"The Union Of Hands And Hearts"

Context: Taylor was a well-educated and popular preacher at St. Paul's Cathedral in London for some time. He was some time later a chaplain to the king, and, still later, preacher to the University of Oxford. As a prominent Anglican he was twice imprisoned by the Puritans, although he seems to have been friendly and tolerant himself. In an age when sermons of popular preachers were frequently published subsequent to delivery, he produced a volume of twenty-seven sermons for the summer half-year in 1651 and a similar group for the winter weeks in 1653. In this discourse on marriage, Taylor examines in very learned fashion the traditional reverence of the church for celibacy, but concludes that the married state is also a state of spiritual beauty:

Here is the proper scene of piety and patience, of the duty of parents and the charity of relatives; here kindness is spread abroad, and love is united and made firm as a centre: marriage is the nursery of heaven; the virgin sends prayers to God, but she carries but one soul to Him; but the state of marriage fills up the numbers of the elect, and hath in it the labour of love, and the delicacies of friendship, the blessing of society, and the union of hands and hearts; it hath in it less of beauty, but more of safety, than the single life; it hath more care, but less danger; it is more merry, and more sad; is fuller of sorrows, and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but it is supported by all the strengths of love and charity, and those burdens are delightful. Marriage is the mother of the world, and preserves kingdoms, and fills cities, and churches, and heaven itself.