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about it in good earnest, will find pěople less backward then at first he would imagine.”
God grant that he may find it so and that the publication ef these devotions together wiih his persuasions from the pulpit, may induce many families to worship God, who have neglected it heretofore.
The devotions of Bishop Wilson, which are here presented to the public in a commo. dious form, are acknowledged on all hands to be the standard of excellence. Other writers ac. knowledge it by the frequent quotations they make from him, and the public testimony they ever bear to his unrivalled excellence.
Hitherto these devotions have been locked up from the public, in large folio and quarto editions of his works, and have been mixed with much matter unnecessary to Christians in general.
They are now stripped of all unnecessary matter, and simplified and adapted to the use of all devout persons and families.
May God vouchsafe his blessing on the work and make it instrumental to the increase of piety and devotion in the hearts of all who shall read it.
We shall perfix a few remarks on the life
and character of its excellent author, which may serve to recommend the work and to gra, tify the curiosity of those who may wish to know something of a man whose prayers are so sublime and heavenly.
Sketches of his life and character. : Doctor Thomas Wilson, the venerable and Apostolic Bishop of Sodor and Man, was born in the year 1663, in the county of Chester (as he says himself in his manuscript Diary) of honest parents, fearing God.
In his Diary, he always speaks of his parents in the most dutiful and affectionate terms; and it appears to have been his daily practice, 'to offer up prayers for their temporal and eternal welfare. The prayer
the following devotions.
His parents though poor, were yet able to afford him a good cducation, and he went through the schools and colleges with credit.
It was his intention to have studied Physic, but was persuaded by Arch-deacon Hewelson,
, seemed by nature to have been particularly de. signed.
In the year 1686 he was ordained Deacon, by Doctor Mcreton, Bishop of Kildair.
year 1692 he was appointed domestic Chaplain to the Earl of Derby, and Preceptor to his son, Lord Strange.
He performed his duty faithfully and religiously in each of these relations.
In the year 1697 he was created Doctor of Laws, and consecrated Bishop of the Isle of Man.
Thus in a few years, was he raised from a domestic Chaplain, to be the Bishop and Fa. ther of a numerous people...,
The charity of Bishop Wilson was most remarkable, as the following transcripts from his Diary, will amply testify.
“ Easterday, 1693. It having pleased God to bless me with an income far above my hopes and deserts, and having hitherto given but a a tenth part of my income, I do for the future, purpose to give one fifth part.'
Let it be understood, that his salary at this time, was only fifty pounds sterling.
Afterwards, in the year 1716 when his salary was increased, he makes another solemn dedication to God, in these words :
“ Finding that I have enough and to spare, over and above a decent hospitality, besides what I formerly gave to pious uses, and being convinced that I am no proprietor, but only a
steward of the church's patrimony, I do therefore, to the glory of God, dedicate three tenths of
my rents to pious uses, and one tenth of all the profits of the demesnes, and two tenths of the profits of my English estate, until I can purchase the impropriations of that estate, which I intend to do, and after that, one tenth beside."
And again, in the year 1718:
6. I find to the glory of God, by constant experience, that God will be no man's debtor; I find that I have enough and to spare, so that for the future, I dedicate four tenths to pious uses, one tenth of the demesnes and customs which I receive in monies and my English estate as above, and the good Lord accept
poor servant, for Christ's sake.”
And again, in the year 1721 :
“ To the glory of God, I dedicate the inte- rest of all my monies to pious uses, so long as I have wherewithall to live on besides."
“ Blessed be God for giving me the heart and will to do so."
And then he concludes with this modest and humbling reflection : "A
small page will serve to contain the number of our good works, when large volumes will not contain our evil deeds."
" And though I givé all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
The biography of this great man, containing his letters and prayers, and reflections, and resolutions on various occasions, would be a most useful and interesting work.
I must content myself with a few extracts from characters given of him by eminent writers,
“ He had,” said an intimate acquaintance, like his great Master and Saviour Jesus Christ, a real compassion and tenderness for the weaknesses and infirmities of human nature, as well as for the misfortunes of men. For all in affiction, adversity and distress, he had the tenderest sensibility of heart ; for in every man's affliction, like his Saviour, he was afflicted.”
“ The Isle of Man, under his auspicious care, exhibited such a representation of a christian community, as can be equalled only by the Apostolical ages, and which I fear, now no longer exists upon earth.”
And again :
* There is a sincerity, an affectionate earnestness to do good in the Bishop's manner,