A lesson from Edward Taylor

For reasons which my friend @MrsScrimshaw will explain (click here), I have been researching the life of Edward Taylor, Methodist preacher. Taylor was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1793 and went to sea at the age of 7. He served on the ship Black Hawk, and was later captured and imprisoned by the British. Coming to faith later in life, he developed a robust and impassioned preaching ministry amongst seamen as he had been. Eyewitnesses say that his sermon was ‘all poetry, though it came in bursts and jets of flame. It was like the dance of the aurora, changing all the while from silver to purple and back again’.  It is widely believed that Hermann Melville based the character of Father Mapple, in Moby Dick, upon Taylor.

The following encounter is recorded from Taylor’s European travels, and I pass it on to all who will preach today. After discussing with a sailor the inadequacies of his ship’s chaplain, and ascertaining that he liked good preaching, the sailor said the following:

I will tell you what I likes: when a man preaches at me,

I want he should take something warm out of his heart

and shove it into mine; that’s what I calls preaching, sir.

To all who will preach today – go thou and do likewise!