Free Online Bible Library | Thomas Ken

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Thomas Ken

1637-1711. Bishop of Bath and Wells. He became a fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1657 and taught at Winchester College from 1672. Here he probably wrote his two famous hymns, “Awake, my soul, and with the sun” and “Glory to Thee, my God, this night.” Although a king's chaplain, he refused to allow his house to be used by the king's mistress, Nell Gwynne, on a royal visit to Winchester. Charles II greatly respected him, made him bishop of Bath and Wells in 1684, and received absolution from him on his deathbed. Ken refused to read James II's Declaration of Indulgence, but also declined to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary in 1689 and was deprived of his see. Despite an offer of reinstatement in 1703, he lived an ascetic life in retirement. He wrote in the Laudian tradition a manual of devotion for boys, and The Practic of Divine Love (1685).