WHENEVER Longleate House was full of gay festive company Ken used to retreat to Naish House, at Portishead, six miles from Bristol, the residence of two of his old friends, maiden ladies of the name of Kemeyse, who had given up the world and devoted themselves to a life of devotion and charity, and were infinitely happy to relieve and cherish the deprived bishop, whom they greatly reverenced for his devoted piety, and often employed him to distribute relief to the distressed deprived clergy and their families.
Ken lamented, and was desirous of healing the schism which the conscientious scruples of himself and his nonjuring brethren had unavoidably created in the Church of England.
The deprived Bishop of Norwich, William Lloyd, wrote a very earnest letter to him on the death of William III., entreating him to hasten to London, to consult with their nonjuring brethren for their comfort and assistance in that conjuncture.
But Ken, who was struggling with an agonizing malady, and earnestly desired to avoid all political agitation, replied, addressing his letter as he always did all communications to that prelate under the feminine designation of Mrs. Hannah Lloyd, intimating "that his counsel and assistance were not worth a London journey, which was consistent neither with his purse, his convenience, health, nor inclination; that he had quite given over all thoughts of re-entering the world, and nothing should tempt him to any oath; but he heartily desired an expedient could be found for putting an end to the present schism."
Lloyd wrote to him in an expostulatory strain, commenting on some points of his letter, which had greatly disappointed the expectations of the more ardent members of their party. Ken replied again, briefly, but decidedly, declining to come forward in the manner desired. His allusion to his straitened means is interesting.
"When I told you," writes he, "that a London journey was not agreeable to my purse, it was no pretence, but a real truth. I am not able to support the expense of it, which all that know my condition will easily believe. I thank God I have enough to bring the year about while I remain in the country, and that is as much as I desire. I have been often offered money for myself, but always refused it, and never take any but for to distribute, and in the country I have nothing now for that good use put into my hands."
The learned historical antiquary, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Smith, one of the nonjuring clergy, being deprived of his fellowship and all the church preferment which had hitherto supported him, and enabled him to extend his benevolence to many who had known better days, was in his old age reduced to absolute indigence. Ken from his narrow means occasionally relieved, and frequently wrote to cheer him. They were ancient friends, and maintained a confidential correspondence to the end of their days.
Dr. Smith in a letter to Ken, dated London, 7th of June, 1707, after acknowledging a kind letter and generous present which he had lately received from him, and returning humble and hearty thanks for both, observes:--
"I wish I had had the courage ten or twelve years ago to have acquainted you with the course of my studies at that time, in order to have received your assistance. Having then, and for several years after, the full and free use of the Cottonian Library, I designed to have written at large the history of the life and reign of that unfortunate great lady, Mary Queen of Scotland, out of original letters and other authentic papers containing all the secret consultations and transactions of state relating to the kingdom and Church of Scotland at that time; of which an imperfect account is given by Archbishop Spottiswood, through his want of knowledge of those missives, and a very false, malicious, and scandalous one by those furious incendiaries, Buchanan and Knox. And accordingly I began to lay in store of materials in order to the foundation and superstructure of that work, transcribing myself as much and as far as my weak eyes would suffer, or employing an amanuensis to do this drudgery for me. But the growing charge and expense teing above my narrow fortune, and my modesty not permitting me to address to any rich lord or gentleman, though of virtuous, honest, and loyal principles, as dreading a repulse, which would have been to me an intolerable kind of mortification, I quitted that design, though not without great regret, and betook myself /to other studies which were little or no ways chargeable, and which lay within the compass of my own single and unassisted industry. But I have repented, and I do still heartily repent and am troubled for that culpable omission. My great age, having this week entered upon the seventieth year of my life, my ill eyes, and the loss of those conveniences I enjoyed during the lifetime of my excellent friend Sir John Cotton, and my present peprlexed circumstances, putting me as it were out of a possibility, by rendering me altogether incapable of retrieving that lost game."
All lovers of historic truth must regret it too, and that the noble design of this worthy documentarian should have been prevented by grinding poverty--poverty incurred for conscience' sake.
Ken in his reply laments that the letter, having unfortunately been sent to Bristol after he had left, did not reach him so soon as it might otherwise have done. He had mentioned Dr. Smith's distress to Lord Weymouth, who had sent him ten pounds. "As for your design in writing the life of the Queen of Scots," continues Ken, "I am not sorry for your disappointment; for you would have been engaged to have made some severe reflections, though just, on Queen Elizabeth, which would have given offence, she being the darling of the people; and I had rather that the odium should fall on another than on yourself."
In answer to this, Dr. Smith observes, "For the history which formerly I had designed to have written, 1 believe that I should have done good service to the Church and to religion in exposing the traitorous, the schismatical, the seditious, and rebellious principles and practices of the Scotch Presbyterians; but I should have had a tender regard to the fame and memory of Queen Elizabeth, whose glorious reign received great blemishes from her indulging her favourite courtiers in their sacrilegious invasions of the revenues of the Church, and from the death of the unfortunate queen, her kinswoman. Kagionjdi Stato, and the incessant, importunate, and united addresses of parliament and people, and opinions of judges and lawyers, will, I fear, be no good plea at God's tribunal."
Ken in his reply tells Dr. Smith "that Lord Weymouth, with whom he had been talking on the subject of Smith's projected history of Mary Queen of Scots, had assured him he was in possession of papers which would justify all the severe reflections that could be made on Queen Elizabeth." "Yet," continues Ken, "considering how much an impartial relation will disgust the prevailing many, I wish it rather published by another than yourself, she is so much the heroine of the multitude. I doubt not but that she had many and great provocations, but the way she took to free herself will not appear excusable."
It is no slight proof of the difficulties that impede the course of truth on subjects which are connected with political controversy, when we find even the conscientious Ken dissuading his impoverished friend, Dr. Smith, from writing a truthful history of the calumniated Mary Queen of Scots, lest it should offend popular prejudices, that were so passionately entwined with the memory of Queen Elizabeth, and draw attacks on him for unveiling the dark side of the heroine of the ignorant; while at the same time apprising him of the discovery of documents which, he had been told by his noble patron, would fully justify the view he was disposed to take of that highly eulogised sovereign. Ken himself had probably been taught in childhood to venerate Elizabeth as a nursing mother of the Reformed Church, which doubtless she was an instrument in the hand of God for establishing in this realm.
Ken was on a visit to his nephew, Dr. Walton, at Salisbury, during the autumn of 1703, when the tremendous storm occurred which caused the death of Bishop Kidder and his wife, who were both killed by an antique stack of chimneys falling that awful night through the roof of their bedchamber--the same previously occupied by Ken, whose ejection from the bishopric saved him from a death horrible for human nature to contemplate.
Ken's letters to Lloyd, the nonjuring Bishop of Norwich, on the subject of this storm, are peculiarly interesting. After his usual preface,
"ALL GLORY BE TO GOD," he thus commences:--
"MY GOOD LORD AND DEAR BROTHER,
"I return you my thanks for both yours. I have no news to return, but that last night there was here the most violent wind that ever I knew. The house shaked all the night; we all rose and called the family to prayers, and by the goodness of God we were safe amidst the storm. It has done a great deal of hurt in the neighbourhood to all about, which we cannot yet hear of; but I fear it has been very terrible at sea, and that we shall hear of many wrecks there. Blessed be God who preserved us. I, hope your lordship and your family have suffered no harm, and should be glad to hear you are well. I beseech God to keep us in His holy fear."
This letter is dated November 27. Two days later Ken had heard the awful tragedy which had occurred in the episcopal palace at Wells, for on the 29th he again writes to his brother in adversity, the deprived Bishop of Norwich:--
"The storm on Friday night, which was the most violent, I mentioned in my last; but I then did not know what happened at Wells, which was much shattered; and that part of the palace where Bishop Kid-der and his wife lay was blown down in the uight, and they were both killed and buried in the ruins, and dug out towards morning. It happened on the very day of the cloth fair, when all the country were spectators of the deplorable calamity, and soon spread the sad story. God of His infinite mercy deliver us from such dreadful surprises. I am. assured that no one, either in the palace or the whole town, besides them had any hurt. God keep us in His holy fear, and our dwellings in safety!"
In his next letter to the Bishop of Norwich, he says:--
"Blessed be God who preserved us both in the late storm; it is a deliverance not to be forgotten. I hear of several persons who solicit for my diocese, whom I know not, and I am informed that it is offered to my old friend the Bishop of St. Asaph, and that it is declined by him. [Not Lloyd, but Dr. Hooper.] For my own part, if times should have changed, I never intended to return to my burden, but I much desire to see the flock in good hands, and I know none better to whom I may entrust it than his; for which reason I write to him this post to let him know my desire that he should succeed, with which I thought good to acquaint your lordship."
In his letter of the 18th of December, Ken again alludes to the subject of his late preservation from the fury of the memorable storm which had immolated the intrusive successor to his diocese.
"I think I omitted," he observes to the Bishop of Norwich, "to tell you the full of my deliverance in the late storm; for the house being searched the day following, the workmen found that the beam which supported the roof over my head was shaken out to that degree that it had but half an inch hold, so that it was a wonder it could hold together; for which signal and particular preservation God's holy name be ever praised! I am sure I ought always thankfully to remember it."
In this awful storm the Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed; twelve ships of the line in the royal navy were wrecked, besides many vessels in the merchant service; colliers, and fishing boats perished at sea, and the general computation was that more than a thousand lives were lost.
Ken pursued his journey to Naish House, where he spent several quiet weeks, while the queen was solicited on every side for the appointment of the bishopric of Bath and Wells.
Anne sent for Dr. Hooper, and told him she intended the see for him, but he nobly requested her Majesty to restore it to Bishop Ken. She thanked Hooper for mentioning it, and ordered a nobleman to tell Ken he might return to his see without any oaths being required of him.
Two great obstacles to Ken's resumption of his former place on the episcopal bench were removed--James II. and William III. were both dead. Queen Anne's affection to the Church of England was warm and genuine, so that no conscientious objection could be felt to her supremacy. She was both a nursing mother and a generous benefactress to the Church. Yet he firmly but gratefully declined her invitation to resume the bishopric of Bath and Wells, alleging his age and bodily infirmities as the reason of his negation.
Hearing soon after that the see had been offered to his friend Dr. George Hooper, then Bishop of St. Asaph, and that Hooper had refused to accept it out of feelings of delicacy towards himself, Ken addressed the following noble letter to his conscientious friend, in order to overcome his scruples; feeling that Hooper could not be otherwise than a blessing to his beloved diocese, for which he had always cherished the paternal affection of a true shepherd.
"ALL GLORY BE TO GOD.
"MY VERY GOOD LORD,
"I am informed that you have had an offer of Bath and Wells, and that you have refused it, which I take very kindly, because I know you did it on my account; but since I am well assured that the diocese cannot be happy to that degree in any other hands than in your own, I desire you to accept of it, and I know that you have a prevailing interest to procure it. My nephew and our little family here present your lordship their humble respects, and will be overjoyed at your neighbourhood.
"I told your lordship long ago at Bath how willing I was to surrender my canonical claim to a worthy person, but to none more willingly than to yourself.
"My distemper disables me from the pastoral duty, and had I been restored, I declared always that I would shake off the burden and retire. I am about to leave this place, but if need be, your archdeacon can tell you how to direct to me. My best respects to your good family. God keep us in His holy fear!
"My good lord,
"Your lordship's most affectionately,
"T. B. AND W.
Hooper, on receiving this tender and earnest entreaty from his apostolical friend, the deprived bishop, ceased to reject the offered diocese which courted his acceptance. The following letter, which Ken addressed to his friend and worthy successor, is a touching evidence of the paternal interest with which he continued to regard his flock after so many years of banishment:--
"MY VERY GOOD LORD,
"The last post brought me the news I earnestly expected, and which your lordship's letter gave me hope of, and I heartily congratulate the diocese of Bath and Wells on your translation; for it was the good of the flock and not my friendship for yourself which made me desire to see you in the pastoral chair, where I know you will zealously 'contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,' which in these latitudinarian times is in great danger to be lost.
"I could easily foresee that by my concern for you I should incur the displeasure of some of my brethren; but this is not the first instance in which I have dissented from them, and never had cause to repent of it; and the good of the diocese supersedes all other considerations. I have another wish for the good of the diocese you are to leave, and it is that Dr. Edwards might succeed you there, though he is a person I do not know so much as by sight.
"My best respects to your good lady, whose pains I can the more tenderly condole from what I feel daily myself. God keep us in His holy fear!
"My good lord,
"Your lordship's most affectionately,
After the consecration of his friend Hooper to the see of Bath and Wells, Ken, for the first time, discontinued his episcopal style and title which he had hitherto persevered in using, and now signed himself "Thomas, late Bishop of Bath and Wells." In the poetical dedication of 'Hymns to the Attributes,' Ken addresses these lines to Hooper:--
"Forced from my flock, I daily saw with 'tears
A stranger's ravage two Sabbatic years;
But I forbear to tell the dreadful stroke,
Which freed my sheep from their Erastian yoke.
But Heaven was superfluently kind
In sending them a pastor to my mind,
In whom my spirit feels the like repose
As old Valerian when he Austin chose."
[A Sabbatic year comprehends the period of seven years. Dr. Kidder had occupied the see of Bath and Wells fourteen years.]
Dr. Hooper was equally acceptable to the diocese, from which he never would remove, though offered the bishopric of London on the death of Compton, and subsequently the archbishopric of York, on the decease of Archbishop Sharp, but he refused both.
Ken's resignation of his canonical title of Bishop of Bath and Wells, in favour of Dr. Hooper, exposed him to many bitter attacks from his own party; for it was treated by the more violent among them as an unworthy concession to the powers that be. It was to no purpose that he mildly explained that his desire to heal the schism, which was producing ruinous effects on the Church, rendered it expedient that he should set an example of conceding rights that were merely nominal, for the sake of securing the services of an unexceptional prelate for his beloved diocese. He was tormented beyond measure by the ignorant, narrow-minded zealots, who even made use of the name of his old friend, the nonjuring Bishop of Norwich, to annoy him, by circulating provoking animadversions which they pretended had been made on his cession. These troublesome busybodies finally succeeded in interrupting the long friendship that had been for so many years established between thrse holy brothers in adversity, so that Ken suffered himself to be provoked into writing angrily to his deprived friend, upbraiding him with his supposed unkindness in making such unjust reflections on his conduct.
More than one unkind letter was exchanged between them, but a little explanation served to set matters right, and produced mutual apologies and hearty reconciliation.
Queen Anne, by the recommendation of her lord treasurer, Godolphin, settled a pension of two hundred pounds per annum on Ken. His surprise, and the grateful feeling it excited, are thus expressed in his reply to the letter of Hooper, communicating the royal bounty.
"ALL GLORY BE TO GOD.
"MY GOOD LORD,
"Your lordship gave a wonderful surprise when you informed me that the queen had been pleased to settle a very liberal pension on me. I beseech God to accumulate the blessings of both lives on her Majesty for her royal bounty to me, so perfectly free and unexpected; and I beseech abundantly to reward my lord treasurer, who inclined her to be thus gracious to me, and to give him a plentiful measure of wisdom from above.
"My lord, let it not shock your native modesty if I make this just acknowledgment, that though the sense I have of her Majesty's favour in the pension is deservedly great, yet her choosing you for my successor gave me much more satisfaction; as my concern for the eternal welfare of the flock exceeded all regard for my own temporal advantage, being so truly conscious of my own infirmities as I am assured of your excellent abilities, of which the diocese, even at your first appearance, signally reaped the fruits.
"God, of His infinite goodness, keep us in His reverential love, and make us wise for eternity.
"Your lordship's most affectionate friend and
"THO. KEN, late Bath and Wells.
"June 11th, 1704."
The pension now regularly paid to Ken by Queen Anne entirely relieved him from the pecuniary cares that had for so many years besot him. He was now enabled to indulge his benevolent inclinations to extend relief to many cases of distress; but even then his charity occasionally outran his means, and compelled him to resort to his old plan of soliciting others to co-operate with him in extending aid in cases of necessity when his own supplies failed. He writes with affectionate freedom to his successor in the episcopate at Bath and Wells, his dear familiar friend, Dr. Hooper, for wine for a sick patient in whom both were interested, and who had previously been assisted by Hooper:--
"I have sent my servant to beg of your lordship two or three bottles of canary for a sick friend, which the doctor commends to him. Your lordship gave the whole family so seasonable and sensible a consolation, that it revived the whole family, and it gave me very great satisfaction to see my friend do an act of so great, so free, and so well-timed a charity. The good man is full of resignation to the Divine will, and has an humble confidence of a blessed immortality. He has slept this night as well as could be expected, and is asleep now, and his pulse, which for some days was unper-ceivable, is now become tolerable. He has strength to turn in his bed, so weak as he is, and to expectorate, and is sensibly mended, and I hope God will restore him, which will be a blessing next to miraculous. He has his understanding perfectly.
"My best respects to your good lady, and to the three young gentlewomen, and to Mr. Guilford.
"I beseech God to make us wise for eternity.
"My good lord,
"Your lordship's most affectionate friend and
"THO. KEN, late Bath and Wells."
Ken had been much let and hindered in his friendly and charitable journeys by the death of his old white horse, and when Dr. Hooper, who saw with much concern how unfit he was to perform the part of a pedestrian, even for the shortest stage, prevailed on him to purchase another, it does not appear to have been a very sturdy or serviceable steed.
"I am now at Sarum," writes Ken, to the nonjur-ing Bishop of Norwich, "where I have been detained by a lame horse, but I hope to be gone, God willing, to-morrow, and to be at Naish on Saturday or Monday, there to spend my Lent."* Here the venerable Christian forgets to dwell on the trouble and inconvenience the disability of his steed had caused him, and expresses the comfort he felt at his worthy ehoiee of a successor to his episcopate.
"You cannot imagine," pursues he, "the universal satisfaction expressed for Dr. Hooper coming to my see; and I make no doubt but that he will rescue the diocese from the apostacy 'from the faith once delivered to the saints' which at present threatens us, and from the spirit of latitudinarianism, which is a common server of all heresies imaginable; and I am not a little satisfied that I have made the best provision for my flock which was possible in our present circumstances. God keep us in His holy fear."
This letter is dated February 21st. He writes again on the 27th, to express his commiseration of the paroxysms of pain his deprived brother of Norwich had been suffering from some bodily complaint, the particulars of which had been communicated in a letter Ken found waiting for him at Naish, where his arrival had been delayed for several days by the aforesaid lame horse.
On the deaths of Frampton of Gloucester, in 1708, and subsequently Lloyd of Norwich, January 1st, 1710, Ken was left the last survivor of the deprived bishops.
A few days after the death of Lloyd he received a letter from Dodwell, one of the h aders of the non-juriug churchmen, suggesting the propriety of filling the sees of the deceased prelates, and requesting him to declare whether he so far claimed his rights as to justify the continuance of separate communions on his account.
"In that you are pleased to ask me whether I insist on my episcopal claims," replied Ken, "my answer is that I do not; and that I have no reason to insist, in regard that I made cession to my present most worthy successor, who came into the fold by my free consent and approbation. As for any clandestine claim, my judgment was always against it, and I had nothing to do with it, foreseeing that it would perpetuate a schism, which I found very afflicting to good people scattered in the country, where they could have no divine offices performed. I was always tender of the peace of the Church, especially in this age of irreligion."
To Robert Nelson, who also wrote to ask the like question, similar answers were returned by Ken; on which both Dodwell and Nelson went to church, with many other nonjurors, on the 26th of February, the first Sunday in Lent. This important step towards healing the schism which for upwards of twenty years had rent the reformed Church of England was a soothing nunc dimittis to Ken. Up to the beginning of that year he had continued his apostolical labours in visiting and catechising his schools, regardless of weariness and bodily suffering; biit the state of his health required him to go to Bristol for the benefit of the hot wells. He remained there all that summer and part of the autumn without experiencing much benefit,
In November he removed to Leweston, near Sher-borne, in Dorsetshire, the seat of his friend, the Hon. Mrs. Thynne, sister-in-law to Lord Weymouth. There he was stricken with dead palsy, which disabled one side, and confined him to his chamber till March, 1711, when he determined to go to Bath, under the idea that the waters there might restore him, though he was now afflicted with dropsy. Neither the remonstrances of his physicians, who perceived how unfit he was to undertake the journey, nor the persuasions of his kind hostess, could prevail on him to give up the attempt. Mrs. Thynne sent him in her own coach as far as Longleate, where he paused to rest on the Saturday, March 9th. He occupied himself that evening in arranging his papers, and burning many which he did not consider it desirable to keep. The following day he was not so well. On the Monday he was entirely confined to his bed, which he never left again.
Dr. Merewether of Bath, and Dr. Bevison of Devizes, attended him. His case was" hopeless from the first. In answer to his inquiry, "how long he had to live," they told him "not more than two or three days."
"God's will be done," was his reply.
When he perceived his last hour drew nigh, lie put on his shroud, which had been prepared for years and was always at hand, and prepared himself with holy calmness for death.
He appeared desirous to send a message to his friend Bishop Hooper, by his servant, but his speech had ceased to be intelligible.
He dozed much the last day or two before he died, and peacefully departed this life on the 19th of March, 1711, in the seventy-fourth year of his age.
He bequeathed all his books, save those of which his lordship had duplicate, to his friend and benefactor, Lord Weymouth, to whom he expressed the most lively gratitude for his signal kindness.
The proceeds of a legacy, which a faithful friend had left him a short time before his death, enabled him to testify his regard to a few dear ones, to whom he would otherwise have been unable to bequeath anything but his loving remembrance. His will contains, above all, the following noble confession of his faith:--
"As for my religion, I die in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West; more particularly, I die in the communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from all Papal and Puritan innovations, and as it adheres to the doctrine of the Cross."
Ken always carried a Greek Testament in his bosom; it is still in existence, and the fact that it opens of itself at the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, testifies that his favourite study was on the resurrection.
He was buried March 21st, two days after his death, under the chancel window of the church of Frome, Selwood. The remains of the deprived bishop were attended to the grave by true-hearted mourners; the children from the village school he had established and taught followed in silence and tears.
His funeral was solemnized according to the ritual of the Church of England, and took place at dawn of day. Just as the last spade of earth was cast on the grave the sun rose, and the children spontaneously broke forth with one voice into that holy and familiar strain, "Awake, my soul, and with the sun," from the Morning Hymn of the departed prelate, which thus appropriately closed his obsequies. A plain iron grating, shaped like a Her, surmounted with a recumbent mitre and pastoral staff, marks his resting-place. Some generous persons in 1844 enclosed it within a Gothic railing.
A quotation from the original and touching lines with which Lord Houghton, better known to the lovers of poetry and moral justice as the Honourable Monckton Milnes, M.P., has commemorated his visit to the grave of Bishop Ken, cannot be otherwise than acceptable to our readers.
"Let other thoughts, where'er I roam,
Ne'er from my memory cancel,
The coffin-fashioned tomb at Frome
That lies behind the chancel;
"A basket-work, where bars are bent,
Iron in place of osier;
And shapes above that represent
A mitre and a crosier.
"Those signs of him that slumbers there
The dignity betoken;
Those iron bars a heart enclose
Hard bent, but never broken.
"This form portrays how souls like his,
Their pride and passions quelling,
Preferr'd to earth's high palaces
This calm and narrow dwelling.
"There with the churchyard's common dust
He loved his own to mingle;
The faith in which he placed his trust
Was nothing rare or single.
"Yet laid he to the sacred wall,
As close as he was able;
The blessed crumbs might almost fall
Upon him from God's table.
"But preciously tradition keeps
The fame of holy men;
So there the Christian smiles or weeps
For love of Bishop Ken."
Ken's epitaph, written during his life, for himself, with his own hands, is as follows:--
"May the here-interred Thomas, late Bishop of Bath and Wells (uncanonically deprived for not transferring his allegiance), have a perfect consummation of bliss both in body and soul at the Great Day, of which God keep me always mindful."
William Hawkins claimed the privilege of editing the posthumous papers of Ken, from verbal leave given him by the author at Leweston. He had no other authority, as he expresses himself in his epistle dedicatory to Thomas, the second Lord Weymouth, "than his own sacred promise" that such was the case.
They were printed very incorrectly in 1721, with an epistle dedicatory to Thomas, the second Lord Weymouth, great nephew to Ken's old friend and benefactor, and a loving friend himself to his uncle's honoured guest, as we may gather from the preface. The first edition, avowedly printed from manuscript, was published for William Hawkins, Esq., and sold by John Wyatt, at the Rose, St. Paul's Churchyard. Hawkins was a Temple barrister and nephew to Ken. The wish of Ken's heart was fulfilled by the love and reverence with which the Anglican Church, and even those of its careless and time-serving supplanters, welcomed these four volumes; so exquisite is the lustre of the gems that radiate through the heaps of incorrectness or of printer's mistakes with which they are loaded, owing to the inexperience of his editor. Very soon the Georgian Church lamed his hymns. The Morning Hymn, for instance, is reduced to four verses. Supposing fourteen verses too long, who would leave in the dust of ages thoughts and poetry so precious? Who would not use them in a separate sacred lyric to hymn the Most High with change of thought and words? Surpassing beauty there is in the omitted portion of Ken's Morning Hymn. Let us remember they were composed for the morning invocation of a school then the most celebrated in England, as the Alma Mater of the best ornaments of our Church. Why should they not be restored to their original intent? Here are many allusions that refer to the training in piety and purity a young fold of Christian children; not the denizens of dens full of wolf-cubs, as the public schools of the last century too often were.
OMITTED VERSES OF THE MORNING HYMN, BY BISHOP KEN.
"All praise to Thee who safe has kept,
And hast refreshed me while I slept;
Grant, Lord, when I from death awake,
I may of endless life partake.
"Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear a part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praises to the Eternal King.
"I wake, I wake, ye heavenly quire!
May your devotion me inspire,
That I, like you, my time may spend,
Like you, may on my God attend.
"May I, like you, in God delight,
Have all the day my God in sight;
Perform like you my Maker's will;
Oh, may I never more do ill!
"Heaven is, dear Lord, where'er Thou art;
Oh, never from my mind depart;
For, to my soul 'tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.
"Lord, I my vows to thee renew,
Dispel my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
[This beautiful line proves the truth of the purpose for which Ken composed this hymn.]
And with Thyself my spirit fill.
"Direct, control, suggest this day,
All I design, or do, or say;
That all my powers and all my might
In Thy sole glory may unite."
Our Church lyrist celebrated the saints' days, remembering the communion with saints is enjoined by our Church, but keeping the skilful pilot's hand on the helm, and thus steering clear of worshipping those blessed fellow-creatures. The first of our specimens has an innocent pretty quaintness, wonderfully pleasing to those children to whom it has been read.
"ON GOD'S HOLY INNOCENTS.
"Bless'd Jesus, on the babes who bled
For His sole sake, high favours shed;
By happy deaths secure,
From ills they might endure;
Of losing Heaven from danger freed,
To Heaven SENT with early speed.
"Those guardians, children sent to aid,
Came down like doves array'd;
(Their innocence to paint)
Each took his infant saint
'Twixt their soft wings, to Heaven they swam,
Like cygnets on the feather'd dam."
ST. STEPHEN, THE FIRST CHRISTIAN DEACON AND MARTYR.
"I sing, my God, the saint this day,
Who led the suffering host the way,
To rise to glory most sublime--
The martyr prime.
"He, joy was wont, for sinners' sake,
In humble charities to take;
St. Stephen kept our Lord in view--
And pattern drew.
"In his Lord's love this saint uptrain'd,
Would humble deacon be ordain'd;
To human woes still condescend--
And poor attend.
"May I, my God, by faith have sight
Of Jesus standing on Thy right;
And ready, when this world I leave--
Me to receive.
"May I, like him, the influence feel
Of faith, love, patience, courage, zeal;
Forgive my foes, for Heaven prepare--
And die in prayer."
ST. JAMES, THE FIRST BISHOP.
"James on the cross saw Jesus dead,
And made a vow to eat no bread
Till the Lord risen he beheld;
And when our Lord death's shades dispell'd,
To this disciple early he appear'd,
Dissolv'd his vow, and his sad votary cheer'd.
"Bless'd Peter, by the angel freed,
Dispateh'd a messenger with speed,
Who should to holy James relate
The opening of the iron gate.
He, to the mother church due deference taught,
And the first news was to her bishop brought.
"In the first synod James alone--
Who sat on the Arch-shepherd's throne--
The last decisive vote express'd,
In which the Christian saints all acquiesc'd.
'Twas Jesus' rule, not Peter's, which then sway'd,
And Peter to bless'd James submission made.
"Oh, happy saint in Jesus' chair,
Of the Lord's grace giv'n liberal share;
You from bless'd Jesus' borrow'd light,
Shined an example bright;
E'en Jews your righteousness would own,
You, by their name of James the Just were known.
"When at the Paschal feast, your eye
Could the whole Jewish race espy--
You on the temple took your stand,
Jesus you preach'd to all the land;
Till by a bitter, hell-directed blow,
You were forced headlong on the ground below."
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES.
"Bless'd James and Philip on one day,
When martyr'd, met upon the way,
In ether, as they soared to bliss,
They join'd in holy kiss;
The bless'd receiv'd them in embraces dear,
And joy was doubled o'er the heavenly sphere.
"We double praises, too, oh Lord! this day,
To Thee, for thy two pillars, pay;
For strength--the faith in Asia gain'd,
Where Philip saving truths explain'd;
For James--by saints most worthy judg'd to be
First bishop of the first established see.
"In preaching Philip spent his might,
And little leisure had to write;
James a divine epistle penn'd,
Both had the same salvific end.
May we, like them, Thy sacred truth embrace,
With strength of faith and stablishment of grace."
The ardent wish of Ken's heart, to become the Hymnologist of the Anglican Church, was fulfilled. Many of those sweet and holy songs from the gifted musician and lyrist, Charles Wesley, were inspired by the study of these four volumes. His hymn of the Renewed Heart, often sung with infinite delight in the Church of England, is almost a transcript from Ken's hymn on the same subject.
The last composition of our saintly prelate may be considered as his Death Hymn. It is the most touching of the collection he called 'The Anodyne,' with which he raised his soul above the tortures of the body, agonized with the lingering dreadful disease of stone. How long he had to endure these sufferings he has recorded as the "final friend "drew nigh.
"Two lustres now are well-nigh flown.
Since pain has my familiar grown;
She haunts me day and night--
Wounds me with sting and bite;
She on my tender membranes preys,
No medicine can reach her where she stays."
Here are some of the latest thoughts that engaged his mind:--
"Pain keeps me waking in the night,
I longing lie for morning's light;
Methinks the tardy sun
Forgets he this day's course must run.
Oh, heavenly torch! why this delay
In giving us our wonted day?
* * * *
"I feel my watch, I tell the clock,
I hear each crowing of the cock;
Sweet ease, oh whither art thou fled?
With one short slumber ease my head.
[This watch was constructed so as to enable him to ascertain the time by feeling the works round the rim.]
"My curtain oft I draw away,
Eager to see the morning ray;
But when the morning gilds the skies,
The morning no relief supplies.
"God's favours darkest clouds dispel,
By pains He frights our souls from hell,
Melts us to humble tears,
And His true love each pang endears;
When, gracious God, I strive to please,
I never want for light or ease.
"Sun, mend not then for me your pace,
But at your will defer your race;
I am refreshed with light,
Than you a thousand times more bright;
For when towards chaos you decline,
I shall have light and joy divine!"