Jeremy Taylor.

The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) online

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for if their way be true to-day, it will be so to-morrow ; and
you need not make haste to undo yourself. Sir, I wish you
a settled mind and a holy conscience ; and that I could
serve you in the capacity of

Your very loving Friend and Servant

In our blessed Lord,

Monday, Jan. 11, JER. TAYLOR.




I PERCEIVE that you are very much troubled ; and I see
also that you are in great danger ; but that also troubles
me, because I see they are little things, and very weak and


fallacious, that more you. You propound many things in
your letter in the same disorder, as they are in your
conscience : to all which I can best give answers when I
speak with you ; to which, because you desire, I invite you,
and promise you a hearty endeavour to give you satisfaction
in all your material inquiries. Sir, I desire you to make no
haste to change, in case you be so miserable as to have it in
your thoughts : for to go over to the Church of Rome is like
death, there is no recovery from thence without a miracle ;
because unwary souls (such are they who change from us to
them) are, with all the arts of wit and violence, strangely
entangled and ensured, when they once get the prey. Sir,
I thank you for the paper you enclosed. The men are at a loss,
they would fain say something against that book, but know
not what. Sir, I will endeavour, if you come to me, to
restore you to peace and quiet ; and if I cannot effect it, yet
I will pray for it ; and, I am sure, God can. To his mercy
I commend you : and rest

Your very affectionate Friend
Feb. 1, In our blessed Lord,

1657-8. JER. TAYLOR.



THE first letter which you mention in this latter, of the 10th
of March, I received not; I had not else failed to give you
an answer; I was so wholly unknowing of it, that I did not
understand your servant's meaning when he came to require
an answer. But to your question which you now propound,
I answer.

Quest. Whether, without all danger of superstition or
idolatry, we may not render divine worship to our blessed
Saviour, as present in the blessed sacrament, or host,
according to his human nature in that host ?

Answ. We may not render divine worship to him (as pre-
sent in the blessed sacrament according to his human nature)
without danger of idolatry : because he is not there according
to his human nature, and therefore you give divine worship
to a ' non ens,' which must needs be idolatry. For " Idolum


nihil est in mundo," saith St. Paul ; and Christ as present by
his human nature in the sacrament, is a ' non ens ; ' for it is
not true, there is no such thing. He is present there by his
Divine power, and his Divine blessing, and the fruits of his
body, the real effective consequents of his passion : but for
any other presence, it is ' idoluin,' it is nothing in the world.
Adore Christ in heaven ; for the heavens must contain him
till the time of restitution of all things. And if you in the
reception of the holy sacrament worship him whom you
know to be in heaven ; you cannot be concerned in duty to
worship him in the host (as you call it), any more than to
worship him in the host at Notre Dame when you are at St.
Peter's in Rome : for you see him no more in one place than
in another ; and if to believe him to be there in the host at
Notre Dame be sufficient to cause you to worship him there,
then you are to do so to him at Rome, though you be not
present : for you believe him there ; you know as much of
him by faith in both places, and as little by sense in either.
But however, this is a thing of infinite danger. God is a
jealous God : he spake it in the matter of external worship
and of idolatry : and therefore do nothing that is like wor-
shipping a mere creature, nothing that is like worshipping
that which you are not sure is God : and if you can be-
lieve the bread, when it is blessed by the priest, is God
Almighty, you can, if you please, believe any thing else.

To the other parts of your question, viz. Whether the
same body be present really and substantially, because we
believe it to be there ; or whether do we believe it to be
there because God hath manifestly revealed it to be so, and
therefore we revere and adore it accordingly ?

I answer, 1 . I do not know whether or no you do believe
him to be there really .and substantially. 2. If you do
believe it so, I do not know what you mean by really and
substantially. 3. Whatsoever you do mean by it, if you do
believe it to be there really and substantially in any sense, I
cannot tell why you believe it to be so : you best know your
own reasons and motives of belief; for my part, I believe it
to be there really in the sense I have explicated in my book;
and for those reasons which I have there alleged ; but that
we are to adore it upon that account, I no way understand.
If it be transubstantiated, and you are sure of it, then you


may pray to it, and put your trust in it ; and believe the holy
bread to be coeternal with the Father, and with the Holy
Ghost. But it is strange, that the bread, being consecrated
by the power of the Holy Ghost, should be turned into the
substance and nature of God, and of the Son of God : if so,
does not the Son at that time proceed from the Holy Ghost,
and not the Holy Ghost from the Son? Bat I am ashamed
of the horrible proposition. Sir, I pray God keep you from
these extremest dangers. I love and value you, and will pray
for you, and be, dear Sir,

Your very affectionate Friend to serve you,

March 13,






aytti fA.i<rt vritTlvvwrH.

Acts, ix. 1.







IT is not any confidence that I have dexterously per-
formed this charge, that gives me the boldness to pre-
sent it to your Grace, I have done it as well as I could ;
and for the rest, my obedience will bear me out : for I
took not this task upon myself, but was entreated to
it by them who have power to command me. But
yet it is very necessary that it should be addressed
to your Grace, who are, as Sozomen said of Theo-
dosius, " certaminum magister, et orationum judex
constitutus ; You are appointed the great master of
our arguings, and are most fit to be the judge of our
discourses ;" especially when they do relate and pre-


tend to public influence and advantages to the Church.
We all are witnesses of your zeal to promote true re-
ligion, and every day find you to be a great patron
to this very poor Church, which groans under the


calamities and permanent effects of a war acted by
intervals for above four hundred years ; such which
the intermedial sunshines of peace could but very
weakly repair. Our churches are still demolished,
much of the revenues irrecoverably swallowed by sa-
crilege, and digested by an unavoidable impunity ; re-
ligion infinitely divided, and parted into formidable
sects ; the people extremely ignorant, and wilful by
inheritance; superstitiously irreligious, and inca-
pable of reproof. And amidst these and very many
more inconveniences, it was greatly necessary that
God should send us such a king, and he send us such
a viceroy, who weds the interests of religion, and
joins them to his heart.

For we do not look upon your Grace only as a
favourer of the Church's temporal interest, though
even for that the souls of the relieved clergy do
daily bless you ; neither are you our patron only as
the Cretans were to Homer, or the Alenadse to Si-
monides, Philip to Theopompus, or Severus to Op-
pianus ; but as Constantine and Theodosius were to
Christians ; that is, desirous that true religion should
be promoted, that the interest of souls should be ad-
vanced, that truth should flourish, and wise princi-
ples should be entertained, as the best cure against
those evils which this nation hath too often brought
upon themselves. In order to which excellent pur-
poses it is hoped, that the reduction of the holy rite
of confirmation into use and holy practice may


contribute some very great moments. For besides that
the great usefulness of this ministry will greatly en-
dear the episcopal order, to which (that I may use
St. Jerome's words) if "there be not attributed a more
than common power and authority, there will be as
many schisms as priests ;" it will also be a means of
endearing the persons of the prelates to their flocks,
when the people shall be convinced that there is, or
may be, if they please, a perpetual intercourse of
blessings and love between them ; when God by
their holy hands refuses not to give to the people the
earnest of an eternal inheritance, when by them he
blesses ; and that the grace of our Lord Jesus, and
the love of God, and the communication of his Spi-
rit, is conveyed to all persons capable of the grace,
by the conduct, and on the hands and prayers of
their bishops.

And indeed not only very many single persons,
but even the whole Church of Ireland, hath need of
confirmation. We have most of us contended for
false religions and unchristian propositions : and
now that, by God's mercy and the prosperity and
piety of his sacred Majesty, the Church is broken
from her cloud, and many are reduced to the true
religion and righteous worship of God, we cannot but
call to mind, how the holy fathers of the Primitive
Church often have declared themselves in councils,
and by a perpetual discipline, that such persons who
are returned from sects and heresies into the bosom


of the Church should not be rebaptized, but that the
bishops should impose hands on them in confirma-
tion. It is true, that this was designed to supply
the defect of those schismatical conventicles, who did
not use this holy rite ; for this rite of confirmation
hath had the fate to be opposed only by the schis-
matical and puritan parties of old, the Novatians or
Cathari, and the Donatists ; and of late by the
Jesuits, and new Cathari, the Puritans and Presbyte-
rians ; the same evil spirit of contradiction keeping
its course in the same channel, and descending regu-
larly amongst men of the same principles. But
therefore in the restitution of a man, or company of
men, or a Church, the holy primitives, in the Councils
of Constantinople, Laodicea, and Orange, thought
that to confirm such persons was the most agreeable
discipline ; not only because such persons did not
in their little and dark assemblies use this rite, but
because they always greatly wanted it. For it is a
sure rule in our religion, and is of an eternal truth,
that " they who keep not the unity of the Church, have
not the Spirit of God ;" and therefore it is most fit,
should receive the ministry of the Spirit, when they
return to the bosom of the Church, that so indeed
they may " keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace." And therefore Asterius, bishop of Amasia,
compares confirmation to the ring, with which the
father of the prodigal adorned his returning son :
"Datur neinpe prodigo post stolam et annulus,


nempe symbolum intelligibile signaculi Spiritus."
And as the Spirit of God, the holy dove, extended
his mighty wings over the creation, and hatched the
new-born world, from its seminal powers, to light
and operation, and life and motion ; so in the rege-
neration of the souls of men, he gives a new being,
and heat and life, and procedure and perfection, wis-
dom and strength : and because that this was minis-
tered by the bishops' hands in confirmation, was so
firmly believed by all the Primitive Church, therefore
it became a law, and a universal practice in all those
ages, in which men desired to be saved by all means.
The Latin Church and the Greek always did use it ;
and the blessings of it, which they believed conse-
quent to it, they expressed in a holy prayer, which
in the Greek 'Euchologion' they have very anciently
and constantly used : " Thou, O Lord, the most
compassionate and great King of all, graciously im-
part to this person the seal of the gift of thy holy,
almighty, and adorable Spirit." 3 For, as an ancient
Greek said truly and wisely, " The Father is recon-
ciled, and the Son is the reconciler ; but to them who
are by baptism and repentance made friends of God,
the Holy Spirit is collated as a gift." b They well knew
what they received in this ministration, and there-
fore wisely laid hold of it, and would not let it go.

1 Avres 3t<r3-aT, >ra^\iu, (Sfr^xy^vi, %ag!ffKi alru xxi T^V ftffxyi^a <rn;
auo'.a.; fov ayiou, xai rairaouvtiftov, xai faoffxwnTov ffeu Tlnvfuzro;.

b 'O pin Tlarrio 3/>iAXa*ra<, i II Tio; SiAA.s, TO 31 Unvfta. r Zym $'i).ois tf^n


This was anciently ministered by apostles, and
ever after by the bishops, and religiously received by
kings and greatest princes ; and I have read that
St. Sylvester confirmed Constantine the emperor :
and when they made their children servants of the
holy Jesus, and soldiers under his banner, and bonds-
men of his 'institution, then they sent them to the
bishop to be confirmed ; who did it sometimes by such
ceremonies, that the solemnity of the ministry might
with greatest religion addict them to the service of
their great Lord. We read in Adrovaldus, that
Charles Martel, entering into a league with Bishop
Luitprandus, sent his son Pepin to him, " ut, more
Christianorum fidelium, capillum ejus primus atton-
deret, ac Pater illi Spirituals existeret ; that he
might, after the manner of Christians, first cut his
hair" (in token of service to Christ), " and" in con-
firming him " he should be his spiritual father." And
something like this we find concerning William, earl
of Warren and Surrey, who, when he had dedi-
cated the Church of St. Pancratius and the priory of
Lewes, received confirmation, and gave seizure " Per
capillos capitis mei" (says he in the charter) " et fratris
mei Radulphi de Warrena, quos abscidit cum cultello
de capitibus nostris Henricus, episcopus Wintonien-
sis ; By the hairs of my head and of my brother's,
which Henry, bishop of Winchester, cut off before the
altar :" meaning (according to the ancient custom) in

e De Miraculia S. Benedict, lib. i. c. 1, 14.


confirmation, when they by that solemnity addicted
themselves to the free servitude of the Lord Jesus.
The ceremony is obsolete and changed, but the mys-
tery can never. And indeed that is one of the ad-
vantages in which we can rejoice concerning the mi-
nistration of this rite in the Church of England and
Ireland ; that whereas it was sometimes clouded,
sometimes hindered, and sometimes hurt, by the
appendage of needless and useless ceremonies ; it is
now reduced to the primitive and first simplicity
amongst us, and the excrescences used in the Church
of Rome are wholly pared away, and by holy prayers
and the apostolical ceremony of imposition of the bi-
shop's hands, it is worthily and zealously administered.
The Latins used to send chrism to the Greeks, when
they had usurped some jurisdiction over them, and
the pope's chaplains went with a quantity of it to
Constantinople, where the Russians usually met them
for it ; for that was then the ceremony of this minis-
tration ; but when the Latins demanded fourscore
pounds of gold besides other gifts, they went away and
changed their custom rather than pay an unlawful
and ungodly tribute. " Non quaerimus vestra, sed
vos;" we require nothing but leave to impart God's
blessings with pure intentions and a spiritual
ministry. And as the bishops of our churches
receive nothing from the people for the ministration
of this rite, so they desire nothing but love and just
obedience in spiritual and ecclesiastical duties; and


we offer our flocks spiritual things without mixture
of temporal advantages from them ; we minister the
rituals of the Gospel without the inventions of men,
religion without superstition, and only desire to be
believed in such things, which we prove from Scrip-
ture expounded by the catholic practice of the Church
of God.

Concerning the subject of this discourse, " the
Rite of Confirmation ;" it were easy to recount many
great and glorious expressions which we find in the
sermons of the holy fathers of the primitive ages ;
so certain it is, that in this thing we ought to be zeal-
ous, as being desirous to persuade our people to give
us leave to do them great good. But the following
pages will do it, I hope, competently : only we shall
remark, that when they had gotten a custom an-
ciently, that in cases of necessity they did permit
deacons and laymen sometimes to baptize, yet they
never did confide in it much ; but with much caution
and curiosity commanded that such persons should,
when that necessity was over, be carried to the
bishop to be confirmed, so to supply all precedent
defects relating to the past imperfect ministry, and
future necessity and danger ; as appears in the
Council of Eliberis. And the ancients had so great
estimate and veneration to this holy rite, that as in
heraldry they distinguish the same thing by several
names, when they relate to persons of great emi-
nence, and they blazon the arms of the gentry by


metals, of the nobility by precious stones, but of kings
and princes by planets : so when they would signify
the unction which was used in confirmation, they
gave it a special word, and of more distinction and
remark ; and therefore the oil used in baptism they
called eXawv, but that of confirmation was pvgov *a;
Xf/ff/^a ; and they who spake properly, kept this differ-
ence of words, until, by incaution and ignorant care-
lessness, the names fell into confusion, and the thing
into disuse and disrespect. But it is no small addi-
tion to the honour of this ministration, that some
wise and good men have piously believed, that when
baptized Christians are confirmed, and solemnly
blessed by the bishop, that then it is that a special
angel-guardian is appointed to keep their souls from
the assaults of the spirits of darkness. Concerning
which, though I shall not interpose mine own opin-
ion, yet this I say, that the piety of that supposition
is not disagreeable to the intention of this rite: for
since by this the Holy Spirit of God (the Father of
spirits) is given, it is not unreasonably thought by
them, that the other good spirits of God, the angels,
who are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister
to the good of them that shall be heirs of salvation,"
should pay their kind offices in subordination to their
prince and fountain ; that the first in every kind
might be the measure of all the rest. But there are
greater and stranger things than this that God does



for the souls of his servants, and for the honour of
the ministries which himself hath appointed.

We shall only add that this was ancient, and long
before popery entered into the world, and that this
rite has been more abused by popery than by any
thing : and to this day the bigots of the Roman
Church are the greatest enemies to it ; and from them
the presbyterians. But besides that the Church of
England and Ireland does religiously retain it, and
hath appointed a solemn officer for the ministry,
the Lutheran and Bohemian Churches do observe it
carefully, and it is recommended and established in
the harmony of the protestant confessions.

And now, may it please your Grace to give me
leave to implore your aid and countenance for the
propagating this so religious and useful a ministry,
which, as it is a peculiar of the bishop's office, is also
a great enlarger of God's gifts to the people. It is a
great instrument of union of hearts, and will prove
an effective deletory to schism, and an endearment
to the other parts of religion ; it is the consumma-
tion of baptism, and a preparation to the Lord's sup-
per : it is the virtue from on high, and the solemnity
of our spiritual adoption. But there will be no need
to use many arguments to inflame your zeal in this
affair, when your Grace shall find, that to promote it
will be a great service to God : for this alone will
conclude your Grace, who are so ready, by laws and


executions, by word and by example, to promote
the religion of Christ, as it is taught in these churches.
I am not confident enough to desire your Grace, for
the reading this discourse, to lay aside any one hour
of your greater employments, which consume so
much of your days and nights : but I say that the
subject is greatly worthy of consideration : " Nihil
enim inter manus habui, cui majorem sollicitudinem
praestare deberem." And for the book itself, I can
only say what Secundus did to the wise Lupercus,
" Quoties ad fastidium legentium deliciasque respi-
cio, intelligo nobis commendationem ex ipsa medio-
critate libri petendam:" d I can commend it because
it is little, and so not very troublesome. And if it
could have been written according to the worthiness
of the thing treated in it, it would deserve so great
a patronage : but because it is not, it will therefore
greatly need it ; but it can hope for it on no other
account, but because it is laid at the feet of a princely
person, who is great and good, and one who not only
is bound by duty, but by choice hath obliged himself
to do advantages to any worthy instrument of
religion. But I have detained your Grace so long
in my address, that your pardon will be all the
favour which ought to be hoped for by

Your Grace's most humble

And obliged Servant,


' Lib ii. ep. 5, 4. Gierig. vol. i. p. 124.




NEXT to the incarnation of the Son of God, and the whole
economy of our redemption wrought by him in an admirable
order and conjugation of glorious mercies, the greatest thing
that ever God did to the world, is the giving to us the Holy
Ghost : and possibly this is the consummation and perfec-
tion of the other. For in the work of redemption Christ
indeed made a new world ; we are w r holly a new creation,
and we must be so : and therefore when St. John began the
narrative of the Gospel, he began in a manner and style very
like to Moses in his history of the first creation ; " In the
beginning was the Word," &c. " All things were made by
him ; and without him, was not any thing made, that was
made." But as in the creation the matter was first (there
were indeed heavens, and earth, and waters ; but all this
was rude and ' without form,' till the ' Spirit of God moved
upon the face of the waters'), so it is in the new creation.
We are a new mass, redeemed Avith the blood of Christ, res-
cued from an evil portion, and made candidates of heaven
and immortality ; but we are but an embryo in the regene-
ration, until the Spirit of God enlivens us and moves again
upon the waters : and then every subsequent motion and
operation is from the Spirit of God. " We cannot say that
Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." By him we live,
in him we walk, by his aids we pray, by his emotions we
desire : we breathe, and sigh, and groan, by him : he ' helps
us in all our infirmities/ and he gives us all our strengths ;


he reveals mysteries to us, and teaches us all our duties ; he
stirs us up to holy desires, and he actuates those desires ; he
' makes us to will and to do of his good pleasure.'

For the Spirit of God is that in our spiritual life, that a
man's soul is in his natural : without it, we are but a dead
and lifeless trunk. But then, as a man's soul, in proportion
to the several operations of life, obtains several appellatives
(it is vegetative and nutritive, sensitive and intellective,
according as it operates) ; so is the Spirit of God. He is the
Spirit of regeneration in baptism, of renovation in repent-
ance ; the Spirit of love, and the Spirit of holy fear ; the
Searcher of the hearts, and the Spirit of wisdom, and the
Spirit of prayer. In one mystery he illuminates, and in
another he feeds us : he begins in one, and finishes and

Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 22 of 50)