Notes from the "History of the Brethren" by Napoleon Noel:
Richard Holden was formerly an Anglican clergyman. He went out to Portugal in the Lord's work. His letters to his mother giving reasons for leaving the Church of England had a wide circulation. He wrote the hymn "Lord of Glory we adore Thee". His departure to be with Christ is an example of the faithfulness and sustaining grace of God to those who obey His call to serve Him in foreign lands, and of His presence with and rich blessing upon them.
Mrs. Holden realized this when she wrote from near Lisbon, Aug. 24th. 1886:
"Yes, my dear husband is at home now with the One he loved so well, waiting with Him until He come. It was at first a trial that my dear husband left me. This is almost the only time I can remember in all the happy years since the Lord gave us to each other, he left me without saying 'good-bye'. There was nothing of death or sadness in that sick room; he was so happy, so cheerful. All who came to say 'Good-bye' — the dear saints and many others — left thinking he would yet be among them, he looked so bright. The doctor alone, gave me no hope, and oh he was so kind! My dear husband was so fond of him. 'Doctor', he said, 'a death bed is not the time to seek the Lord. What would I do if I had to come to Him in all this pain? No, thank God, it is all bright, all joy. Thirty eight years I have known the Lord and I never had a doubt of my soul's salvation. Now it is all joy to go. Not even my wife, dearly as I love her, or my boy can hold me back. It is all bright — all joy'. Someone said, 'You are going to get your crown of glory'. 'Not the crown, not the crown' he said quickly 'the One who gives it'. When I asked him if he had any wish about Ernest or myself, brightly he said, 'Not a wish, not a care. My wife and my boy are both in my Father's hand; He will guide. I would not wish it otherwise. A little while, dear wife, and God with you all the way'. He had such perfect rest in God about everything, such trust in the Father's heart, and you know how dear the saints in Lisbon were to him; but God's care for them was enough. In death he was allowed once more the privilege of witnessing for the truth, so dear to him in life. They refused to have him buried in the English cemetery, as our views were different, and he could not be buried there without a service from an ordained clergyman. Martiers then thought that he had got it all arranged for Playares, and we went there on Monday, Aug. 19th. 1886. All the dear saints and many others met us at the cemetery, and a quiet blessed time we had, beginning with the Portuguese hymn, 'Glory unto Jesus be, etc' then Tenas prayed with great power. Martiers read 1 Cor. 15. A praised and prayed. Tenas said a few precious words and we sang the hymn 'Asleep in Jesus, etc.' Mr. Hall then gave out the lovely Portuguese hymn, one of his own, 'Thou art my rest, Lord Jesus'. The coffin was open all the time — this is the custom here — and you had only to turn your eyes to his happy face and know how true were the words he had written. I had to leave them, as I was sick; but Mr. Hall said it was the most touching sight he had ever witnessed; and the dear saints went forward in their deep, deep grief and kissed him. Then came the order that he could not be buried there; so, twice refused a resting place, the coffin was taken back to the carriage and buried in the little cemetery outside the gate. [Note Ex. 33 : 7; Heb. 13 : 10-14]. 'The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, etc. and so shall we ever be with the Lord'. (1 Thess. 4). With my loving thanks to each one for their love and sympathy, and the earnest desire that Christ be everything with us until He comes, very affectionately, Yours in Him", signed Kate Holden.
From "Reminiscences" by Stuart E. McNair.
In 1891 I answered an advertisement for an engineering draughtsman wanted in Lisbon, and obtained the situation, boarding there with the widow of the well-known Bible teacher, Richard Holden, for the next five years. To live with such a Christian as Mrs. Holden was an education in itself, and from her I learnt valuable lessons in the spiritual life. She was a believer, tried and tested in almost every possible way, but always serenely cheerful, so that the neighbour opposite once asked her what was the secret of her happiness She was tireless in Christian service, in visiting, holding meetings for young people and also for the neighbouring ragged children. In spite of her piety she must have had some sense of humour. An English friend commented once on a particularly ragged little boy in her class, and remarked that his trousers were badly torn. "Do you call them trousers?" asked Mrs. Holden "I call it an apron".
Mr. Holden wrote a valuable booklet called "Ministry of the Word — eldership — and the Lord's Supper", an earnest loving word from an ex-clergyman to some of his former colleagues. He began the booklet with "Dear brothers in the Lord". In a footnote in his booklet, Mr. Holden wrote that he had candidly and fairly weighed the pretensions of the Irvingites (the speaking with tongues and miracles of that day) as to apostles, etc. before he gathered to the Name of the Lord among "Brethren". He found the Irvingite claims empty and groundless.
Mr. Holden's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is number 134, "Lord of Glory we adore Thee", an excellent hymn extolling the glories of the Lord Jesus.