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FORMERLY MINISTER AT CARTER LANE, LONDON, AND THE LAST SURVIVING PUPIL OF THE REV. DR. DODDRIDGE.
THE following Memoir of the late Rev. Thomas Tayler was subjoined to a sermon preached by Dr. Winter, at New Court, Carey Street, on November 6, 1831. Mr. Tayler had expressly appointed, that the address at the funeral should be delivered by Dr. Winter, and that the funeral sermon should be preached at Peckham, by Dr. Collyer. The former solemnity took place at Bunhill Fields, on the 1st of November; the latter, which was attended by the family, and many of the friends of the venerable deceased, on the ensuing Lord's Day, November 6th. The text chosen by the deceased was Colossians i. 27. "Christ in you the hope of glory." Dr. Winter preached at the same time on the same interesting passage, and having briefly illustrated the leading sentiments which it conveys, proceeded as follows:
A few particulars, however, were, for want of time, omitted in the delivery, which are inserted in the subsequent account.
I MUST now call your attention to some particulars relative to my departed aged friend, the REV. THOMAS TAYLER, whose remains were consigned to the tomb last Tuesday, and of whom it might be truly said, that "Christ was in him the hope of glory."
It was the honour of Mr. Tayler, to have lineally descended from one of that noble army of confessors, the Two Thousand Ministers, who, in the year 1662, sacrificed not only their worldly emoluments, but their prospects of ministerial usefulness at the shrine of faith, and a good conscience, by refusing to comply
VOL. XV. N. S. No. 85.
with a cruel Act of Parliament, which enjoined terms of conformity to the national church, to which they could not accede. Mr. Tayler's ancestor, to whom I have alluded, was the REV. RICHARD SERJEANT. He was for some time assistant to the REV. RICHARD BAXTER, at Kidderminster. Of this worthy man Mr. Baxter gives this character: "He was a man of such extraordinary prudence, humility, sincerity, selfdenial, patience, and blamelessness of life, that I know not, of all the years he assisted me, any one person that was against him, or ever accused him of saying or doing
any thing amiss." The editor of the Nonconformists' Memorial, the late Rev. Samuel Palmer, of Hackney, adds to this account, which is extracted from the Life of Baxter: "Mr. Thos. Tayler is his great grandson, and inherits his distinguishing virtues."
The place of Mr. Tayler's birth was a village in the vicinity of Kidderminster, where he first breathed the breath of life on the 5th day of September, O. S. 1735. He was deprived of his father, when he was too young to be sensible of his loss.*
The extent of that loss may be apprehended by the following particulars respecting his estimable parent, extracted from Mr. Hanbury's edition of Joseph Williams's Diary, pp. 126–128.
"Lord's-day, July 2, 1738. It hath pleased the All-wise, the sovereign Disposer, and Lord of all, this morning to call away in the midst of his days and usefulness, my dear friend, Mr. Joseph Tayler, of Whitelcnch, a wise and a good man. About a fortnight since he chanced, as we commonly express it, to push one of the points of a table-fork into his thumb, but not very deeply, so that he did not think it needful to take any notice of it till the next day, when he found it painful, and such was its progress, that this morning he took his flight hence to keep an eternal sabbath.
Now, O my soul, what use, what improvement shall I make of this awful, this surprising, this mournful Providence? This is our sacrament-day; at the ordinance I have often admired, and been affected with his serious, yet lively deportment; and, how much clearer than mine, are the views he now hath of the mysteries of redeeming love! We have often taken sweet counsel together, and spent many an hour in pleasant conversation. I have lost a dear associate; a delightful and profitable companion; one that had a clear penetrating head, and could assist me in searching out truth. One to whom I could freely open my mind, and from whom I have often received light and instruction: one who loved me, and was often inviting me to his house. Oh! what sights has he had this day. I am ready to wish that my soul were in his soul's stead. O my soul! keep thine end steadfastly in thine eye;
not return to me.
July 9. This day Mr. Bradshaw preached Mr. Tayler's funeral-sermon, from-Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord,' toward the close of which he drew his character in the following words: 'He set out in the ways of God betimes, and persevered therein to the end of his life. He had a deep sense of religion on his mind, which had an influence on his conduct; he had an excellent natural capacity, which he greatly improved by much reading and close thinking;-he had a large compass of knowledge, a quickness of apprehension and solidity of judgment, which made him capable of great usefulness;-and as he was well-furnished, so he was ready to do the kindest offices, and serve the interests of those about him;-he was a lover of good men, and valued all whom he had reason to believe loved our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.'
"This, I believe to be his true character. How blessed then is his memory; but how extensive the loss of such a useful valuable man! I may add of my own observation, that he was not dogmatical, but always open to conviction. Though an able disputant, yet when a tenet which he had espoused and defended, has been refuted by a train of clear, strong arguments, he has not only felt the force thereof, but in my hearing has frankly given it up, with this ingenuous acknowledgment- I cannot resist the force of such reasoning,' which I thought as much redounded to his praise, as did the victory to that of his antagonist. I have not duly improved the conversation of this valuable friend; may I now improve his loss, by mortifying my affections to all things here below; and employing the faculties and capacity God has given me, in useful service, to the utmost of my power, now while time and opportunity last, and by following him so far as he followed Christ."
lent Mr. Fawcett, the minister of He removed with the institution the only dissenting congregation to Daventry. Of these distant then in Kidderminster, and well days, since which fourscore sumknown as the editor of the abridge. mers have illuminated successive ment of Baxter's Saints' Rest." generations, we know very little. Mr. Fawcett had been a pupil of Dr. It is a strong proof, however, of Doddridge, and possessed much the literary attainments of the puof the spirit of his Tutor. When, pil, and of the approbation which therefore, his young friend evinced he met from Dr. Ashworth, and a desire for the ministry, it is not the managers of the institution, surprising that Dr. Doddridge's that when he had finished his usual academy was immediately recom- course of five or six years study, mended. Thither he went in the he was appointed assistant tutor. year 1750, and in the fifteenth year of his age, Dr. Doddridge received him with great cordiality, and it is well-known, regarded him as a youth of promising abilities, and of decided piety.* A few months, however, in the early part of that year, were all the time which Providence permitted him, to be associated with his revered and beloved tutor.
The rapid illness of that great and good man leading to his removal to Lisbon, in the hope that a warmer climate might accelerate the return of health, but followed by his lamented decease, put a period to the expectations which Mr. Tayler naturally formed, of extended benefit arising from his valuable instructions. The academy was, after a short time, removed from Northampton to Daventry, and was placed under the care of the Rev. Dr. Ashworth. The death of Dr. Doddridge placed no insurmountable obstacle in the way of Mr. Tayler's education.
* Dr. Doddridge, writing to Mr Fawcett, Sept. 13, 1750 says, "I bless God dear Mr. Tayler goes on excellently well, he has more prudence than many ministers; and improves his time and opportunities, so that I have very high expectations from him." Doddridge's Correspondence, &c. vol. v. p. 183. Mr. Tayler accompanied his beloved tutor to Bewdley, Worcestershire, July 18, 1751, when he performed his last public service at the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Adams.
No great length of time had intervened before he was invited to a station which, to a young minister desirous of attending still further to the cultivation of his own mind, as well as of occasional opportunities of usefulness in the sanctuary, must have had many attractions.-It was the office of domestic chaplain in the family of Mrs. Abney, of Stoke Newington. To his devout mind, it was no doubt a powerful recommendation of this station, that it had been occupied during a long course of years by Dr. WATTS, who died in 1748. It was, after the lapse, Į suppose, of ten or twelve years, that Mr. Tayler succeeded him. Sir Thomas and Lady Abney had long been removed to a better world, as had two of their daughters. The only survivor was Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, who, in the family mansion at Newington, continued to live after the manner of a former age, and steadily adhered to the worship of the Lord God of her fathers. The stated services to which Mr. Tayler was called, were the performance of family worship twice every day, and more extended devotional exercises on the Lord's-day evening. He occasionally preached for his brethren of different denominations in and about London, and was always esteemed for the spiritual savour which attended his ministrations.
In May 1766 he was elected assistant minister at Carter Lane. On the death of the Rev. Edward Pickard he was, in March 1778, chosen to succeed him as pastor, and was ordained to that office; an office which he filled with honour to himself, and with usefulness to his people, until May 1811, when he resigned the pastoral charge. He was the last survivor of the preachers of the Merchant's Tuesday lecture at Salters' Hall, and one only remains of those who had been united with him in a Wednesday evening lecture at the same place.
His connexion with the Carter Lane congregation introduced him to the Presbyterian Fund, of which he had been a manager for more than fifty years. He had also, for a very long course of time, been a trustee of the large property bequeathed by the late Dr. DANIEL WILLIAMS, for purposes of charity. In both these societies he laboured stedfastly, and with no small success, to promote the interests of pure and undefiled religion. But he was more signally useful as one of the trustees of the extended bequests of the late Mr. COWARD, of Walthamstow, which office he had held for a term at least as long as the foregoing. In this capacity, it ought to be generally known, that through the efforts of Mr. Tayler, the institution acquired a decidedly evangelical character, in conformity to the well known religious sentiments of the founder. This has been eminently the case with respect both to the ministers whom he was instrumental in introducing into the trust, and to the tutors who have been placed at the head of the college at Wymondley, which is principally supported by the munificence of the late Mr. Coward. It likewise gave
speakable pleasure to our venerated friend, to witness the settlement of several respectable and useful young ministers in some of the first dissenting congregations in London and the country, who had received not only considerable literary advantages, but higher qualifications for a truly evangelical ministry in that valuable seminary.
From almost the commencement of the Orphan Working School in the City Road, Mr. Tayler was one of its most active supporters, in which he followed his predecessor at Carter Lane, the Rev. Edward Pickard, who was its original founder. He was likewise warmly attached to the society established nearly a hundred years ago, for the Relief of the Widows and Orphans of Protestant Dissenting Ministers. He was a friend and supporter for the long term of seventy years, of that highly important institution for the promotion of Religious Knowledge among the poor, founded, among others, by Dr. Doddridge. The Protestant Dissenting School, lately removed in consequence of a fire, from Bartholomew Close to Jewin Crescent, enrolled him among its constant supporters. Another institution, of more recent date, owes its existence, under Providence, to the considerate and sympathizing kindness of Mr. Tayler; that which has for its object the Relief of aged and infirm Dissenting Ministers, who, by either temporary or permanent affliction, are obliged to secede from their work. He lived to witness the increasing prosperity of this plan of enlightened benevolence, which is, however, deserving of much more extended support than it has hitherto received.
To this enumeration I must add the readiness with which he entered into several modern plans of pro