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THE

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE

AND

MISSIONARY CHRONICLE.

FEBRUARY, 1826.

MEMOIR OF THE LATE MISS JANE TAYLOR,

OF ONGAR, IN ESSEX,

This truly pious and enainestly gifted tinghana) that Jane was always the lady was born in London, Septem; saucy, lively, entertaining little

thing ber 23, 1783. She was the second--the amusement and the favourite daughter of the Rev. I. Taylor, Pas- of all who knew her. Her plays, tor of the Independent Church at from the earliest that I can recollect, Ongar, in Essex. Her early infancy were deeply imaginative, But was marked by considerable delicacy think I may say that the retiring of constitution, which rendered the character of her mind -a morbid prospect of life very precarious dur sensibility towards things and perthe three first

years

of her ex- šons without, as well as much re istence. The removal, however, of fined feeling, operated to prevent a her parents from the confinement of due estimate being formed of her taa great metropolis to the pure air of lents. I need not tell you, that they Lavenham, in Suffolk, was the means were never made a shew of to any of completely establishing her health, body.” Put, though her education and sparing, at least for a season, a was not conducted upon the mistaken life of unusual promise. Country principle of display, she was exposed, scenes, and country occupations when but a child, to a measure of seemed, in a high degree, congenial flattery, from injudicious friends, to the mind of this remarkable child. which, to a mind less characterized Accustomed, for more than three by intellectual and moral strength, years, to the restraints peculiar to a must have proved, in the highest deresidence in London, her retirement gree, pernicious. Her native and into the country was associated with habitual diffidence, however, never a degree of pleasure which her whole forsook her; so that with truth it infantile pursuits most significantly may be said, that a playful innocence expressed.

and simplicity of character shed an Even at the tender age of four the imperishable lustre upon the openlively fancy and intellectual supe- ings of her genius, and rendered the riority of Jane Taylor began toevince watchful fears of parental solicitudo themselves. “I can remember," says comparatively unnecessary. her sister, (now Mrs. Gilbert of Not- Much, doubtless, of the early and

VOL. I.

subsequent proficiency of Jane Tay- more specious than it is at present. lor, must be traced to the judicious For within this period the course of education which she received from controversy has deprived its profesher excellent parents, who instructed sors of an advantage—so important to her under their own roof, and taught the success of infidel insinuationsher not only to obey them as parents, that of having itself no defined or but also to confide in them as friends. avowed principles to defend.” This The conduct of Mrs. Taylor, as a interesting female had learned to mother, is beyond all praise ; and it boast of having vanquished the "eris needless to state, that the cha- rors of her education,” and in the racter of a daughter must be prodi- eagerness of thinking for herself, had giously influenced by the habits and trained herself to look with great intercourses of a mother.

contempt upon all her early religious One delightful trait in the youth- opinions. Her health became so inful history of Jane Taylor was the different as to render a removal to warmth and stability of her friend- Devonshire highly expedient. Never, ships. W1

she was but ten years however, was she permitted to reach of age,

she wrote a most tender little it. Her disorder advanced with such poem, expressive of her pungent rapidity, that she was compelled to

grief at parting with a friend, who stop at an inn by the way, from left this country for New England. which she was never removed till When she had reached her thirteenth after death. Happily she was taught, year, her father received an invita- in her last days, to mourn, and to tion to become the Pastor of an In- renounce the awful errors by which dependent congregation at Colches- she had been bewildered ;-and her ter, which, after due deliberation, he dying words were—“My hope is in deemed it his duty to accept. In Christ,-in Christ crucified and I this new sphere, having recovered would not give up that hope for all from a long indisposition, he ad- the world.” dressed himself, with renewed vigor, The constant aim of Miss Taylor's to the education of his children, and parents was to impress the minds of here it was that Jane Taylor formed their children with the powers of the some of the choicest friendships of her world to come; and there is reason existence-friendships which nothing to believe, notwithstanding her timid but the grave could interrupt. Of and distrustful disposition, that at a one of the objects of these early friend- very early period she was brought ships, the biographer of Miss Taylor to the saving knowledge of the truth. thus writes : “ Those who may

still “ Her imagination,” says her broremember Mira S. will allow that they ther, “susceptible as it was in the have rarely seen united so much in- highest degree to impressions of fear, telligence and sweetness of disposi- rendered her liable, at times, to those tion, and loveliness of manners and deep and painful emotions which beperson. Her charm was that of long to a conscience that is enlightblended dignity and gentleness.” ened, but not fully pacified. Ånd This interesting lady and her sisters these feelings when blended with the were cut off by fell disease, in the pensiveness of her tender heart, gave course of a few years; and the death a character of mournfulness and disof one of them, in particular, from the tress to her religious feelings during interest attaching to it, left a powerful several years. Some unfinished verses, impression on the mind of MissTaylor. written about this time, were eviShe had become the victim of Socinian- dently composed under the influence ism, which “only twenty years ago,” of feelings too strong to allow the as Mr. Taylor observes,“ was much exercise of her poetic talents,"

6 Her eye,”

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66

The following extracts from letters T. led her to cherish an ardent love written about this time, will shew of science in general, and of astrohow much personal religion was an nomy in particular. object of her devout concern: says

her brother,

was never indif. “Oh it is hard fighting in our own strength She describes her own 'feelings in

ferent to the revolutions of night.” against the evil bias of the heart, and external enemies. Their united forces are, I saying, am daily more convinced, far too much for any thing but grace to overcome. No good

“ I used to roam and revel 'mid the stars. resolutions, no efforts of reason, no desire to please, can alone succeed:- they may

When in my attic, with untold delight varnish the character; but, O! how insuffi

I watch'd the changing splendours of the cient are such motives for the trying occa- night." sions of common life. I would shine most at home; yet I would not be good for the But it ought to be recorded, to the sake of shining; but for its own sake : and honour of the deceased, that the when thus I trace the subject to its princi.

growth of her intellectual character ples, I find a change heart can alone effect what I desire: that new heart and

was associated with no relaxation of right spirit,” which is the gift of God.”... those minutely domestic habits which Memoirs, vol, i. p. 41.

she acquired under the judicious inOn a subsequent occasion she struetion of her invaluable mother. writes in the following terms to the

She dreaded nothing more than to same friend :

acquire the reputation of a merely

literary lady,”—a phrase which '" I am grieved, my dear E., to hear from too generally imports a high conyou so melancholy an account of the state of tempt for the common and unostencounsellor; or rather, I wish you would tatious, but at the same time maovercome your feelings, and apply to those mentous, duties of life. whose consolations and advice might be Of her manifold attainments she useful to you. I can sincerely sympathize

was happily, never puffed up. In a with you in all your griefs. I rejoice in having obtained your confidence; and I can

letter to her mother she says: not make a better use of it than to urge you /

“ If, in comparison with some of my to seek some abler adviser. I speak from experience when I say, how much benefit friends, others of them may appear less you might derive from an open communica

pleasing, or less intelligent, believe me,

wlienever I compare any with myself, the tion of your feelings to your dear mother. Well do I know how difficult it is; yet the

result is always humiliating. My dear mogood to be gained is worthy the effort. You

ther, do me the justice to believe that, at say she is so total a stranger to your feel

whatever crevice my vanity may endeavour ings, that she even supposes you to be an

to creep out, it will ever fly from the liteenemy to religious principles. If then you

rary corner of my character. I am not inconsider the pleasure it would afford her to

different to the opinion of any one ; though find you seriously inquiring on such subjects, I

I never expect to acquire the philosophie se. think you will feel it to be an additional argu

renity which shall enable me to regard the ment for the disclosure. Two or three years

whole circle of my acquaintance with the ago, my mind was in a state of extreme depres

same glow of affection, or smile of complasion :---for months I had been conflicting

cency." ---Memoirs, p. 55. with the most distressing fear, and longing to disburden myself to my father: at last I

Miss T.'s relative character, as a could no longer support myself, and break- child, a sister, and a friend, was of ing through, what I had thought insurmount

the most engaging description. At able difficulties, I opened my mind to him completely. It was a struggle; but the im

all times obliging and affectionate, mediate relief I experienced fully repaid me;

in seasons of sickness she put forth and the unspeakable benefit I have derived the whole energy of her sympathies, from the conversations I have sinee, from and often became a sufferer herself, time to time, held with bim, encourages me to pursue,"... -Memoirs, vol. i. p. 41.

by what she endured on behalf of

others. The education and tastes of Miss The first production of Miss T.'y

up :--

pen, which was given to the public, rest. The companions of my gouth are po appeared in the Minor's Pocket more:---our own domestic circle is breaking

---time seems every day to fly with inBook, for the year 1804, under the

creased rapidity; and must I not say, the title “ The Beggar Boy;" and no world recedes ?! Under these impressions, one who marked the pathos, simpli- I would seek consolation where only I know city, and sprightliness, of this ju- and eternity the home of my thoughts, to venile effort, could fail to predict the which, though they must often wander abroad future celebrity of its amiable au- on other concerns, they may regularly re. thor. The publication of “ Original turn, and find their best entertainment. But Poems, to which she had largely in these most interesting conteinplations;

and contributed; of “ Rhymes for the

Rhymes for the doubtless, the enjoyments arising from them Nursery;" (some of which were

belong rather to the advanced Christian, than written by Mrs. Gilbert,) of “ The to the doubting, wandering beginner. I am Associate Minstrels;" (in which she

afraid I feel practically, rather than piously, wrote the “Remonstrance to Time, in vain conjectures on the employments and

on these subjects; and wbile I am indulging 'and The Birth-day Retrospect;) enjoyments of a future state, I must enty of “Hymns for Infant Minds;"s of the humble Christian who, with juster views, *Display;" of “Essays in Rhyme;" and better claims, is longing to depart and

be with Christ. Nor would I mistake a and, finally, of " Contributions to

fretful impatience with the fatigues and the Youth's Magazine," more than crosses of life, for a temper weaned from the realized the expectation of her most world. I could, indeed, sometimes sing : sanguine friends. Her literary career, however, seem

• I long to lay this painful head,

And aching heart, beneath the soll;, I ed in no way to interfere with her

To slumber in that dreamless bed advancement" in vital piety. Had From all my toil!' her religion partaken, in a larger

And I have felt too these lines: degree, of the joys of faith, and the pleasures of hope, it would have been "The bitter tear---the arduous struggle ceases worthy of universal imitation. Yet,

here... even in these particulars her" path was

The doubt, the danger, and the fear, like the shining light, which shineth Al, all, for ever o'er." more and more unto the perfect day.But these feelings, though they may afford She seemed to cherish a deep jealousy occasional relief, I could not indulge in.”' of the deceitfulness of her heart, and vol. i. p. 100. often declined the expression of her religious feelings, for fear of sinking doubts as 'to her personal religion

In 1817, Miss T.'s distressing into a common-place hypocrisy. To a friend she thus writes, who endea- forsook her, " and she admitted joyYoured to console her under her spi- immediately improved this gracious

She ritual depression :

interposition on the part of her hea“I dread, much more than total silence, venly Father, by publicly professing falling into a common-place, technical style her faith as one of Christ's disciples ; of expression, without real meaning and and in the month of October, 1817, feeling; and thereby, deceiving both myself and others. I well know how ready my

was united to the Church at Ongar, friends are to give me encouragement; and

in Essex, under her father's pastoral how willing to hope the best concerning mé; and as I cannot open to them the secret recesses of my heart, they put a favourable

Upon this solemn occasion she construction on every expression. You will

wrote the following impressive letter not impute it to a want of confidence, though to her sister :-* I cannot speak generally on this subject. ***. Yet, I do hope that I have of late “ My mother told you of my having joined seen something of the vanity of the work ; the church. You may have supposed that I and increasingly feel that it cannot be my was frightened into it by my complaint; but

care.

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