Feast of Jeremy Taylor (August 13)   2 comments

Above:  Jeremy Taylor

Image in the Public Domain

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JEREMY TAYLOR (BAPTIZED AUGUST 15, 1613-DIED AUGUST 13, 1667)

Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore

Bishop Jeremy Taylor was a theologian, a skilled stylist of the English language, and, for a time, a political prisoner.  He, baptized as an infant at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, on August 15, 1613, was a son of Nathaniel Taylor, a barber.  Our saint, educated at the Perse School then at Gonville and Caius College, received holy orders in 1633.  Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud helped him to become a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1638.  On May 27 of that year Taylor married Phoebe Lagsdale, who died by 1651.

Taylor became caught up in the politics of that period of civil wars.  He, from 1638 to 1642 the priest at Uppingham, was also the chaplain to King Charles I, who awarded him a D.D. degree in 1643.  Taylor, as a royalist military chaplain, became a prisoner at Cardigan Castle in 1645.  Upon release our saint helped grammarian William Nicholson establish a school at Carmanthenshire, and served as the chaplain there.

Taylor was a prolific writer of theological works, some of which were revolutionary for the time and place.  In The Liberty of Prophesying (1647) he advocated for religious freedom for all who would destroy neither the state nor the foundations of Christianity.  The Great Exemplar (1649) was a devotional work based on the life of Christ.  Taylor wrote The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650) and The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651) for Anglicans deprived of ministry by Puritan rulers.  In those works he encouraged reliance on the goodness of God.  There also followed Twenty-Eight Sermons (1651) and Twenty-Five Sermons (1653).  Taylor refuted transubstantiation in The Real Presence and Spiritual of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament (1654).  He did the same to Original Sin and Double Predestination in Unum Necessarium (1655).  The Golden Dance (1655) was a volume of prayers.

The politics of the Commonwealth interrupted Taylor’s life again.  In 1655 he was a political prisoner.  Later he married Joanna Bridges and moved to her estate in Wales.  Then Taylor relocated to London, where he ministered to royalists.  His sole secular work was A Discourse of Friendship (1657).  The following year Taylor published A Collection of Offices (1658), in lieu of The Book of Common Prayer, then illegal.  A Collection of Offices contained elements of Eastern Christian liturgies.  In June 1658 Taylor became the chaplain to Edward, the third Viscount Conway, in Ulster.  There our saint wrote Ductor Dubitantium–A Great Instrument for the Determination of Cases of Conscience (1660), dedicated to King Charles II.

The Restoration of the Monarchy in England (1660) led to Taylor joining the ranks of bishops, despite his reputation for heterodoxy.  In 1660 he became the Bishop of Down and Connor; he acquired responsibility for the adjacent Diocese of Dromore the following year.  One of our saint’s first tasks as bishop was to purge the diocese of Presbyterian ministers, who, being Reformed, rejected the episcopal office.  Taylor was also a member of the Irish Privy Council and the Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin.  He wrote Dissuasive from Papacy (1664, 1667) and Chrisis Teleiotike (1664), a study of confirmation not outdone until the 1800s.

Taylor was a great writer and an intellectual man deeply read in the classics.  He was also generous, charing, and possessed of a love of beauty, especially in nature.  While visiting a sick man Taylor contracted a fever.  Our saint died of that fever in Lisburn, Ireland, on August 13, 1667.  He was 54 years old.

The legacy of Jeremy Taylor is evident in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The prayer for a child not yet baptized (page 444) comes from A Collection of Offices.  Also, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying is the basis of the prayer that begins

O God, whose days are without end

(Rite I, page 489; Rite II, page 504), from the burial service.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 17, 2018 COMMON ERA

PROPER 6–THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF EDITH BOYLE MACALISTER, ENGLISH NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMILY DE VIALAR, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF THE APPARITION

THE FEAST OF JANE CROSS BELL SIMPSON, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TERESA AND MAFALDA OF PORTUGAL, PRINCESSES, QUEENS, AND NUNS; AND SAINT SANCHIA OF PORTUGAL, PRINCESS AND NUN

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O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered:

Make us, like your servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life;

and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 7:1-4

Psalm 16:5-11

Romans 14:7-9, 10b-12

John 3:11-21

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 525

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2 responses to “Feast of Jeremy Taylor (August 13)

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  1. Another good post with historical information. Thank you!

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