Taylor, Jeremy

Royalist and chaplain to Archbishop Laud and Charles I. He was baptized at Cambridge on 15 August 1613. Having survived the Civil War and Commonwealth, he was made Bishop of Down and Connor in 1661. His polemical hostility to both Roman Catholics and Presbyterians in his diocese contrasted with his earlier advocacy of tolerance in The Liberty of Prophesying (1647). He was a prolific writer.During a period of retirement to Carmarthenshire, he wrote his best known works, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650) and The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651). John Wesley was greatly influenced by these in 1725 and they were the basis on which he remodelled his own spiritual life, including the keeping of diaries to monitor his spiritual progress. Taylor died in Lisburn on 13 August 1667. His continuing influence is seen in Wesley's rejection of the more extreme versions of salvation by faith alone and his insistence on the pursuit of holiness as part of Christian discipleship. His uncompromising defence of episcopacy, on the other hand, and his semi-Pelagian rejection of original sin as inherited guilt (in Unum Necessarium (1655) etc.) would not have been to Wesley's liking.

  • Edmund Gosse, Jeremy Taylor (1904)
  • H. Trevor Hughes, 'Jeremy Taylor and John Wesley', in London Quarterly and Holborn Review, October 1949
  • C.J. Stranks, The Life and Writings of Jeremy Taylor (1952)
  • H. Trevor Hughes, The Piety of Jeremy Taylor (1960)
  • T. Francis Glasson, 'Jeremy Taylor's Place in John Wesley's Life', in WHS Proceedings, 36 pp.105-7
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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