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John Taylor,

of Norwich,—best known under that designation, he having spent the most active, and brilliant, as well as the happiest portion of his life in that city,—deserves, and has always received, an honourable place among the most learned divines of the last century. His title to this rank has been generally acknowledged and recognized both by Churchmen and Dissenters; by those who differed from him most widely, as well as by those who agreed with him, in theological sentiments.

He was born at or near Lancaster, in the year 1694. His father, who was a timber-merchant there, was a member of the Church of England; but his mother was a Dissenter. From his earliest years he shewed a strong disposition to engage in the ministry of the Gospel among Dissenters, in which he afterwards so eminently distinguished himself, and served the cause of religion and of truth. This appears from his own private memoranda, in which he has thus recorded the views with which he was actuated while prosecuting his studies: ‘I have always,’ says he, ‘from my first acquaintance with the holy office, been desirous to engage in it, if such a thing might possibly be; and when it seemed at the greatest distance from me, I could not but cast a wishful though despairing look at it; and, at present, [300] blessed be God, I think I could refuse the greatest honours, preferments, and pleasures, proposed as temptations, to make me drop my present resolutions. I hope I am in some measure qualified for the work, though important. I have no learning to boast of, yet I trust I have so much as, by the assistance of God, and by diligent application, may capacitate me to be useful, among plain simple people especially.’ He received his theological education in an academy at Whitehaven, conducted by Dr. Dixon; from which school also issued Dr. Caleb Rotheram, Dr. Benson, and other eminent Presbyterian divines. His devotion to Hebrew literature began at a very early period of his life. Among his Mss. is a Hebrew grammar, compiled for his own use, and finished when he was only eighteen years of age.

In the year 1715, having completed his academical studies, he entered upon the ministerial office at Kirkstead, in Lincolnshire, where he remained for eighteen years, notwithstanding that it seems to have been a situation of great poverty and obscurity, and ill suited, in many respects, to a man of such high and distinguished acquirements as he afterwards proved himself to possess, and which so well fitted him for a more honourable and conspicuous post. His ordination, as ‘a preaching Presbyter,’ took place on the 11th day of April, 1716, and was conducted by the ministers of Derbyshire. The original instrument of his ordination is preserved by his descendants, and to it is attached a memorandum of the substance of his examination on that occasion.

Kirkstead being a district of a peculiar character, formerly the possession of the Abbey of [301] that name, and out of Episcopal jurisdiction, the chapel had continued in, or fallen into, the possession of the Dissenters, whose ministers conducted all the religious service of the district, the endowment being the gift of the former owners of the estate. The chapel registers have not been preserved; but transcripts of portions have been transmitted to Mr. Taylor's descendants, as evidence of the acts affecting their own descent; and it is worthy of notice, that he appears, from them, to have solemnized matrimony among his hearers. On the frequent discussions which took place lately on the subject of the marriage law, it was much questioned whether the Dissenters did, in practice, however entitled in law, solemnize matrimony in their congregations before the passing of the Marriage Act which confined the right to the Established Church. At Kirkstead it clearly appears that the minister was in the habit of marrying. He did so, in some measure, from necessity, there being no church or chapel of the Establishment attached to the district. In fact, Dr. Taylor was himself married there, on the 13th day of August, 1717, to Mrs. Elizabeth Jenkinson, a widow of Boston; and it was from such marriage that the widely-spread line of his descendants sprang.

In 1726 he had an invitation to Pudsey, near Leeds, which, on mature deliberation, he declined to accept. In order the better to determine this point, he drew up an accurate statement of the advantages and disadvantages of each side of the question, in which the recommendations of his settlement at Kirkstead are represented in no very attractive light. He complains that he is [302] among a people not only illiterate, but generally sluggish; little addicted to reading, of no ingenuity, and even insensible of their duty to a minister; also that his salary is very small, only twenty-five pounds per annum. Though the balance of the account would seem to be clearly in favour of Pudsey, Mr. Taylor remained patiently for nearly seven years longer in this remote and obscure situation, storing his mind with the treasures of biblical learning, and helping out his narrow income, in some degree, by keeping a small school. Some reference to his engagement in this way occurs in the following letter1, which, on other accounts, is worth preserving as a curious indication of the views he entertained at that period on various topics, which were then deeply agitating the dissenting body; and also as exhibiting the obscure and straitened condition of one who afterwards forced his way, by his natural talents and by indefatigable industry, to considerable distinction.

To Mr. Tho. Johnson, at Mr. John Brooksbank's, Mercht in London.

Dear Mr. Johnson,—I received yours about a month ago, much to my satisfaction; and should have returned an answer ere now, but could not find time, at one sitting, to be so large and particular as yours required. Most readily shall I comply with the overtures of your love and affection, to keep a strict correspondence with you by letters, in hopes I shall see you at London in due time, if God permit. I rejoice much in your [303] being settled in a family so good and honourable, and in your endeavours and resolution to improve the divine favours bestowed upon you. You do well to covet useful knowledge. The study of the Holy Scriptures will turn to the best account, both as to this and the other world. You cannot use too much caution in choosing books; both time and money are lost upon mean and indifferent authors. Blessed be God, we are pretty well furnished with the labours of learned and pious men upon the Bible. But I think we yet want a practical comment upon the whole Bible, so contrived for the use of families as that a chapter may conveniently be read, with the exposition, morning and night, and yet take in the main of what is necessary to enlighten the head and better the heart. Mr. Henry is quite too large and tedious for this purpose. He that takes pains with him, and is punctual in reading a sufficient part, can't go through the Scripture, as I think, in less than five or six years; whereas it is a great advantage to have the several parts of God's word presented to our thoughts in a quicker succession. Besides, certain it is, Mr. Henry did not sweat much for the exact sense of the text in some parts of the work. Indeed, how could he? The work itself was too much for one hand; and Mr. Henry, it is well known, took a great deal of pains in his public ministerial labours. He that writes even a practical comment upon the Scriptures must, notwithstanding, deal in criticism; otherwise how should he deduce practical conclusions with any certainty or satisfaction? I have, indeed, laid a design of abridging Mr. Henry, and have [304] prosecuted it as far as the prophet Jonah; and should willingly carry it on, and am, by several of my friends, encouraged to do so. But the work is at present at a stand; for such are my circumstances, that I have not yet had an opportunity of purchasing Mr. Henry's volumes, and I can no longer carry on my former trade of borrowing. But I am in hopes shortly to be furnished with that and other books necessary for the undertaking. As for the time of having any part of it ready for the press, I can say nothing. The price will be as low as I can bring it; for, if I can therein do any service to the interest of Christ's kingdom, I am not at all solicitous about my own.

My hands are, indeed, at present pretty full of business; for, besides my ordinary ministerial employment, I take boys to table and teach. If you know of any, Mr. Johnson, who would have their children instructed in the languages, writing, arithmetick, in a good, wholesome air, in a country retirement, out of the way of the common temptations of the age, where they should in every respect be carefully looked after, and well done to, if you should recommend them to me, I hope, through the blessing of God upon my endeavours, you would never be ashamed of it. We are situated pleasantly, at some distance from a little country village, out of the sight or hearing of any thing that's vicious, whereby youth may be corrupted, near the navigable river which runs between Boston and Lincoln. My wife is particularly well qualified for ordering and encouraging children. [305] As to the unhappy differences among the London ministers,* I think I should not have subscribed had I been among them, because I am not satisfied that it is a means sanctified and appointed by God, for either finding out or ascertaining the truth. On the other hand, I am sure it has been grievously abused from the first times of Christianity, to the dividing of Christians, and destroying that love and mutual forbearance which is the distinguishing character of our holy religion, and the only bottom upon which the tranquillity of the church can be rightly settled.

As to choice of commentators, I think it will be well if you buy Mr. Pool's Annotations, and content yourself with that at present; for in this case, variety confounds rather than instructs; and if you had, and could use, all the commentators in the world, perhaps you would remain as much unsatisfied of the sense of some texts as you were before you meddled with them. Blessed be God, what is necessary is plain. Or, if you should procure, and carefully read over, Dr. Prideaux's Connection of the History of the Old and New Testament (a work well known) before you buy any Commentator, you would certainly find your advantage in it; for it would give you a clear view of the main of scripture history, and would. [306] Bible. There are, indeed, many things in it which are nothing to you. But you will find a great deal in it for the right understanding of Scripture. I would have you make yourself in a tolerable degree master of that before you meddle with any other. Read it as closely as you can. The reading many books at once, or hastily, is the way to get no good by reading books. Get the best edition, if you get any. Pray sir, excuse this hasty, confused letter. You may by it, at least, see I am most willing to revive and improve our old love and acquaintance. Pray, sir, let me hear from you, as soon as your business will permit; and you shall find me always ready, according to my leisure, to deal with you in this epistolary traffic. May All-sufficiency bless, protect, guide, guard, and prosper you in spirituals and temporals, is the hearty prayer of,

Your affectionate,

John Taylor. Kirkstead, April 29th, 1724.

In 1733, a larger sphere of usefulness, and the opportunity of making his talents honourably known to the world, were afforded Mr. Taylor by his removal to Norwich. Here he found a congregation much more suited to his tastes; and already actuated by a liberality of views and feelings, which disposed them to leave him unshackled by any confessions or subscriptions to human creeds, and not only free to pursue the unbiassed suggestions of his own understanding, in his search after religious truth, but at full liberty to declare the results of his investigations both to the public and to themselves. [307]

We have no direct evidence of the precise state of opinion in the congregation on controverted topics before and at the time when they made this selection. It is probable that the same progress of opinion—certainly the same strong objection to all restrictions on religious inquiry and conviction—had long characterized the Presbyterians in Norwich, as had been general among their brethren in other parts of England, from at least the commencement of the century. From the date of the Toleration Act, (about which time Dr. Collings, the ejected minister, died,) Mr. Taylor had been preceded by three ministers, besides the Rev. Peter Finch, to whom he became colleague and who had, singularly enough, been colleague to all three, his ministry having begun very soon after the Toleration Act. Mr. Finch survived, and continued for some time in cordial co-operation with his new associate, about whose opinions there was, at least, no doubt; and the traces, therefore, are not perceptible of any material variations of opinion.

In fact, Mr. Taylor's leading distinction from the greater portion of his brethren of that day consisted not so much in the freedom of his opinions, in which many went considerably beyond him, as in his plan of more explicit and open dealing with some of the important topics of religious investigation, instead of following the very prevalent example of abstaining altogether from their discussion. We find, therefore, that, on his joining the Norwich congregation, he considered it proper that a perfect understanding should be established; and that, in particular, they should together examine into the received opinions, with [308] reference to the doctrine of the Trinity, in order to form some distinct and understood conclusions on the subject. With this view his congregation, at his suggestion, entered upon a careful reading and examination of Dr. Clarke's ‘Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity;’ having previously engaged in two solemn meetings for prayer for the divine assistance in their work.

It may be proper to observe, that, though this last fact renders it probable that some at least of the parties in question did not, at this time, coincide with the sentiments of Dr. Clarke's book, it is not in itself any proof that they were far distant from them. Doubtless the spirit in which ‘prayer meetings’ have been frequently conducted, is only calculated, as indeed it is intended, to confirm the parties in their present notions, whatever these may be; but there surely can be no reason why we may not, and many why we should, pray to be preserved from prejudice and error; and for grace so to exercise the best powers which God has given us in the study of his word, that we may be protected from mischievous delusion, and led into all important and necessary truth; and there can be no occasion when pious and truly candid minds will be more disposed to do this, than when they are invited to enter on a course of inquiry which may end in proving that the most cherished opinions which they have hitherto identified with the basis of their hopes and prospects as Christians are a corruption of the pure simplicity of the Gospel, and in leading them to embrace, as divine truth, what they had formerly shunned as dangerous error.

From that time forward, at any rate, the opinions [309] of the congregation were avowed and known to be in unison with those of their pastor; and a few, whose convictions had always been, and continued to be, Calvinistic, withdrew, on its appearing that the decided course taken by the main body rendered undesirable a continuance of a union which could only be nominal. At the same time, Mr. Taylor prepared, for the use of the younger part of the congregation, a ‘Scripture Catechism,’ as better suited to its object, and to the prevalent views which they professed, than the Assembly's Catechism.

Mr. Taylor's first publication was a prefatory discourse to a statement of the case of Mr. Joseph Rawson. This gentleman was excluded from communion with a congregational church at Nottingham, for refusing, after suspicions were entertained of his heterodoxy, to answer in other than scriptural language the following question put to him by the minister, ‘Whether Jesus Christ is the one true supreme God, the same with the Father in Nature, and equal with him in all divine perfections.’ The publication appeared in 1737, without our author's name; and contains the most just and manly sentiments on the Common Rights of Christians. It gives a brief sketch of the rise and progress of those corruptions which led to the growth and establishment of Popery, which he well describes as consisting not merely in the political and ecclesiastical authority of the Bishop of Rome, but in the assertion and exercise of the pretension, wherever vested, of lording it over the consciences of others; of making inquisition into the faith of our fellow-disciples, and imposing on them an outward conformity to creeds [310] and confessions of our own or of any human devising. This unwarrantable and unchristian domination, by whomsoever assumed, in his opinion comprehends the essence and most pernicious character of Popery: with whatever earnestness such parties may disclaim the relationship, they are children of antichrist, and display the characteristic features of the man of sin.

He first traces the advance and decline of Romish Popery; which being partially overthrown by the early reformers in separating from the church of Rome, they set up a similar system of arbitrary domination and imposition on the consciences of man, which he justly stigmatizes by the epithet of Protestant Popery, ‘which, though in some respects better than the Romish, is yet more inconsistent, because it renounceth infallibility, yet imposeth and persecuteth as if infallible; rejecteth human authority, and yet in many cases pleadeth and resteth upon it; and, lastly, permitteth the Scriptures to be read but not understood, or, which is all one, to be understood only in the sense of schemes formed and established by men.’ Thus did these men build again the things which they had destroyed, and make themselves transgressors against the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Against this Protestant popery the dissenters manfully declared themselves; but no sooner were they confirmed in their own liberties by the Act of Toleration, than some, in the exercise of their newly acquired freedom, saw reason to abandon or deviate from the tenets of their fathers; while others, tenacious of received opinions, stiffly opposed the free inquiry which introduced the ‘new notions.’ This [311] is dissenting Popery. Of the spirit and tendency of this dissenting popery the narrative thus introduced to the public afforded a very apt and illustrative specimen. It is not necessary to enter into the particulars of this affair; suffice it to say, that it is an example of what may be expected frequently to occur when men are not only persuaded that an exact conformity to their own little peculiarities is essential to salvation, but are invested by the constitution of their church with the power to demand from individuals a confession of their faith as the condition of Christian communion, and to inflict ecclesiastical censures upon those who do not come exactly up to their standard.

In the following year Mr. Taylor published, with his name, a sequel to this publication, entitled ‘A further Defence of the Common Rights of Christians;’ entering at greater length into the argument to prove the sufficiency and perfection of Scripture, as the rule of faith without the aid of human creeds, confessions, &c.2

In 1740 appeared the first edition of his celebrated work on original sin. This is the performance by which the author is chiefly known as a controversial theologian; and it entitles him, in that capacity, to a high and distinguished rank. It is admitted, by common consent, to be a treatise of great learning and ability, and is referred to by both parties as a standard work. It is divided into three parts; in the first of which all those places of Scripture which do expressly speak of the consequences of the first transgression [312] are distinctly considered. In the second, the principal passages of Scripture which have by divines been applied in support of the common scheme of original sin are particularly and impartially examined. The author here takes for his guide the ‘Assembly's Larger Catechism,’ and examines in order the texts which are cited by it as proofs of the several propositions advanced; reasonably assuming that such a select body of learned and judicious men may well be supposed to have given us the precise sense of the article, and the main evidence that can be adduced from Scripture in support of it. In the third part, he answers some objections and queries; and considers the supposed connexion of the doctrine of original sin with other parts of religion, particularly redemption and regeneration.

The work contains much excellent criticism and powerful argument; and we are inclined to think, that the impression left by the whole upon a candid, unprejudiced reader will be, that it would have justified the author in carrying out his conclusion to a greater length than he has chosen to pursue it. At all events, the doctrine opposed, as we find it laid down in the received formularies of orthodoxy, seems to be rendered utterly untenable. Whether it was necessary to adopt the literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis as an historical narrative, or to concede the introduction of death as passing not only upon Adam, but upon all his descendants, as a consequence of his transgression, merely because this hypothesis affords the easiest exposition of an obscure passage in the Epistle to the Romans, are questions on which different opinions [313] will be entertained by those who admit the accuracy of the writer's views in general.

The following ingenious illustration gives a very precise and distinct statement of our author's views of this part of this subject:

‘That judgment which was pronounced upon Adam for his sin came upon all men; or, the Judge decreed that the sentence passed upon Adam should as to the things inflicted, in themselves considered, light upon his posterity. Just as if a father for some irregularity in his first child should determine to lay a restraint upon him in diet, dress, or diversions, and at the same time should judge it expedient to make it a rule with all the other children he might afterwards have. In this instance, it is easy to see how the judgment to condemnation pronounced upon the offence of the first-born cometh upon the other children, even before they are brought into the world; without any injustice, nay, perhaps, with a great deal of goodness, on the father's part. Upon the first it is a proper punishment; on the second it cometh as a wholesome discipline; and yet, through the offence of one, they are debarred some pleasures or enjoyments. By the offence of one, the judgment to condemnation cometh upon all the rest; by one child's offence, restraint reigneth; and by one child's disobedience the many that come after him are made sinners or sufferers; as they are deprived of some enjoyments which they might be fond of, but which the Father saw, every thing considered, would not be for their good.’3 [314]

‘According to my observation,’ (says Jonathan Edwards, in the preface to his celebrated defence of this doctrine of original sin, itself one of the ablest works, if not the very ablest, on that side of the question) ‘no one book has done so much towards rooting out of these western parts of New England the principles and scheme of religion maintained by our pious and excellent forefathers, the divines and Christians who first settled this country, and alienating the minds of many from what, I think, are evidently some of the main doctrines of the Gospel, as that which Dr. Taylor has published against the doctrine of original sin.’

Answers to this work were, soon after, published by Watts, Jennings, and Wesley; the latter of whom deals in an excess of theological vituperation, to which he has rarely given way on other occasions, branding his opponent with the opprobrious epithets of heretic, deist, and worst than deist! To Watts and Jennings the author replied, in a supplement to the second edition of his Treatise; which contained a very judicious review of the whole controversy, and particularly an acute and unanswerable exposure of the absurdity of the common notion, that Adam was in some sort (as it is expressed in the language of technical theology) the federal head or representative of the whole race of mankind; a notion not less devoid of the shadow of scriptural authority, than it is repugnant to the most obvious principles of reason, equity, and justice.

In 1745 appeared the ‘Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Romans,’4 to which is prefixed, [315] ‘A Key to the Apostolic Writings.’ In this admirable work, the author lays down a principle and mode of interpretation which is better adapted than any other to the right understanding of these (to us) confessedly difficult and obscure compositions. In its main outlines, it seems to have been suggested by Mr. Locke; and is detailed at some length in his note on Romans v. 6-8. In the first place, it is important always to remember that the apostolic writings are chiefly letters, suggested—most of them evidently, and the others in all probability—by the circumstances, and referring to the peculiar wants, conditions, and characters of their correspondents. We are therefore to infer, that, although they doubtless contain indirectly and incidentally an illustration of many important general principles of universal and permanent application, and therefore will deserve and are likely to reward the diligent study of Christians in all ages, yet they must be considered as having a more immediate reference to the circumstances of the churches to whom they were addressed, and of the Christian world in general of those times. Now these differed in many most important particulars from any thing which has since existed; and a want of attention to this difference, and a determination to seek in the condition of individual Christians at this remote period for something appropriate to what was addressed, not merely to the primitive disciples, but to the whole church, or to the sections into which the church was at that time divided of Jews and Gentiles taken collectively, has led to by far the greater part of the errors and misconceptions which have arisen in the study of the Epistles. [316]

It is necessary also to bear in mind continually that the writers were Jews, and that they were addressing themselves, for the most part, to communities made up partly of Jews and partly of Gentiles, who, by the profession of their new faith as Christians, were necessarily thrown into close connexion and frequent intercourse with their Jewish brethren. It was to be expected, therefore, that the language adopted by writers so circumstanced would be founded upon that with which their own minds were already familiar in the Hebrew scriptures. The previous habits of thought and expression in Jewish writers could not fail to lead them to convey their views of the salvation which is by Christ in language borrowed from their own laws, customs, and even prejudices. Such language was likely to be familiar and easily intelligible to the persons whom they addressed, but is apt to be misunderstood by modern readers, to whom the subjects and practices alluded to are but imperfectly known, and who, moreover, are accustomed to read under the impression that they are to seek in their own condition, and in the circumstances of these times, for the objects to which all these obscure reasonings and illustrations—originally clear enough, but by which they are only confounded and perplexed—were intended to be applied.

It follows, therefore, that the difficulties we encounter in the study of St. Paul's writings (except such as arise from the character of his own very remarkable and peculiar style) will most commonly find their solution in an examination of the sense in which similar modes of expression are used in the Old Testament, considered with [317] reference to the condition and circumstances of the churches in those times. Accordingly, we find that many of the terms applied to the members of the primitive Christian church in the New Testament are derived from the language employed under the Old Covenant in speaking of the children of Israel; and there is, in fact, a sufficiently obvious and striking analogy in many particulars to favour this transference. The Israelites were selected from the idolatrous nations by the gratuitous favour of God, without regard to any previous merit on their part, to become his peculiar people, the subjects of a special covenant; hence they are said to be chosen or elected. The first consequence of this election was their deliverance from the state of bondage in which they were held in Egypt; hence they are said to be delivered, saved, bought or purchased, redeemed. Having been brought out of this abject state into a new and happy condition, God is said to create, make or form them anew; to have given them life, to have begotten them. Hence they are his children, to whom he sustains, in a peculiar sense, the character of a Father. He is their king, and they are his people; he is their shepherd, and they are his flock or sheep. Being set apart for his service, they are said to be holy, saints, washed; they are a people near to him, his congregation, his church, his inheritance. In this capacity he receives them into a covenant with himself, requiring from them homage, love, obedience, exclusive worship: on which conditions he promises protection and continued possession of all the privileges and blessings they enjoyed. [318]

But all this language applied, not so much to the moral conduct and personal character of the Israelites taken individually, as to their external state as a community taken collectively; separated from the rest of the world by a peculiar ritual; consecrated to the service of God, for the purpose of maintaining a standing memorial and testimony against idolatry. Now in all these respects there was a remarkable analogy in the condition and circumstances of the primitive Christian church. They were a little flock, which had been separated from their unbelieving neighbours, both among Jews and Gentiles, to be the subjects of a new and better covenant; and that without any previous merit on their part entitling them thereto, but through the special favour of God. Hence they, too, were called, elected; they were a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people; called to be saints, saved, redeemed, purchased, &c. All these terms, and a multitude of others, which frequently occur in the apostolic writings, will be found, on comparison, to have been derived from the language employed by the writers of the Old Testament in speaking of God's ancient people; and it was natural that the apostles, being themselves Jews, should be led by the analogous circumstances of the old and the new covenant, and by their previous familiar acquaintance with the style of their own sacred writings, to adopt similar expressions. Another consideration which still further favoured this transference of forms of expression, was the actual transference of the covenanted relation to God, from the Jews as such, to the church gathered unto Christ from among all nations. The [319] Jews are no longer the peculiar people: as Jews, they are cast out and rejected; as far as relates to covenanted privileges, they are henceforth on a level with the rest of mankind.

The Christian church, therefore, having succeeded, in a great measure, to the same relative position, is naturally spoken of in the same terms. Christ has redeemed us unto himself as a peculiar people zealous of good works. Believers in Christ are acknowledged as the people of God, the spiritual Israel: having been enemies, they are reconciled, new created, new born. And these titles are applied to them as they were to the Jews, not in their individual capacity, but collectively; they consequently express, not moral character or inward disposition, but an external state;— certain advantages and privileges procured for them through the intervention of Christ, and especially by his death and resurrection—a knowledge of the will and intentions of God concerning them, and of their own duties and expectations both here and hereafter. They are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of works, so that no man can boast: it is the gift of God. But saved from what?—from the consequences of sin in a future state? No; the salvation here spoken of is something already accomplished. ‘By grace are ye saved.’ They were saved from gross darkness and idolatry; saved from the bondage of the ceremonial law; saved from the evils of uncertainty as to their future expectations. This first justification or acceptance was a privilege already put into their hands, by the right use of which they were to work out their final salvation. These benefits are the gift of God through Jesus [320] Christ our Lord;—they are obtained by the redemption through his blood. This was the sacrifice of sweet-smelling savour which he offered to God for us. It was his righteousness, or kind and benevolent actions, his obedient death, or the sacrifice of his love and obedience, which made atonement or reconciliation for the sins of the world; not by satisfying law or justice, of which the Scripture says nothing, but calls it a free gift. It is about this first, and not the final justification, that the apostle argues in the Epistle to the Romans; it is of grace, without works; while the other is wrought out as its consequence or result by patient continuance in well-doing.

The above is a brief and imperfect outline of the principles laid down and illustrated with great ability and learning in this remarkable treatise; which, perhaps, did more than any other to place the interpretation of these important but difficult and obscure parts of Scripture on its right ground. It is introduced by a very interesting dedication ‘to the Society of Christians in the city of Norwich, whom I serve in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ some passages of which well deserve insertion, as giving a highly favourable impression of both parties, and placing in a just and striking light what is, or ought to be, the relation between minister and people:

It is my honour and pleasure, as well as duty, to serve you in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and your kind acceptance, and due improvement of my honest and well-intended labours, is the greatest encouragement I desire. Your affections and friendly regards are, in effect, the whole world to me; and it is my ambition [321] to purchase them only by such worthy actions and honourable discharge of duty as deserve a just and solid esteem.

It is your honour and happiness that you have always been a peaceable people. You scorn to practise the unchristian methods of some who, to support a favourite sentiment, foment heats, animosities, and divisions, and discourage men of probity and learning. You allow your ministers to read the Bible, and to speak what they find there. You possess universal charity and good — will to all your brethren in Christ, and to all mankind. These are noble principles, and I hope you will never relinquish them. Give your Catholicism its proper worth, by improving in sound knowledge, and guard it with resolution. Reject all slavish narrow principles with disdain. Neither list yourselves, nor be pressed into the service of any sect or party whatsoever. Be only Christians, and follow only God and truth.

You know your congregation stands upon no other ground but that catholic one, which the apostle, in his Epistle to the Romans, asserts and demonstrates to be the only and sufficient foundation of a right to a place in the church and kingdom of God,,—faith in Jesus Christ. You may rest fully satisfied that you are a true church, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. And you have, therefore, the best reason in the world for adhering steadily to the cause you have espoused, the cause of Christian liberty; which at once settles your profession upon an infallible bottom, rejects all human impositions, and [322] at the same time comprehends and cordially receives all who are of the faith of the Son of God.

This and the former treatise on Original Sin produced a very extensive, powerful, and permanent effect. ‘By shaking the main outworks of Calvinism, he effected a breach by which a host of the friends of truth have since entered.’ The adherents to the old opinion did not, however, suffer his attempt at subverting them to pass unnoticed. Much narrowness still prevailed, and malice and rancour too often supplied the want of argument. A pamphlet published by a fellow-citizen perhaps exceeded any thing ever published in virulence and abuse; and a publication by a well-known polemic of the day, John Macgowan, entitled ‘The Arian's and Socinian's Monitor,’ (a book which still retains its place and popularity with those who delight in such modes of dealing with sacred subjects,) describes the author as tossing upon the burning billows of hell, and vainly supplicating mercy and forgiveness from the God whom he had blasphemed. Some later editions of this work have been even adorned with a frontispiece faithfully representing to the eye the above description.

As a set-off against such denunciations as these, we may be well contented to refer to the commendatory notice of Bishop Watson, who inserted the ‘Key to the Apostolic Writings’ in his valuable collection of Theological Tracts; characterizing it as the best introduction to the Epistles, and the clearest account of the whole Gospel scheme, that ever was written. Dr. Bentham, Divinity Professor at Oxford, and Dr. Paley, have [323] also strongly recommended it to the careful study of candidates for the ministry in the Established Church. As for the worthy author himself, though by no means indifferent to the favourable opinion of the wise and good, we cannot doubt that he would receive the idle ravings of a Macgowan with contempt, or rather with mild compassion; thinking it enough to reply in the language of the apostle, ‘with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment.’

In 1750 Mr. Taylor published a ‘Collection of Tunes in various Airs,’ for the use of his Congregation. This was one of the first collections of the kind, and a plain and simple introduction to the art of singing was prefixed to it. This was an accomplishment in which the author delighted and excelled; an accomplishment, we may add, which seems to have been inherited in no ordinary degree by not a few of his descendants. The pleasure, we are told, which the author took in instructing the younger part of his congregation in psalmody, induced him to draw up for their assistance the above useful little publication; and, in order to perfect his choir in so delightful a part of their devotional duty, he constantly devoted one evening in the week to their instruction. We have before noticed his ‘Scripture Catechism,’ out of which he regularly examined his young auditors, and impressed upon their minds the importance of attention to the sacred duties of religion.5 [324]

In 1751 appeared a very learned and valuable treatise, entitled, ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Atonement examined, first in relation to the Jewish Sacrifices, and then to the Sacrifice of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ In this work the author first inquires into the original meaning, design, and efficacy of sacrifices, which he shews to be, in all respects, the same as that of prayer and praise, or any other suitable expression of our religious regards which are pleasing to God, as they proceed from or produce good affections in us. He then examines the prevailing notion that in sin-offerings the guilt of the offender was supposed to be transferred to the victim; and that the sacrifice became in this manner a type of the sacrifice of Christ, who, therefore, died to satisfy divine justice, by suffering the punishment due to the sins of men. After a complete, and what may well be called an exhaustive, critical inquiry into the meaning of the different terms employed in the Old Testament in speaking of this subject, he concludes that ‘sacrifices were symbolical addresses to God, expressing by outward signs what is expressed in prayer and praise by words, or in the course of life by deeds;—that they made atonement for sin, not as being substituted in the stead of the sacrificer, and bearing his sin or punishment, nor as an equivalent to divine justice—for neither of these enter into the notion of atonement—but as the sacrificer covenanted or transacted with God upon the sincerity of his soul, and with his sacrifice presented a penitent or thankful heart, and afterwards led an obedient life.’ P. 70.

He then enters, upon a similar investigation of [325] the effects ascribed in Scripture to our Lord's ‘atonement;’ and expresses the result in the following terms:—‘I conclude, therefore, that the sacrifice of Christ was truly and properly, in the highest degree, and far beyond any other, piacular and expiatory, to make atonement for, or to take away sin. Not only to give us an example; not only to assure us of remission, or to procure our Lord a commission to publish the forgiveness of sin, but, moreover, to obtain that forgiveness, by doing what God in his wisdom and goodness judged fit and expedient to be done in order to the forgiveness of sin, and without which he did not think it fit or expedient to grant the forgiveness of sin.’ P. 91. At the same time he denies that this efficacy consisted in any satisfaction to vindictive justice by suffering a vicarious punishment. The blood of Christ is precious in the sight of God, inasmuch as his obedience unto death was the crowning act of a life of pure and perfect holiness; so that, for the sake of it, the Father was pleased to grant, through him, the forgiveness of sins, and a new dispensation of grace; in the same manner and in the same sense as the obedience of Abraham was a reason for bestowing blessings upon his posterity; and as Moses and other good men averted the judgments of God by their prayers and righteousness. P. 102.

Even by those least disposed to favour the notion of a vicarious sacrifice, it may be thought not unreasonable to suppose that the death of Christ, together with all the other actions of his pure and holy life, might be in themselves the motives or reasons why God thought fit to bestow many blessings and favours upon mankind. There are [326] even several instances which seem to shew that the supposition is analogous with the dealings of our heavenly Father towards his creatures in other cases. It seems, indeed, to be generally observable that various benefits and blessings are conferred upon large portions of mankind, or at least upon their families and connexions, in consequence, or for the sake of, the obedience or righteousness of individuals. It has been truly said that ‘the house of the righteous shall stand;’ the descendants and connexions of those who have been eminent for good and excellent qualities are often themselves perceptibly the objects of Divine favour. If then, in conformity with this principle, the Israelites were selected to be God's chosen people for the sake of Abraham—spared from the effects of his just displeasure for the sake of Moses;—if, universally, it would seem that the obedience and piety of the father are the means of drawing down the divine blessing upon the children, we may fairly enough conclude that important benefits are communicated, new discoveries of divine knowledge, new dispensations of divine grace, are granted to the faithful disciples of Christ, for the sake, in reward, of his obedience unto death. It may be in this mode that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, and a kingdom which is above every kingdom; and it is not impossible that this may be all that is really meant by many theologians when they speak of the meritorious sacrifice of our Redeemer as the means of purchasing for mankind Gospel blessings and privileges. That Dr. Taylor did not mean to go further than this, is, we apprehend, sufficiently manifest [327] from the general strain of his writings, and even from other parts of this treatise; though, in expressing his opinion, as in the above extracts, he may be thought to have occasionally employed language which is liable to be misunderstood.6

In 1754 appeared the first volume, in folio, of our author's great work, which establishes his claim to a place in the first rank of biblical scholars, his ‘Hebrew concordance.’ This work, the labour of fourteen years, will be a durable monument of his learning and unwearied industry, as well as of his zeal to promote the study of the Scriptures. In the advertisement announcing it as ready for the press, he appeals, as a practical example of the use to be made of such a work, to the advantage he had himself derived from it in his late treatise on the ‘Scripture Doctrine of the Atonement;’ in which he had been enabled, by means of it, to collect and arrange under proper heads all the various places where each Hebrew word of importance relating to the subject in question occurs. An advantage which could have been obtained only by the use of a concordance of the original language, because it is evident that, in every translation, even the most literal, the same original word is, and must be, often represented by different words, and the same word in the translation employed as the representative of different words in the original.

This work was published by subscription, and was extensively patronized by persons of all [328] classes and religious parties. In particular we find, in the list of subscribers, the names of twenty-two members of the English and fifteen of the Irish Episcopal bench; a testimony to the author's high and deserved reputation as a scholar, which will be thought more creditable to both parties when we consider that his name, however distinguished, had been for many years chiefly known to the public from its connexion with obnoxious and unpopular theological tenets. He appears, indeed, to have been in communication with many of the ,most distinguished churchmen of his time, both for dignity and learning. With Dr. Hayter, then Bishop of Norwich, he constantly maintained a friendly correspondence and personal intercourse. He corresponded, too, with Michaelis and Kennicott, and particularly with Dr. Law, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle.

In the interval between the publication of the first and second volumes, he received from the University of Glasgow the degree of D. D.; a literary honour to which few men were better entitled than he, though his great modesty made him surprised at receiving it without solicitation. The terms of the diploma were equally honourable to the body who conferred and to the individual who received it. They eulogize ‘tur morum sanctimoniam, turn ingenium vere liberum, et in nullius sectoe verba jurare addictum.’ There can be little doubt that this appropriate direction of the honour conferred is to be attributed to the discerning friendship of the truly excellent, liberal, and pious Dr. Leechman, with whom Dr. Taylor had long maintained a confidential correspondence.

The perfection of this great labour of his life [329] Dr. Taylor always afterwards kept in view, making his additions and corrections in a copy which remains among his Mss. The study of the Hebrew language has certainly not increased in this country since the period of this publication; or the student, it might be thought, would long ere this have had placed within his reach, in a convenient and perhaps condensed form, a work so eminently calculated to facilitate his labours, and to make the Hebrew Scriptures their own interpreter.

About this period of his career Dr. Taylor's congregation determined on the erection of a new, more spacious, and commodious place of worship; on the opening of which he preached and published a sermon on Haggai II. 8, 9, entitled, ‘The Glory of any House erected for Public Worship, and the true Principles, civil and social, of Protestant Dissenters.’ In this discourse he describes, in forcible and eloquent terms, the character of the peace which will be established in a house frequented by true worshipers;—‘Peace with God,—peace and comfort in our own breasts,— peace and good — will towards mankind,—peace in the quiet enjoyment of national and religious rights,—peace, harmony, and love among ourselves.’ He particularly dwells on the liberal views which influenced them, as a Christian society, in their relation to other religious denominations. ‘We are Christians,’ says he,

and only Christians; a name which, in its original and true meaning, includes all that is virtuous and amiable, just and good, noble and divine, excellent and heavenly. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Calvinists, Arminians, [330] Arians, Trinitarians, and others, are names of religious distinctions. But, however we may commonly be ranked under any of these divisions, we reject them all. We disown all connexion, except that of love and good-will, with any sect or party whatsoever; and we consider all our fellow Protestants, of every denomination, in the same light, only as Christians, and cordially embrace them all in affection and charity as such. Whatever peculiar tenets they may hold, or in what respects soever they may differ from us, such tenets and such difference we consider not as affecting their Christian character and profession in general. Notwithstanding such peculiarities, we allow they may be good Christians, and as good Christians as ourselves.

As we judge all men to be fallible, so we pass the very same judgment upon ourselves. As we allow no man to have dominion over our own faith, so we pretend to have no dominion over any man's faith or conscience, but freely leave him to the faithful exercise of his own judgment;—nay, we advise and entreat every person to the free and sincere use of his own understanding and judgment, as the only way in which he can approve himself to God, and gain the acceptance of his religious endeavours. And, in this way, though he may not agree with us in disputable points, we own and receive him as acceptable to God, and entitled to our religious fellowship.

This chapel, therefore, we have erected; and here we intend to worship the living and true God through the one Mediator Jesus Christ, not in opposition to, but in perfect peace and harmony [331] with, all our fellow Protestants. This edifice is founded upon no party principles or tenets, but is built on purpose, and with this very design, to keep ourselves clear from them all; to discharge ourselves from all prejudices and fetters in which any of them may be held; that so we may exercise the public duties of religion upon the most catholic and charitable foundation, according to the rules and spirit of genuine Christianity, as taught and established by our Lord and his inspired Apostles; and that, upon this enlarged ground, we may be quite free to search the Scriptures, to discover, correct, and reform, at any time, our own mistakes and deficiencies; and at liberty to exercise communion with any of our Christian brethren.

This is our present sense and spirit, and I hope it will always be so. May all party zeal, strife, and animosity, be banished from all our hearts, and here and every where be totally extinguished! May all wrangling, contention, doubtful disputation, and angry debate, which have so long and so wretchedly distracted the Christian church, entirely cease and sink into eternal silence! May we follow the truth in love, in simplicity, and sincerity! In this place may the doctrines of salvation, as delivered in the Holy Scriptures, be explained upon their proper evidence; with this single and only view, to shew their truth, excellency, and power—not to disparage, offend, or disturb others, but for our own benefit and comfort, that we may lay them up in our own hearts, and practise them in our own lives. Thus we shall act as becomes good Christians, the sons of peace; the Gospel of peace will shine brightly [332] among us; the peace of God, which passeth understanding, will rule in our breasts, and the God of peace will make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.

About this time appeared, ‘The Lord's Supper explained on Scripture Principles;’ a valuable tract, in which the intention and permanent obligation of this ordinance are ably stated, placed on a just and rational basis, cleared of superstitious prejudices and unauthorized human additions, and enforced with much impressive and eloquent illustration. In 1757 was published, ‘Infant Baptism a Symbol of the Covenant of Grace.’

Of Dr. Taylor's pulpit compositions but few have been published, though many remain in Ms. They are written in a plain and simple style, but his manner as a preacher is described as impressive and dignified. He was certainly for many years the highly popular and acceptable minister of a numerous and intelligent congregation, and there is reason to believe that his public services and pastoral instructions, aided by the personal weight and influence which he, doubtless, derived from his reputation as a consummate scholar and theologian, were mainly instrumental in diffusing among them the liberality of views and character by which they have always been distinguished.

Dr. Taylor had lived on terms of the most perfect cordiality with his congregation. They regarded him with the highest respect and attachment, not only on account of his literary eminence and reputation, but his agreeable deportment in society, free from pedantry, and marked in every [333] relation of life by kindness and affability. He had also established there the most eligible family connexion,7 and was now arrived at an age when men in general become increasingly averse to the trouble and uncertainty of a change. Nevertheless, he was induced by earnest persuasion to dissolve this happy connexion, in order to commence, at this late period of his life, the laborious and anxious office of theological tutor in the newly-formed academy at Warrington, in Lancashire, whose prospects of success were represented as depending on his co-operation. Thither he removed in October 1757. Of the sacrifice of personal ease and comfort which this change, to a man circumstanced as he was, could not but be expected to involve, he thus speaks, in a passage of his Scripture Account of Prayer:—‘I am returned to this my native county, not with any selfish or sinister views, but with a sincere and disinterested desire to do you service in the Gospel of Christ, by communicating to young students that knowledge which I have acquired by a long course of thought and the most impartial inquiry. It has been a great advantage to my usefulness, which I reflect upon with thankfulness and pleasure, that in every other situation I have lived in peace, honour, and esteem, with persons of the best sense and fortune, especially in my last situation, which I could not but leave with reluctance, and from which nothing could have drawn me but a sense of my duty to God.’ [334] The society at Norwich, with great generosity and public spirit, not only concurred in this mutual sacrifice, but many of them very liberally contributed to the funds of the institution.

Of the manner in which Dr. Taylor executed his new office, a particular account is given in the historical notices of the Warrington academy, inserted in the Monthly Repository, vol. VIII., from which we may be allowed to insert the following extracts:—From the high character which he justly bore as a consummate Hebrew scholar, it may be presumed that he would be very careful thoroughly to ground his pupils in the knowledge of this sacred tongue. This appears accordingly to have been the case. From the papers with which the present writer has been favoured by the Rev. Thomas Astley, of Chesterfield, his only surviving pupil in these branches of learning, it is evident that, in addition to the ordinary mode of grammatical instruction, he drew out for them, and caused them to copy and get by heart, a sort of sacred vocabulary, containing copious and elaborate lists of the various Hebrew denominations of persons, things, relations, qualities, &c.; distinguishing the various synonyms, with their different shades of meaning, and often supplying the correspondent Greek terms in the Septuagint and New Testament.

He afterwards gave them a course of lectures on the idiomatic phraseology of the Hebrew Scriptures, at the same time pointing out the influence which these idioms frequently have upon the Greek of the New Testament, and the necessity of being acquainted with and constantly attending to them, in order to attain a just idea [335] of the exact sense of many passages in the New Testament writers. The rules and observations contained in those lectures were illustrated by a vast number of quotations from both parts of the sacred volume, as well as by many from Greek and Latin classics, They professed to be chiefly an abridgment, or rather a reduction to order, of the substance of Glassius's Philologia Sacra, but were enriched with many additions from other sources as well as from the Doctor's own stores. When he had thus thoroughly grounded his pupils in the languages of both Testaments, and, probably, read with them a considerable portion of each, he led them through a regular course of theological lectures; for which purpose he drew up, as a text book, his scheme of scripture divinity, which was printed for the use of the students at the expense of the trustees of the academy, and, after his death, was published to the world at large by his son, Mr. Richard Taylor, of Norwich. It has since been admitted by Bp. Watson into his collection of Theological Tracts; and it is certainly a very learned and valuable work, though by no means so perfect as its author, had he lived, would probably have made it.

The general idea is certainly excellent of studying the divine dispensations historically. The introduction contains a series of observations, on the whole very judicious, on Christian theology; on the rules to be observed in interpreting the Scriptures; and on the dispositions which it is necessary that the student should bring with him to their successful investigation. Then follow some remarks on the divine dispensations; in which, among much good, there is, it must be [336] confessed, some share of fancy with regard to several particulars. The author then proceeds to a particular view of the creation, the institution of the sabbath, the paradisiacal state of trial, the fall and its consequences, (interweaving here his Treatise on Original Sin,) the origin of sacrifices, the shechinah, the deluge, the dispersion from Babel, the patriarchal religion exemplified in the book of Job, its corruption, the call of Abraham, and the covenant of grace with him, (referring to his pamphlet so called,) its commencement in the separation of the people of Israel, with the methods of the Divine wisdom in this important dispensation, (more fully enlarged on in his Key to the Apostolic Writings,) the civil government and ritual of the Hebrews, (Lowman referred to,) its rational and spiritual meaning (the sacrificial part of it more fully explained in his Scripture Doctrine of Atonement). He then gives a general review of the authors, and what they teach, from the Exodus to the building of the Temple, from thence to its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar; the moral causes of the captivity, and the purposes answered by it; the authors in both these periods, particularly the prophets, chronologically arranged. Then, after a view of the state of the world at the coming of Jesus Christ, he refers to his Treatise on the Lord's Supper for his thoughts on the excellent character of Christ, and on the Divine principles, doctrine, and spirit of the Gospel.

Thus far the work was printed by the Doctor himself, and employed by him as his text book in his lectures to the students. He always prefaced his lectures, we are informed by the Editor [337] of the enlarged posthumous edition with the following solemn charge:

‘I do solemnly charge you, in the name of the God of Truth, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, and before whose judgment-seat you must in no long time appear, 1. That in all your studies and inquiries of a religious nature, present or future, you do constantly, carefully, impartially, and conscientiously attend to evidence as it lies in the holy scriptures, or in the nature of things and the dictates of reason; cautiously guarding against the sallies of imagination, and the fallacy of ill-grounded conjecture. 2. That you admit, embrace, or assent to no principle or sentiment by me taught or advanced, but only so far as it shall appear to you to be supported and justified by proper evidence from revelation or the reason of things. 3. That if at any time hereafter any principle or sentiment by me taught or advanced, or by you admitted and embraced, shall, upon impartial and faithful examination, appear to you to be dubious or false, you either suspect or totally reject such principle or sentiment. 4. That you keep your mind always open to evidence; that you labour to banish from your breast all prejudice, prepossession, and party zeal; that you study to live in peace and love with all your fellow Christians, and that you steadily assert for yourself, and freely allow to others, the unalienable rights of judgment and conscience.’ ‘It seems impossible,’ the Editor observes, ‘to adjust the terms between a tutor and his pupils more equitably.’

To the edition of the ‘Scripture Divinity,’ [338] published after the author's death, were appended some excellent chapters, containing remarks on the expediency of revelation, replies to various objections against it, observations on the original and authority, the harmony and agreement, the internal worth and excellence, of the scriptures, and the thankful esteem with which Christians ought to receive and practically improve them.

During his residence at Warrington, Dr. Taylor published an ‘Examination of the Scheme of Morality advanced by Dr. Hutcheson, late Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow;’ and a ‘Sketch of Moral Philosophy,’ for the use of his class. In the first of these pamphlets, the author endeavours to refute Hutcheson's view of our perceptions of moral distinctions as founded on a supposed moral sense or instinctive principle; a notion to which he was strongly opposed. His own opinions on the disputable questions in moral science seem to have most nearly resembled those maintained by Dr. Clarke, and, more recently, by Dr. Price in his Review of the principal Questions in Morals. This tract was received with less favour by various members of his own denomination than a production of Dr. Taylor's might seem entitled to expect; a circumstance to be ascribed, in a great measure, to its appearance being accidentally connected with some unfortunate jealousies and disputes which --arose between him and some of the most active friends of the Academy. For it cannot be concealed, that Dr. Taylor's last years were embittered by much disappointment and vexation, arising from what he conceived to be unauthorized interference with the conduct of his department [339] in the institution. On this painful subject it would be to little purpose to say more at present; especially considering that, at this distance of time, it is impossible to procure a complete knowledge of all the circumstances of the case.

Dr. Taylor wrote at Warrington, a pamphlet entitled ‘The Scripture Account of Prayer, in an Address to the Dissenters of Lancashire,’ occasioned by the preparation of a Liturgy, to be introduced into a new place of worship recently established at Liverpool; a proceeding which had excited considerable interest, and some rather angry controversy. On this question Dr. Taylor took a decided part, and expressed his opinion in strong terms, having a great dislike both to a liturgy in general, and more especially to the idea of introducing it in place of the method of free prayer, commonly practised among Protestant Dissenters.

It is not necessary here to enter into the argument on either of these points; but it may be observed, that the dispute seems to have arisen in part from a misconception of the object which the promoters of the scheme had in view, which was not strictly to introduce a form of prayer into congregations of Dissenters properly so called, but to afford to many members of the Established Church, who had expressed a dislike to the doctrine of the Common Prayer on the one hand, and to the extemporaneous prayer in use among Dissenters on the other, an opportunity of joining in a form of worship to which neither of their objections should apply. With this view a chapel was opened at Liverpool, in which the liturgy in question was introduced; but as very few of the [340] parties for whose accommodation it was set on foot chose, after all, to avail themselves of it, the experiment, after a few years, was abandoned. It is believed that none of the ministers who were concerned in the preparation of this form of prayer ever attempted or wished to introduce it into their own places.

The devotional spirit of this tract is of that deep and ardent kind which is quite characteristic of the confessors of the preceding century; ‘excellent men,’ he says, ‘because excellent, instant, and fervent in prayer;’ whose eminent zeal and sacrifices in the cause of religious truth he eulogizes in such terms of glowing and affectionate reverence as drew commendation from many of those whose prejudices had accustomed them to consider him in any other character than that which, in reality, eminently belonged to him.

The ‘Scripture Account of Prayer’ was prepared for the press by Dr. Taylor in the spring of 1761, (his prefatory remarks being dated 25th February,) but was not published by him. Early in the morning of the 5th of March in that year, while asleep in his bed, it pleased God to remove him to a better world. From the composed posture in which the body was found, it was judged that his departure had been perfectly tranquil. On the second of June, in the same year, his wife followed him, after having acquitted herself as a true Christian under a long course of bodily weakness. They were both interred in the chapel yard at Chowbent, near Bolton, in Lancashire. A plain mural tablet is fixed in the chapel, with the following inscription:— [341]

Near to this place
rests what was mortal of
John Taylor, D. D.
expect no eulogium from
this stone;
enquire among the friends
of Learning, Liberty, and Truth.

These will do him Justice.

While taking his natural rest, he fell asleep
in Jesus Christ, the 5th of March, 1761, aged 66.

A tablet has more recently been erected to his memory in the chapel at Norwich, graced with a classic inscription from the gifted pen of Dr. Parr, who was an ardent admirer of his talents and virtues.

Dr. Taylor left one surviving son, Mr. Richard Taylor, of Norwich, and a daughter, married to Mr. John Rigby, of Chowbent. From those two stocks have proceeded very widely extending branches. Before his death he had seen grandchildren8 growing up around him, several of whom have been till very lately, and some of whom are still, in our churches, universally respected and esteemed.

Dr. Taylor's eldest grandson, the Rev. Philip Taylor, late of Dublin, was born at Norwich, in 1747. He received his education first under Dr. Harwood, then of Congleton, afterwards in the academies of Exeter and Warrington. In 1767, he was chosen assistant to the Rev. John Brekell, of Benn's Garden, in Liverpool, whom he succeeded as minister of the congregation in 1770. In 1777 he removed to Dublin, as assistant to his father-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Weld, in the pastoral charge of the congregation assembling [342] in Eustace Street, in that city. In this connexion he continued during the remainder of a life protracted to the advanced period of eighty-three years, universally and deservedly respected.

Of another grandson, the late excellent Mr. John Taylor, of Norwich, an interesting and de. tailed memoir from the pen of his son, Mr. Edward Taylor, will be found in the Monthly Repository for 1826. A third, Mr. Meadows Taylor, late of Diss, in Norfolk, is commemorated in the Christian Reformer for 1838. It is needless to advert more particularly to many others who still worthily maintain the character of the name they have inherited, and will, doubtless, one day receive from survivors the meed of grateful praise for eminent talents and valuable services.

Late be the hour, and distant be the day!

Dr. Taylor's zealously attached friend, the learned Dr. Edward Harwood—himself eminently qualified by his attainments to estimate rightly the extent and value of those which he saw displayed in others—preached and published a sermon on the occasion of his death, which is more than usually particular in reference to the character and biography of its subject.

This sermon was written under the influence of feelings strongly excited by the unhappy disputes before adverted to, which renders it probable that the representations it contains of the conduct of some parties connected with the institution are, at least, considerably exaggerated. We have already expressed our unwillingness to enter further into this subject; but, as failings in temper and spirit have, in consequence, been imputed to Dr. Taylor, which were wholly alien to his true [343] character, it may not be amiss to subjoin a few extracts, as recording the testimony of an observer so well qualified for the task of delineating the excellence of his friend:

My most worthy and excellent friend, Dr. Taylor, [was] a man to whose writings and personal instructions I owe more than to all the books and men I ever conversed with. I shall ever look upon it as the most happy providence with which I was ever favoured, that, in early life, I read his most excellent books, full of the best instruction, and most excellently calculated to enlarge the mind, and to inspire it with just, rational, and generous sentiments. And I shall ever esteem it as a most distinguishing blessing, that I was afterward honoured with his friendship, and an epistolary correspondence for some years before his death, in which, with the greatest benevolence and goodness of heart, he condescended to solve the difficulties I proposed, and answer my objections.

His writings will remain an immortal monument of his various learning, excellent abilities, just and clear discernment, and critical knowledge of the Scriptures. His mind was the most excellently furnished with valuable and useful branches of literature of any man's I ever knew. His reading in modern books, indeed, was far from being extensive. It cannot be supposed, that a person whose whole life was indefatigably employed, besides the constant duties of the ministry, in teaching a grammar school, and in forming an Hebrew Concordance, should be able to redeem many vacant hours for acquiring a large acquaintance with what was daily passing in the literary world. Instead of wondering that he [344] knew no more of books, we ought rather to wonder that he had read so much as he really had, considering the few avocations he permitted himself to enjoy. But a defect here was amply compensated by an habit of close thinking, and an accurate attention to the powers of his own mind.

In classical learning lay his great excellence. He had in early life committed to memory, and faithfully retained, almost all the beautiful passages and striking descriptions in the Greek and Roman poets, and could repeat them with an exactness and propriety that was amazing.

To the temper, disposition, abilities, learning, and great merit of Dr. Taylor, I cannot be supposed to be a stranger, having been happy in a strict intimacy with him for several years. With regard to these, I only pretend faithfully to speak from my own observation of what I saw in him, and therefore shall impartially transcribe the strong idea of his goodness and virtue which is warmly impressed on my heart.

I never saw a man's countenance that was a truer index of his mind than Dr. Taylor's. There was something placid and engaging in his air and features, that most powerfully commanded respect and love. An argument, when dictated by his strong sense, and urged by that power of language he possessed, was irresistible, when it was enforced by a sweet and insinuating look, to which you could deny nothing. Nothing could be further from that haughty and supercilious air, and mien, and gait, which other great men insensibly contract, and by which they are publicly known and distinguished from the rest of the species. He was never known to brow-beat modest virtue, but to encourage it by every [345] honest art. It delighted his soul to find in any a docile and ingenuous disposition, desirous of knowledge, particularly scriptural knowledge, and he cultivated such a disposition with more than parental care and fondness.

When I say he was no bigot, I am sensible I shall be accused of great partiality by some, and of great heresy by others. But if I knew any thing of good Dr. Taylor, this I can with truth affirm concerning him, that he loved good persons of all parties and denominations, however widely they might differ from him; would frequently repeat it again and again, that Christians of all parties are agreed in the great fundamentals of religion, and only differ about some few trifling distinctions; that to embrace the same set of notions as he or any other fallible man did, was not at all material with regard to men's final happiness and salvation. If ever he expressed an uncommon warmth and honest indignation against any thing, it was against Athanasianism, which he thought one of the greatest corruptions of pure and genuine Christianity, as this doctrine entirely subverts the unity of God, the great and primary foundation of all religion, natural and revealed

When engaged in preparing the notice of Dr. Taylor's descendants, in page 342, the author little thought that, even before it had passed through the press, he should be called on to record the loss of one of them, to whom the expressions there used were most peculiarly applicable, and to whose able and zealous exertions the interests of liberty, virtue, and religion were deeply indebted.—Edgar Taylor, the son of Samuel Taylor, Esq., of New Buckenham, in the county of Norfolk, and great grandson to the subject of this memoir, was born in 1793.

He settled in London as a solicitor, and quickly attained [346] to great eminence in that department of the legal profession; so that for a series of years he was the person on whom the Dissenters, particularly the Unitarian Dissenters, were accustomed chiefly to rely, whenever it was necessary to resort to legal measures for the maintenance or extension of their civil rights. As one of the Presbyterian Deputies, he was among the most efficient promoters of the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts; he took an active part in procuring the late Marriage and Registration Acts; and was named in the last Act as one of the unsalaried commissioners for carrying it into effect. Few men in his branch of the profession were more frequently consulted in the course of the numerous reforms of the law which have been from time to time effected, or too often only proposed. The mildness of his manners was well combined with inflexible consistency, and rendered him the fit organ of measures conciliation and amicable compromise.

Of his literary acquirements he has left proofs in several works connected with history and antiquities, and with his own profession. His learning and piety led him to devote much attention to scriptural criticism. He superintended the London edition of Griesbach's New Testament in Greek, which was published in 1818; the first sheets of another edition of the same work, now in the press, passed through his hands; and he has left manuscripts which shew that his closing days were given to the serious study of the Sacred volume: these, it is hoped, will be laid before the public.

A painful and incurable disease, with which he was afficted for the last twelve years of his life, compelled him of late to withdraw from the active exercise of his profession, and at the comparatively early age of forty-six we have to deplore the loss of one most eminently qualified by abilities, attainments, and disposition to tender important service to every good cause. Mr. Taylor's religious principles were founded on careful and earnest inquiry, and were happily effectual to support him under the severe trials of bodily suffering to which he was subjected. These he sustained with fortitude and resignation, and died full of that assurance which a Christian's hope alone can supply. The adding of a few notes and corrections to the Ms. of this Memoir was, in all probability, nearly the latest exercise of his pen.

1 See Universal Theological Magazine, Sept. 1804. Mr. Johnson was a native of Kirkstead, in humble life, and, in town, joined the congregation of Mr. J. Palmer, of Hackney.

2 This Tract has been lately republished, and may be found in the Catalogue of the unitarian Association.

3 Scripture Doctrine, &c., p. 66.

4 Among Dr. Taylor's manuscripts, is a paraphrase and practical commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians.

5 See in various points of his history a Sketch of the Life of the late Dr. J. Taylor, of Norwich, from the Universal Theological Magazine for July 1804, afterwards enlarged and printed in a distinct form by Messrs. R. and A. Taylor.

6 See some admirable remarks on this Treatise, and on the subject in general, in a letter addressed to the author by Dr. Duchal, and inserted in the second volume of the Theological Repository.

7 His only surviving son had married the grand-daughter of John Meadows, one of the ejected ministers, and of Sarah Fairfax, his wife, on whose side were no less than three of those confessors.

8 On the birth of the first was written his tract, ‘The value of a Child,’ republished in 1816, by Messrs. R. and A. Taylor.

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