness of a rich genius whose sands are seed-pearl. Of his
controversies, those against Popery are the most powerful, because there
he had subtleties and obscure reading to contend against; and his wit,
acuteness, and omnifarious learning found stuff to work on. Those on
Original Sin are the most eloquent.
But in all alike it is the digressions, overgrowths, parenthetic 'obiter
et in transitu' sentences, and, above all, his anthropological
reflections and experiences--(for example, the inimitable account of a
religious dispute, from the first collision to the spark, and from the
spark to the world in flames, in his 'Dissuasive from Popery'),--these
are the costly gems which glitter, loosely set, on the chain armour of
his polemic Pegasus, that expands his wings chiefly to fly off from the
field of battle, the stroke of whose hoof the very rock cannot resist,
but beneath the stroke of which the opening rock sends forth a
Hippocrene. The work in which all his powers are confluent, in which
deep, yet gentle, the full stream of his genius winds onward, and still
forming peninsulas in its winding course--distinct parts that are only
not each a perfect whole--or in less figurative style--(yet what
language that does not partake of poetic eloquence can convey the
characteristics of a poet and an orator?)--the work which I read with
most admiration, but likewise with most apprehension and regret, is the
'Liberty of Prophesying'.
If indeed, like some Thessalian drug, or the strong herb of Anticyra,
... that helps and harms,
Which life and death have sealed with counter charms--
it could be administered by special prescription, it might do good
service as a narcotic for zealotry, or a solvent for bigotry.
The substance of the preceding tract may be comprised as follows:
1. During the period immediately following our Lord's Ascension, or the
so called Apostolic age, all the gifts of the Spirit, and of course the
gift of prayer, as graces bestowed, not merely or principally for the
benefit of the Apostles and their contemporaries, but likewise and
eminently for the advantage of all after-ages, and as means of
establishing the foundations of Christianity, differed in kind, degree,
mode, and object, from those ordinary graces promised to all true
believers of all times; and possessed a character of extraordinary
partaking of the nature of miracles, to which no believer under the
present and regular dispensations of the Spirit can make pretence
without folly and presumption.
2. Yet it is certain that even the first miraculous gifts and graces
bestowed on the Apostles themselves supervened on, but did not
supersede, their natural faculties and acquired knowledge, nor enable
them to dispense with the ordinary means and instruments of cultivating
the one, and applying the other, by study, reading, past experience, and
whatever else Providence has appointed for all men as the conditions and
efficients of moral and intellectual progression. The capabilities of
deliberating, selecting, and aptly disposing of our thoughts and works
are God's good gifts to man, which the superadded graces of the Spirit,
vouchsafed to Christians, work on and with, call forth and perfect.
Therefore deliberation, selection, and method become duties, inasmuch as
they are the bases and recipients of the Spirit, even as the polished
crystal is of the light.
But if the Prophets and Apostles did not (as Taylor demonstrates that
they did not) find in miraculous aids any such infusions of light as
precluded or rendered superfluous the exertion of their natural
faculties and personal attainments, then 'a fortiori' not the possessors
or legatees of the ordinary graces bequeathed by Christ to his Church as
the usufructuary property of all its members; and he who wilfully lays
aside all premeditation, selection, and ordonnance, that he may enter
unprepared on the highest and most awful function of the soul,--that of
public prayer,--is guilty of no less indecency and irreverence than if,
having to present a petition as the representative of a community before
the throne, he purposely put off his seemly garments in order to enter
into the presence of the monarch naked or in rags: and expects no less
an absurdity than to become a passive 'automaton', in which the Holy
Spirit is to play the ventriloquist.
3. If, then, each congregation is to receive a prepared form of prayer
from its head or minister, why not rather from the collective wisdom of
the Church represented in the assembled heads and spiritual Fathers?
4. This is admitted by implication by the Westminster Assembly. But they
are not contented with the existing form, and therefore substitute for
it a Directory as the fruits of their meditations and counsels. The
whole question, then, is now reduced to the comparative merits and
fitness of the Directory and the book of Common Prayer; and how complete
the victory of the latter, how glaring the defects, how many the
deficiencies, of the former, Jeremy Taylor evinces unanswerably.
Such is the substance of this Tract. What the author proposed to prove
he has satisfactorily proved.
The faults of the work are:
1. The intermixture of weak and strong arguments, and the frequent
interruption of the stream of his logic by doubtful, trifling, and
impolitic interruptions; arguments resting in premisses denied by the
antagonists, and yet taken for granted; in short, appendages that
cumber, accessions that subtract, and confirmations that weaken:--
2. That he commences with a proper division of the subject into two
distinct branches, that is, extempore prayer as opposed to set forms,
and, The Directory, as prescribing a form opposed to the existing
Liturgy; but that in the sequel he blends and confuses and intermingles
one with the other, and presses most and most frequently on the first
point, which a vast majority of the party he is opposing had disowned
and reprobated no less than himself, and which, though easiest to
confute, scarcely required confutation.
DISCOURSE OF THE LIBERTY OF PROPHESYING, WITH ITS JUST LIMITS AND
Epistle Dedicatory, p. cccciii.
And first I answer, that whatsoever is against the foundation of faith
is out of the limits of my question, and does not pretend to
compliance or toleration.
But as all truths hang together, what error is there which may not be
proved to be against the foundation of faith? An inquisitor might make
the same code of toleration, and in the next moment light the faggots
around a man who had denied the infallibility of Pope and Council.
Ib. p. ccccxxix.
Indeed if by a heresy we mean that which is against an article of
creed, and breaks part of the covenant made between God and man by the
mediation of Jesus Christ, I grant it to be a very grievous crime, a
calling God's veracity into question, &c.
How can he be said to question God's veracity, whose belief is that God
never declared it,--who perhaps disbelieves it, because he thinks it
opposite to God's honor? For example:--Original sin, in the literal
sense of the article, was held by both Papists and Protestants (with
exception of the Socinians) as the fundamental article of Christianity;
and yet our Jeremy Taylor himself attacked and reprobated it. Why?
because he thought it dishonored God. Why may not another man believe
the same of the Incarnation, and affirm that it is equal to a circle
assuming the essence of a square, and yet remaining a circle? But so it
is; we spoil our cause, because we dare not plead it 'in toto'; and a
half truth serves for a proof of the opposite falsehood. Jeremy Taylor
dared not carry his argument into all its consequences.
LIBERTY OF PROPHESYING.
S. i. p. 443.
Of the nature of faith, and that its duty is completed in believing
the articles of the Apostle's creed.
This section is for the most part as beautifully written as it was
charitably conceived; yet how vain the attempt! Jeremy Taylor ought to
have denied that Christian faith is at all intellectual primarily, but
only probably; as, 'coecteris paribus', it is probable that a man with a
pure heart will believe an intelligent Creator. But the faith resides in
the predisposing purity of heart, that is, in the obedience of the will
to the uncorrupted conscience. For take Taylor's instances; and I ask
whether the words or the sense be meant? Surely the latter.
Well then, I understand, and so did the dear Bishop, by these texts the
doctrine of a Redeemer, who by his agonies of death actually altered the
relations of the spirits of all men to their Maker, redeemed them from
sin and death eternal, and brought life and immortality into the world.
But the Socinian uses the same texts; and means only that a good and
gifted teacher of pure morality died a martyr to his opinions, and by
his resurrection proved the possibility of all men rising from the dead.
He did nothing;--he only taught and afforded evidence. Can two more
diverse opinions be conceived? God here; mere man there. Here a redeemer
from guilt and corruption, and a satisfaction for offended holiness;
there a mere declarer that God imputed no guilt wherever, with or
without Christ, the person had repented of it.
What could Jeremy Taylor say for the necessity of his sense (which is
mine) but what might be said for the necessity of the Nicene Creed? And
then as to Rom. x. 9, how can the text mean any thing, unless we know
what St. Paul implied in the words 'the Lord Jesus'. From other parts of
his writings we know that he meant by the word 'Lord' his divinity or at
least essential superhumanity. But the Socinian will not allow this; or,
allowing it, denies St. Paul's authority in matters of speculative
faith. As well then might I say, it is sufficient for you to believe and
repeat the words 'forte miles reddens'; and though one of you mean by it
"Perhaps I may be balloted for the militia," and the other understands
it to mean, that "Reading is forty miles from London," you are still
co-symbolists and believers! While a third person may say, I believe,
but do not comprehend, the words; that is, I believe that the person who
first used them meant something that is true,--what I do not know; that
is, I believe his veracity.
O! had this work been published when Charles I, Archbishop Laud, whose
chaplain Taylor was, and the other Star Chamber inquisitors, were
sentencing Prynne, Bastwick, Leighton, and others, to punishments that
have left a brand-mark on the Church of England, the sophistry might
have been forgiven for the sake of the motive, which would then have
been unquestionable. Or if Jeremy Taylor had not in effect retracted
after the Restoration;--if he had not, as soon as the Church had gained
its power, most basely disclaimed and disavowed the principle of
toleration, and apologized for the publication by declaring it to have
been a 'ruse de guerre', currying pardon for his past liberalism by
charging, and most probably slandering, himself with the guilt of
falsehood, treachery, and hypocrisy, his character as a man would at
least have been stainless. Alas, alas, most dearly do I love Jeremy
Taylor; most religiously do I venerate his memory! But this is too foul
a blotch of leprosy to be forgiven. He who pardons such an act in such a
man partakes of its guilt.
Ib. s. vii. p. 346-7.
In the pursuance of this great truth, the Apostles, or the holy men,
their contemporaries and disciples, composed a creed to be a rule of
faith to all Christians; as appears in Irenaeus, Tertullian, St.
Cyprian, St. Austin, Ruffinus, and divers others; which creed, unless
it had contained all the entire object of faith, and the foundation of
Jeremy Taylor does not appear to have been a critical scholar. His
reading had been oceanic; but he read rather to bring out the growths of
his own fertile and teeming mind than to inform himself respecting the
products of those of other men. Hence his reliance on the broad
assertions of the Fathers; yet it is strange that he should have been
ignorant that the Apostles' Creed was growing piecemeal for several
Ib. p. 447.
All catechumens in the Latin Church coming to baptism were
interrogated concerning their faith, and gave satisfaction on the
recitation of this Creed.
I very much doubt this, and rather believe that our present Apostles'
Creed was no more than the first instruction of the catechumens prior to
baptism; and (as I conclude from Eusebius) that at baptism they
professed a more mysterious faith;--the one being the milk, the other
the strong meat. Where is the proof that Tertullian was speaking of this
Creed? Eusebius speaks in as high terms of the 'Symbolum Fidei', and,
defending himself against charges of heresy, says, "Did I not at my
baptism, in the 'Symbolum Fidei', declare my belief in Christ as God and
the co-eternal Word?" The true Creed it was impiety to write down; but
such was never the case with the present or initiating Creed. Strange,
too, that Jeremy Taylor, who has in this very work written so divinely
of tradition, should assume as a certainty that this Creed was in a
proper sense Apostolic. Is then the Creed of greater authority than the
inspired Scriptures? And can words in the Creed be more express than
those of St. Paul to the Colossians, speaking of Christ as the creative
mind of his Father, before all worlds, 'begotten before all things
Ib. s. x. p. 449.
This paragraph is indeed a complexion, as Taylor might call it, of
sophisms. Thus;--unbelief from want of information or capacity, though
with the disposition of faith, is confounded with disbelief. The
question is not, whether it may not be safe for a man to believe simply
that Christ is his Saviour, but whether it be safe for a man to
disbelieve the article in any sense which supposes an essential
supra-humanity in Christ,--any sense that would not have been equally
applicable to John, had God chosen to raise him instead of his cousin?
Ib. s. xi. p. 450.
Neither are we obliged to make these Articles more particular and
minute than the Creed. For since the Apostles, and indeed our blessed
Lord himself, promised heaven to them who believed him to be the
Christ that was to come into the world, and that he who believes in
him should be partaker of the resurrection and life eternal, he will
be as good as his word. Yet because this article was very general, and
a complexion rather than a single proposition, the Apostles and others
our Fathers in Christ did make it more explicit: and though they have
said no more than what lay entire and ready formed in the bosom of the
great Article, yet they made their extracts to great purpose and
absolute sufficiency; and therefore there needs no more deductions or
remoter consequences from the first great Article than the Creed of
Most true; but still the question returns, what was meant by the phrase
'the' Christ? Contraries cannot both be true. 'The Christ' could not be
both mere man and incarnate God. One or the other must believe falsely
on this great key-stone of all the intellectual faith in Christianity.
For so it is; alter it, and everything alters; as is proved in
Trinitarianism and Socinianism. No two religions can be more
different;--I know of no two equally so.
Ib. s. xii. p. 451.
The Church hath power to intend our faith, but not to extend it; to
make our belief more evident, but not more large and comprehensive.
This and the preceding pages are scarcely honest. For Jeremy Taylor
begins with admitting that the Creed might have been composed by others.
He has no proof of that most absurd fable of the twelve Apostles
clubbing to make it; yet here all he says assumes its inspiration as a
Ib. p. 454.
But for the present there is no insecurity in ending there where the
Apostles ended, in building where they built, in resting where they
left us, unless the same infallibility which they had had still
continued, which I think I shall hereafter make evident it did not.
What a tangle of contradictions Taylor thrusts himself into by the
attempt to support a true system, a full third of which he was afraid to
mention, and another third was by the same fear induced to deny--at
least to take for granted the contrary: for example, the absolute
plenary inspiration and infallibility of the Apostles and Evangelists;
and yet that their whole function, as far as the consciences of their
followers were concerned, was to repeat the two or three sentences, that
'Jesus was Christ' (so says one of the Evangelists), 'the Christ of God'
(so says another), 'the Christ the Son of the living God' (so says a
third), that he rose from the dead, and for the remission of sins, to as
many as believed and professed that he was the Christ or the Lord, and
died and rose for the remission of sins. Surely no miraculous
communication of God's infallibility was necessary for this.
But if this infallibility was stamped on all they said and wrote, is it
credible that any part should not be equally binding? I declare I can
make nothing out of this section, but that it is necessary for men to
believe the Apostles' Creed; but what they believe by it is of no
consequence. For instance; what if I chose to understand by the word
'dead' a state of trance or suspended animation;--language furnishing
plenty of analogies--dead in a swoon--dead drunk--and so on;--should I
still be a Christian?
'Born of the Virgin Mary.' What if, as Priestley and others, I
interpreted it as if we should say, 'the former Miss Vincent was his
mother.' I need not say that I disagree with Taylor's premisses only
because they are not broad enough, and with his aim and principal
conclusion only because it does not go far enough. I would have the law
grounded wholly in the present life, religion only on the life to come.
Religion is debased by temporal motives, and law rendered the drudge of
prejudice and passion by pretending to spiritual aims. But putting this
aside, and judging of this work solely as a chain of reasoning, I seem
to find one leading error in it; namely, that Taylor takes the condition
of a first admission into the Church of Christ for the fullness of faith
which was to be gradually there acquired. The simple acknowledgment,
that they accepted Christ as their Lord and King was the first lisping
of the infant believer at which the doors were opened, and he began the
process of growth in the faith.
Ib. s. ii. p. 457.
The great heresy that troubled them was the doctrine of the necessity
of keeping the law of Moses, the necessity of circumcision, against
which doctrine they were therefore zealous, because it was a direct
overthrow to the very end and excellency of Christ's coming.
The Jewish converts were still bound to the rite of circumcision, not
indeed as under the Law, or by the covenant of works, but as the
descendants of Abraham, and by that especial covenant which St. Paul
rightly contends was a covenant of grace and faith. But the heresy
consisted wholly in the attempt to impose this obligation on the Gentile
converts, in the infatuation of some of the Galatians, who, having no
pretension to be descendants of Abraham, could, as the Apostle urges,
only adopt the rite as binding themselves under the law of works, and