Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bishop Jeremy Taylor

The Anglican calendar commemorates Bishop Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), a scholar, a man of prayer, and a true pastor. He lived through a century that saw the execution of King Charles I, the Cromwellian interregnum which suppressed the Church of England and banned the Book of Common Prayer, and finally the Restoration. He was a renowned scholar, a student of the liturgy, his thinking formed by the works of the Church Fathers, who defended the Book of Common Prayer, and the historic practice of organized formal prayer in his essay An Apology for Authorized and Set-Forms of Liturgy.

Taylor is best known for The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Holy Dying, his contemplation of the purposes of life in the face of our final end, and advice on the means to living well, and preparing ourselves for a blessed death. Filled with hope and love, not dark or distressing, Taylor's work offers practical advice. In his memory I excerpt the following:

The memories of the saints are precious to God, and therefore they ought also to be so to us; and such persons who serve God by holy living, industrious preaching, and religious dying, ought to have their names preserved in honour, and God be glorified in them, and their holy doctrines and lives published and imitated; and we by so doing give testimony to the article of the communion of saints...
And so today we give thanks to God for the work of Bishop Taylor.

Roberta Bayer
[More information about Bp Taylor and links to his writings can be found at]

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