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IF this great ornament of our church did not boast of an exalted lineage, he numbered among his forefathers one at least, the worthy ancestor of such a descendant, Dr. Rowland Taylor, chaplain to Cranmer, and rector of Hadleigh, distinguished among the divines of the Reformation for his abilities, learning, and piety, as well as for the courageous cheerfulness with which he suffered death at the stake in the reign of Queen Mary. Jeremy Taylor was the son of a barber, resident in Trinity parish, Cambridge; and was baptized in Trinity church, August 15, 1613. He was "grounded in grammar and mathematics" by his father, and entered as a sizar at Caius College, August 18, 1626. Of his deportment, his studies, even of the honours and emoluments of his academical life, we have no certain knowledge. It is stated by Dr. Rust, in his Funeral Sermon, that Taylor was elected fellow: but this is at least doubtful, for no record of the fact exists in the registers of the college. He proceeded to the degree of M. A. in 1633; and in the same year, though at the early age of twenty, we find him in orders, and officiating as a divinity lecturer in St. Paul's Cathedral, His talents as a preacher attracted the notice of Archbishop Laud, who sent for him to preach at Lambeth, and approved of his performance, but thought him too young. Taylor begged his Grace's pardon for that fault, and promised that, if he lived, he would mend it. By that prelate's interest he was admitted to the degree of M. A. ad eundem, in University College, Oxford, October 20, 1635, and shortly after nominated to a fellowship at All Souls College. It was probably through the interest of the same powerful patron that he obtained the rectory of Uppingham in Rutlandshire, tenable with his fellowship, March 23, 1638. The fellowship, however, he vacated by
his marriage with Phoebe Langsdale, May 27, 1639, who died in little more than three years, leaving two sons.
Taylor attracted notice at Oxford by his talents as a preacher; but he does not seem to have commenced, during this period of ease and tranquillity, any of those great works which have rendered him illustrious as one of the most laborious, eloquent, and persuasive of British divines. The only sermon extant which we can distinctly refer to this period, is one preached by command of the Vice-chancellor on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, 1638. This piece requires notice, because it is connected with a report, circulated both during Taylor's residence at Oxford and afterwards, that he was secretly inclined to Popery. It is even said that he "wished to be confirmed a member of the church of Rome," (Wood, Athenæ Oxon.) but was rejected with scorn in consequence of the things advanced against that church in this sermon. Of this whole statement Bishop Heber, in his Life of Taylor,' has expressed his disbelief; and the arguments on which his opinion is founded appear to us satisfactory. Not even during his peaceable abode at Uppingham do Taylor's great works appear to have been projected, as if his amiable, affectionate, and zealous temper had been fully occupied by domestic cares and pleasures, and by the constant though quiet duties of a quiet duties of a parish priest. The year 1642, as it witnessed the overthrow of his domestic happiness by his wife's death, saw also the beginning of those troubles which cast him out of his church preferment, a homeless man. We do not know the date of the sequestration of his living; but as he joined Charles I. at Oxford in the autumn of the year; published in the same year, by the King's command, his treatise Of the sacred Order and Offices of Episcopacy, &c.;' was created D. D. by royal mandate; appointed chaplain to the King, in which capacity he frequently preached at Oxford, and attended the royal army in the wars; it is probable that he was among the first of those who paid the penalty of adhering to the losing cause. Little is known of this portion of Taylor's history. It appears that he quitted the army, and retired into Wales, where he married, became again involved in the troubles of war, and was taken prisoner at Cardigan, Feb. 4, 1644. We do not know the date of his release, or of his marriage to his second wife, Joanna Bridges, a lady possessed of some landed property at Mandinam, near Golden Grove, in the Vale of Towy, in Carmarthenshire, who was commonly said to be a natural daughter of Charles I., born before his marriage. But Heber conjectures that Taylor's marriage was anterior to his imprisonment, and that his wife's estate was amerced in a heavy fine, in consequence of his being