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OF THE RIGHT REV. FATHER IN GOD,
THOMAS KEN, D.D.
SOMETIME LORD BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
SOME OF HIS LETTERS,
(NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED,)
AND A SHORT ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE
WILLIAM HAWKINS, Esq.
THE WHOLE COLLECTED BY
JAMES THOMAS ROUND, B.D.
RECTOR OF ST. RUNWALD'S AND ST. NICHOLAS, COLCHESTER,
AND LATE FELLOW OF BALLIOL COLLEGE, OXFORD.
T: ALBIN, COLCHESTER.
The greater part of the following collection was published in separate pieces by Bishop Ken in his lifetime. Two of the sermons were printed after his death by his great nephew and executor, Mr. Hawkins. Some of the letters were printed for the first time by the Rev. W. L. Bowles, in his life of the Bishop, and they appear in the present volume by Mr. Bowles's kind permission; the rest bave never been published before : some of these were in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Williams, the late Head Master of Winchester College, and some were in the Bodleian Library. The Editor takes this opportunity of returning his grateful thanks for the courtesy which has enabled him to make these additions to the present collection. The Articles of Visitation and Enquiry, &c. were found in the library at Longleate, and, by the kindness of the late Marquis of Bath, a copy of them was taken for the Editor. He is afraid that some of the remains of Bishop Ken have escaped his enquiries. He has been informed, that there exists a letter of his purporting to be “A
Letter addressed to the Parishioners of Woodhay during the time of the plague,” but he has not succeeded in finding it. It does not appear that the Sermon which the Bishop preached at Bath on Ascension-day, and which called forth some animadversions in print, was ever itself published.
Several works which have been printed from time to time, with Bishop Ken's name, are not included in this collection. The following passage, from the Epistle Dedicatory, prefixed by Mr. Hawkins to his edition of Ken’s Poems, in four volumes, octavo, proves that such spurious works were to be found even during the lifetime of the Bishop. “His frequent joining of the syllable co to words, beside the great propriety thereby preserved, may be taken (though I dare not aver it to be so intended) for a designed characteristic of his genuine performances from such as are spurious, he having met with illtreatment of that nature in his lifetime. And for the further prevention of which, (as far as in me lies,) I beg leave to assure your Lordship, that nothing more of his performances are ever to be published.” The four following have come under the notice of the Editor, and have been rejected by him as spurious.
1. A Letter to the Author of a Sermon, &c.
3. The Royal Sufferer: a manual of meditations and devotions; written for the use of a royal though afflicted family, by T. K., D.D. 1699.
Afterwards published under the title of—
“ A Crown of Glory, the reward of the righteous ; being meditations upon the vicissitude of all sublunary enjoyments."
4. Expostulatoria ; or, the Complaints of the Church of England, &c.
1. In regard to the “ Letter to the Author of a Sermon,” the Editor is of opinion, that in the absence of all evidence in favour of its genuineness, the tone and temper shown through the whole of it are sufficient to prove that it was not written by Ken.
2. The extract from Hawkins's Epistle Dedicatory, relating to the spurious works, is cited in a note of the Biographia Britannica, under the article Ken, with the following remark in the margin by the Editor : “ Among these was published under his name, The Retired Christian, the seventh edition of which came out in 1756, 12mo.” The style and matter of this book are conclusive against its genuineness.
3. It cannot be denied that there are some traces of resemblance between the style of “ The Royal Sufferer," and that of Bishop Ken, but they are points characteristic of the writers of those times, rather than peculiar to Ken himself. In the following particulars, there is a striking want of resemblance. Ken's acknowledged prayers abound with thanksgiving, and with ascriptions of glory to God; but in those of “ The Royal Sufferer" there are comparatively few of either, and these few have no traces of Ken's peculiar manner. A marked differ