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can have none; but I speak to individuals from the weakness which I find in myself. Away with personal animosities! Away with all flatteries to the people, in being the sharper against him because he is odious to them! Away with all fears, lest by . sparing his blood they may be incensed Away with all such considerations, as that it is not fit for a Parliament that one accused by it of treason, should escape with life! Let not former vehemence of any against him, nor fear from thence that he cannot be safe while that man lives, be an ingredient in the sentence of any one of us. Of all these corruptives of judgment, Mr. Speaker, I do, before God, discharge myself to the utmost of my power; and do now, with a clear conscience, wash my hands of this man's blood by this solemn protestation, that my vote goes not to the taking of the Earl of Strafford's life.

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JEREMY TAYLOR
1613–1667

Jeremy Taylor was born at Cambridge in 1613. He was educated at Cambridge University, and having taken orders, became a favorite, and to a great extent a follower, of Archbishop Laud, through whose influence he was led to settle at Oxford, and afterwards obtained a fellowship. About 1638 he was presented by Bishop Juxon to the rectory of Uppingham, and having been named chaplain to Charles I, attended him at Oxford, and adhered to his cause through the civil war. For his services the degree of D.D. was, by the King's command, conferred on him. His living was soon afterwards sequestrated, and during the Commonwealth he suffered imprisonment several times. After living for a time in Wales, where, under the protection of the Earl of Carbery, he preached and wrote and kept a school, he removed in 1658 to Ireland. At the Restoration, having obtained the favor of Charles II, he was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor, and made a member of the Irish privy council. About the same time he was chosen vicechancellor of Dublin University. Coleridge pronounced Jeremy Taylor the most eloquent of divines, adding, “Had I said, of men, Cicero would forgive me, and Demosthenes nod assent.” He was accustomed to call him Chrysostom, and counted him one of the four great geniuses of old English literature. But Taylor's gorgeous eloquence did not blind Coleridge to his faults and errors. He believed that his “great and lovely mind" was greatly perverted by the influence of Laud: so that while he was a latitudinarian in his creed, he was “a rigorist indeed concerning the authority of the church.” In naming him as an excellent author to study, he does so not only for the sake of his noble principles, but for the habit of caution and reflection which must be formed to detect his numerous errors.

Taylor's principal works are, his “Discourse of the Liberty of Prophesying,” published in 1647; “Holy Living and Holy Dying,” 1651; a “Life of Christ”; “Deus Justificatus,” the doctrine of which is profoundly criticised by Coleridge in the “Aids to Reflection"; “Discourse of the Nature, Offices, and Measures of Friendship "; and the famous “Ductor Dubitantium, or Rule of Conscience in all her General Measures,” published in 1660, and described by Hallam as the most extensive and learned work on casuistry which has appeared in the English language. In addition to these there are various devotional works, and his wonderful sermons. The works of Jeremy Taylor were edited by Bishop Heber in 1819, with an account of his life. An admirable critical view of his works is given by Hallam in his “Introduction to the Literature of Europe.” This distinguished prelate died at Lisburn in 1667.

In his sermon “The Marriage Ring” he exhibits the great learning, the rich fancy, the powerful imagination, as well as the simplicity and practical advice which have caused his sermons to be held in such high esteem.

THE MARRIAGE RING

PART I

HE first blessing God gave to man was society, and that society was a marriage," and that marriage was confederated by God himself, and hallowed by a blessing; and, at the same time, and for many descending ages, not only by the instinct of nature, but by a superadded forwardness (God himself inspiring the desire), the world was most desirous of children, impatient of barrenness, accounting single life a curse, and a childless person hated by God. The world was rich and empty, and able to provide for a more numerous posterity than it had. You that are rich, Numenius, you may multiply your family; poor men are not so fond of children; but when a family could drive their herds, and set their children on camels, and lead them till they saw a fat soil watered with rivers, and there sit down without paying rent, they thought of nothing but to have great families, that their own relations might swell up to a patriarchate, and their children be enough to possess all the regions that they saw, and their grandchildren become princes, and themselves build cities and call them by the name of a child, and become the fountain of a nation. This was the consequent of the first blessing, “increase and multiply.” The next blessing was the promise of the Messiah, and that also increased in men and women a wonderful desire of marriage; for as soon as God had chosen the family of Abraham to be the blessed line, from whence the world's Redeemer should descend according to the flesh, every one of his daughters hoped to have the honor to be his mother, or his grandmother, or something of his kindred; and to be childless in Israel was a sorrow to the Hebrew women great as the slavery of Egypt, or their dishonors in the land of their captivity. But when the Messiah was come, and the doctrine was published, and His ministers but few, and His disciples were to suffer persecution, and to be of an unsettled dwelling; and the nation of the Jews, in the bosom and society of which the Church especially did well, were to be scattered and broken all in pieces with fierce calamities, and the world was apt to calumniate and to suspect and dishonor Christians on pretences and unreasonable jealousies, and that to all these purposes the state of marriage brought many inconveniences; it pleased God in this new creation to inspire into the hearts of His servants a disposition and strong desires to live a single life, lest the state of marriage should in that conjunction of things become an accidental impediment to the dissemination of the Gospel, which called men from a confinement in their domestic charges to travel, and flight, and poverty, and difficulty, and martyrdom: on this necessity the apostles and apostolical men published doctrines, declaring the advantages of single life, not by any commandment of the Lord, but by the spirit of prudence, “for the present and then incumbent necessities,” and in order to the advantages which did accrue to the public ministries and private piety. “There are some,” said our blessed Lord, “who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven,” that is, for the advantages and the ministry of the Gospel, non ad vitae bonae meritum, as St. Austin in the like case; not that it is a better service of God in itself, but that it is useful to the first circumstances of the Gospel and the infancy of the kingdom, because the unmarried person “is apt to spiritual and ecclesiastical employments”: first àytos, and then äyuałóplevos, “holy in his own person, and then sanctified to public ministries;” and it was also of ease to the Christians themselves, because, as then it was, when they were to flee, and to flee for aught they knew in winter, and they were persecuted to the four winds of heaven; and the nurses and the women with child were to suffer a heavier load of sorrow because of the imminent persecutions; and, above all, because of the great fatality of ruin on the whole nation of the Jews, well it might be said by St. Paul, “such shall have trouble in the flesh,” that is, they that are married shall,

* “This is a 'great mystery, but I speak even as himself, and the wife see that she concerning Christ and the Church. Never- reverence her husband" (Eph. v. 32, 33). theless, let every one of you so love his wife

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