After a recommendation from my personal tutor, who has somehow become my Theology mentor, I spent a few hours researching the Caroline Divines. I was instantly fascinated with what I discovered.
Anything, or anyone, who attempts to combine faith and reason is immensely interesting, in my opinion (which is possibly why I have such a strong love for Kierkegaard). The Caroline Divines took Scripture as authoritative on important matters concerning things such as salvation, but also employed the use of reason through deductive logic and tradition through a particular focus on early Christianity and the Church Fathers.
However, what struck me most was not their beliefs, but their writings. I was recommended ‘Holy Living and Holy Dying’ by Jeremy Taylor, and after discovering a copy of ‘The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying’ online, I skimmed the first few pages to see if it really was as ‘beautiful’ as my tutor had said. I wasn’t disappointed. From the very first page the address to the Earl or Carbury dives into poetic metaphor, and I found myself re-reading it many times. The phrase that captivated me the most was, arguable, this:
“But I know that, without pointing, your first thoughts will remember the change of a greater beauty, who is now dressing for the brightest immortality, and from her bed of darkness calls to you to dress your soul for the change which shall mingle your bones with that beloved dust, and carry your soul to the same choir, where you may both sit and sing forever.”
The whole concept of preparing ones soul for death is also rather intriguing, and I shall endeavour to acquire a physical copy of this text in order to read further. For now, however, I have a tower of other books I need to get through.