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the Liberty of Prophesying,' he produced an Apology for Authorized and Set Forms of Liturgy, and in 1648, The Life of Christ, or The Great Eremplar, a valuable and highly popular work. These were followed by his treatises of Holy Living and Holy Dying, Twenty-seven Sermons for the Summer Half-Year, and various other minor productions. He wrote also an excellent little manual of devotion, entitled The Golden Grove, in honor of his patron, the Earl of Carberry, whose estates bore that name. He next completed his Course of Sermons for the Year, and published some controversial tracts on the doctrine of Original Sin, respecting which his opinions were thought to be rather latitudinarian.
In 1657, Taylor removed to London, and officiated in a private congregation of Episcopalians, till an offer was made to him by the Earl of Conway to accompany him to Ireland, and act as lecturer to a church at Lisburn. Thither he accordingly repaired, fixing his residence at Portmore, on the banks of Lough Neagh, about eight miles from Lisburn. Two years were passed in this happy retirement, at the expiration of which, in 1660, Taylor went to London to publish his Cases of Conscience, the most elaborate but least successful of all his works. His journey, however, was made at an auspicious period; for soon after his arrival, Charles the Second entered London, May the twenty-ninth, in triumphal procession, and in August following Taylor was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor. He was afterward made chancellor of the university of Dublin, and a member of the Irish privy council. The see of Dromore was also annexed to his other bishopric, on account of his virtue, wisdom, and industry. The duties of his Episcopal functions were discharged with zeal, mingled with charity, and the few sermons which we possess, delivered by him in Ireland, are truly apostolic, both in spirit and language. His well-deserved honors, however, he continued to enjoy for but the brief space of six years, at the expiration of which he died of a fever at Lisburn, on the thirteenth of August, 1667, and in the fifty-fifth year of his age.
A finer pattern of a Christian divine never, perhaps, since the days of the apostles, lived, than Jeremy Taylor. His learning dignified the high station to which he at last attained; his gentleness and courtesy shed a grace over his whole conduct and demeanor; while his commanding genius and energy in the cause of truth and virtue, render him worthy of everlasting affection and veneration. From his numerous volumes we select the following characteristic and beautiful passages :
THE AGE OF REASON AND DISCRETION.
We must not think that the life of a man begins when he can feed himself or walk alone, when he can fight or beget his like, for so he is contemporary with a camel or a cow; but he is first a man when he comes to a certain steady use of reason, according to his proportion; and when that is, all the world of men can not tell precisely. Some are called at age at fourteen, some at one-and-twenty, some never; but all men late enough; for the life of a man comes upon him slowly and insensibly. But, as when the sun approaching toward the gates of the morning, he 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 matins, and by and by 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 vail, 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: so is a man's reason and his life. He first begins to perceive himself, to see or taste, making little reflections upon his actions of sense, and can discourse of flies and dogs, shells and play, horses and liberty; but when he is strong enough to enter into arts and little institutions, he is at first entertained with trifles and impertinent things, not because he needs them, but because his understanding is no bigger, and little images of things are laid before him, like a cock-boat to a whale, only to play withal: but, before a man comes to be wise, he is half dead with gouts and consumption, with catarrhs and aches, with sore eyes and worn-out body. So that, if we must not reckon the life of a man but by accounts of his reason, he is long before his soul be dressed, and he is not to be called a man without a wise and an adorned soul, a soul at least furnished with what is necessary toward his well-being.
And now let us consider what that thing is which we call years of discretion. The young man is passed his tutors, and arrived at the bondage of a caitiff spirit; he is to run from discipline, and is let loose to passion. The man by this time hath wit enough to choose his vice, to act his lust, to court his mistress, to talk confidently, and ignorantly, and perpetually; to despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, to do things that, when he is indeed a man, he must forever be ashamed of; for this is all the discretion that most men show in the first stage of their manhood. They can discern good from evil; and they prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wallowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite. And by this time the young man hath contracted vicious habits, and is a beast in manners, and therefore it will not be fitting to reckon the beginning of his life; he is a fool in his understanding, and that is a sad death.
Spend not your time in that which profits not; for your labour and your health, your time and your studies, are very valuable; and it is a thousand pities to see a diligent and hopeful person spend himself in gathering cockle-shells and little pebbles, in telling sands upon the shores and making garlands of useless daisies. Study that which is profitable, that which will make you useful to churches and commonwealths, that which will make you desirable and wise. Only I shall add this to you, that in learning there are variety of things as well as in religion: there is mint and cummin, and there are the weighty things of the law; so there are studies more and less useful, and every thing that is useful will be required in its time; and I may in this also use the words of our blessed Saviour, 'These things ought you to look after, and not to leave the other unregarded.' But your great care is to be in the things of God and of religion, in holiness and true wisdom, remembering the saying of Origen, 'That the knowledge that arises from goodness is something that is more certain and more divine than all demonstrations,' than all other learnings of the world.
REAL AND APPARENT HAPPINESS. If we should look under the skirts of the prosperous and prevailing tyrant, we should find, even in the days of his joys, such allays, and abatements of his pleasure, as may serve to represent him presently miserable, besides his final infelicities. For I have seen a young and healthful person warm and ruddy under a poor and a thin garment; when at the same time an old rich person hath been cold and paralytic under a load of sables, and the skins of foxes. It is the body that makes the clothes warm, not the clothes the body; and the spirits of a man makes felicity and content, not any spoils of a rich fortune wrapt about a sickly and uneasy soul. Apollodorus was a traitor and a tyrant, and the world wondered to see a bad man have so good a fortune, but knew not that he nourished scorpions in his breast, and that his liver and his heart were eaten up with spectres and images of death; his thoughts were full of interruptions, his dreams of illusions; his fancy was abused with real troubles and fantastic images, imagining that he saw the Scythians flaying him alive, his daughters like pillars of fire, dancing round about a cauldron in which himself was boiling, and that his heart accused itself to be the cause of all these evils.
Does he not drink more sweetly that takes his beverage in an earthen vessel, than he that looks and searches into his golden chalices, for fear of poison, and looks pale at every sudden noise, and sleeps in armour, and trusts nobody, and does not trust God for his safety ?
Can a man bind a thought in chains, or carry imaginations in the palm of his hand ? can the beauty of the peacock's train, or the ostrich plume, be delicious to the palate and the throat ? does the hand intermeddle with the joys of the heart? or darkness that hides the naked, make him warm ? does the body live, as does the spirit? or can the body of Christ be like common food? Indeed, the sun shines upon the good and bad; and the vines give wine to the drunkard, as well as to the sober man; pirates have fair winds and a calm sea, at the same time when the just and fearful merchantman hath them. But, although the things of this world are common to good and bad, yet sacraments and spiritual joys, the food of the soul, and the blessing of Christ, are the peculiar right of saints.
Prayer is an action of likeness to the Holy Ghost, the spirit of gentleness and dovelike simplicity; an imitation of the Holy Jesus, whose spirit is meek, up to the greatness of the biggest example, and a conformity to God; whose anger is always just, and marches slowly, and is without transportation, and often hindered, and never hasty, and is full of mercy : prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest: prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity, and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and set up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier-garrison to be wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to that attention which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upward, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest, than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air, about his ministries here below. So is the prayer of a good man: when his affairs have required business, and his business was matter of discipline, and his discipline was to pass upon a sinning person, or had a design of charity, his duty met with the infirmities of a man, and anger was his instrument, and the instrument became stronger than the prime agent, and raised a tempest, and overruled the man, and then his prayer was broken, and his thoughts were troubled, and his words went up toward a cloud; and his thoughts pulled them back again, and made them
without intention; and the good man sighs for his infirmities, but must be content to lose that prayer, and he must recover it, when his anger is removed, and his spirits is becalmed, made even as the brow of Jesus, and smooth like the heart of God; and then it ascends to heaven upon the wings of the holy dove, and dwells with God, till it returns, like the useful bee, loaden with a blessing and the dew of heaven.
ON DEATH. Nature calls us to meditate of death by those things which are the instruments of acting it; and God, by all the variety of his providence, makes us see death everywhere, in all variety of circumstances, and dressed up for all the fancies, and the expectations of every single person. Nature hath given us one harvest every year, but death hath two; and the spring and the autumn send throngs of men and women to charnel-houses; and all the summer long, men are recovering from their evils of the spring, till the dog-days come, and then the Sirian star makes the summer deadly; and the fruits of autumn are laid up for all the year's provision, and the man that gathers them eats and surfeits, and dies and needs them not, and himself is laid up for eternity; and he that escapes till winter, only stays for another opportunity, which the distempers of that quarter minister to him with great variety. Thus death reigns in all the portions of our time. The autumn with its fruits provides disorders for us, and the winter's cold turns them into sharp diseases, and the spring brings flowers to strew our hearse, and the summer gives green turf and brambles to bind upon our graves. Calentures and surfeit, cold and agues, and the four quarters of the year; and you can go no whither, but you tread upon a dead man's bones.
The wild fellow in Petronius, that escaped upon a broken table from the furies of a shipwreck, as he was sunning himself upon the rocky shore, espied a man rolled upon his floating bed of waves, ballasted with sand in the folds of his garment, and carried by his civil enemy, the sea, toward the shore to find a grave. And it cast him into some sad thoughts, that peradventure this man's wife, in some part of the continent, safe and warm, looks next month for the good man's return; or, it may be, his son knows nothing of the tempest; or his father thinks of that affectionate kiss which still is warm upon the good old man's cheek, ever since he took a kind farewell, and he weeps with joy to think how blessed he shall be when his beloved boy returns into the circle of his father's arms. These are the thoughts of mortals; this is the end and sum of all their designs. A dark night and an ill guide, a boisterous sea and a broken cable, a hard rock and a rough wind, dashed in pieces the fortune of a whole family; and they that shall weep loudest for the accident are not yet entered into the storm, and yet have suffered shipwreck. Then, looking upon the carcass, he knew it, and found it to be the master of the ship, who, the day before, cast up the accounts of his patrimony and his trade, and named the day when he thought to be at home. See how the man swims, who was so angry two days since ! His passions are becalmed with the storm, his accounts cast up, his cares at an end, his voyage done, and his gains are the strange events of death, which whether they be good or evil, the men that are alive seldom trouble themselves concerning the interest of the dead.
It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood; from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and deadly paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror of a three days' burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and, at first, it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as a lamb’s fleece, but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk; and at night, having lost some of its leaves, and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and every woman; the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonour, and our beauty so changed, that our acquaintance quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror, or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursings, that they who, six hours ago, 'tended upon us either with charitable or ambitious services, can not, without some regret, stay in the room alone, where the body lies stripped of its life and honour. I have read of a fair young German gentleman, who, living, often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friends' desire by giving way, that, after a few days’ burial, they might send a painter to his vault, and, if they saw cause for it, draw the image of his death unto the life. They did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and back-bone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change; and it will be as bad with you and me; and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave ? what friends to visit us ? what officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funeral.
A man may read a sermon, the best and most passionate that ever man preached, if he shall but enter into the sepulchres of kings. In the same Escurial where the Spanish princes live in greatness and power, and decree war or peace, they have wisely placed a cemetery, where their ashes and their glory shall sleep till time shall be no more; and where our kings have been crowned their ancestors lie interred, and they must walk over their grandsire's head to take his crown. There is an acre sown with royal seed, the copy of the greatest change, from rich to naked, from ceiled roofs to arched coffins, from living like gods to die like men. There is enough to cool the flames of lust, to abate the heights of pride, to appease the itch of covetous desires, to sully and dash out the dissembling colours of a lustful, artificial, and imaginary beauty. There the warlike and the peaceful, the fortunate and the miserable, the beloved and the despised princes mingle their dust, and pay down symbol of mortality, and tell all the world that, when we die, our ashes shall be equal to kings, and our accounts easier, and our pains for our crowns shall be less.
Thomas Browne, the last of the eloquent writers of this great literary era, whom we shall particularly notice, was descended from an ancient family of Cheshire, and born in London, on the nineteenth of October, 1605. His father died during his childhood, and his mother soon after marrying Sir Thomas Dutton, a gentleman who held a post under government in Ireland, accompanied her husband into that country, leaving her son under the care of an unprincipled guardian, who spoiled him of much of his fortune. Browne received the rudiments of his education at Westminster school, and thence passed to Pembroke College, Oxford, where he successfully completed his collegiate studies, and then entered upon preparation for the medical profession. To effect his object the more thoroughly, he resolved to travel abroad ; and after having visited Ireland, he passed over to the continent, and travelled extensively in France, Italy, and Holland. At Leyden he obtained the degree of doctor of medicine, and on his return to his own country settled, as a practitioner, at Norwich.
In 1642, Browne published his first work, entitled Religio Medici, or The Religion of a Physician, which immediately rendered him famous as a literary man. In this singular production, he gives a minute account of his opinions,