Edward Taylor (c. 1642–1729) was a colonial American poet, physician, and pastor.
Taylor was born in Leicestershire, England, and emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America in 1668. During his voyage to America, Taylor chronicled his Atlantic crossing from April 26, 1668, to July 5, 1671, in his now-published Diary. Upon graduating from Harvard, he became a physician and pastor in Westfield, Massachusetts.
While Taylor was a prolific poet, his works remained almost forgotten until 1937, when Thomas Johnson discovered Taylor's manuscripts in the library of Yale University. The first sections of Preparatory Meditations (1682–1725) and God's Determinations touching his Elect (c. 1680) were published directly following their discovery; however, Taylor's complete poems were not published until 1960.
Taylor is the only known American poet who wrote in the metaphysical style. His best-known work is the conceit titled "Huswifery," a direct comparison between weaving and God's salvation through divine grace.
Taylor's importance as a theologian was in his role in the controversy concerning the question of who may partake of the Lord's Supper. The New England Congregationalist Puritans of the 1630's and 1640's developed a view of the Church that was distinct from even their Puritan friends across the Atlantic. The New England Puritans came to believe that a profession of faith, and living a scandal free life was not sufficient to be a communing member of the Puritan local assemblies. In order to qualify to become a communing member of their local assembly one must first be able to relate by testimony, a subjective experience sufficiently impressive enough to convince others in the body that you were indeed one of the very elect of God. The New England Puritans had effectively devised a test to make each Church a company of people, each of whom, in his own opinion, and in the opinion of the Church was destined for salvation. Affirming the truths of Christianity, and following Christ in your everyday life, would no longer be enough; every communing Christian became required to relate an experience akin to the Apostle Paul's Damascus road experience. Edward Taylor would not only adopt this new view, he ended up becoming one of its most vocal defenders.
The Tayloring Shop: Essays on the Poetry of Edward Taylor in Honor of Thomas M. and Virginia L. Davis.(Review)
Jul 01, 2000; The Tayloring Shop: Essays on the Poetry of Edward Taylor in Honor of Thomas M. and Virginia L. Davis. Ed. by MICHAEL SCHULDINER....
Edward Taylor and Michael Wigglesworth: Reconciling the Divine and the Mundane in the Preparatory Meditations and the Day of Doom
Aug 01, 2001; In literary studies, there have been various questions that have remained unanswered for years or, at least, which have not been...
His Wayes disgrac'd are grac'd: Edward Taylor's Metrical History of Christianity as Puritan narrative.(Critical Essay)
Sep 22, 2003; And thus we see how Truth doth clearely shine, When Smootherd out in these darke times, By her Pole Star to Steer our line The...