John Taylor (1694-1761)

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For others named John Taylor, see John Taylor.

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influenced John Wesley and Joseph Priestley

John Taylor (1694-1761) went to Norwich in 1733; where he founded the Octagon Chapel, 1754. He became divinity tutor at Warrington Academy in 1757. His Scripture Doctrine of Original Sin appeared in 1735-6. Wesley's Doctrine of Original Sin was published in 1757. How strongly he felt on the subject is shown by his letter to Toplady on December 9, 1758: 'I verily believe no single person since Mahomet has given such a wound to Christianity as Dr. Taylor.' Wesley wrote Sir Harry Trelawney in 1761 that he had 'reason to believe he was convinced of his mistake some years before he died.' Taylor did not publish any reply to Wesley's treatise; but after his death a pamphlet was issued which purported to give some 'Observations by way of Reply.' See W.H.S. viii. 53." [1] (http://wesley.nnu.edu/JohnWesley/Letters/1759-notes.htm)

"Dr. John Taylor of Norwich, who in 1740 published a work on Original Sin which powerfully attacked the orthodox doctrine on that subject, and not only had great influence in England, but also did much to root out this doctrine in New England." [2] (http://online.sksm.edu/ouh/chapter/32_XXXII.html)

"The longest polemical tract he [John Wesley] ever wrote was directed against the views of Deist Dr. John Taylor of Norwich, who argued that sin is not indemic to human nature, it is just bad habits that get passed on from one generation to the next. Supply some good examples to follow of moral rectitude and the virtuous life and sin soon will be eradicated. Wesley responded with a 272 page treatise, The Doctrine of Original Sin According to Scripture, Reason and Experience (Works, Jackson edition, IX, 192-464)." [3] (http://www.wesley.usyd.edu.au/evange.html)

On Unitarians: "Norwich's Unitarians emerged from the Presbyterian congregation, north of the river on Colegate that had been established during the civil wars. The Presbyterian chapel on Colegate was built in 1687 and subsequently licensed for worship by the Toleration Act in 1689. Dr John Collinges was briefly the first minister there before his death in 1690. Although the chapel remained orthodoxly Presbyterian, no system of Presbyterian church government was established and the congregation remained independent and self-governing. When the chapel was considered unsafe it was rebuilt by Thomas Ivory as the famous Octagon between 1754 and 1756. Its octagonal structure emphasized the congregation's responsibility for participation in worship. Later in the eighteenth century, the city's reformers and Independents were strongly represented in the Unitarian congregation at the famous Octagon Chapel. The congregation's influence peaked around 1800 when its views were championed by William Smith, the radical MP for Norwich from 1802-1806 and 1812-1830. Among its congregation were several Mayors and the chapel became an important focus for the city's intellectual life." [4] (http://test.virtualnorfolk.uea.ac.uk/long18thcent/religion/presbyterians/)

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