Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Taylor, Thomas (1576-1633)
TAYLOR, THOMAS (1576–1633), puritan divine, was born in 1576 at Richmond, Yorkshire, where his father, a man of good family, was known as a friend to puritans and silenced ministers in the north. He distinguished himself at Cambridge, became fellow and reader in Hebrew at Christ's College, proceeded B.D. 1628, and was incorporated D.D. at Oxford in 1630 (Foster, Alumni, 1500–1714). He began preaching at twenty-one, and when only about twenty-five delivered a sermon at St. Paul's Cross before Queen Elizabeth. His admirers said he stood 'as a brazen wall against popery.' In a sermon delivered at St. Mary's, Cambridge, in 1608, he denounced Bancroft's severe treatment of puritans, and was silenced by Archbishop Harsnet and threatened with degradation. It was only after much hindrance that he obtained his doctor's degree (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1628-9, p. 127).
Taylor was living at Watford, perhaps as vicar, in 1612, and later removed to Reading, where his brother, Theophilus Taylor, M.A., was pastor of St. Lawrence Church from 1618 to 1640. Here 'a nursery of young preachers ' gathered round him, among them being William Jemmat [q. v.], who afterwards edited his works. On 22 Jan. 1625 Taylor was chosen minister of St. Mary Aldermanbury, London. There he continued zealously preaching until about 1630, when from failing health he retired to Isleworth for country air. He died at Isleworth in January or February 1632–3, and was buried at St. Mary Aldermanbury, Jemmat preaching his funeral sermon. He left a widow. Taylor bestowed on 12 Aug. 1629 a bounty of 15l., to be laid out in coals for the godly poor of Richmond, his birthplace, under the oversight of his brother, Benjamin Taylor (Clarkson, Hist. and Antiquities of Richmond, p. 233).
Taylor was a copious writer. Beside many separate sermons, and others to be found in contemporary collections, he was author of: 1. 'Beauties of Bethel,' London, 1609, 8vo, 2. 'Japhet's First Pvblique Perswasion into Sem's Tents,' Cambridge, 1612, 4to. 3. 'A threefold Alphabet of Christian Practice,' 1618; republished 1688, fol. 4. 'A Commentarie vpon the Epistle of St. Paul to Titus,' Cambridge, 1619, 4to. 5. 'A Mappe of Rome,' five sermons preached on gunpowder treason plot, London, 1620, 4to, translated into French by Jean Jaquemot, as 'La Mappe Romaine,' Geneva, 1623, 8vo; republished with third edition of 6. 'The Parable of the Sower and of the Seed,' London, 1621, 4to; 2nd edit., with engraved frontispiece, 1623, 4to; 3rd edit, (with 'A Mappe of Rome'), 1634, 4to; translated into Dutch by J. Sand, 'Merck Teeckenen van een goet ende eerlick heerte;' 2nd edit., Rotterdam, 1658, 12mo. 7. 'A Man in Christ,' 2nd edit., London, 1629, 12mo, with which is 8. 'Meditations from the Creatures,' 4th edit. 1635, 12mo. 9. 'The Practice of Repentance, laid downe in sundry directions, together with the Helpes, Lets, Signes and Motives,' 2nd edit. 1629, 12mo; 4th 1635. 10. 'Regula Vitae: The Rvle of the Law under the Gospel,' London, 1631; reprinted 1635, 12mo; answered by Robert Towne in 'The Assertion of Grace,' 1644, 8vo. 11. 'The Progresse of Saints to Fvll Holinesse,' London, 1630, 4to; another edit. 1631. 12. 'Circumspect Walking,' London, 1631, 12mo; reprinted London, 1658, 8vo. 13. 'Christ's Victorie over the Dragon, or Satan's Downfall,' London, 1633, 4to. 14. Three treatises: 'The Pearle of the Gospell,' 'The Pilgrim's Profession,' and 'A Glasse for Gentlewomen,' London, 1633, 12mo. 15. 'The Principles of Christian Practice,' 1635, 12mo. 16. 'Christ Revealed,' 1635, 4to; reprinted at the Lady Huntingdon seminary at Trevecca, Wales, 1766, 8vo, at Glasgow 1816, 8vo, and translated into Welsh, Merthyr Tydvil, 1811, 12mo. 17. 'Moses and Aaron, or the Types and Shadows . . . explained,' 1653, 4to, with an introduction by Jemmat, in which he calls Taylor 'The illuminate doctor,' a phrase copied by Fuller and Wood.
Collected editions of Taylor's works, none of them quite complete, were published: (1) with a preface by Edmund Calamy and address by Joseph Caryl, London, 1653, fol.; (2) with a life of the author and portrait, aetatis suae 56, engraved by Cross; underneath are the lines commencing
This Picture represents his face,
This Booke his Soules interior grace,
London, 1658 fol.; (3) 'The Works of the Judicious and Learned Thomas Taylor,' in 3 vols.; only one apparently published, though the others are said to be in the press, London, 1659, fol.
[Fuller's Worthies, 1662, Yorkshire, p. 210; Taylor's Works; Clark's Lives, ii. 125; Coates's Hist. of Reading, pp. 353–6; Mullinger's Hist. of the Univ. of Cambr. pp. 508–9; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, ii. 397; Wood's Athenae Oxon. iii. 1147, and Fasti, i. 457; Newcourt's Rep. Eccles. i. 918; Granger's Biogr. Hist, of England, ii. 178; Evans's Cat. of Engr. Portraits, i. 343.]