A FEW characteristic letters of the Rev. Bryan King, which have come into the hands of the writer, are given here, as illustrating his devout faith and simple trust in God, his unwearied patience, and his deep sympathy with those who had the privilege of his personal friendship.
To J. B. Knight, Esq. (one of his staunchest supporters at St. George's-in-the-East).
"April 3rd (year not given).
"My dear Mr. Knight,
"As I have heard from Mr. Lowder this morning that you were to be downstairs yesterday, let me express to you, and with you my hearty thanks to our Heavenly Father for His great mercy in having so far restored you to your wife, your children, your friends, and to all. I am sure you need not the assurance that as you have had throughout your visitation my poor prayers, so now you will have my unworthy thanksgivings offered up on your behalf. Believe me, my very dear friend, that the thought of your merciful restoration will add an additional element of gladness even to the unspeakable joys of Easter. "Believe me,
"Your very affectionate
To the same.
"February 27th, 1878.
"My dear Mr. Knight,
"I grieve to hear of the distress of the congregation of St. Matthias. I venture to suggest that the churchwardens call a meeting of the congregation, lay the matter before them, and propose a remonstrance to the Bishop in very plain language--such as I take the liberty to enclose--get the meeting to appoint a deputation to the Bishop with such remonstrance. I suspect that he would reconsider his decision rather than allow such a remonstrance to be published in all the Church papers.
"But should he persist, then what is your duty? I rather shrink from advising you. Had St. Matthias been your Parish Church I should have been inclined to say, 'Continue your attendance.' But now the case is different. I have little or no doubt what dear R. B. (Robert Brett) would have said: 'This is not a case of adopting a high ritual for the Sacrament of the Altar; but of sacrificing one which has been in use for many years. We cannot acquiesce in that act without dishonouring our adorable Lord, but must enter the most formal protest possible against the act by leaving the church.' But I distrust my own judgment in such a case. Better counsel will doubtless be given by others, by far more trustworthy. With my poor prayers for you in your trial,
"Yours very sincerely,
To the same.
"March 27th, 1878.
"My dear Mr. Knight,
"You are about to commit the body of your mother to the earth, which you will do in the 'sure and certain hope' of a blessed resurrection. She has been permitted to see her children and her children's children grown up to man's and woman's estate, and to be blessings to those connected with them. All my recollections of her are those of a true Christian matron occupying the post assigned to her by God's good providence with exemplary fidelity. Though latterly you and others have been deprived of any pleasure of active intercourse with her, still you will feel her loss much. The loss of a parent is something which nothing can replace. It leaves a blank between the present and the past; and the one connecting link between the separate members of a family seems to be sundered in twain. However, she is mercifully taken to her rest. God grant her His eternal rest. "Believe me,
To the same when the mosaic of the Crucifixion was put up in St. George's Church.
"Avebury Vicarage, Calne,
"June 21st, 1879.
"My dear Mr. Knight,
"Mr. Withers was here yesterday, and he told me of the most marvellous result of the public vestry meeting at St. George's-in-the-East, and of the granting of the faculty. Well! 'Time and I against any two!' If I had proposed in my time to have inserted a simple cross in the place of the proposed crucifix, I should have been burnt alive. But seriously I do most heartily congratulate you and your brothers on this result. Your father and mother will now be the means, through their children, of preaching more effectually than by any words to generations and generations of poor souls the priceless truth of Jesus Christ and Him crucified!
"Yours ever sincerely,
To the same on his giving up business.
"May 30th, 1888.
"My very dear Friend,
"We learn this morning through your wife that you are to sever your connection with your business to-morrow. Such an occurrence impels me to write to you some words of sympathy.
"This comparative release from this world's cares and occupations is, I believe, a distinct gift and blessing from our Father, a blessing which I happily share with you, given to each of us, I am sure, as a preparation for 'the rest that remaineth.' Then a further instance, you and I have alike been deprived of one of our bodily and earthly senses; this surely is a help to each of us in withdrawing our hearts from merely earthly sights and earthly sounds, leading us and aiding us both in habitually realising 'the things that are not seen.'
"Oh! this comparative rest and calm is surely an unspeakable blessing! We are thus led most mercifully to the habit of a constant spiritual communion with the God and Father of all our mercies in offering up to Him silent prayers and thanksgivings, as we need His help or receive His blessings through the fleeting events of each day and night that is given to us!
"I grieve indeed to learn that the one who is nearest and dearest to you is still a sufferer, and so in some measure a subject of anxiety to you. Well, we are sure of this, that all His dealings with us are love.
"Believe me, with deepest regard and affection,
To the same.
"My dear old Friend,
"It is hard even to express any hopeful wishes on this most sad and bitter day! But then the darkest and most depressing hour of the night is that which ushers in the morn. So, blessed Easter is at hand, and all blessings with it! May all such be poured out on you and yours! This place is bright and cheery, and the services at Christ Church most refreshing. There was a grand congregation yesterday at High Celebration, the sermon by (unless my memory fails me) Mr. Rodwell. Of course, as in all such ministrations of preaching, my lesson and profit is 'patience.' I cannot say much for myself in the way of improved strength, but Easter will, I hope, bring its bodily blessings with all others.
"With sincere affection to all the circle,
To the same.
"Good Friday, 1894.
"My dear old Friend,
"Only a few lines can I send in anticipation of Blessed Easter. I am not so able-bodied as I was fifty years ago in our old St. George's days. But what a marvellous revolution in the Church have you and I witnessed since those evil days! It is really one of the most marvellous recorded in history. Indeed, it is nothing less than a spiritual Easter in the Church, a very Life from Death! Surely this is a reflection full of most blessed hope and consolation to us who must be looking forward to our departure hence.
"May our Heavenly Father now and ever hold you and yours in His holy keeping.
"Yours ever affectionately,
 The following letter was written to the same by Mrs. King on the occasion of the death of his wife, and the short note added on the same sheet of paper by Mr. King was probably the last letter that he wrote.
"January, 13th, 1895.
"My dear Mr. Knight,
"Words cannot express the deep sympathy we all feel for you in the loss of your beloved wife--it has shocked us dreadfully. I cannot bear the thought that I shall not see her again in this life, but I feel it cannot be very long before (by God's great mercy) we may meet never to part again; we must try and think of her now no longer suffering pain or weariness or anxiety of any kind. All infirmities have passed away now, and she is (we may humbly rest assured) in such peace and untold joy. Within the last two months five of my friends have departed, and so really it seems to me that I am gradually being weaned from this world, that Home is really the Land where our loved are waiting to welcome us. I am sure our loving Father will not forsake you and your dear family in this your bitter trial, and no one on earth can sympathise with you more than He can. His promise is faithful. 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'
"Believe me, dearest Mr. Knight,
"With most loving sympathy,
"Your very affectionate friend,
"Mary M. King."
"My very dear old Friend,
"Do not despond, but lift up your heart, for it is thus that the love of our Father above would wean our poor earthly hearts from all of earth 'as grows in Paradise our store'--you and I have not long to wait here.
"God bless you,
 To the Rev. R. A. J. Suckling, Vicar of St. Alban's, Holborn.
"January 13th, 1888.
"My dear Brother,
"I thank you very sincerely for the last number of your Parish Magazine, with its most interesting and touching records of dear Mackonochie. I do not know that we could have desired a different mode of his departure hence than that which at first caused such a shock to us who knew and loved him. From the loved and loving home of my very dear old friend, the Bishop of Argyll, he was at once taken to his Father's house. I do not think that among all whom it has been my privilege to know (amongst whom I may mention J. Keble, Pusey, Charles Marriott, C. Lowder, and dear saintly Bishop Hamilton) I have ever been more impressed with the character of a simple and single-hearted devotion to duty than in the instance of our late friend. Several newspapers mentioned my name amongst those present at the funeral, probably assuming that I ought to have been there; but I am sure that you will easily understand that one who has entered upon his seventy-seventh year and is afflicted with great deafness never can leave his house save under the care of one who has been most mercifully given to him as his loving and faithful helpmate in all his trials. May God bless and keep you, my dear friend.
 To the same.
"January 20th, 1888.
"My dear Brother,
"In reply to your request, I can, I fear, give but little information about Mackonochie in his connection with my late parish or with the riots. He was only indirectly connected with the Parish Church, or, consequently, with the riots, as he was at the head of the mission at the chapel in Well Close Square, as Lowder was that in Calvert Street. (Mr. King seems to have forgotten that during his own enforced absence Mackonochie had a good deal to do with the Parish Church, but that is only natural, as his absence was on account of his health having thoroughly broken down.)
"During the closing of the Parish Church for six months, several of the mob made attempts in both of those mission chapels, but happily those chapels boasted of no churchwardens in alliance with the mob, and thus their priests were able to take care of themselves and their services by admitting only their ordinary frequenters.
"I only remember Mackonochie preaching once for me at the Parish Church, which he did with a simple earnestness which I have not forgotten; and that was the only occasion on which I ever heard him preach. Our paths since then have been, only geographically, rather widely apart, so that I have seen but little of him since St. George's days. He paid us about a week's visit at Bruges during our sojourn there; and I fear that my last interview with him would be little suited as a subject of a grave memoir of him. I called upon him at St. Alban's Clergy House, and as I had not seen the church since its consecration, asked him to take me there. I observed a painting of the [172/173] Blessed Virgin with some votive wreaths attached to it, and knowing that the Bishop of London was then in very warm correspondence with M. on the subject of that painting, I said, 'Oh, Mackonochie, what a vile picture, and how utterly unworthy of the subject; why it is enough to demoralise a whole parish! Now pray do let me get you out of your present hobble; only leave me in the church for ten minutes and I will enable you at once to write to the Bishop stating, "I left an old friend in my church for ten minutes, and on my return I found that the scoundrel had cut the precious picture to ribands.'" Now there was much of the 'dour' Scotchman in dear M., so that, I regret to state, he rejected my noble offer with gravity and even sternness.
"It is with hesitation that I have recorded this rude criticism of mine upon a work of high art, which, I doubt not, you St. Alban's clerics regard with great veneration. I sadly fear that this revelation may entail the forfeiture of the promised photo of those dear dogs (belonging to the Bishop of Argyll, and Mackonochie's companions on his last walk), but then you must bear in mind that in all probability that painting has been improved by keeping, and that my taste at the period in question must have been very depraved.
"And yet, oh, I do wish that you could pay a visit to Avebury Church, where you would see a copy of Fra Angelico somewhat worthy of the subject.
"I am, yours affectionately,
"P.S.--The incident of those dear dogs reminds me that I often have cause to call to mind that subject of thankfulness of holy Bishop Andrewes--'the help of Animals.'--B. K."
 To a friend who had objected to some oil lamps in the Sanctuary of Avebury Church.
"I fear that you and I are at 'sixes and sevens' respecting our altar standards! On the principle of the late Canon Liddon's wondrous last sermon on 'The Inspiration of Selection,' strikingly illustrated in the selection of himself as the preacher in such a church on such an occasion, I am inclined to think that if our Sarum predecessors had possessed the article Paraffin they would have utilised it as we have done, and I am sure that no one who has ever seen our Sanctuary, with its exquisite paintings, etc., lighted up on a Sunday evening as it now is with the standards, would care to see the same with the obscure glimmer of a few wax rushlights as a substitute.
"But what a wondrous revolution in the Church have you and I witnessed since the 'St. George's riots.' I know of few revolutions equal to it."
 To the Rev. Canon E. R. Jones, Rector of Limsfield, son of the Ven. Archdeacon Jones, of Liverpool. This letter was sent to the writer by Canon Jones, who had also been a fellow of Brasenose, and who succeeded Mr. King at St. John's, Bethnal Green, as "showing the intensity of Bryan King's sympathy, and his lasting regard for the friends of his early life."
"St. Matthew's Day, 1888.
"My dear Jones,
"I do most sincerely thank you for your note and most touching memoir. The older I grow the fonder does my poor heart cling to all old friendly associations. Amongst such is that of your venerable father. From my earliest years in Liverpool I have ever regarded him with feelings of great respect and reverence. And how I should rejoice had not my great deafness prevented me from accepting the invitation to meet again dear old faces at our dear old College. You mention Bazeley and Nowell; two more noble natures I know not. You state that your son is curate of Pevensey; now it is rather strange, but I am remotely connected with its rector. The first husband of my wife's twin sister (now Mrs. Pinnock) was Rev. John Sutton, uncle of R. S. in question. I have known most of the family, and am now concerned for Mrs. Pinnock as trustee under John Sutton's will.
"But now for yourself. How blessed has been the affliction of your dear daughter in making her a blessing indeed to thousands of the afflicted! and then your dear wife so lately taken to her home! I am sure that you can say from the depths of your heart, 'In the midst of the [175/176] sorrows that I had in my heart Thy comforts have refreshed my soul.' It is thus in His infinite mercy that these poor earthly hearts of ours are withdrawn hence 'as grows our store in heaven.'
"I am tempted to record something of my own poor heart. When I observe the trials of my friends, especially in the loss of those nearest and dearest to them, I am tempted to entertain feelings of apprehension and dread for my own spiritual state. Here I have a most happy and healthy home surrounded by kind attached parishioners, and friends on every side, my wife spared to me since 1842, with my younger son as my assistant curate, with twelve living children, seven of them very happily married. Oh, I often think of the saying of dear saintly Keble: 'Those who are endowed with all earthly blessings have the most special need of our prayers on their behalf.' God indeed be merciful to me a sinner! May He give His ever loving blessings to you, dear friend, and of His infinite mercy grant to us to meet hereafter in His presence!
"Believe me, your very affectionate