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Portrait of Bishop Ken - - To face the Title.
There are some errata to which I would particularly call the reader's attention, as, by the omission or addition of a few letters, the sense of the passage has been completely altered.
Page xx. note +, for “this,” read, “The intolerant Prelate (Laud), who " — P. 56, at the foot, read, “had condemned millions and millions of human beings to eternal torments, merely for his own good pleasure . " P. 170, line 4, read, “doubly affecting and tender.” P. 178, line 16, for “lift up,” read “say.” P. 182, last line, for “the,” read “them.”
*** When, in speaking of our Articles, I said the word “Decreed" was not Scriptural, it is to be understood that this word, in the sense of Calvin, was not Scriptural.
INTRO D UCTION.
THE eminent position which the Episcopal Church of England holds, and has held, among the Protestant Churches, since the Reformation, of which Reformation her own Wycliff was the morning-star, cannot be better illustrated than by the lives and example of some of her most illustrious, learned, and pious sons. Among this splendid host, few will be found, in practical holiness of life, in humility, gentleness, yet uncompromising integrity of virtuous intrepidity, under all trials, more worthy of record and imitation than the subject of these pages.
When we consider his character, his station, and his fortunes, it is singular that so little should have been recorded of Bishop Ken. When we turn our attention, more particularly, on the great events of the period, and remark him, equally dignified by the death-bed of one expiring Monarch,” or in imprisonment on account of his uncompromising opposition to the mandates of another, both of whom expressed an equal personal regard for him;—when we consider him calm and consistent in prosperity or in prison;—when we see him, on account of his
* Charles. Even Burnet says he spoke like one inspired. WOL. I. b
conscientious principles, voluntarily relinquishing a large revenue and baronial palace, reduced to find his only asylum in the mansion of the noble friend of his early days; — when we look on his grave, not among the sculptured monuments of the Prelates of his own cathedral, but that of a poor man among the poor, in the open church-yard of a countrytown, the nearest consecrated place of Christian rest” in his former diocese; — whilst all these singular circumstances crowd on our reflections, as we think of the life and death of Bishop Ken, it seems still more extraordinary that there should be only one meagre record + of a life so truly Christian, of fortunes so varied, which, to every Christian heart, and to all who reflect on the changes and chances of this mortal course, teach a lesson as important as impressive. The only relation of his life, authentic, indeed, as having Ken's “imprimatur” before he died, is that by William Hawkins, published after his death, announcing an intended collection of all his works. Four volumes in consequence appeared, containing a series of sacred poems, written chiefly in his retirement at Longleat, and two eloquent Sermons. Of the poems more will be said in another place. The Life of Ken bears the affix, in the titlepage, of “William Hawkins, barrister," from which a general reader derives information as satisfactory as from the meagre facts called the “Life.” Of this William Hawkins* and his family an account is given in the first chapter of this volume.
* Frome, in Somersetshire. + By William Hawkins. All the Lives are based upon this, as to mere facts.
His books, the most valuable treasures of his varied life, Bishop Ken left to the library of his generous friend at Longleat. In the last volume a catalogue will be given.
To Dr. Hawes alone I am indebted for the novelty of the information which the reader will find in the chapter of Morley; and to Dr. Hawes, my friend from school-days, inheriting his ancestor's active benevolence, “primitive”-- piety, and love of the Church, I have expressed my obligations elsewhere. I must next return my thanks to my kind and esteemed friend the Bishop of Bath and Wells, for the information contained in the MS. Life of Ken's successor, Bishop Kidder, of which use will be made in the second volume. This work, never
* The information given by Hawkins is so scanty in consequence of Ken's extreme delicacy. In the second volume, we shall show how anxiously he concealed the names of those on whose account he left abruptly the Court of the Prince of Orange. The names of the parties, and circumstances of this interesting event, will be detailed, for the first time, in the next volume.
+ Izaak Walton's epitaph of his wife.