1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Taylor, Nathaniel William
TAYLOR, NATHANIEL WILLIAM (1786–1858), American Congregational theologian, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, on the 23rd of June 1786, grandson of Nathaniel Taylor (1722–1800), pastor at New Milford. He graduated at Yale College in 1807, studied theology under Timothy Dwight, and in 1812 became pastor of the First Church of New Haven. From 1822 until his death in New Haven on the 10th of March 1858 he was Dwight professor of didactic theology at Yale. He was the last notable representative of the New England School, in which his predecessors were the younger Edwards, John Smalley (1734–1820) and Nathaniel Emmons. In the Yale Divinity School his influence was powerful, and in 1833 one of his foremost opponents, Bennet Tyler (1783–1858), founded in East Windsor a Theological Institute to offset Taylor’s teaching at Yale.
Taylorism, sometimes called the “New Haven” theology, was an attempt to defend Calvinism from Arminian attacks, and the defence itself was accused of Arminianism and Pelagianism by A. A. Hodge of Princeton and Leonard Woods of Andover. Taylor’s theology was distinctively infra-lapsarian; it disagreed with Samuel Hopkins and Emmons in rejecting the theory of “divine efficiency “ and in arguing that man can choose the right “even if he won't”;—distinguishing like Edwards between natural ability and moral inability; it distinguished sensibility or susceptibility as something different from will or understanding, without moral qualities, to which the appeal for right choice may be made; and it made self-love (a term borrowed from Dugald Stewart, connoting the innocent love of happiness and distinct from selfishness) the particular feeling appealed to by the influences of the law and gospel.
He wrote Practical Sermons (1858; edited by Noah Porter); Lectures.on the Moral Government of God (2 vols., 1859), and Essays and Lectures upon Select Topics in Revealed Theology (1859), all published posthumously.