Part 5 out of 7
thereby apostatizing from the covenant of faith by free grace. And this
was the decision of the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem. Acts' xv.
Rhenferd, in his Treatise on the Ebionites and other pretended heretics
in Palestine, so grossly and so ignorantly calumniated by Epiphanius,
has written excellently well on this subject. Jeremy Taylor is mistaken
Ib. s. iv. p. 459.
And so it was in this great question of circumcision.
It is really wonderful that a man like Bishop Taylor could have read the
New Testament, and have entertained a doubt as to the decided opinion of
all the Apostles, that every born Jew was bound to be circumcised.
Opinion? The very doubt never suggested itself. When something like this
opinion was slanderously attributed to Paul, observe the almost
ostentatious practical contradiction of the calumny which was adopted by
him at the request and by the advice of the other Apostles. ('Acts',
xxi. 21-26.) The rite of circumcision, I say, was binding on all the
descendants of Abraham through Isaac for all time even to the end of the
world; but the whole law of Moses was binding on the Jewish Christians
till the heaven and the earth--that is, the Jewish priesthood and the
state--had passed away in the destruction of the temple and city; and
the Apostles observed every tittle of the Law.
Ib. s. vi. p. 460.
The heresy of the Nicolaitans.
Heresy is not a proper term for a plainly anti-Christian sect.
Nicolaitans is the literal Greek translation of Balaamites; destroyers
of the people. 'Rev'. ii. 14, 15.
Ib. s. viii. p. 461.
For heresy is not an error of the understanding, but an error of the
Most excellent. To this Taylor should have adhered, and to its converse.
Faith is not an accuracy of logic, but a rectitude of heart.
Ib. p. 462.
It was the heresy of the Gnostics, that it was no matter how men
lived, so they did but believe aright.
I regard the extinction of all the writings of the Gnostics among the
heaviest losses of Ecclesiastical literature. We have only the account
of their inveterate enemies. Individual madmen there have been in all
ages, but I do not believe that any sect of Gnostics ever held this
opinion in the sense here supposed.
And, indeed, if we remember that St. Paul reckons heresy amongst the
works of the flesh, and ranks it with all manner of practical
impieties, we shall easily perceive that if a man mingles not a vice
with his opinion,--if he be innocent in his life, though deceived in
his doctrine,--his error is his misery not his crime; it makes him an
argument of weakness and an object of pity, but not a person sealed up
to ruin and reprobation.
O admirable! How could Taylor, after this, preach and publish his Sermon
in defence of persecution, at least against toleration!
Ib. s. xxii. p. 479.
No such man as Ebion ever, as I can see, existed;  and Manes is
rather a doubtful 'ens'.
Ib. s. xxxi. p. 487.
But I shall observe this, that although the Nicene Fathers in that
case, at that time, and in that conjuncture of circumstances, did
What Bull and Waterland have urged in defence of the Nicene Fathers is
(like every thing else from such men) most worthy of all attention. They
contend that no other term but [Greek: homoousia] could secure the
Christian faith against both the two contrary errors, Tritheism with
subversion of the unity of the Godhead on the one hand, and
creature-worship on the other. For, to use Waterland's mode of argument,
 either Eusebius of Nicomedia with the four other dissenters at Nice
were right or wrong in their assertion, that Christ could not be of the
[Greek: ousia] of the self-originated First by derivation, as a son from
a father:--if they were right, they either must have discovered some
third distinct and intelligible form of origination in addition to
'begotten' and 'created', or they had not and could not. Now the latter
was notoriously the fact. Therefore to deny the [Greek: homoousia] was
implicitly to deny the generation of the second Person, and thus to
assert his creation. But if he was a creature, he could not be adorable
without idolatry. Nor did the chain of inevitable consequences stop
here. His characteristic functions of Redeemer, Mediator, King, and
final Judge, must all cease to be attributable to Christ; and the
conclusion is, that between the Homoousian scheme and mere
Psilanthropism there is no intelligible 'medium'. If this, then, be not
a fundamental article of faith, what can be?
To this reasoning I really can discern no fair reply within the sphere
of conceptual logic, if it can be made evident that the term [Greek:
homoousios] is really capable of achieving the end here set forth. One
objection to the term is, that it was not translatable into the language
of the Western Church. Consubstantial is not the translation:
'substantia' answers to [Greek: hypostasis], not to [Greek: ousia]; and
hence, when [Greek: hypostasis] was used by the Nicene Fathers in
distinction from [Greek: ousia], the Latin Church was obliged to render
it by some other word, and thus introduced that most unhappy and
improper term 'persona'. Would you know my own inward judgment on this
question, it is this: first, that this pregnant idea, the root and form
of all ideas, is not within the sphere of conceptual logic,--that is, of
the understanding,--and is therefore of necessity inexpressible; for no
idea can be adequately represented in words:--secondly, that I agree
with Bull and Waterland against Bishop Taylor, that there was need of a
public and solemn decision on this point:--but, lastly, that I am more
than doubtful respecting the fitness or expediency of the term [Greek:
homoousios], and hold that the decision ought to have been negative. For
at first all parties agreed in the positive point, namely, that Christ
was the Son of God, and that the Son of God was truly God, "or very God
of very God." All that was necessary to be added was, that the only
begotten Son of God was not created nor begotten in time. More than this
might be possible, and subject of insight; but it was not determinable
by words, and was therefore to be left among the rewards of the Spirit
to the pure in heart in inward vision and silent contemplation.
Ib. s. xl. p. 495.
All that is necessary to give a full and satistory import to this
excellent paragraph, and to secure it from all inconvenient
consequences, is to understand the distinction between the objective and
general revelation, by which the whole Church is walled around and kept
together ('principium totalitatis et cohaesionis'), and the subjective
revelation, the light from the life ('John' i. 4.), by which the
individual believers, each according to the grace given, grow in faith.
For the former, the Apostles' Creed, in its present form, is more than
enough; for the latter, it might be truly said in the words of the
fourth Gospel, that all the books which the world could contain would
not suffice to set forth explicitly that mystery in which all treasures
of knowledge are hidden, 'reconduntur'.
From the Apostles' Creed, nevertheless, if regarded in the former point
of view, several clauses must be struck out, not as false, but as not
necessary. "I believe that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified under
Pontius Pilate, rose from the dead on the third day; and I receive him
as the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for the remission of
the sins of as many as believe in the Father through him, in whom we
have the promise of life everlasting." This is the sufficient creed.
More than this belongs to the Catechism, and then to the study of the
Ib. s. vi. p. 506.
So did the ancient Papias understand Christ's millenary reign upon
earth, and so depressed the hopes of Christianity and their desires to
the longing and expectation of temporal pleasures and satisfactions.
And he was followed by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Lactantius,
and indeed, the whole Church generally, till St. Austin and St.
Jerome's time, who, first of any whose works are extant, did reprove
Bishop Taylor is, I think, mistaken in two points; first, that the
Catholic Millenaries looked forward to carnal pleasures in the kingdom
of Christ;--for even the Jewish Rabbis of any note represented the
'Millenium' as the preparative and transitional state to perfect
spiritualization:--second, that the doctrine of Christ's reign upon
earth rested wholly or principally on the twentieth chapter of the
Revelations, which actually, in my judgment, opposes it.
I more than suspect that Austin's and Jerome's strongest ground for
rejecting the second coming of our Lord in his kingly character, was,
that they were tired of waiting for it. How can we otherwise interpret
the third and fourth clauses of the Lord's Prayer, or, perhaps, the
[Greek: en toi kairoi toutoi], 'in hoc seculo', (x. 30) of St. Mark? If
the first three Gospels, joined with the unbroken faith and tradition of
the Church for nearly three centuries, can decide the question, the
Millenarians have the best of the argument.
Vol. viii. s. ix. p. 22.
One thing only I observe (and we shall find it true in most writings,
whose authority is urged in questions of theology), that the authority
of the tradition is not it which moves the assent, but the nature of
the thing; and because such a canon is delivered, they do not
therefore believe the sanction or proposition so delivered, but
disbelieve the tradition if they do not like the matter, and so do not
judge of the matter by the tradition, but of the tradition by the
This just and acute remark is, in fact, no less applicable to Scripture
in all doctrinal points, and if infidelity is not to overspread England
as well as France, the same criterion (that is, the internal evidence)
must be extended to all points, to the narratives no less than to the
precept. The written words must be tried by the Word from the beginning,
in which is life, and that life the light of men. Reduce it to the
noetic pentad, or universal form of contemplation, except where all the
terms are absolute, and consequently there is no 'punctum indifferens,
--in divinis tetras, in omnibus aliis pentas,' and the form stands thus.
Ib. s. iii. p. 36.
So that it cannot make it divine and necessary to be heartily
believed. It may make it lawful, not make it true; that is, it may
possibly, by such means, become a law, but not a truth.
This is a sophism which so evident a truth did not need. Apply the
reasoning to an act of Parliament previously to the royal sanction. Will
it hold good to say, if it was law after the sanction, it was law
before? The assertion of the Papal theologians is, that the divine
providence may possibly permit even the majority of a legally convened
Council to err; but by force of a divine promise cannot permit both a
majority and the Pope to err on the same point. The flaw in this is,
that the Romish divines rely on a conditional promise unconditionally.
To Taylor's next argument the Romish respondent would say, that an
exception, grounded on a specific evident necessity, does not invalidate
the rule in the absence of any equally evident necessity.
Taylor's argument is a [Greek: metabasis eis allo genos]. It is not the
truth, but the sign or mark, by which the Church at large may know that
it is truth, which is here provided for; that is, not the truth simply,
but the obligation of receiving it as such. Ten thousand may apprehend
the latter, only ten of whom might be capable of determining the former.
So that now (that we may apply this) there are seven general Councils,
which by the Church of Rome are condemned of error ... The council of
Ariminum, consisting of six hundred Bishops.
It is the mark of a faction that it never hesitates to sacrifice a
greater good common to them and to their opponents to a lesser advantage
obtained over those opponents. Never was there a stranger instance of
imprudence, at least, than the act of the Athanasian party in condemning
so roundly the great Council of Ariminum as heretical, and for little
more than the charitable wish of the many hundred Bishops there
assembled to avoid a word that had set all Christendom by the ears. They
declared that [Greek: ho agennaetos pataer, kai ho achron_os gennaetos
uhios, kai to pneuma ekporeuomenon] were substantially (hypostatik_os)
distinct, but nevertheless, one God; and though there might be some
incautious phrases used by them, the good Bishops declared that if their
decree was indeed Arian, or introduced aught to the derogation of the
Son's absolute divinity, it was against their knowledge and intention,
and that they renounced it.
Ib. s. x. p. 46.
Gratian says, that the Council means by a concubine a wife married
'sine dote et solennitate'; but this is daubing with untempered
Here I think Taylor wrong and Gratian right; for not a hundred years ago
the very same decree was passed by the Lutheran clergy in Prussia,
determining that left-hand marriages were to be discouraged, but did not
exclude from communion. These marriages were invented for the sake of
poor nobles: they could have but that one wife, and the children
followed the rank and title of the mother, not of the father.
Ib. s. vii. p. 56.
Thirdly; for 'pasce oves', there is little in that allegation besides
the boldness of the objectors.
I have ever thought that the derivation of the Papal monarchy from the
thrice repeated command, 'pasce oves', the most brazen of all the Pope's
bulls. It was because Peter had given too good proof that he was more
disposed to draw the sword for Christ than to perform the humble duties
of a shepherd, that our Lord here strongly, though tenderly, reminds him
of his besetting temptation. The words are most manifestly a reproof and
a warning, not a commission. In like manner the very letter of the
famous paronomastic text proves that Peter's confession, not Peter
himself, was the rock. His name was, perhaps, not so much stone as
stoner; not so much rock as rockman; and Jesus hearing this unexpected
confession of his mysterious Sonship (for this is one of the very few
cases in which the internal evidence decides for the superior fidelity
of the first Gospel), and recognizing in it an immediate revelation from
heaven, exclaims, "Well, art thou the man of the rock; 'and upon this
rock will I build my church,'" not on this man. Add too, that the law
revealed to Moses and the confession of the divine attributes, are named
the rock, both in the Pentateuch and in the Psalms.
Mark has simply, 'Thou art the Christ'; Luke, 'The Christ of God'; 
but that Jesus was the Messiah had long been known by the Apostles, at
all events conjectured. Had not John so declared him at the baptism?
Besides, it was included among the opinions concerning our Lord which
led to his question, the aim of which was not simply as to the
Messiahship, but that the Messiah, instead of a mere descendant of
David, destined to reestablish and possess David's throne, was the
Jehovah himself, 'the Son of the living God; God manifested in the
flesh'. 1 'Tim'. iii. 16.
Ib. s. viii. p. 62.
And yet again, another degree of uncertainty is, to whom the Bishops
of Rome do succeed. For St. Paul was as much Bishop of Rome as St.
Peter was; there he presided, there he preached, and he it was that
was the doctor of the uncircumcision and of the Gentiles, St. Peter of
the circumcision and of the Jews only; and therefore the converted
Jews at Rome might with better reason claim the privilege of St.
Peter, than the Romans and the Churches in her communion, who do not
derive from Jewish parents.
I wonder that Taylor should have introduced so very strong an argument
merely 'obiter'. If St. Peter ever was at Rome, it must have been for
the Jewish converts or _convertendi_ exclusively, and on what do the
earliest Fathers rest the fact of Peter's being at Rome? Do they appeal
to any document? No; but to their own arbitrary and most improbable
interpretation of the word Babylon in St. Peter's first epistle.  I
am too deeply impressed with the general difficulty arising out of the
strange eclipse of all historic documents, of all particular events,
from the arrival of St. Paul at Rome as related by St. Luke and the time
when Justin Martyr begins to shed a scanty light, to press any
particular instance of it. Yet, if Peter really did arrive at Rome, and
was among those destroyed by Nero, it is strange that the Bishop and
Church of Rome should have preserved no record of the particulars.
Ib. s. xv. p. 71.
But what shall we think of that decretal of Gregory the Third, who
wrote to Boniface his legate in Germany, 'quod illi, quorum uxores
infirmitate aliqua morbida debitum reddere noluerunt, aliis poterant
Supposing the 'noluerunt' to mean 'nequeunt', or at least any state of
mind and feeling that does not exclude moral attachment, I, as a
Protestant, abominate this decree of Gregory III; for I place the moral,
social, and spiritual helps and comforts as the proper and essential
ends of Christian marriage, and regard the begetting of children as a
contingent consequence. But on the contrary tenet of the Romish Church,
I do not see how Gregory could consistently decree otherwise.
Ib. s. iii. p. 82.
Nor that Origen taught the pains of hell not to have an eternal
And yet there can be no doubt that Taylor himself held with Origen on
this point. But, 'non licebat dogmatizare oppositum, quia determinatum
Ib. p. 84.
And except it be in the Apostles' Creed and articles of such nature,
there is nothing which may with any color be called a consent, much
less tradition universal.
It may be well to remember, whenever Taylor speaks of the Apostles'
Creed, that Pearson's work on that Creed was not then published. Nothing
is more suspicious than copies of creeds in the early Fathers; it was so
notoriously the custom of the transcribers to make them square with
those in use in their own time.
Ib. s. iv.
Such as makes no invasion upon their great reputation, which I desire
should be preserved as sacred as it ought.
The vision of the mitre dawned on Taylor; and his recollection of Laud
came to the assistance of the Fathers; of many of whom in his heart
Taylor, I think, entertained a very mean opinion. How could such a man
do otherwise? I could forgive them their nonsense and even their
economical falsehoods; but their insatiable appetite for making
heresies, and thus occasioning the neglect or destruction of so many
valuable works, Origen's for instance, this I cannot forgive or forget.
Ib. s. i. p. 88.
Of the incompetency of the Church, in its diffusive capacity, to be
judge of controversies; and the impertinency of that pretence of the
Now here begin my serious differences with Jeremy Taylor, which may be
characterized in one sentence; ideas 'versus' conceptions and images. I
contend that the Church in the Christian sense is an idea;--not
therefore a chimera, or a fancy, but a real being and a most powerful
reality. Suppose the present state of science in this country, with this
only difference that the Royal and other scientific societies were not
founded: might I not speak of a scientific public, and its influence on
the community at large? Or should I be talking of a chimera, a shadow,
or a non-entity? Or when we speak with honest pride of the public spirit
of this country as the power which supported the nation through the
gigantic conflict with France, do we speak of nothing, because we cannot
say,--"It is in this place or in that catalogue of names?" At the same
time I most readily admit that no rule can be grounded formally on the
supposed assent of this ideal Church, the members of which are recorded
only in the book of life at any one moment. In Taylor's use and
application of the term, Church, the visible Christendom, and in reply
to the Romish divines, his arguments are irrefragable.
Ib. s. ii. p. 93,
So that if they read, study, pray, search records, and use all the
means of art and industry in the pursuit of truth, it is not with a
resolution to follow that which shall seem truth to them, but to
confirm what before they did believe.
Alas, if Protestant and Papist were named by individuals answering or
not answering to this description, what a vast accession would not the
Pope's muster-roll receive! In the instance of the Council of Trent, the
iniquity of the Emperor and the Kings of France and Spain consisted in
their knowledge that the assembly at Trent had no pretence to be a
general Council, that is, a body representative of the Catholic or even
of the Latin Church. It may be, and in fact it is, very questionable
whether any Council, however large and fairly chosen, is not an
absurdity except under the universal faith that the Holy Ghost
miraculously dictates all the decrees: and this is irrational, where the
same superseding Spirit does not afford evidence of its presence by
producing unanimity. I know nothing, if I may so say, more ludicrous
than the supposition of the Holy Ghost contenting himself with a
majority, in questions respecting faith, or decrees binding men to
inward belief, which again binds a Christian to outward profession.
Matters of discipline and ceremony, having peace and temporal order for
their objects, are proper enough for a Council; but these do not need
any miraculous interference. Still if any Council is admitted in matters
of doctrine, those who have appealed to it must abide by the
determination of the majority, however they might prefer the opinion of
the minority, just as in acts of Parliament.
Ib. s. xi. p. 98.
Of some causes of error in the exercise of reason, which are inculpate
It is a lamentable misuse of the term, reason,--thus to call by that
name the mere faculty of guessing and babbling. The making reason a
faculty, instead of a light, and using the term as a mere synonyme of
the understanding, and the consequent ignorance of the true nature of
ideas, and that none but ideas are objects of faith--are the grounds of
all Jeremy Taylor's important errors.
But men may understand what they please, especially when they are to
If this sentence had occurred in Hume or Voltaire!
Ib. s. iii. p. 103.
And then if ever truth be afflicted, she shall also be destroyed.
Here and in many other passages of his other works Jeremy Taylor very
unfairly states this argument of the anti-prelatic party. It was not
that the Church of England was afflicted (the Puritans themselves had
been much more afflicted by the prelates); but that having appealed to
the decision of the sword, the cause was determined against it. But in
fact it is false that the Puritans ever did argue as Taylor represents
them. Laud and his confederates had begun by incarcerating, scourging,
and inhumanly mutilating their fellow Christians for not acceding to
their fancies, and proceeded to goad and drive the King to levy or at
least maintain war against his Parliament: and the Parliamentary party
very naturally cited their defeat and the overthrow of the prelacy as a
judgment on their blood-thirstiness, not as a proof of their error in
questions of theology.
Ib. s. iv. p. 105.
All that I shall say, &c. 'ad finem'.
An admirable paragraph. Taylor is never more himself, never appears
greater, or wiser, than when he enters on this topic, namely, the many
and various causes beside truth which occasion men to hold an opinion
Ib. s. vii. p. 111.
Of such men as these it was said by St. Austin: 'Caeteram turbam non
intelligendi vivacitas, sed credendi simplicitas tutissimam facit.'
Such charity is indeed notable policy: salvation made easy for the
benefit of obedient dupes.
Ib. s. ii. p. 119.
I deny not but certain and known idolatry, or any other sort of
practical impiety with its principiant doctrine, may be punished
corporally, because it is no other but matter of fact.
In the Jewish theocracy, I admit; because the fact of idolatry was a
crime, namely, 'crimen laesae majestatis', an overt act subversive of the
fundamental law of the state, and breaking asunder the 'vinculum et
copulam unitatis et cohaesionis'. But in making the position general,
Taylor commits the 'sophisma omissi essentialis'; he omits the essential
of the predicate, namely, criminal;--not its being a fact rendering it
punishable, but its being a criminal fact.
Ib. s. iii.
Oh that this great and good man, who saw and has expressed so large a
portion of the truth,--(if by the Creed I might understand the true
Apostles', that is, the Baptismal Creed, free from the additions of the
first five centuries, I might indeed say the whole truth),--had but
brought it back to the great original end and purpose of historical
Christianity, and of the Church visible, as its exponent, not as a
'hortus siccus' of past revelations,--but an ever enlarging inclosed
'area' of the opportunity of individual conversion to, and reception of,
the spirit of truth! Then, instead of using this one truth to inspire a
despair of all truth, a reckless scepticism within, and a boundless
compliance without, he would have directed the believer to seek for
light where there was a certainty of finding it, as far as it was
profitable for him, that is, as far as it actually was light for him.
The visible Church would be a walled Academy, a pleasure garden, in
which the intrants having presented their 'symbolum portae', or
admission-contract, walk at large, each seeking private audience of the
invisible teacher,--alone now, now in groups,--meditating or
conversing,--gladly listening to some elder disciple, through whom (as
ascertained by his intelligibility to me) I feel that the common Master
is speaking to me,--or lovingly communing with a class-fellow, who, I
have discovered, has received the same lesson from the inward teaching
with myself,--while the only public concerns in which all, as a common
weal, exercised control and vigilance over each, are order, peace,
mutual courtesy and reverence, kindness, charity, love, and the fealty
and devotion of all and each to the common Master and Benefactor!
Ib. s. viii. p. 124.
It is characteristic of the man and the age, Taylor's high-strained
reverential epithets to the names of the Fathers, and as rare and naked
mention of Luther, Melancthon, Calvin--the least of whom was not
inferior to St. Augustin, and worth a brigade of the Cyprians,
Firmilians, and the like. And observe, always 'Saint' Cyprian!
Ib. s. xii. p. 128-9.
Gibbon's enumeration of the causes, not miraculous, of the spread of
Christianity during the first three centuries is far from complete.
This, however, is not the greatest defect of this celebrated chapter.
The proportions of importance are not truly assigned; nay, the most
effective causes are only not omitted--mentioned, indeed, but 'quasi in
transitu', not developed or distinctly brought out: for example, the
zealous despotism of the Caesars, with the consequent exclusion of men of
all ranks from the great interests of the public weal, otherwise than as
servile instruments; in short, the direct contrary of that state and
character of men's minds, feelings, hopes and fancies, which elections,
Parliaments, Parliamentary reports, and newspapers produce in England;
and this extinction of patriotism aided by the melting down of states
and nations in the one vast yet heterogeneous Empire;--the number and
variety of the parts acting only to make each insignificant in its own
eyes, and yet sufficient to preclude all living interest in the peculiar
institutions and religious forms of Rome; which beginning in a petty
district, had, no less than the Greek republics, its mythology and
[Greek: thraeskeia] intimately connected with localities and local
events. The mere habit of staring or laughing at nine religions must
necessarily end in laughing at the tenth, that is, the religion of the
man's own birth-place. The first of these causes, that is, the
detachment of all love and hope from the things of the visible world,
and from temporal objects not merely selfish, must have produced in
thousands a tendency to, and a craving after, an internal religion,
while the latter occasioned an absolute necessity of a mundane as
opposed to a national or local religion. I am far from denying or
doubting the influence of the excellence of the Christian faith in the
propagation of the Christian Church or the power of its evidences; but
still I am persuaded that the necessity of some religion, and the
untenable nature and obsolete superannuated character of all the others,
occasioned the conversion of the largest though not the worthiest part
of the new-made Christians. Here, though exploded in physics, we have
recourse to the 'horror vacui' as an efficient cause. This view of the
subject can offend or startle those only who, in their passion for
wonderment, virtually exclude the agency of Providence from any share in
the realizing of its own benignant scheme; as if the disposition of
events by which the whole world of human history, from north and south,
east and west, directed their march to one central point, the
establishment of Christendom, were not the most stupendous of miracles!
It is a yet sadder consideration, that the same men who can find God's
presence and agency only in sensuous miracles, wholly misconceive the
characteristic purpose and proper objects of historic Christianity and
of the outward and visible Church, of which historic Christianity is the
ground and the indispensable condition; but this is a subject delicate
and dangerous, at all events requiring a less scanty space than the
margins of these honestly printed pages.
Ib. s. iv. p. 133.
The death of Ananias and Sapphira, and the blindness of Elymas the
sorcerer, amount not to this, for they were miraculous inflictions.
One great difficulty respecting, not the historic truth (of which there
can be no rational doubt), but the miraculous nature, of the sudden
deaths of Ananias and Sapphira is derived from the measure which gave
occasion to it, namely, the sale of their property by the new converts
of Palestine, in order to establish that community of goods, which,
according to a Rabbinical tradition, existed before the Deluge, and was
to be restored by the children of Seth (one of the names which the
Jewish Christians assumed) before the coming of the Son of Man. Now this
was a very gross and carnal, not to say fanatical, misunderstanding of
our Lord's words, and had the effect of reducing the Churches of the
Circumcision to beggary, and of making them an unnecessary burthen on
the new Churches in Greece and elsewhere. See Rhenferd as to this.
The fact of Elymas, however, concludes the miraculous nature of the
deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, which, taken of themselves, would indeed
have always been supposed, but could scarcely have been proved, the
result of a miraculous or superhuman power. There are for me, I confess,
great difficulties in this incident, especially when it is compared with
our Lord's reply to the Apostles' proposal of calling down fire from
heaven. 'The Son of Man is not come to destroy', &c. At all events it is
a subject that demands and deserves deep consideration.
Ib. s. i. p. 141.
The religion of Jesus Christ is 'the form of sound doctrine and
wholesome words', which is set down in Scripture indefinitely,
actually conveyed to us by plain places, and separated as for the
question of necessary or not necessary by the Symbol of the Apostles.
I cannot refrain from again expressing my surprise at the frequency and
the undoubting positiveness of this assertion in so great a scholar, so
profound a Patrician, as Jeremy Taylor was. He appears 'bona fide' to
have believed the absurd fable of this Creed having been a pic-nic to
which each of the twelve Apostles contributed his 'symbolum'. Had Jeremy
Taylor taken it for granted so completely and at so early an age, that
he read without attending to the various passages in the Fathers and
ecclesiastical historians, which shew the gradual formation of this
Creed? It is certainly possible, and I see no other solution of the
Ib. s. ix. p. 153.
'Judge not, that ye be not judged'. The dread of these words is, I fear,
more influential on my spirit than either the duty of charity or my
sense of Taylor's high merits, in enabling me to struggle against the
strong inclination to pass the sentence of dishonesty on the reasoning
in this paragraph. Had I met the passage in Richard Baxter or in Bishop
Hall, it would have made no such unfavourable impression. But Taylor was
so acute a logician, and had made himself so completely master of the
subject, that it is hard to conceive him blind to sophistry so glaring.
I am myself friendly to Infant Baptism, but for that reason feel more
impatience of any unfairness in its defenders.
Ib. Ad. iii. and xiii. p. 178.
But then, that God is not as much before hand with Christian as with
Jewish infants is a thing which can never be believed by them who
understand that in the Gospel God opened all his treasures of mercies,
and unsealed the fountain itself; whereas, before, he poured forth
only rivulets of mercy and comfort.
This is mere sophistry; and I doubt whether Taylor himself believed it a
sufficient reply to his own argument. There is no doubt that the primary
purpose of Circumcision was to peculiarize the Jews by an indelible
visible sign; and it was as necessary that Jewish infants should be
known to be Jews as Jewish men. Then humanity and mere safety determined
that the bloody rite should be performed in earliest infancy, as soon as
the babe might be supposed to have gotten over the fever of his birth.
This is clear; for women had no correspondent rite, but the same result
was obtained by the various severe laws concerning their marriage with
aliens and other actions.
Ib. p. 180.
And as those persons who could not be circumcised (I mean the
females), yet were baptized, as is notorious in the Jews' books and
Yes, but by no command of God, but only their own fancies.
Ib. Ad. iv. p. 181.
'Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child,
shall not enter therein': receive it as a little child receives it,
that is, with innocence, and without any let or hinderance.
Is it not evident that Christ here converted negatives into positives?
As a babe is without malice negatively, so you must be positively and by
actuation, that is, full of love and meekness; as the babe is
unresisting, so must you be docile, and so on.
Ib. Ad. v.
And yet, notwithstanding this terrible paragraph, Taylor believed that
infants were not a whit the worse off for not being baptized. Strange
contradiction! They are born in sin, and Baptism is the only way of
deliverance; and yet it is not. For the infant is 'de se' of the kingdom
of heaven. Christ blessed them, not in order to make them so, but
because they already were so. So that this argument seems more than all
others demonstrative for the Anabaptist, and to prove that Baptism
derives all its force if it be celestial magic, or all its meaning if it
be only a sacrament and symbol, from the presumption of actual sin in
the person baptized.
Ib. Ad. xv. p. 186.
And he that hath without difference commanded that all nations should
be baptized, hath without difference commanded all sorts of persons.
Even so our Lord commanded all men to repent, did he therefore include
babes of a month old?  Yes, when they became capable of repentance.
And even so babes are included in the general command of Baptism, that
is, as soon as they are baptizable. But Baptism supposed both repentance
and a promise; babes are not capable of either, and therefore not of
Baptism. For the physical element was surely only the sign and seal of a
promise by a counter promise and covenant. The rite of Circumcision is
wholly inapplicable; for there a covenant was between Abraham and God,
not between God and the infant. "Do so and so to all your male children,
and I will favor them. Mark them before the world as a peculiar and
separate race, and I will then consider them as my chosen people." But
Baptism is personal, and the baptized a subject not an object; not a
thing, but a person; that is, having reason, or actually and not merely
potentially. Besides, Jeremy Taylor was too sound a student of Erasmus
and Grotius not to know the danger of screwing up St. Paul's
accommodations of Jewish rites, meant doubtless as inducements of
rhetoric and innocent compliances with innocent and invincible
prejudices, into articles of faith. The conclusions are always true; but
all the arguments are not and were never intended to be reducible into
Ib. Ad. xviii. p. 191.
But let us hear the answer. First, it is said, that Baptism and the
Spirit signify the same thing; for by water is meant the effect of the
By the 'effect,' the Anabaptist clearly means the 'causa causans', the
'act of the Spirit.' As well might Taylor say that a thought is not
thinking, because it is the effect of thinking. Had Taylor been right,
the water to be an apt sign ought to have been dirty water; for that
would be the 'res effecta'. But it is pure water, therefore 'res agens'.
Ib. p. 192.
For it is certain and evident, that regeneration or new birth is here
enjoined to all as of absolute and indispensable necessity.
Yet Taylor himself has denied it over and over again in his tracts on
Original Sin; and how is it in harmony with the words of Christ--'Of
such are the kingdom of heaven'? Are we not regenerated back to a state
of spiritual infancy? Yet for such Anti-paedobaptists as hold the dogma
of original guilt it is doubtless a fair argument; but Taylor ought not
to have used it as certain and evident in itself, and not merely 'ad
hominem et per accidens'. As making a bow is in England the understood
conventional mark or visible language of reverence, so in the East was
Baptism the understood outward and visible mark of conversion and
initiation. So much for the visible act: then for the particular meaning
affixed to it by Christ. This was [Greek: metanoia], an adoption of a
new principle of action and consequent reform of conduct; a cleansing,
but especially a cleansing away of the carnal film from the mind's eye.
Hence the primitive Church called baptism [Greek: ph_os], light, and the
Eucharist [Greek: z_oae], life. Baptism, therefore, was properly the
sign, the 'precursor', or rather the first act, the 'initium', of that
regeneration of which the whole spiritual life of a Christian is the
complete process; the Eucharist indicating the means, namely, the
continued assimilation of and to the Divine Humanity. Hence the
Eucharist was called the continuation of the Incarnation.
And yet it does not follow that they should all be baptized with the
Holy Ghost and with fire. But it is meant only that that glorious
effect should be to them a sign of Christ's eminency above him; they
should see from him a Baptism greater than that of John.
This is exactly of a piece with that gloss of the Socinians in evasion
of St. Paul's words concerning Christ's emptying himself of the form of
God, and becoming a servant, which all the world of Christians had
interpreted of the Incarnation. But no! it only referred to the miracle
of his transfiguration!
... 'credat Judaeus Apella!
St. John could not mean this, unless he denied the distinct personality
of the Holy Ghost. For it was the Holy Ghost that then descended 'as the
substitute of Christ; nor does St. Luke even hint that it was understood
to be a Baptism, even if we suppose the 'tongues of fire' to be anything
visual, and not as we say, Victory sate on his helmet like an eagle. The
spirit of eloquence descended into them like a tongue of fire, and that
they spoke different languages is, I conceive, no where said; but only
that being rustic Galileans they yet spake a dialect intelligible to all
the Jews from the most different provinces. For it is clear they were
all Jews, and, as Jews, had doubtless a 'lingua communis' which all
understood when spoken, though persons of education only could speak it.
Even so a German boor understands, but yet cannot talk in, High German,
that is, the language of his Bible and Hymn-book. So it is with the
Scotch of Aberdeen with regard to pure English. In short Taylor's
arguments press on the Anabaptists, only as far as the Anabaptists
baptize at all; they are in fact attacks on Baptism; and it would only
follow from them that the Baptist is more rational than the Paedobaptist,
but that the Quaker is more consistent than either. To pull off your hat
is in Europe a mark of respect. What, if a parent in his last will
should command his children and posterity to pull off their hats to
their superiors,--and in course of time these children or descendants
emigrated to China, or some place, where the same ceremony either meant
nothing, or an insult. Should we not laugh at them if they did not
interpret the words into, Pay reverence to your superiors. Even so
Baptism was the Jewish custom, and natural to those countries; but with
us it would be a more significant rite if applied as penance for excess
of zeal and acts of bigotry, especially as sprinkling.
Ib. p. 196.
But farther yet I demand, can infants receive Christ in the Eucharist?
Surely the wafer and the tea-spoonful of wine might be swallowed by an
infant, as well as water be sprinkled upon him. But if the former is not
the Eucharist because without faith and repentance, so cannot the
latter, it would seem, be Baptism. For they are declared equal adjuncts
of both Sacraments. The argument therefore is a mere 'petitio principii
Ib. Ad. ix. p. 197.
The promise of the Holy Ghost is made to all, to us and to our
children: and if the Holy Ghost belongs to them, then Baptism belongs
to them also.
If this be not rank enthusiasm I know not what is. The Spirit is
promised to them, first, as protection and providence, and as internal
operation when those faculties are developed, in and by which the Spirit
co-operates. Can Taylor shew an instance in Scripture in which the Holy
Spirit is said to operate simply, and without the co-operation of the
Ib. Ad. xix. p. 199.
And when the boys in the street sang Hosanna to the Son of David, our
blessed Lord said that if they had held their peace, the stones of the
street would have cried out Hosanna.
By the same argument I could defend the sprinkling of mules and asses
with holy water, as is done yearly at Rome on St. Antony's day, I
believe. For they are capable of health and sickness, of restiveness and
of good temper, and these are all emanations from their Creator. Besides
in the great form of Baptism the words are not [Greek: en onomati], but
[Greek: eis to onoma], and many learned men have shewn that they may
mean 'into the power or influence' of the Father, the Son, and the
Spirit. But spiritual influences suppose capability in act of receiving
them; and we must either pretend to believe that the soul of the babe,
that is, his consciousness, is acted on without his consciousness, or
that the instrumental cause is antecedent by years to its effect, which
would be a conjunction disjunctive with a vengeance. Again, Baptism is
nothing except as followed by the Spirit; but it is irrational to say,
that the Spirit acts on the mere potentialities of an infant. For
wherein is the Spirit, as used in Scripture in appropriation to
Christians, different from God's universal providence and goodness, but
that the latter like the sun may shine on the wicked and on the good, on
the passive and on those who by exercise increase its effect; whereas
the former always implies a co-operant subject, that is, a developed
reason. When God gave his Spirit miraculously to the young child,
Daniel, he at the same time miraculously hastened the development of his
Ib. Ad. xxviii. p. 205.
But we see also that although Christ required faith of them who came
to be healed, yet when any were brought, or came in behalf of others,
he only required faith of them who came, and their faith did benefit
But this instance is so certain a reproof of this objection of theirs,
which is their principal, which is their all, that it is a wonder to
me they should not all be convinced at the reading and observing of
So far from certainty, I find no strength at all in this reproof.
Doubtless Christ at a believer's request might heal his child's or his
servant's bodily sickness; for this was an act of power, requiring only
an object. But is it any where said, that at a believer's request he
gave the Spirit and the graces of faith to an unbeliever without any
mental act, or moral co-operation of the latter? This would have been a
proof indeed; but Taylor's instance is a mere 'ad aliud'.
Ib. Ad. xxxi. p. 207.
And although there are some effects of the Holy Spirit which require
natural capacities to be their foundation; yet those are the [Greek:
energaemata] or powers of working: but the [Greek: charismata], and
the inheritance and the title to the promises require nothing on our
part, but that we can receive them.
The Bishop flutters about and about, but never fairly answers the
question, What does Baptism do? The Baptist says it attests forgiveness
of sins, as the reward of faith and repentance. This is intelligible;
but as to the [Greek: charismata]--the children of believers, if so
taught and educated, are surely entitled to the promises; and what
analogy is there in this to any one act of power and gift of powers
mentioned as [Greek: charismata], when the word is really used in
contradistinction from [Greek: energaemata] Baptism is spoken of many
times by St. Paul properly as well as metaphorically, and in the former
sense it is never described as a [Greek: charisma] on a passive
recipient, while in the latter sense it always respects an [Greek:
energaema] of the Spirit of God, and a [Greek: synergaema] in the spirit
of the recipient. All that Taylor can make out is, that Baptism effects
a potentiality in a potentiality, or a chalking of chalk to make white
Ib. p. 210.
And if it be questioned by wise men whether the want of it do not
occasion their eternal loss, and it is not questioned whether Baptism
does them any hurt or no, then certainly to baptize them is the surer
way without all peradventure.
Now this is the strongest argument of all against Infant Baptism, and
that which alone weighed at one time with me, namely, that it supposes
and most certainly encourages a belief concerning God, the most
blasphemous and intolerable; and no human wit can express this more
forcibly and affectingly than Taylor himself has done in his Letter to a
Lady on Original Sin. It is too plain to be denied that the belief of
the strict necessity of Infant Baptism, and the absolute universality of
the practice did not commence till the dogma of original guilt had begun
to despotize in the Church: while that remained uncertain and sporadic,
Infant Baptism was so too; some did it, many did not. But as soon as
Original Sin in the sense of actual guilt became the popular creed, then
all did it. 
Ib. s. xvi. p. 224.
And although they have done violence to all philosophy and the reason
of man, and undone and cancelled the principles of two or three
sciences, to bring in this article; yet they have a divine revelation,
whose literal and grammatical sense, if that sense were intended,
would warrant them to do violence to all the sciences in the circle.
And indeed that Transubstantiation is openly and violently against
natural reason is no argument to make them disbelieve it, who believe
the mystery of the Trinity in all those niceties of explication which
are in the School (and which now-a-days pass for the doctrine of the
Church), with as much violence to the principles of natural and
supernatural philosophy as can be imagined to be in the point of
This is one of the many passages in Taylor's works which lead me to
think that his private opinions were favorable to Socinianism. Observe,
to the views of Socinus, not to modern Unitarianism, as taught by
Priestley and Belsham. And doubtless Socinianism would much more easily
bear a doubt, whether the difference between it and the orthodox faith
was not more in words than in the things meant, than the Arian
hypothesis. A mere conceptualist, at least, might plausibly ask whether
either party, the Athanasian or the Socinian, had a sufficiently
distinct conception of what the one meant by the hypostatical union of
the Divine Logos with the man Jesus; or the other of his plenary, total,
perpetual, and continuous inspiration, to have any well-grounded
assurance, that they do not mean the same thing.
Moreover, no one knew better than Jeremy Taylor that this apparent soar
of the hooded falcon, faith, to the very empyrean of bibliolatry
amounted in fact to a truism of which the following syllogism is a fair
illustration. All stones are men: all men think: 'ergo', all stones
think. The 'major' is taken for granted, the minor no one denies; and
then the conclusion is good logic, though a very foolish untruth. Or, if
an oval were demonstrated by Euclid to be a circle, it would be a
circle; and if it were a demonstrable circle, it would be a circle,
though the strait lines drawable from the centre to the circumference
are unequal. If we were quite certain that an omniscient Being,
incapable of deceiving, or being deceived, had assured us that 5 X 5 = 6
X 3, and that the two sides of a certain triangle were together less
than the third, then we should be warranted in setting at nought the
science of arithmetic and geometry. On another occasion, as when it was
the good Bishop's object to expose the impudent assertions of the Romish
Church since the eleventh century, he would have been the first to have
replied by a counter syllogism.
If we are quite certain that any writing pretending to divine origin
contains gross contradictions to demonstrable truths 'in eodem
genere', or commands that outrage the clearest principles of right
and wrong; then we may be equally certain that the pretence is a
blasphemous falsehood, inasmuch as the compatibility of a document with
the conclusions of self-evident reason, and with the laws of conscience,
is a condition 'a priori' of any evidence adequate to the proof of
its having been revealed by God.
This principle is clearly laid down both by Moses and by St. Paul. If a
man pretended to be a prophet, he was to predict some definite event
that should take place at some definite time, at no unreasonable
distance: and if it were not fulfilled, he was to be punished as an
impostor. But if he accompanied his prophecy with any doctrine
subversive of the exclusive Deity and adorability of the one God of
heaven and earth, or any seduction to a breach of God's commandments, he
was to be put to death at once, all other proof of his guilt and
imposture being superfluous.  So St. Paul. If any man preach another
Gospel, though he should work all miracles, though he had the appearance
and evinced the superhuman powers of an angel from heaven--he was at
once, in contempt of all imaginable sensuous miracles, to be holden
Ib. s. xviii. p. 225.
And now for any danger to men's persons for suffering such a doctrine,
this I shall say, that if they who do it are not formally guilty of
idolatry, there is no danger that they whom they persuade to it,
should be guilty ... When they believe it to be no idolatry, then
their so believing it is sufficient security from that crime, which
hath so great a tincture and residency in the will, that from thence
only it hath its being criminal.
Will not this argument justify all idolaters? For surely they believe
themselves worshippers either of the Supreme Being under a permitted
form, or of some son of God (as Apollo) to whom he has delegated such
and such powers. If this be the case, there is no such crime as
idolatry: yet the second commandment expressly makes the worshipping of
God in or before a visual image of him not only idolatry, but the most
hateful species of it. Now do they not worship God in the visible form
of bread, and prostrate themselves before pictures of the Trinity? Are
we so mad as to suppose that the pious heathens thought the statue of
Jupiter, Jove himself? No; and yet these heathens were idolaters. But
there was no such being as Jupiter. No! Was there no King of Kings and
Lord of Lords; and does the name Jove instead of Jehovah (perhaps the
same word too) make the difference? Were Marcus Antoninus and Epictetus
UNUM NECESSARIUM; OR THE DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OF REPENTANCE.
1. The first great divines among the Reformers, Luther, Calvin, and
their compeers and successors, had thrown the darkness of storms on an
awful fact of human nature, which in itself had only the darkness of
negations. What was certain, but incomprehensible, they rendered
contradictory and absurd by a vain attempt at explication. It was a
fundamental fact, and of course could not be comprehended; for to
comprehend, and thence to explain, is the same as to perceive, and
thence to point out, a something before the given fact, and Standing to
it in the relation of cause to effect. Thus they perverted original sin
into hereditary guilt, and made God act in the spirit of the cruellest
laws of jealous governments towards their enemies, upon the principle of
treason in the blood. This was brought in to explain their own
explanation of God's ways, and then too often God's alleged way in this
case was adduced to justify the cruel state law of treason in the blood.
2. In process of time, good men and of active minds were shocked at
this; but, instead of passing back to the incomprehensible fact, with a
vault over the unhappy idol forged for its comprehension, they
identified the two in name; and while in truth their arguments applied
only to a false theory, they rejected the fact for the sake of the
mis-solution, and fell into far worse errors. For the mistaken theorist
had built upon a foundation, though but a superstructure of chaff and
straw; but the opponents built on nothing. Aghast at the superstructure,
these latter ran away from that which is the sole foundation of all
3. Then came the persecutions of the Arminians in Holland; then the
struggle in England against the Arminian Laud and all his
party--terrible persecutors in their turn of the Calvinists and
systematic divines; then the Civil War and the persecutions of the
Church by the Puritans in their turn; and just in this state of heated
feelings did Taylor write these Works, which contain dogmas subversive
of true Christian faith, namely, his 'Unum Necessarium', or Doctrine and
Practice of Repentance, which reduces the cross of Christ to nothing,
especially in the seventh chapter of the same, and the after defences of
it in his Letters on Original Sin to a Lady, and to the Bishop of
Rochester; and the Liberty of Prophesying, which, putting toleration on
a false ground, has left no ground at all for right or wrong in matters
of Christian faith.
In the marginal notes, which I have written in these several treatises
on Repentance, I appear to myself to have demonstrated that Taylor's
system has no one advantage over the Lutheran in respect of God's
attributes; that it is 'bona fide' Pelagianism (though he denies
it; for let him define that grace which Pelagius would not accept,
because incompatible with free will and merit, and profess his belief in
it thus defined, and every one of his arguments against absolute decrees
tell against himself); and lastly, that its inevitable logical
consequences are Socinianism and 'quae sequuntur'. In Tillotson the
face of Arminianism looked out fuller, and Christianity is represented
as a mere arbitrary contrivance of God, yet one without reason. Let not
the surpassing eloquence of Taylor dazzle you, nor his scholastic
retiary versatility of logic illaqueate your good sense. Above all do
not dwell too much on the apparent absurdity or horror of the dogma he
opposes, but examine what he puts in its place, and receive candidly the
few hints which I have admarginated for your assistance, being in the
love of truth and of Christ,
I have omitted one remark, probably from over fullness of intention to
have inserted it.
1. The good man and eloquent expresses his conjectural belief that, if
Adam had not fallen, Christ would still have been necessary, though not
perhaps by Incarnation. Now, in the first place, this is only a play
thought of himself, and Scotus, and perhaps two or three others in the
Schools; no article of faith or of general presumption; consequently it
has little serious effect even on the guessers themselves. In the next
place, if it were granted, yet it would be a necessity wholly 'ex parte
Dei', not at all 'ex parte Hominis':--for what does it amount to but
this--that God having destined a creature for two states, the earthly
rational, and the heavenly spiritual, and having chosen to give him, in
the first instance, faculties sufficient only for the first state, must
afterwards superinduce those sufficient for the second state, or else
God would at once and the same time destine and not destine. This
therefore is a mere fancy, a theory, but not a binding religion; no
2. But the Incarnation, even after the fall of Adam, he clearly makes to
be specifically of no necessity. It was only not to take away peevishly
the estate of grace from the poor innocent children, because of the
father,--according to the good Bishop, a poor ignorant, who before he
ate the apple of knowledge did not know what right and wrong was; and
Christ's Incarnation would have been no more necessary then than it was
before, according to Taylor's belief. Here again the Incarnation is
wholly a contrivance 'ex parte Dei', and no way resulting from any
default of man.
3. Consequently Taylor neither saw nor admitted any 'a priori' necessity
of the Incarnation from the nature of man, and which, being felt by man
in his own nature, is itself the greatest of proofs for the admission of
it, and the strongest pre-disposing cause of the admission of all proof
positive. Not having this, he was to seek 'ab extra' for proofs in
facts, in historical evidence in the world of sense. The same causes
produce the same effects. Hence Grotius, Taylor, and Baxter (then, as
appears in his Life, in a state of uneasy doubt), were the first three
writers of evidences of the Christian religion, such as have been since
followed up by hundreds,--nine-tenths of them Socinians or
Semi-Socinians, and which, taking head and tail, I call the
4. Hence the good man was ever craving for some morsel out of the
almsbasket of all external events, in order to prove to himself his own
immortality; and, with grief and shame I tell it, became evidence and
authority in Irish stories of ghosts, and apparitions, and witches. Let
those who are astonished refer to Glanville on Witches, and they will be
more astonished still. The fact now stated at once explains and
justifies my anxiety in detecting the errors of this great and excellent
genius at their fountain head,--the question of Original Sin: for how
important must that error be which ended in bringing Bishop Jeremy
Taylor forward as an examiner, judge, and witness in an Irish apparition
Ib. s. xxxviii. p. 278.
Although God exacts not an impossible law under eternal and
insufferable pains, yet he imposes great holiness in unlimited and
indefinite measures, with a design to give excellent proportions of
reward answerable to the greatness of our endeavour. Hell is not the
end of them that fail in the greatest measures of perfection; but
great degrees of heaven shall be their portion who do all that they
can always, and offend in the fewest instances.
It is not to be denied that one if not more of the parables appears to
sanction this, but the same parables would by consequence seem to favour
a state of Purgatory. From John, Paul, and the philosophy of the
doctrine, I should gather a different faith, and find a sanction for
this too in one of the parables, namely, that of the labourer at the
eleventh hour. Heaven, bliss, union with God through Christ, do not seem
to me comparative terms, or conceptions susceptible of degree. But it is
a difficult question. The first Fathers of the Reformation, and the
early Fathers of the primitive Church, present different systems, and in
a very different spirit.
Ib. p. 324-328.
Descriptions of repentance taken from the Holy Scriptures.
This is a beautiful collection of texts. Still the pious but unconverted
Jew (a Moses Mendelsohn, for instance), has a right to ask, What then
did Christ teach or do, such and of such additional moment as to be
rightfully entitled the founder of a new law, instead of being, like
Isaiah and others, an enforcer and explainer of the old? If
Christianity, or the 'opus operans' of Redemption, was synchronous with
the Fall of man, then the same answer must be returned to the passages
here given from the Old Testament as to those from the New; namely, that
Sanctification is the result of Redemption, not its efficient cause or
previous condition. Assuredly [Greek: metanoaesis] and Sanctification
differ only as the plant and the growth or growing of the plant. But the
words of the Apostle (it will be said) are exhortative and dehortative.
Doubtless! and so would be the words of a wise physician addressed to a
convalescent. Would this prove that the patient's revalescence had been
independent of the medicines given him? The texts are addressed to the
free will, and therefore concerning possible objects of free will. No
doubt! Should that process, the end and virtue of which is to free the
will, destroy the free will? But I cannot make it out to my
understanding, how the two are compatible.--Answer; the spirit knows the
things of the spirit. Here lies the sole true ground of
Latitudinarianism, Arminian, or Socinian; and this is the sole and
sufficient confutation; 'spiritualia spiritus cognoscit'. Would you
understand with your ears instead of hearing with your understanding?
Now, as the ears to the understanding, so is the understanding to the
spirit. This Plato knew; and art thou a master in Israel, and knowest it
Ib. p. 330.
'Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the
blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,
and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace'.
By this passage we must interpret the words "sin wilfully," in reference
to an unpardonable sin, in the preceding sentence.
Of the moral capacity of sinful habits.
Ib. s. ii. p. 432.
Probably from the holiness of his own life, Taylor has but just
fluttered about a bad habit, not fully described it. He has omitted, or
rather described contradictorily, the case of those with whom the
objections to sin are all strengthened, the dismal consequences more
glaring and always present to them as an avenging fury, the sin loathed,
detested, hated; and yet, spite of all this, nay, the more for all this,
perpetrated. Both lust and intemperance would furnish too many instances
of these most miserable victims.
Ib. s. xxxix. p. 456.
For every vicious habit being radicated in the will, and being a
strong love, inclination and adhesion to sin, unless the natural being
of this love be taken off, the enmity against God remains.
But the most important question is as to those vicious habits in which
there is no love to sin, but only a dread and recoiling from intolerable
pain, as in the case of the miserable drunkard! I trust that these
epileptic agonies are rather the punishments than the augumenters of his
guilt. The annihilation of the wicked is a fearful thought, yet it would
solve many difficulties both in natural religion and in Scripture. And
Taylor in his Arminian dread of Calvinism is always too shy of this
"grace of God:" he never denies, yet never admits, it any separate
operancy 'per se'. And this, I fancy, is the true distinction of
Arminianisrn and Calvinism in their moral effects. Arminianism is cruel
to individuals, for fear of damaging the race by false hopes and
improper confidences; while Calvinism is horrible for the race, but full
of consolation to the suffering individual.
The next section is, taken together, one of the many instances that
confirm my opinion that Calvinism (Archbishop Leighton's for example),
compared with Taylor's Arminianism, is as the lamb in the wolf's skin to
the wolf in the lamb's skin: the one is cruel in the phrases, the other
in the doctrine.
Ib. s. lvi. p. 469.
But if a single act of contrition cannot procure pardon of sins that
are habitual, then a wicked man that returns not till it be too late
to root out vicious habits, must despair of salvation. I answer, &c.
Would not Taylor's purposes have been sufficiently attained by pressing
the contrast between attrition and contrition with faith, and the utter
improbability that the latter (which alone can be efficient), shall be
vouchsafed to a sinner who has continued in his sins in the flattery of
a death-bed repentance; a blasphemy that seems too near that against the
Holy Ghost? My objection to Taylor is, that he seems to reduce the death
of Christ almost to a cypher; a contrivance rather to reconcile the
attributes of God, than an act of infinite love to save sinners. But the
truth is, that this is the peccant part of Arminianism, and Tillotson is
yet more open than Taylor. Forbid me, common goodness, that I should
think Tillotson conscious of Socinianism! but that his tenets involved
it, I more than suspect. See his Discourses on Transubstantiation, and
those near it in the same volume.
Ib. lxiv. p. 478.
Now there is no peradventure, but new-converted persons, heathens
newly giving up their names to Christ and being baptized, if they die
in an hour, and were baptized half an hour after they believe in
Christ, are heirs of salvation.
This granted, I should little doubt of confuting all the foregoing, as
far as I object to it. I would rather be 'durus pater infantum', like
Austin, than 'durus pater aegrotantium'. Taylor considers all Christians
who are so called.
Ib. s. lxvi. p. 481.
All this paragraph is as just as it is fine and lively, but far from
confirming Taylor's doctrine. The case is as between one individual and
a general rule. I know God's mercy and Christ's merits; but whether your
heart has true faith in them, I cannot know. 'Be it unto thee according
to thy faith', said Christ: so should his ministers say. All these
passages, however, are utterly irreconcilable with the Roman doctrine,
that the priest's absolution is operant, and not simply declarative. As
to the decisions of Paulinus and Asterius, it is to be feared that they
had the mortmain bequests and compensations in view more than the words
of St. Paul, or the manifest purposes of redemption by faith. Yea,
Taylor himself has his 'redime peccata eleemosynis'.
By the by, I know of few subjects that have been more handled and less
rationally treated than this of alms-giving. Every thing a rich man
purchases beyond absolute necessaries, ought to be purchased in the
spirit of alms, that is, as the most truly beneficial way of disparsing
that wealth, of which he is the steward, not owner.
St. Paul taught us this secret, that sins are properly made habitual
upon the stock of impunity. 'Sin taking occasion by the law wrought in
me all concupiscence'; [Greek: 'aphormaen labousa'], 'apprehending
impunity,' [Greek: 'dia taes entolaes'], 'by occasion of the
commandment,' that is, so expressed and established as it was; because
in the commandment forbidding to lust or covet, there was no penalty
annexed or threatened in the sanction or in the explication. Murder
was death, and so was adultery and rebellion. Theft was punished
severely too; and so other things in their proportion; but the desires
God left under a bare restraint, and affixed no penalty in the law.
Now sin, that is, men that had a mind to sin, taking occasion hence,
This is a very ingenious and very plausible exposition of St. Paul's
words; but surely, surely, it is not the right one. I find both the
meaning and the truth of the Apostle's words in the vividness and
consequently attractive and ad-(or in-)sorbent power given to an image
or thought by the sense of its danger, by the consciousness of its being
forbidden,--which, in an unregenerate and unassisted will, struggling
with, or even exciting, the ever ready inclination of corrupted nature,
produces a perplexity and confusion which again increase the person's
susceptibility of the soliciting image or fancy so intensified. Guilt
and despair add a stimulus and sting to lust. See Iago in Shakspeare.
Ib. s. xi. p. 500.
It was not well with thee when thou didst first enter into the suburbs
of hell by single actions of sin, &c.
Aye! this is excellent indeed, and worthy of a guardian angel of the
Church. When Jeremy Taylor escapes from the Mononomian Romaism, which
netted him in his too eager recoil from the Antinomian boar, brought
forth and foddered (as he imagined) in Calvin's stye; when from this
wiry net he escapes into the devotional and the dietetic, as into a
green meadow-land, with springs, and rivulets, and sheltering groves,
where he leads his flock like a shepherd;--then it is that he is most
himself,--then only he is all himself, the whole Jeremy Taylor; or if
there be one other subject graced by the same total heautophany, it is
in the pouring forth of his profound common sense on the ways and
weaknesses of men and conflicting sects, as for instance, in the
admirable birth, parentage, growth, and consummation of a religious
controversy in his 'Dissuasive from Popery'.
Ib. s. xiii. p. 502.
Let every old man that repents of the sins of his evil life be very
diligent in the search of the particulars; that by drawing them into a
heap, and spreading them before his eyes, he may be mightily ashamed
at their number and burthen.
I dare not condemn, but I am doubtful of this as a universal rule. If
there be a true hatred of sin, the precious time and the spiritual
'nisus' will, I think, be more profitably employed in enkindling
meditation on holiness, and thirstings after the mind of Christ.
Ib. ss. xxxi-xxxv. pp..517, 518.
Scarce a word in all this but for form's sake concerning the merits and
sacrifice of the Incarnate God! Surely Luther would not have given this
advice to a dying penitent, but have directed him rather to employ his
little time in agony of prayer to Christ, or in earnest meditations on
the astounding mystery of his death. In Taylor man is to do every thing.
Vol. IX. s. xi. p. 5.
For God was so exasperated with mankind, that being angry he would
still continue that punishment even to the lesser sins and sinners,
which he only had first threatened to Adam; and so Adam brought it
And such a phrase as this used by a man in a refutation of Original Sin,
on the ground of its incompatibility with God's attributes!
"Exasperated" with those whom Taylor declares to have been innocent and
most unfortunate, the two things that most conciliate love and pity!
Ib. p. 6.
If the sequel of the paragraph, comparing God to David in one of his
worst actions, be not blasphemy, the reason is that the good man meant
it not as such. 'In facto est, sed non' in agents.
Ib. ss. xvi. xvii. pp. 8, 9.
For the further explication of which it is observable that the word
'sinner' and 'sin' in Scripture is used for any person, that hath a
fault or a legal impurky, a debt, a vitiosity, defect, or imposition,
These facts, instead of explaining away Original Sin, are
unintelligible, nay, absurd and immoral, except as shadows, types, and
symbols of it, and of the Redemption from it. Observe, too, that Taylor
never dares explain what he means by "Adam was mortal of himself and we
are mortal from him:" he did not dare affirm that soul and body are
alike material and perishable, even as the lute and the potentiality of
music in the lute. And yet if he believed the contrary, then, in his
construction of the doctrine of Original Sin, what has Christ done? St.
John died in the same sense as Abel died: and in the sense of the Church
of England neither died, but only slept in the Lord.
This same system forced Taylor into the same error which Warburton
afterwards dressed up with such trappings and trammels of erudition, in
direct contempt of the plain meaning of the Church's article; and he
takes it for granted, in many places, that the Jews under Moses knew
only of temporal life and the death of the body. Lastly, he greatly
degrades the mind of man by causelessly representing death as an evil in
itself, which, if it be considered as a crisis, or phenomenal change,
incident to a progressive being, ought as little to be thought so, as
the casting of the caterpillar's skin to make room for the wings of the
butterfly. It is the unveiling of the Psyche.
I do not affirm this as an article of Christian faith; but I say that no
candid writer ought to hide himself in double meanings. Either he should
have used the term 'death' ('ex Adamo') as loss of body, or as
change of mode of being and of its circumstances; and again this latter
as either evil for all, or as evil or good according to the moral habits
of each individual.
Observe, however, once for all, that I do not pretend to account for
Original Sin. I declare it to be an unaccountable fact. How can we
explain a 'species', when we are wholly in the dark as to the
'genus'? Now guilt itself, as well as all other immediate facts of
free will, is absolutely inexplicable; of course original guilt. If we
will perversely confound the intelligible with the sensible world,
misapply the logic appropriate to _phaenomena_ and the categories, or
forms, which are empty except as substantialized in facts of experience,
in order to use them as the Procrustes' bed of faith respecting noumena:
if in short, we will strive to understand that of which we can only know
[Greek: hoti esti], we may and must make as wild work with reason, will,
conscience, guilt, and virtue, as with Original Sin and Redemption. On
every subject first ask, Is it among the [Greek: aisthaeta], or the
Ib. s. xxiii. p. 12.
It could not make us heirs of damnation. This I shall the less need to
insist upon, because, of itself, it seems so horrid to impute to the
goodness and justice of God to be author of so great calamity to
Never was there a more hazardous way of reasoning, or rather of placing
human ignorance in the judgment seat over God's wisdom. The whole might
be closely parodied in support of Atheism: rather, this is but a
paraphrase of the old atheistic arguments. Either God could not, or
would not, prevent the moral and physical evils of the universe,
including the everlasting anguish of myriads of millions: therefore he
is either not all-powerful or not all-good: but a being deficient in
power or goodness is not God:--_Ergo, &c._
Ib. s. xxv. p. 13.
I deny not but all persons naturally are so, that they cannot arrive
at heaven; but unless some other principle be put into them, or some
great grace done for them, must for ever stand separate from seeing
the face of God.
But this is but accidentally occasioned by the sin of Adam. Just so
might I say, that without the great grace of air done for them no living
beings could live. If it mean more, pray where was the grace in creating
a being, who without an especial grace must pass into utter misery? If
Taylor reply; but the grace was added in Christ: why so say the
Calvinists. According to Taylor there is no fall of man; but only an act
and punishment of a man, which punishment consisted in his living in the
kitchen garden, instead of the flower garden and orchard: and Cain was
as likely to have murdered Abel before, as after, the eating of the
forbidden fruit. But the very name of the fruit confutes Taylor. Adam
altered his nature by it. Cain did not. What Adam did, I doubt not, we
all do. Time is not with things of spirit.
Ib. s. xxvii. p. 14.
Is hell so easy a pain, or are the souls of children of so cheap, so
contemptible a price, that God should so easily throw them into hell?
This is an argument against the 'sine qua non' of Baptism, not against
Ib. s. lxvii. p. 49.
Origen said enough to be mistaken in the question. [Greek: Hhara to
Adam koinae pant'on esti. Kai ta kata taes gynaikos, ouk esti kath aes
ou legetai.] 'Adam's curse is common to all. And there is not a woman
on earth, to whom may not be said those things which were spoken to
Origen's words ought to have prevented all mistake, for he plainly
enough overthrows the phantom of hereditary guilt; and as to guilt from
a corruption of nature, it is just such guilt as the carnivorous
appetites of a weaned lion, or the instinct of a brood of ducklings to
run to water. What then is it? It is an evil, and therefore seated in
the will; common to all men, the beginning of which no man can determine
in himself or in others. How comes this? It is a mystery, as the will
itself. Deeds are in time and space, therefore have a beginning. Pure
action, that is, the will, is a 'noumenon', and irreferable to time.
Thus Origen calls it neither hereditary nor original, but universal sin.
The curse of Adam is common to all men, because what Adam did, we all
do: and thus of Eve. You may substitute any woman in her place, and the
same words apply. This is the true solution of this unfortunate
question. The [Greek: pr'oton pseudos] is in the dividing the will from
the acts of the will. The will is 'ego-agens'.
Ib. s. lxxxii. p. 52.
This paragraph, though very characteristic of the Author, is fitter for
a comedy than for a grave discourse. It puts one in mind of the
play--"More sacks in the mill! Heap, boys, heap!"
Ib. s. lxxxiv. p. 56.
'Praeposterum est' (said Paulus the lawyer) 'ante nos locupletes dici
quam acquisiverimus'. We cannot be said to lose what we never had; and
our fathers' goods were not to descend upon us, unless they were his
at his death.
Take away from me the knowledge that he was my father, dear Bishop, and
this will be true. But as it stands, the whole is, "says Paulus the
Lawyer;" and, "Well said, Lawyer!" say I.
Ib. p. 57.
Which though it was natural, yet from Adam it began to be a curse;
just as the motion of a serpent upon his belly, which was concreated
with him, yet upon this story was changed into a malediction and an
How? I should really like to understand this.
Ib. ch. vii. p. 73 'in initio'.
In this most eloquent treatise we may detect sundry logical lapses,
sometimes in the statement, sometimes in the instances, and once or
twice in the conclusions. But the main and pervading error lies in the
treatment of the subject 'in genere' by the forms and rules of
conceptual logic; which deriving all its material from the senses, and
borrowing its forms from the sense ([Greek: aisthaesis kathara]) or
intuitive faculty, is necessarily inapplicable to spiritual mysteries,
the very definition or contra-distinguishing character of which is that
they transcend the sense, and therefore the understanding, the faculty,
as Archbishop Leighton and Immanuel Kant excellently define it, which
judges according to sense. In the Aids to Reflection,  I have shewn
that the proper function of the understanding or mediate faculty is to
collect individual or sensible concretes into kinds and sorts ('genera
et species') by means of their common characters ('notae communes'); and
to fix and distinguish these conceptions (that is, generalized
perceptions) by words. Words are the only immediate objects of the
understanding. Spiritual verities, or truths of reason 'respective ad
realia', and herein distinguished from the merely formal, or so called
universal truths, are differenced from the conceptions of the
understanding by the immediatcy of the knowledge, and from the immediate
truths of sense,--that is, from both pure and mixed intuitions,--by not
being sensible, that is, not representable by figure, measurement or
weight; nor connected with any affection of our sensibility, such as
color, taste, odors, and the like. And such knowledges we, when we speak
correctly, name ideas.
Now Original Sin, that is, sin that has its origin in itself, or in the
will of the sinner, but yet in a state or condition of the will not
peculiar to the individual agent, but common to the human race, is an
idea: and one diagnostic or contra-distinguishing mark appertaining to
all ideas, is, that they are not adequately expressible by words. An
idea can only be expressed (more correctly suggested) by two
contradictory positions; as for example; the soul is all in every
part;--nature is a sphere, the centre of which is everywhere, and its
circumference no where, and the like.
Hence many of Bishop Taylor's objections, grounded on his expositions of
the doctrine, prove nothing more than that the doctrine concerns an
idea. But besides this, Taylor everywhere assumes the consequences of
Original Sin as superinduced on a pre-existing nature, in no essential
respect differing from our present nature;--for instance, on a material
body, with its inherent appetites and its passivity to material
agents;--in short, on an animal nature in man. But this very nature, as
the antagonist of the spirit or supernatural principle in man, is in
fact the Original Sin,--the product of the will indivisible from the act
producing it; just as in pure geometry the mental construction is
indivisible from the constructive act of the intuitive faculty. Original
Sin, as the product, is a fact concerning which we know by the light of
the idea itself, that it must originate in a self-determination of a
will. That which we do not know is how it originates, and this we cannot
explain; first, from the necessity of the subject, namely, the will; and
secondly, because it is an idea, and all ideas are inconceivable. It is
an idea, because it is not a conception.
Ib. s. ii. p. 74, 75.
And they are injurious to Christ, who think that from Adam we might
have inherited immortality. Christ was the giver and preacher of it;
'he brought life and immortality to light through the gospel'. It is a
singular benefit given by God to mankind through Jesus Christ.
And none inherit it but those who are born of Christ; 'ergo', bad men
and infidels are not immortal. Immortality is one thing, a happy
immortality another. St. Paul meant the latter: Taylor either the
former, or his words have no meaning at all; for no man ever thought or
dreamed that we inherited heaven from Adam, but that as sons of Adam,
that is, as men, we have souls that do not perish with the body. I often
suspect that Taylor, in 'abditis fidei' [Greek: es_oterikaes], inclined
to the belief that there is no other immortality but heaven, and that
hell is a 'paena damni negativa, haud privativa'. I own myself strongly
inclined to it;--but so many texts against it! I am confident that the
doctrine would be a far stronger motive than the present; for no man
will believe eternal misery of himself, but millions would admit, that
if they did not amend their lives they would be undeserving of living
Ib. s. vi. p. 77.
[Greek: hina mae plaemmura ton en haemin katapontisae logismon eis
ton taes hamartias buthon.]
"Lest the tumultuous crowd throw the reason within us over bridge into
the gulf of sin." What a vivid figure! It is enough to make any man set
to work to read Chrysostom.
... 'peccantes mente sub una.'
Note Prudentius's use of 'mente sub una' for 'in one person.'
Ib. p. 78.
For even now we see, by a sad experience, that the afflicted and the
miserable are not only apt to anger and envy, but have many more
desires and more weaknesses, and consequently more aptnesses to sin in
many instances than those who are less troubled. And this is that
which was said by Arnobius; 'proni ad culpas, et ad libidinis varios
appetitos vitio sumus infirmitatis ingenitae'.
No. Arnobius never said so good and wise a thing in his lifetime. His
quoted words have no such profound meaning.
Ib. s. vii. p. 78.
That which remained was a reasonable soul, fitted for the actions of
life and reason, but not of anything that was supernatural.
What Taylor calls reason I call understanding, and give the name reason
to that which Taylor would have called spirit.
Ib. s. xii. p. 84.
And all that evil which is upon us, being not by any positive
infliction, but by privative, or the taking away gifts, and blessings,
and graces from us, which God, not having promised to give, was
neither naturally, nor by covenant, obliged to give,--it is certain he
could not be obliged to continue that to the sons of a sinning father,
which to an innocent father he was not obliged to give.
Oh! certainly not, if hell were not attached to acts and omissions,
which without these very graces it is morally impossible for men to
avoid. Why will not Taylor speak out?
Ib. s. xiv. p. 85.
The doctrine of the ancient Fathers was that free will remained in us
after the Fall.
Yea! as the locomotive faculty in a man in a strait waistcoat. Neither
St. Augustine nor Calvin denied the remanence of the will in the fallen
spirit; but they, and Luther as well as they, objected to the flattering
epithet 'free' will. In the only Scriptural sense, as concerning the
unregenerate, it is implied in the word will, and in this sense,
therefore, it is superfluous and tautologic; and, in any other sense, it
is the fruit and final end of Redemption,--the glorious liberty of the
Ib. s. xvi. p. 92.
For my part I believe this only as certain, that nature alone cannot
bring them to heaven, and that Adam left us in a state in which we
could not hope for it.
This is likewise my belief, and that man must have had a Christ, even if
Adam had continued in Paradise--if indeed the history of Adam be not a
'mythos'; as, but for passages in St. Paul, we should most of us
believe; the serpent speaking, the names of the trees, and so on; and
the whole account of the creation in the first chapter of Genesis seems
to me clearly to say:--"The literal fact you could not comprehend if it
were related to you; but you may conceive of it as if it had taken place
thus and thus."
Ib. s. 1. p. 166.
That in some things our nature is cross to the divine commandment, is
not always imputable to us, because our natures were before the
This is what I most complain of in Jeremy Taylor's ethics; namely, that
he constantly refers us to the deeds or 'phenomena' in time, the
effluents from the source, or like the 'species' of Epicurus; while the
corrupt nature is declared guiltless and irresponsible; and this too on
the pretext that it was prior in time to the commandment, and therefore
not against it. But time is no more predicable of eternal reason than of
will; but not of will; for if a will be at all, it must be 'ens
spirituale'; and this is the first negative definition of
spiritual--whatever having true being is not contemplable in the forms
of time and space. Now the necessary consequence of Taylor's scheme is a
conscience-worrying, casuistical, monkish work-holiness. Deeply do I
feel the difficulty and danger that besets the opposite scheme; and
never would I preach it, except under such provisos as would render it
perfectly compatible with the positions previously established by Taylor
in this chapter, s. xliv. p. 158. 'Lastly; the regenerate not only hath
received the Spirit of God, but is wholly led by him,' &c.
If this Treatise of Repentance contain Bishop Taylor's habitual and
final convictions, I am persuaded that in some form or other he believed
in a Purgatory. In fact, dreams and apparitions may have been the
pretexts, and the immense addition of power and wealth which the belief
entailed on the priesthood, may have been their motives for patronizing
it; but the efficient cause of its reception by the churches is to be
found in the preceding Judaic legality and monk-moral of the Church,
according to which the fewer only could hope for the peace of heaven as
their next immediate state. The holiness that sufficed for this would
evince itself (it was believed) by the power of working miracles.
Ib. s. lii. p. 208.
'It shall not be pardoned in this world nor in the world to come';
that is, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles. For 'saeculum hoc',
this world, in Scripture, is the period of the Jews' synagogue, and
[Greek: mellon aion], the world to come, is taken for the Gospel, or
the age of the Messias, frequently among the Jews.
This is, I think, a great and grievous mistake. The Rabbis of best name
divide into two or three periods, the difference being wholly in the
words; for the dividers by three meant the same as those by two.
The first was the 'dies expectationis', or 'hoc saeculum,' [Greek: en
touto kairo]: the second 'dies Messiae', the time of the Messiah, that
is, the 'millenium': the third the 'saeculum futurum', or future state,
which last was absolutely spiritual and celestial.
But many Rabbis made the 'dies Messiae' part, that is, the consummation
of this world, the conclusive Sabbath of the great week, in which they
supposed the duration of the earth or world of the senses to be
comprised; but all agreed that the 'dies', or thousand years, of the
Messiah was a transitional state, during which the elect were gradually
defecated of body, and ripened for the final or spiritual state.
During the 'millenium' the will of God will be done on earth, no less,
though in a lower glory, than it will be done hereafter in heaven.
Now it is to be carefully observed that the Jewish doctors or Rabbis
(all such at least as remained unconverted) had no conception or belief
of a suffering Messiah, or of a period after the birth of the Messiah,
previous to the kingdom, and of course included in the time of
The appearance of the Messiah and his assumption of the throne of David
were to be contemporaneous. The Christian doctrine of a suffering
Messiah, or of Christ as the high priest and intercessor, has of course
introduced a modification of the Jewish scheme.
But though there is a seeming discrepance in different texts in the
first three Gospels, yet the Lord's Prayer appears to determine the
question in favour of the elder and present Rabbinical belief; that is,
it does not date the 'dies Messiae,' or kingdom of the Lord, from his
Incarnation, but from a second coming in power and glory, and hence we
are taught to pray for it as an event yet future.
Nay, our Lord himself repeatedly speaks of the Son of Man in the third
person, as yet to come. Assuredly our Lord ascended the throne and
became a King on his final departure from his disciples. But it was the
throne of his Father, and he an invisible King, the sovereign Providence
to whom all power was committed.
And this celestial kingdom cannot be identified with that under which
the divine will will be done on earth as it is in heaven; that is, when
on this earth the Church militant shall be one in holiness with the
The difficulties, I confess, are great; and for those who believe the
first Gospel (and this in its present state) to have been composed by
the Apostle Matthew, or at worst to be a literal and faithful
translation from a Hebrew (Syro-Chaldaic) Gospel written by him, and who
furthermore contend for its having been word by word dictated by an
infallible Spirit, the necessary duty of reconciling the different
passages in the first Gospel with each other, and with others in St.
Luke's, is, 'me saltern judice', a most Herculean one.
The most consistent and rational scheme is, I am persuaded, that which
is adopted in the Apocalypse. The new creation, commencing with our
Lord's resurrection, and measured as the creation of this world ('hujus
saeculi', [Greek: toutou ai_onos]) was by the doctors of the Jewish
church--namely, as a week--divided into two principal epochs,--the six
sevenths or working days, during which the Gospel was gradually to be
preached in all the world, and the number of the elect filled up,--and
the seventh, the Sabbath of the Messiah, or the kingdom of Christ on
earth in a new Jerusalem.
But as the Jewish doctors made the day (or one thousand years) of
Messiah, a part, because the consummation, of this world, [Greek: toutou
aionos toutou kairou], so the first Christians reversely made the
kingdom commence on the first (symbolical) day of the sacred week, the
last or seventh day of which was to be the complete and glorious
manifestation of this kingdom. If any one contends that the kingdom of
the Son of Man, and the re-descent of our Lord with his angels in the
clouds, are to be interpreted spiritually,
I have no objection; only you cannot pretend that this was the
interpretation of the disciples. It may be the right, but it was not the
Ib. s. 1. p. 257.
For this was giving them pardon, by virtue of those words of Christ,
'Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted;' that is, if ye, who are the
stewards of my family, shall admit any one to the kingdom of Christ on
earth, they shall be admitted to the participation of Christ's kingdom
in heaven; and what ye bind here shall be bound there; that is, if
they be unworthy to partake of Christ here, they shall be accounted
unworthy to partake of Christ hereafter.
Then without such a gift of reading the hearts of men, as priests do not
now pretend to, this text means almost nothing. A wicked shall not, but
a good man shall, be admitted to heaven; for if you have with good
reason rejected any one here, I will reject him hereafter, amounts to no
more than the rejection or admission of men according to their moral
fitness or unfitness, the truth or unsoundness of their faith and
repentance. I rather think that the promise, like the miraculous insight
which it implies, was given to the Apostles and first disciples
exclusively, and that it referred almost wholly to the admission of
professed converts to the Church of Christ.
I have written but few marginal notes to this long Treatise, for the
whole is to my feeling and apprehension so Romish, so anti-Pauline, so
unctionless, that it makes my very heart as dry as the desert sands,
when I read it. Instead of partial animadversions, I prescribe the
chapter on the Law and the Gospel, in Luther's 'Table Talk', as the
general antidote. 
VINDICATION OF THE GLORY OF THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES IN THE QUESTION OF
Ib. Obj. iv. p. 346.
But if Original Sin be not a sin properly, why are children baptized?
And what benefit comes to them by Baptism? I answer, as much as they
need, and are capable of.
The eloquent man has plucked just prickles enough out of the dogma of
Original Sin to make a thick and ample crown of thorns for his
opponents; and yet left enough to tear his own clothes off his back, and
pierce through the leather jerkin of his closeliest wrought logic. In
this answer to this objection he reminds me of the renowned squire, who
first scratched out his eyes in a quickset hedge, and then leaped back
and scratched them in again. So Jeremy Taylor first pulls out the very
eyes of the doctrine, leaves it blind and blank, and then leaps back
into it and scratches them in again, but with a most opulent squint that
looks a hundred ways at once, and no one can tell which it really looks
By Baptism children are made partakers of the Holy Ghost and of the
grace of God; which I desire to be observed in opposition to the
Pelagian heresy, who did suppose nature to be so perfect, that the
grace of God was not necessary, and that by nature alone, they could
go to heaven; which because I affirm to be impossible, and that
Baptism is therefore necessary, because nature is insufficient and
Baptism is the great channel of grace, &c.
What then of the poor heathens, that is, of five-sixths of all mankind.
Would more go to hell by nature alone? If so: where is God's justice in
Taylor's plan more than in Calvin's?
Ib. Obj. v. p. 355.
Although I have shewn the great excess and abundance of grace by
Christ over the evil that did descend by Adam; yet the proportion and
comparison lies in the main emanation of death from one, and life from
Does Jeremy Taylor then believe that the sentence of death on Adam and
his sons extended to the soul; that death was to be absolute cessation
of being! Scarcely I hope. But if bodily only, where is the difference
between 'ante' and 'post Christum?'
Ib. p. 356.
Not that God could be the author of a sin to any, but that he
appointed the evil which is the consequent of sin, to be upon their
heads who descended from the sinner.
Rare justice! and this too in a tract written to rescue God's justice
from the Supra- and Sub-lapsarians! How quickly would Taylor have
detected in an adversary the absurd realization contained in this and
the following passages of the abstract notion, sin, from the sinner: as
if sin were any thing but a man sinning, or a man who has sinned! As
well might a sin committed in Sirius or the planet Saturn justify the
infliction of conflagration on the earth and hell-fire on all its
rational inhabitants. Sin! the word sin! for abstracted from the sinner
it is no more: and if not abstracted from him, it remains separate from
Ib. p. 358.
The consequent of this discourse must needs at least be this; that it
is impossible that the greatest part of mankind should be left in the
eternal bonds of hell by Adam; for then quite contrary to the
discourse of the Apostle, there had been abundance of sin, but a
scarcity of grace.
And yet Jeremy Taylor will not be called a Pelagian. Why? Because
without grace superadded by Christ no man could be saved: that is, all
men must go to hell, and this not for any sin, but from a calamity, the
consequences of another man's sin, of which they were even ignorant. God
would not condemn them the sons of Adam for sin, but only inflicted on
them an evil, the necessary effect of which was that they should all
troop to the devil! And this is Jeremy Taylor's defence of God's
justice! The truth is Taylor was a Pelagian, believed that without
Christ thousands, Jews and heathens, lived wisely and holily, and went
to heaven; but this he did not dare say out, probably not even to
himself; and hence it is that he flounders backward and forward, now
upping and now downing.