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same time he was also elected Master of the almshouse, at Latham, which added 201. to his income, of which he now dedicated one-fifth to charitable purposes. In 1693, he was seized with a fever, which brought him to the confines of the grave; and shortly after this he was called upon to perform a duty of the most trying and delicate nature, and from which a mind, actuated by a mere regard to temporal interests, would have shrunk in despair. The embarrassed state of his patron's affairs, occasioned by habits of profusion, and utter inattention to his domestic concerns, seemed to threaten the most ruinous consequences to his lordship, many of his creditors being greatly distressed, and others loud in their demands, and pressing in their importunities. Mr. Wilson could not continue an unconcerned spectator of these scenes, and he, therefore, at the risk of his patron's displeasure, ventured to call his attention to them; and, accordingly, he addressed to him the following admirable and judicious letter, which, happily, instead of giving offence, produced the effect he so ardently desired :
My Lord,-Nothing but a sense of duty and gratitude, could have put me upon taking such a liberty as this, which because I have reason to believe concerns your lordship, I can willingly hazard all the future favours your lordship designs me, rather than be unconcerned and silent in a matter of this moment, though I have no reason to fear such a consequence. I do, therefore, with all imaginable submission, offer these following particulars, touching your creditors, to your lordship's consideration.
First: Though several debts, as your lordship urges, may be unjust, and perhaps most of the bills in part unreasonable; yet it is very probable that a great many are really just ; and if these are not paid, those who suffer have a just complaint to God and man, which must certainly have a very ill influence upon your lordship's affairs.
Secondly: That several in the neighbourhood are undone if they are not speedily considered; they are forced to the last necessity, some to sell their estates, and others ready to leave the country, or to lie in gaol for debts which are owing to them from your lordship. They come every day with tears and petitions, which nobody takes notice of, and so your lordship never comes to know what they suffer and complain of.
Thirdly : Your lordship sees what methods the rest who are more able are taking, and you know best what may be the consequence of what they are doing : but however it ends, if their demands are just, they will still have reason to complain of the wrong that is done them.
Fourthly : Your lordship is never suffered to know what influence these things have upon your temporal affairs; but I am ready to make it out, whenever your lordship shall think it your interest to inquire into this matter, that you pay constantly one-third more for what you want than does any other person. I know very few care, or are concerned at this; but I am one of those who cannot but see and lament this hardship and misfortune, which cannot possibly be remedied, till your lordship has taken soine order with your creditors, and reformed those who shall have the disposal of your monies for the time to come.
Fifthly : I am not able to foresee how these things will end, and one cannot tell what they may be forced to attempt. It is too likely, that if any disturbance should happen in the government, their wants may make them desperate, and
their numbers insolent. I have been lately told, that some of them have secretly threatened some such thing.
And now, my Lord, if I have said any thing unbecoming me, I hope your lordship will pardon me, and believe it a fault of indiscretion, rather than design. I mean honestly; and, that your lordship may think so, I do protest, in the presence of God, that I had rather beg all my life than to be so far wanting to myself, and that duty which I owe to God and your lordship, as not to have given your lordship these short hints by word of mouth and writing, which your lordship could not possibly have, but from some faithful servant, as I presume to subscribe myself, and, my lord, your most dutiful chaplain, Oct. 22, 1696.
T. W. An profecturus sim, nescio; malim, successum mihi quam fidem deesse. Pp. 24–26.
This kind remonstrance was not only received by Lord Derby with the attention which it deserved, but raised the giver of it considerably in his esteem. Under his advice and direction his patron's affairs were soon happily arranged; and he found himself at liberty, by his counsels, his instructions, and his prayers, to attend to the religious improvement of the household. In these endeavours he appears to have derived important assistance from Lady Derby, whom he represents as an illustrious example of virtue and piety, of zeal and sincerity. More especially he directed his attention to the formation of the moral and religious character of his pupil Lord Strange, respecting whom the following anecdote is sufficiently amusing:
The principal defects in this young nobleman's character, were an impetuosity of temper and want of consideration. Mr. Wilson studiously endeavoured to correct these defects. To impress his lessons on this subject more effectually, he had recourse to an extraordinary experiment. One day, as Lord Strange was going to subscribe a paper which he had not read, his tutor dropped some burning sealing-wax on his finger, which, from the exquisite pain it occasioned, excited a feeling of strong indignation; but this feeling quickly subsided when he was informed of the friendly design of the action, and considered that it was done to remind him while he lived, never to sign a paper which he had not first attentively read. So important a lesson could hardly be purchased at too high a price.-P. 29.
In 1693, the Bishopric of Sodor and Man became vacant, and Lord Derby, in whom the right of appointment lay, offered his Chaplain the preferment. Mr. Wilson thankfully acknowledged the favour; but from a modest distrust of his fitness for an office of such awful responsibility, firmly declined its acceptance. Lord Derby was still unwilling to appoint any other person to the See, and it remained vacant for four years, when the Archbishop complained to King William, who insisted upon an immediate appointment, and threatening, in the event of any further delay, to fill up the vacancy himself. Accordingly Mr. Wilson, as he himself expresses it, was forced into the Bishopric, being consecrated on the 16th of January, 1697. With ardour and resolution he entered upon his holy office; and his whole zeal and energies, during the remainder of his life, were anxiously devoted to the faithful discharge of his episcopal duties. His charities more especially were unbounded; his prayers to the Almighty fervent and unceasing; and both in public and private, he laboured to set an example of Christian piety and virtue to all who came within his sphere.
The Bishop was regular and devout in the observance of family worship. The whole family constantly assembled in his chapel at six o'clock every morning during the summer season, and at seven in the winter, when he himself, or one of the candidates for the holy ministry, who were inmates in his house, offered up solemn prayer. The evening sacrifice was performed in the same manner at a stated hour. As he arranged all his affairs with exact method, so he conducted his family devotions with particular order and regularity. At the appointed hour of prayer, a servant entered the room where the Bishop was sitting, and, with a respectful bow, uttered these words, “ My Lord, all things are ready ;" instantly the Bishop arose, and with holy joy applied himself to his favourite work. Whoever were his guests, or whatever was his employment, the morning and evening sacrifice was never intermitted. It is related, that on one occasion, when he had a large company at his house, consisting of foreigners and persons of different religious persuasions, the servant entered the parlour at the hallowed hour, with the usual intimation. His Lordship having apologized to the company for leaving them, telling them that he was going to pray with his people, immediately retired, but no sooner had he reached the chapel, than every one of his guests followed, as if constrained by an involuntary impulse, and an irresistible attraction. The silent eloquence of example will often make proselytes where no arguments will avail.—Pp. 44, 45.
The necessary repairs of the episcopal residence somewhat curtailed the excellent Bishop's means of charities, when he was first appointed to the Diocese. This he exceedingly regretted; and his beneficence always increased in proportion to his income. In order to prevent as much as possible the misapplication of his goodness, he required the native poor to bring certificates of recommendation from their ministers. At the same time he never allowed the dread of being imposed on to interfere with his alms. It was a favourite maxim with him, that “he would rather give to ten anworthy, than that one deserving object should go away without relief.” Some idea of his unbounded charity may be formed from the following extract:
As the Bishop had a poor's drawer in his bureau for the reception of all monies dedicated to charitable uses, so he had a poor's chest in his barn, for the reception of corn and meal, designed for the relief of the indigent. This chest he was in the habit of frequently inspecting, that he might be satisfied it was filled even up to the brim. At a season of unusual scarcity in the island, when, according to custom, he was inspecting the poor man's repository, he found it almost empty, whilst the family-chest was abundantly supplied. He expressed great displeasure on the occasion, and gave a strict charge to the steward of his house, that whoever were neglected, the poor should not. He regarded the claims of the poor as sacred, and made provision for every species of want and distress. When corn was measured for the poor, he gave express orders to his steward not to stroke it, as is usual, but to give heaped measure. He often conversed with the objects of charity who applied for relief, and minutely inquired into the circumstances of their case. One day a pauper, who had a large family, calling at Bishop's Court, was asked by the Bishop how he contrived to get food for his children. “ May it please your Lordship," says he, "I go round with my bag from house to house, and generally get a herring from each housekeeper. This is our food; and as to drink, we quench our thirst at the nearest stream of water.”—“ Poor man! (says the Bishop,) that is hard fare ; but mind you call here whenever you pass this way, and you shall get your bag filled." Many a bag was filled, and many a family sustained by pro visions from the stores of this generous friend of the poor.
A more interesting spectacle could scarcely have been exhibited to the eye of the philanthropist, than the Bishop's demesne presented. There he might have seen manufactories of different kinds, carried on with greater energy and activity, than any prospect of secular advantage could have produced. Benevolence gave motion to the wheels, and charity guided every operation. Days of patriarchal simplicity seemed to have returned. The materials required in manufacturing garments for the poor, were procured in exchange for the produce of the demesne. Artisans of different kinds were busily employed in manufacturing these materials. The poor's wardrobe was kept always supplied with garments of every size, suited to every sex and age. The poor who could weave or spin, repaired to Bishop's Court with their webs, their yarn and worsted, as to a general mart, where they bartered their different articles for corn. This traffic of charity was regularly carried on. Every species of distress found relief at Bishop's Court. Whether the hungry or naked applied, their claims were sure to be duly considered, and liberally answered. The attention of this real friend to the poor, extended to the minutest circumstances of their condition. He was in the habit of purchasing an assortment of spectacles, and distributing them amongst the aged poor, whose eye-sight began to fail, that such of them as could read, might read their Bible by means of this seasonable aid ; and that such of them as could not, might, as their kind benefactor expressed it, use these glasses “to help them to thread a needle to mend their clothes.” Imagination can scarcely picture a more pleasing and interesting scene, than that which presents the pious and venerable Bishop Wilson distributing spectacles amongst a crowd of the aged poor for such purposes as these. -Pp. 86–88.
Bishop Wilson's attention, however, was by no means confined to the temporal concerns of those committed to his charge, but was equally zealous in the promotion of their spiritual welfare. With a view to the more ready communication of his instructions, he made himself master of the Manks language, and took great pleasure in conversing with the peasantry in their native tongue. In 1699, he published a book both in English and Manks, entitled, "The Principles and Duties of Christianity.” He procured also a translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew into Manks, and afterwards the other Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles: and by the assistance of Dr. Bray, he established a parochial library in almost every parish of the Diocese. In order still further to promote the religious improvement of his people, he annually held a convocation of his Clergy, at which he earnestly and affectionately exhorted them to their pastoral duties. Many of his charges, delivered at these convocations, have been published since his death. They were suited to the circumstances of the country, and the spirit of the times. Sundry parochial schools
also were gradually established, and every means taken to advance the spiritual good of the island.
With an unremitting watchfulness over their pastoral labours, Bishop Wilson united the warmest affection for his Clergy. He lost no opportunity of increasing their comforts; he made all their difficulties his own; he received them at all times under his roof with the most affectionate welcome. Their attachment to him, on the other hand, was as great as their obligation; and his name is still preserved with veneration among the Clergy of the island. Nor is there any wonder in this mutual love which existed between them, when we consider the means which he took to insure it.
For a year before their entrance on the holy ministry, he took them to reside in his family, that they might be continually under his inspection, and have the benefit of his daily instructions. This invaluable privilege tended to form the young candidates to genuine piety and extensive usefulness. They had the advantage of a pious and enlightened instructor to assist them in the hourly prosecution of their studies, to elucidate what was obscure, to expound what was difficult, and to enforce what was important. He took particular pains to bring the young students to an accurate and distinct knowledge of the Greek Testament. They every day read a portion of it to him, and heard his remarks and observations on the passage read. He recommended to their perusal the best writers in Divinity, conversed with them on the subject of personal religion, and both by precept and example, laboured earnestly to render them “able ministers of the New Testament."-Pp. 130, 131.
ort was of nation. She die of her father
But we must now return to the Bishop's private life, and take a hasty sketch of it, to its close in peace. On the 29th of September, 1698, the year following his appointment to the Bishopric, he was united in marriage to Mary, daughter of Thomas Patten, Esq. of Warringtom;-a lady who is represented as bearing a near resemblance to himself in piety and charity, and as contributing largely to his benevolent undertakings. By her he had four children, two sons and two daughters. They all died young, except the youngest, Thomas, who survived his father, and was Prebendary of Westminster, and Rector of St. Stephen's, Walbrook. His union with his amiable consort was of the most delightful and endearing nature; but it was but of short duration. She died on the 9th of March, 1795, after a lingering illness, at the house of her father at Warringtom, whither she had been removed for the benefit of her native air. The good Bishop mourned his affliction, and felt it deeply; but he was still resigned. He had prayed fervently for her recovery, for her support under her visitation, and for her admission into the regions of eternal happiness; and he now submitted in patience to the will of God, and uttered not a murmur at his afflicting visitation. His prayers and meditation on the death of his wife, are the most beautiful and eloquent effusions of a mind duly sensible of the union of mercy and love in all the Almighty's dispensations,