Holy Living and Holy Dying


Holy Living and Holy Dying

Holy Living and Holy Dying is the collective title of two books of Christian devotion by Jeremy Taylor. They were originally published as "The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living", 1650 and "The Rules and Exercises of Holy Dying", 1651.

The two books represent one of the high points of English prose during the period of the early Stuarts. According to historian Nancy Lee Beaty (1970, "The Craft of Dying: A Study in the Literary Tradition of the Ars Moriendi in England"), "Holy Dying" was the "artistic climax" of a consolatory death literature tradition that had begun with "Ars moriendi" in the 15th century. Other works in this tradition include "The Waye of Dying Well" and "The Sick Mannes Salve".

"Holy Living" is designed to instruct the reader in living a virtuous life, increasing personal piety, and avoiding temptations. "Holy Dying" is meant to instruct the reader in the "means and instruments" of preparing for a blessed death. Each book contains discussions of theology, moral instruction, often prefaced as "The Consideration reduc'd to practise," and model prayers requesting divine assistance in achieving them.

"Holy Living" is the less interesting but more useful of the two books, being largely concerned with questions of practical morality, of a type that have hardly changed from the 1600s to today. The companion volume, "Holy Dying", is more interesting from a literary point of view. It was occasioned by the death of the wife of Taylor's patron and employer, the Earl of Carbery. In a book that is half Christian instruction and half memorial sermon, Taylor's gift for poetic prose is exercised to its fullest effect. Coupled with the 17th century cult of melancholia, the result is prose that is simultaneously stately and rapturous, "half in love with easeful death," and reads like prose poetry:

:But so have I seen a Rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and at first it was fair as the Morning, and full with the dew of Heaven, as a Lambs fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on a darknesse, and to decline its softnesse, and the symptomes of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and at night having lost some of its leaves, and all of its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. (See also period (rhetoric)).

Taylor's work was much admired by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, for its devotional quality; and by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey, and Edmund Gosse for its literary qualities.

External links

* [http://www.ccel.org/t/taylor/ "Holy Living and Holy Dying"]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Roman Empire — a Germanic empire located chiefly in central Europe that began with the coronation of Charlemagne as Roman emperor in A.D. 800 (or, according to some historians, with the coronation of Otto the Great, king of Germany, in A.D. 962) and ended with… …   Universalium

  • Dying to Go Home — (Portuguese: Mortinho por Chegar a Casa) is a Portuguese movie released in 1996. It was directed by Carlos da Silva and George Sluizer, starring Diogo Infante (as Manuel Espírito Santo) and Maria d Aires (as Júlia Espírito Santo). The story takes …   Wikipedia

  • The Thief and the Cobbler — Arabian Knight redirects here. For other uses, see Arabian Nights (disambiguation). The Thief and the Cobbler An unreleased poster made near the end of the film s production, before it was taken from Richard Williams …   Wikipedia

  • RELIGIOUS LIFE AND COMMUNITIES — Jews UNDER OTTOMAN RULE The Jews of the pre Zionist old yishuv, both sephardim (from the Orient) and ashkenazim (of European origin), dedicated their lives to the fulfillment of religious precepts: the study of the torah and the meticulous… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Christianity and Judaism — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Monothelitism and Monothelites — • A modification of Monophysitism proposing that Christ had no human free will. Rejected by the Third Council of Constantinople (680) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Monothelitism and Monothelites     Monot …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • KIDDUSH HA-SHEM AND ḤILLUL HA-SHEM — (Heb. קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם וְחִלּוּל הַשֵּׁם). The antithetical terms kiddush ha Shem ( sanctification of the (Divine) Name ) and ḥillul ha Shem ( defamation of the (Divine) Name ) are complementary antonyms   and denote the two aspects of one of the …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Cults and new religious movements in literature and popular culture — New religious movements and cults can appear as themes or subjects in literature and popular culture, while notable representatives of such groups have produced, for their own part, a large body of literary works. Contents 1 Terminology 2… …   Wikipedia

  • Will and Testament of Clerics — • Roman law allowed clerics to dispose of their property by will or otherwise Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Will and Testament of Clerics     Will and Testament of Clerics …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Major houses in A Song of Ice and Fire — The following is a list of the notable characters in George R. R. Martin s A Song of Ice and Fire series of epic fantasy novels, belonging to one of the major aristocratic houses of fictional Westeros, and explains in detail what happens to these …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.