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Bishop Edward King

"a persecuted Bishop"

This is an original Vanity Fair print by Sir Leslie Ward (signed as "Spy") of the Bishop Edward King of Lincolnshire, England and the caption at the bottom says "a persecuted Bishop." One web site that thinks highly of Bishop King recounts his reputation and explains why he was persecuted:

As a bishop-pastor, he was outstandingly effective. One writer of his day called him "the most loved man in Lincolnshire." The private letters of his contemporaries contain many testimonies to his personal holiness and to his loving concern for others. He sought out those whom the Church had failed to reach, and spoke with them about the Good News of God's love declared in Jesus Christ. Whenever possible, he did the work of a prison chaplain, speaking with everyone from pickpockets to murderers...

Different parties within the Church had come to regard various ceremonial usages as a mark of where the user stood theologically, and in 1887 Bishop King was denounced as celebrating the Liturgy with practices not permitted by the directives in the Book of Common Prayer and elsewhere governing Anglican worship. Specifically, the charges were

(1) having lighted candles on the altar;
(2) facing "eastward" (that is, toward the altar and with his back to the congregation) during most prayers;
(3) mixing a little water with the wine in the chalice (done chiefly because the ancients--Jews, Greeks, and Romans alike--regularly diluted their wine with water just before drinking it, but also understood by many as a symbol of human nature being incorporated into the Divine Nature as we are united with Christ through the Sacrament);
4) using the Agnus Dei ("O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us") as a hymn just before the receiving of the Holy Communion (this hymn is traditional, but had been omitted from the Book of Common Prayer in 1549 because Cranmer transferred the Gloria to a position at the end of the service, and the words of the Agnus Dei are included in the Gloria, so that it seemed repetitious to have them both within a few minutes of each other);
(5) making the sign of the Cross when blessing the congregation; and
(6) making a ceremony of cleansing the Communion vessels after the service.

None of these practices is particularly controversial today, but they were then thought by some to be signs of inclination to the views--and the company--of the Pope. King was tried by a Church Court presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The decision of the Court forbade some of these practices, but permitted others while specifying that they had no theological significance. Thus, lighted candles were to be permitted on the altar, but only when needed for purposes of illumination. The Times wrote of the judgement:

The Ritualists are to have their way in the chief practices Impugned--the other party are diligently assured that there is no such significance as has hitherto been supposed in such practices. The Ritualists...are given the shells they have been fighting for, and the Evangelicals are consoled with the gravest assurances that there were no kernels inside them.

It is ironic that King appears in reference works chiefly as the defendent in the Lincoln Trial, since most of those who knew him would have regarded this as a brief and peripheral episode in a life devoted chiefly to preaching and exemplifying the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

The print comes with the biography of Bishop King by Jehu Junior published in 1890 in Vanity Fair. It's ending lines are these:

He has a fine presence, a striking figure, and an engaging manner which is natural, and not clerically assumed...Men listen to him; women adore him; and children love him. His is a power, not a fashion.

This print comes already matted to a standard 16 x 20" frame size so it will be easy and inexpensive to frame and is enclosed in a protective plastic sleeve. The little black line at the bottom of the print above "Bishop" in the picture above is a transient Rottweiler hair which is no longer on the print.

Price: SOLD/$130