Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Day with James Brainerd Taylor

An excerpt from James Brainerd Taylor's diary on Christmas Day, December 25, 1822. Written while Taylor was a 21-year-old student at the still-existent Lawrencevillle School (5 miles southwest of Princeton, N.J.). Taken from the Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor (NY: American Tract Society, 1833), pages 177-78.

"During the day my mind was solemn; and on my way home [from meditating near his favorite tree], as I mused, the fire burned. In the highway Jesus was exceedingly precious. It is God--the triune, the holy God, that captivates my heart--and to be conformed to the image of his dear Son is my supreme desire. Lord, make me more holy!

"This has been a good Christmas Day to me. The birth of the Savior has occurred to my mind, in all its circumstances, with pleasing reflections. But now he reigns on high, the Judge of all. What a mysterious, yet consistent whole! And all to make his people blessed forever."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

James Brainerd Taylor memoirs available online . . . FREE viewing, download and searching

Just a reminder that both the Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor (1833) and A New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor (1838) are available online. Both books--which are in the public domain (all pre-1923 books)--are fully searchable and can be viewed and downloaded for free via Google Book Search. Click here for the online Memoir and here for A New Tribute.

Both books were digitalized by Google from copies in the Harvard University Library. The 441-page second edition Memoir was digitalized on February 22, 2008 (Google erroneously states this is the 330-page first edition). The 440-page A New Tribute was digitalized on May 9, 2007. Southern Presbyterian pastors John Holt Rice and Benjamin Holt Rice compiled the Memoir, and Fitch W. Taylor, a younger brother of James, compiled A New Tribute.

This is perfect timing as the first books on Taylor since 1833 and 1838 were released in January and June 2008 (University Press of America): An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist In America's Second Great Awakening and the edited anthology Of Intense Brightness: The Spirituality of Uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor. See Uncommon Christian Ministries' timeline on Taylor for other recent activity.

Relatedly, Harvard University Library's copy of the Sketches of The Religious Experience and Labors of A Layman: With An Appendix by Jeremiah Humphre Taylor was digitalized by Google on December 11, 2007. Written in 1860 by one of James Brainerd Taylor's two older brothers, the 171-page autobiographical account contains information about James's childhood in Middle Haddam, Connecticut, his leadership involvement with an African-American Sunday school in New York City, and his evangelistic efforts in various spiritual revivals.

Also, a copy of volume one and volume two of The Flagship; Or, A Voyage Round The World, and Visits to Various Foreign Countries, in the United States Frigate "Columbia"... by Fitch W. Taylor was digitalized by Google on May 3, 2007. The 1840, 1st edition volumes by James's U.S. Navy Chaplain brother are an eyewitness account of the first U.S. Navy ship to circumnavigate the globe. For the digitalization, Google used copies from the New York Public Library.

For more information on the history and current activity of Google Book Search (est. 2004), see here (wikipedia entry) and here (from Google). FYI: Google just signed a ground breaking legal agreement with U.S. authors and publishers, thus allowing Google Book Search to add even more books to their already 7,000,000-plus online books.

For more online resources on James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829), see here.