« 上一頁繼續 »
temporaries : Je:emy Taylor addressed to her his “ Measures and Offices of Friendship," and Cowley wrote an ode on her death. She died of the smal! pox, June 22, 1064, aged thirty-three.
Tis all a perfect cheat,
Whose charm is but deceit;
But if we do approach,
And perish at a touch;
And so desire is done;
The channels where they run:
But ne'er true bliss possess;
But one may make it less.
Twould be consumed by fear to lose it.
More weak and swift than fame?
And its attendant shame.
TO MY ANTENOR."
My dear Antenor, now give o'er,-
1 This was the Actitious name uiler which she addressed her husband, whose circumstances were mach reduced during the civil war. The above poem was written March 16, 1600, to chcer him with the hope that, as parliament had rescued him, Providence wouli do so too.
And by an act so desperate,
JEREMY TAYLOR. 1602.-1667. JEREMY TAILOR, 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 Caermar. then, 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 of 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." I
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 oflice 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 iniquity 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. vance 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 folios, there is more fine fancy and original imagery--more brilliant concep. tions and glowing expressious-more new figures and new application of old figures, --more, in short, of the body and soul of poetry, than in all the odes and epics that have since been produced in Europe.” This is rather extravagant; 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 succeeding generations for their greatuess of wit, and profoundness of judgment, and richness of fancy, and clcarness of expression, and copiousness of inven. tion, and general usefulness to all the purposes of a Christian.”.
ON PRAYER. 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 recole lection, 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. Tor so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring 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 irregu. lar and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and
1 The best edition of his works is that by Bishop Heber, “with a Life of the Author, and a critical 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 infirmities 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.
ON TOLERATION. 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 reproving 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 conditicu. When the old man was gone, God called
to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. He replied, 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,
I care not Fortune, what you me deny,
You cannot 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, virt ne, naught can me bereave. -THOMSOX.