|Is this the face of Father Mapple?|
Among Father Taylor's admirers was Emerson, who often attended his sermons. As Carlos Baker describes one such occasion in Emerson among the Eccentrics: A Group Portrait (p. 71):
[Emerson] watched Taylor pacing his pulpit platform while the crowd gathered -- restive as a racehorse, beckoning tardy sailors to the front pews, imperiously waving at others to move over and make room. At forty-two he looked to be fifty, a wiry, weather-beaten man of middle height, his highly mobile face grooved with deep lines, his graying hair swept back, his Ben Franklin spectacles perched high on his brow, and the worn old Bible cradled in his arms. In due course he came forward to the lectern, "threw back his coat-collar, rolled up his cuffs, ran his fingers backward through his hair," and began to preach.Baker's chapter on Father Taylor includes evocative examples of his oratory, along with a discussion of his impact on Emerson's views of religion. The biographical details above are taken from Baker's book and from Father Taylor, the Sailor Preacher, an 1872 biography by Gilbert Haven and Thomas Russell (available on Google).
Behind him as he spoke was the only ornament in the chapel -- a large canvas depicting a ship in distress, braving the billows under lowering skies while mariners labored to keep the hulk afloat. It was a symbolic picture and the congregation knew it. Many a time in the heat and fury of his sermon he pointed it out as a graphic representation of the human predicament. He knew instinctively how to use it for maximum effect, owned the maritime experience and the idiomatic vocabulary to describe it, could in a twinkling summon up many a tale of disasters at sea, when the sailors "cried unto the Lord" and were yanked out of the maw of the deep by timely intercession....
"And so he went on," wrote Emerson, "this Poet of the Sailor and of Ann Street -- fusing all the rude hearts of his auditory with the heat of his own love and making the abstractions of philosophers accessible and effectual to them also."