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amount of comfort which it has supplied to generations of earnest worshippers. And there can be no doubt that the Holy Living, and Holy Dying,' the Golden Grove,' and other like works, have stood this test; they have helped to raise the thought and comfort the hearts of many worshippers. Yet we cannot but believe that men are fast losing the taste for such works as the * Holy Living and Dying ;' works, that is, which aim at suggesting the right thoughts, the right actions, and the rigbt prayers under given circumstances. Men like Lord Conway and John Evelyn, women like Lady Carbery and Mrs. Philips, now-a-days aim rather at that general right-mindedness from which right conduct springs than at the cautious guidance of particular actions. The difference in tone between Taylor's Holy Living' and Dean Goulburn's Thoughts on Personal Religion,' measures very fairly the difference between the Christian gentleman of Taylor's time and the Christian gentleman of

our own.

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The Life of Christ' and the Sermons may be classed together, for they are, in fact, works of the same kind. Of the first, we may say that nothing can be more unlike the Lives of Jesus of which we have had more than enough in these latter days. Criticism there is none; Taylor simply arranges the facts of the Lord's life in historical sequence, and inserts from time to time discourses on topics suggested by the history. The work may possibly have been suggested by · Vita Jesu Christi’of Ludolphus de Saxonia ; but the two works only resemble each other in the circumstance that in both


and moral reflections are mixed with the narrative; the discourses themselves, which form the greater portion of Taylor's 'Life of Christ,' are entirely his own, and differ little in style and manner from those which were published under the title of 'Sermons.' His object was not to criticise facts or harmonize apparent discrepancies; in an age of strife, when men 'hugged their own opinions dressed up

in the imagery' of truth, and went on to 'schisms and uncharitable names, and too often dipped their feet in blood,' he wished to withdraw them from the serpentine enfoldings and labyrinths of dispute' to contemplate the love and inercy displayed in the Great Exemplar.' To fill the rooms of the understanding with airy and ineffective notions is just such an excellency as it is in a man to imitate the voice of birds ;' but if a man lives in the religion and fear of God, in justice and love with all the world,' he is certain that he will not fail of that end which is perfective of human nature.'

* Dedication of the · Life of Christ' to Christopher, Lord Hatton ; one of the noblest of Taylor's many excellent dedications,


The discourse in the Life of Christ' and the Sermons contain the richest specimens of their author's gorgeous eloquence, In the polemical and practical treatises the style is comparatively subdued, though even here it is figurative and allusive beyond that of most of his other contemporaries; but in the Sermons he gave the reins to his fancy. He claims for them the praise, that they are on subjects of great and universal interest, which are the concern of all. Here and there he touches on his favourite pursuit, the resolution of cases of conscience, but generally he confines himself to the tracing of the greater lines of duty;' he cares but little if any' witty censurer’ shall say that he has learned from them nothing but he knew before; for no man ought to be offended, that sermons are not like curious inquiries after new nothings, but pursuances of old truths.' And his description of his own work is fair enough; the Sermons are in substance, if not in form, plain, practical discourses. The subjects are those on which the greatest amount of common-place has been written and preached; he discourses of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,' of zeal and prayer, of feasting and marriage, rather than of those abstruse points of metaphysical theology where men' find no end, in wandering mazes lost; the plans of his Sermons are simple, the topics for the most part obvious, so that an analysis of one of them gives no truer impression of the effect of the whole than an outline of a Titian does of the subtle colouring of the original. It is not ingenuity of structure nor newness of topic that distinguishes the sermons of Taylor; in these respects he is surpassed by many of his contemporaries; it is the extraordinary wealth of illustration which he bestows upon old truths and simple schemes. In no sermons that we know of are obvious truths adorned with so gorgeous an array of thought, and fancy, and learning. His fancy was quick, his reading immense, and his memory retentive; not a subject can be suggested to him but there come trooping into his glowing mind illustrative images; struggles that he has beheld in the civil war; gentle landscapes from Golden Grove; words of Homer and Euripides, of Virgil and Lucan, of Dante and Tasso, of the singers of his own land; stories from the Fathers and the Lives of the Saints, from Hebrew Rabbis or Persian fabulists. Nothing comes amiss to him; he empties his cornucopiæ before us without stint or grudging; if the plan of his sermon is simple and unpretending, every part of it is garnished and decorated with the most luxuriant wealth of rhetorical and poetic trappings. We may compare one of his discourses to such a country church as we sometimes see in these days, where some loving hand has covered the simple work of


village masons with rich carvings, and filled the old windows with prophets pictured on the panes.'

He has often been compared to Chrysostom, and there can be no doubt that the mind of the English preacher was largely influenced by his study of the great orator of Antioch and Constantinople. There is in both the same peculiar union of real earnestness of purpose with rhetorical form and florid imagery; there is the same tendency to a gentle melancholy, and, in spite of the difference of language, there is even a resemblance in style : Taylor's style reflects Chrysostom's in much the same way that Hooker's does Cicero's. But Chrysostom, though exuberant in comparison with Demosthenes, is chaste compared with Taylor; he shows the training of the Athenian schools, which still formed an academy' of Greek style; he has none of Taylor's multifarious learning; Chrysostom and Photius together might have formed a Jeremy Taylor. In truth, we can recal only one other who unites wealth of learning, of fancy, and of expression, in the same degree as Jeremy Taylor-his contemporary, John Milton. The reading of these two extended in great measure over the same fields; we trace in both the same fondness for the Greek, Latin, and Italian poets-the same tendency to decorate Christian thought with Pagan imagery--the same delight in the modulation of long-drawn sentences—the same dissatisfaction with the discords and divisions of an age which must needs discuss prelacy and presbytery, synods and classic hierarchies,' while government could hardly be maintained, and Christianity itself was in danger. But with these points of likeness, how wide is the gulf between the two men! Nothing can be less like the fiery scorn of Milton than the gentle melancholy of Taylor; while Milton plunges into the arena, eager to enforce his own views of right and truth, unsparing in denunciation of those who oppose him, Taylor tenderly laments the evils of the time, and would fain persuade men and set them at one again: in Milton we are always conscious of strong will and fixed resolve; Taylor sometimes seems to be hardly master of himself to float passively on the full stream of his own learning and fancy. It is hardly likely that the two great masters of English prose were known to each other personally; in early Cambridge days, no doubt, the young scholar of Caius may have met face to face the scholar of Christ's, though in after times it is difficult to imagine that Cromwell's secretary can have had occasion to meet King Charles's chaplain. But with each other's works they were no doubt acquainted: it is not to be supposed that so omnivorous a reader as Taylor would remain ignorant of his great contemporary's • Allegro,' and •Comus,' and . Lycidas,' or that Milton would neglect a work

who yet

which in many respects so chimes with his own humour as the * Liberty of Prophesying.' Taylor seems to show an acquaintance with one at least of Milton's early works, when, speaking of the triumphs of Christianity, he says that the holy Jesus made invisible powers to do him visible honours,' and that · His apostles hunted demons from their tripods, their navels, their dens, their hollow pipes, their altars,' and that he made their oracles silent;* words in which we trace an echo of the wellknown lines of the 'Ode on the Nativity':

The oracles are dumb,

No voice nor hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving,'
And Heber would fain persuade us that Milton had Taylor in
his eye when he spoke of -

Men, whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent
Would have been held in high esteem by Paul,'

had been branded heretics’ by such as Edwards; and certainly we can hardly help supposing that Taylor's eloquent treatise would be more attractive to Milton than those of Goodwin and Peters, which shared the wrath of Rutherford and Scotch What-d'ye-call.

In respect of his similes Taylor is the very Homer of preachers. His style is commonly metaphorical and allusive, but here and there, when he hits upon an image of unusual beauty, he seems unwilling to leave it with a mere touch, and elaborates it into a distinct and glowing picture. Sometimes his similes are wrought out from an anecdote in some recondite book, and these certainly, however they may adorn, do not render the subject more easy of apprehension to an ordinary intelligence; but the most beautiful are those which are drawn from natural objects. He evidently delighted in the varied beauty of country scenes; the sky and the clouds, the woods and vales and streams, the ever-new phenomena of the growth and decay of plants filled his soul with admiration and love. With the example of Thomson before us, who is said to have written in bed his famous description of morning, we hesitate to infer a man's habits from his imaginative writings; yet it is difficult not to believe that Taylor delighted in the dewy freshness of sunrise and the song of the early lark. His comparison of the ascent of the Christian's prayer to the rising of the lark—sometimes soaring, sometimes beaten back by rough winds—is too well known for quotation. He more than once uses the sunrise as an illustration, and manages it with great felicity. In the Holy Dying,'* he says that reason gradually dawns on the soul,

Duct. Dubit.,' Book I., c. iv. s. 22. The coincidence is noted by Mr. Willmott.


As when the sun approaching towards the gates of the morning first opens a little eye of heaven, and sends away the spirits of darkness, and gives light to a cock, and calls up the lark to mattins, and by-andby gilds the fringes of a cloud and peeps over the eastern hills, thrusting out his golden horns like those which decked the brows of Moses when he was forced to wear a veil because himself had seen the face of God; and still, while a man tells the story, the sun gets up higher, till he shows a fair face and a full light, and then he shines one whole day, under a cloud often, and sometimes weeping great and little showers, and sets quickly.'

The same simile is again used, with excellent effect, to illustrate the gradual spread of Christianity over the world :

• I have seen the sun with a little ray of distant light challenge all the powers of darkness, and, without violence and noise climbing up the hill, hath made night so to retire, that its memory was lost in the joys and sprightfulness of the morning: and Christianity, without violence or armies. . . . with obedience and charity, with praying and dying, did insensibly turn the world into Christian and persecution into victory.'

A good instance of Taylor's strength and weakness in the management of comparisons is found in the very beautiful simile by which he illustrates the calm, sweet life of Lady Carbery :

In all her religion, and in all her actions of relation towards God, she had a strange evenness and untroubled passage, sliding toward her ocean of God and of infinity with a certain and silent motion. So have I seen a river dcep and smooth passing with a still foot and a sober face, and paying to the Fiscus, the great exchequer of the sea, the prince of all watery bodies, a tribute large and full; and hard by it a little brook skipping and making a noise upon its unequal and neighbour bottom; and after all its talking and bragged motion, it paid to its common audit no more than the revenues of a little cloud or a contemptible vessel. So have I sometimes compared the issues of her religion to the solemnities and famed outsides of another’s piety.'

The first clause of this passage is contrasted by Keble with Burke's famous description of Marie Antoinette, in the first freshness of her queenly beauty, rising like the morning-star above the horizon. He quotes it as an instance of the poetical as opposed to the rhetorical treatment of imagery. And it serves that pur

* Ch. I, sec. iii. s. 2.
+ Sermon on the • Faith and Patience of the Saints,' Pt. i. s. 1.

In the Funeral Sermon on Lady Carbery, $ .Prælectiones Academicæ,' i. 39.


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