Page images

temporaries : Jeremy Taylor addressed to her his « Measures and Offices of Friendship," and Cowley wrote an ode on her death. She died of the small pos, June 22, 1664, aged thirty-three.


There's no such thing as pleasure here,

Tis all a perfect cheat,
Which does but shine and disappear,

Whose charm is but deceit;
The empty bribe of yielding souls,
Which first betrays, and then controls.
'Tis true, it looks at distance fair,

But if we do approach,
The fruit of Sodom will impair,

And perish at a touch;
It being than in fancy less,
And we expect more than possess.
For by our pleasures we are cloyd,

And so desire is done;
Or else, like rivers, they make wide

The channels where they run:
And either way true bliss destroys,
Making us narrow, or our joys.
We covet pleasure easily,

But ne'er true bliss possess;
For many things must make it be,

But one may make it less.
Nay, were our state as we could choose it,
'Twould be consumed by fear to lose it.
What art thou then, thou winged air,

More weak and swift than fame?
Whose next successor is despair,

And its attendant shamne.
The experienced prince then reason had,
Who said of pleasure, “It is mad.”


My dear Antenor, now give o'er,-
For my sake talk of graves no more,
Death is not in our power to gain,
And is both wish'd and fear'd in vain.
Let's be as angry as we will,
Grief sooner may distract than kill,
And the unhappy often prove
Death is as coy a thing as love.
Those whose own sword their death did give,
Afraid were, or ashamed, to live;

1 This was the fictitious name under which she addressed her husband, whose circumstances were much reduced during the civil war. The above poem was written March 16, 1600, to cheer him wien the bope that, as parliament had rescued him, Providence would do so too.

And by an act so desperate,
Did poorly run away from fate;
'Tis braver much t' outride the storm,
Endure its rage, and shun its harm;
Affliction nobly undergonė,
More greatness slows than having none.
But yet the wheel, in turning round,
At last may lift us from the ground,
And when our fortune's most severe,
The less we have the less we fear,
And why should we that grief permit,
Which cannot mend nor shorten it?
Let's wait for a succeeding good,
Woes have their ebb as well as flood:
And since the parliament have rescued you,
Believe that Providence will do so too.

JEREMY TAYLOR. 1602.-1667. JEREMY Tarlor, who, for learning, eloquence, imagination, and piety, stands among the first of English divines, was the son of a barber in Cam. bridge. He was born about the year 1602, and at the age of thirteen entered the university of his native place. A short time after taking his degree, he was elected, by the interest of Archbishop Laud, fellow of All-Souls College Oxford. He became chaplain to Laud, who procured for him the rectory of Uppington in Rutlandshire, where he settled in 1640. In 1642, he was created D. D. at Oxford. In 1644, while accompanying the royal army as chaplain, he was taken prisoner by the parliamentary forces, in the battle fought before the castle of Cardigan, in Wales. Being soon released, he resolved to continue in Wales, and, having established a school in the county of Caermarthen, he there waited calmly the issue of events. In his own felicitous style, he gives the following picturesque account of his retirement: “In the great storm which dashed the vessel of the church all in pieces, I had been cast on the coast of Wales, and, in a little boat, thought to have enjoyed that rest and quietness which in England, in a far greater, I could not hope for. Here I cast anchor, and thinking to ride safely, the storm followed me with so impetuous violence, that it broke a cable, and I lost my anchor: and, but that He that stilleth the raging of the sea, and the noise of his waves, and the madness of the people, had provided a plank for me, I had been lost to all the opportunities content or study: but I know not whether I have been preserved more by the courtesies of my friends, or the gentleness and mercies of a noble enemy."!

After continuing some years in this solitude, he lost his three sons in the short space of two or three months. This most afflicting calamity caused him to go to London, where he administered, though in circumstances of great danger, to a private congregation of loyalists. At the Restoration he was made bishop of Down and Connor, in Ireland, and subsequently was elected vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin, which office he retained to his death, 1667.

The writings of Bishop Taylor, which are numerous, are all of a theologi.

1 A most noble and just tribute to the Republican cause.

cal character. His greatest work, perhaps, is his « Liberty of Prophesying." By prophesying, he means preaching or expounding. The object of this is to show the unreasonableness of prescribing to other men's faith, and the ini. quity of persecuting for difference of opinion. It has been justly described as, - perhaps of all Taylor's writings, that which shows him farthest in ad. fance of the age in which he lived, and of the ecclesiastical system in which he had been reared; as the first distinct and avowed defence of toleration which had been ventured on in England, perhaps in Christendom.” The most popular, however, of his works is his “ Rule and Exercise of Holy Living and Dying," which contains numerous passages of singular beauty and truth. A writer in the Edinburgh Review remarks, that in one of Taylor's “ prose folius, there is more fine fancy and original imagery—more brilliant concepfions and glowing expressions-more new figures and new application of old hyures-more, in short, of the body and soul of poetry, than in all the oues and epics that have since been produced in Europe. This is rather extravaAnt; but the encomium passed upon his writings by Dr. Rust, in his funeral sermon, is most richly deserved : « They will,” says he, “ be famous to all succeesling generations for their greatness of wit, and profoundness of judgment and richness of fancy, and clearness of expression, and copiousness of inven tion, and general usefulness to all the purposes of a Christian."!


Prayer is an action of likeness to the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of gentleness and dove-like 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 neditate, and sets 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, ing upwards, 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 rings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and

and soar

1 The best edition of his works is that by Bishop Heber, " with a Life of the Author, and a eritian Examination of his works."

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 infirmie ties of a man, and anger was its 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 towards a cloud, and his thoughts pulled them back again, and made them without intention, and the good man sighs for his infirmity, but must be content to lose the prayer, and he must recover it when his anger is removed, and his spirit 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.


Any zeal is proper for religion but the zeal of the sword and the zeal of anger: this is the bitterness of zeal, and it is a certain temptation to every man against his duty; for if the sword turns preacher, and dictates propositions by empire instead of arguments, and engraves them in men's hearts with a poniard, that it shall be death to believe what I innocently and ignorantly am persuaded of, it must needs be unsafe to try the spirits, to try all things, to make inquiry; and, yet, without this liberty, no man can justify himself before God or man, nor confidently say that his religion is best. This is inordination of zeal ; for Christ, by reprøving St. Peter drawing his sword even in the cause of Christ, for his sacred and yet injured person, teaches us not to use the sword, though in the cause of God, or for God himself.

When Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old man, stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travail, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man eat, and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat, he asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven. The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other God. At which answer Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night, and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called

He re

to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. plied, I thrust him away because he did not worship thee. God answered him, I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonored me; and couldst not thou endure him one night?

ON CONTENT. Since all the evil in the world consists in the disagreeing between the object and the appetite, as when a man hath what he desires not, or desires what he hath not, or desires amiss, he that composes his spirit to the present accident hath variety of instances for his virtue, but none to trouble him, because his desires enlarge not beyond his present fortune: and a wise man is placed in the variety of chances, like the nave or centre of a wheel in the midst of all the circumvolutions and changes of posture, without violence or change, save that it turns gently in compliance with its changed parts, and is indifferent which part is up, and which is down; for there is some virtue or other to be exercised whatever happens either patience or thanksgiving, love or fear, moderation or humility, charity or contentedness.

It conduces much to our content, if we pass by those things which happen to our trouble, and consider that which is pleasing and prosperous; that, by the representation of the better, the worse may be blotted out.

It may be thou art entered into the cloud which will bring a gentle shower to refresh thy sorrows.

I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me: what now ? let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me, and I can still discourse; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance, and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they still have left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the Gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of heaven, and my charity to them too: and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate, I can walk in my neighbor's pleasant fields,

1 Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods,

The sweeping vales, and foaming floods,

Are free alike to all.-BURNS.
I care not Fortune, what you me deny,

You capnot rob me of free nature's grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,

Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace

The woods and lawns by living stream at eve;
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,
And I their toys to the great children leave;
or fancy, reason, virtue, naught can me bereave.—Thomsos.

« PreviousContinue »