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Edward Taylor's Preface Analysis - God's Determinations Touching His Elect

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In Edward Taylor's "God's Determinations Touching His Elect," written in 1682, Taylor creates a work which personifies his Calvinistic beliefs regarding life and death, sin and salvation, and God's chosen people and the damned. Taylor's cosmological beliefs are evident in his Preface to the poem as he portrays the earth being created from nothing by God and continues on to depict man's creation, his fall, and his redemption through Christ's atoning work on the Cross. Although in the Preface to "God's Determinations..." Taylor's lyrical verse serves as the tool to relay his argument for and perspective on the beginning of all creation, most significant is its foundation which stems from the Genesis account of creation and therefore allows Taylor's point of view to be true as it aligns with the Scriptures.

At the beginning of the Preface, the audience is asked to comprehend the idea of forever as Taylor begins, "Infinity, when all things it beheld,"(Taylor, line 1) which immediately implies that God has always existed and He did so among nothing else: "In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build, / Upon what Base was fixt the Lath wherein / He turn'd this Globe, and riggalld it so trim?" (2-4). Already Taylor's cosmological beliefs are evident as he suggests that God began with nothing and created the "Globe" called Earth, and this implication is supported by the Genesis account of creation as well: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep" (Genesis 1:1-2a). God, by willful act and divine Word, spoke creation into existence and furnished it (MacArthur 13), though God Himself is not a created being, but the eternal deity Who has existed for all of eternity past: "Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Psalm 90:2).

Though the earth was created long ago, Taylor acknowledges that we see evidence of God's work each day: "Who in this Bowling Alley bowld the sun? / Who made it always when it rises set: / To go at once both down, and up to get?" (14-16). Taylor first acknowledges God as the Creator of the sun, and through His creation of the sun, God also began day and night as evidenced by its daily rising and setting. The beginning and ending of each passing day also allows for time to be tracked. As Taylor describes the creation of "th' Curtain rods made for this Tapistry...the twinckling Lanthorns in the Sky" (17-18), he also questions Who actually created such marvels. Although the answer is obvious through Taylor's Biblical allusions early in the preface, he does provide a response: "Why, know It's Onely Might Almighty this did doe. His hand hath made this noble worke which Stands" (19-21). Taylor refers to the One Who made the tapestry and the stars with a name recognized with capital letters to signify God--"Almighty," which is also used throughout Scripture to describe God as all-powerful and eternal: "They do not cease to say, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come" (Revelation 4:8). Taylor declares the strength of the Almighty he speaks of by recognizing His power not only to create, but also to destroy, should He choose to do so: "[He] spake all things from nothing; and with ease / Can speake all things to nothing, if He please. / Whose little finger at His pleasure Can / Out mete ten thousand worlds with halfe a Span" (23-26). Taylor identifies God as omnipotent in His ability to create and control the universe, yet he also alludes to the heavens' declaration of the glory of God--also supported by Scripture in the Psalms: "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1). God holds the span of the universe in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 48:13), and as depicted in Taylor's preface and confirmed in Scripture, the creation sings of the work of God as the Author of Creation: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). The creation is actually evidence of a Creator--for something cannot come from nothing--and it is this creation that allows for man to be held accountable for his acknowledgement of God as well as his repentance of sins.

While much of Taylor's Preface focuses on the creation of the earth



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