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lion had suffered in its doctrine, discipline, and worship." "This difficult work he went through (while his fellowcominissioners settled the civil affairs) to the entire satisfaction of the lord and people of that island, which, by the blessing of God, continues as uniform in her worship, as orthodox in her doctrine, and as strict and regular in her discipline, as any christian church in the world." Upon his return from that " happy island," he was appointed to the valuable living of Winwick.
His mode of living was frugal and simple; he was hospitable, and so " exceeding charitable," that at his death he left "not above one year's profits" of his living, and "even these in a great measure to pious uses." He always entertained in his house at least three curates, for the service of his church and chapels. So that on account of the doctor's primitive example, as also the choice that he made of persons to serve at the altar, Winwick became a very desirable place for young divines to improve themselves in the work of the ministry. . Dr. Sherlock died in peace, at the age of 76, June 20th, 1689.
Mr. Wilson, after having remained in deacon's orders rather more than three years, was ordained a priest by the bishop of Chester, October 20th, 1689; and on this occasion he entered in his memorandum.book a series of resolutions, by which he thought fit to bind himself, " in the beginning of his days," not to obtain church-preferment by promise or reward; never to give a bond of resignation; not to hold two livings with cure of souls; and to reside and do the duties himself, whenever it should please God to bless him " with a parish and a cure of souls."
Full five years passed away in the discharge of the quiet yet interesting duties of a country pastor, in this place. With all its responsibilities, anxieties, and disappointments, there is no employment more fruitful in peace and joy, "if a man be found faithful." That Mr. Wilson was so, his previous character, and the even tenor of a good life going onward to perfection, which we shall see in his whole deportment, may be deemed satisfactory evidence. And it is all the evidence that we possess. Delightful as it would have been, to have watched him acting in the spirit of his Deacon's Prayer,— zealously cultivating pure religion and sound knowled in his own heart; and then carrying a spark f'roffl t: holy altar, to light up a kindred flame in ''the hearts of his people; teaching the poor of this world to be rich in faith; preaching peace by Jesus Christ; turning sinners from the error of their ways; administering comfort in the chamber of woe;—he has left no record of these good works, nor have his biographers been able to furnish any memorial of them.
In the year 1692 he was introduced to a new scene of exertion, by being appointed domestic chaplain to William earl of Derby, and preceptor to his son, James lord Strange, with a salary of thirty pounds a year. The earl was the patron of Dr. Sherlock's living of Winwick, and there can be little doubt that through this circumstance he became acquainted with the character and capabilities of Mr. Wilson.
In Latham Park, then the seat of the earl of Derby, there is an almshouse, consisting of several tenements, with a chapel annexed, and shortly after the commencement of his residence in the earl's family, he was appointed to the mastership of that charitable institution, which produced to him twenty pounds a-year.
The memorandum in which he declares his'intention of increasing the proportion of his income devoted to pious uses, in consequence of this addition to his means, will not be read without interest.
"Memorandum.—Easter-day, 1693. It having pleased God, of his mere bounty and goodness, to bless me with a temporal income far above my hopes or deserts, and I having hitherto given but one tenth part of my income to the poor, I do therefore purpose, and I thank God for putting it into my heart, that of all the profits which it shall please God to give me, and which shall become due to me after the 6th of August next (after which time I hope to have paid my small debts), I do purpose to separate the fifth part of all my incomes, as I shall receive them, for pious uses, and particularly for the poor.— T. W."
"August, 1693.—The God that gave me a will to make this solemn purpose, has given me grace not to repent of it, and he will give me grace to my life's end. Amen."
During his residence in lord Derby's family, which continued for about six years, a few incidents occurred which demonstrate his soundness of principle and simplemindedness, and clearly show what spirit he was of.
When lord Derby offered him the valuable living of Baddesworth in Yorkshire, making it a condition that he should continue with him as chaplain and tutor to his son, he refused to accept it, as being inconsistent with "the resolves of his conscience against non-residence." He also refused to hold the living of Grappenhall in Cheshire, during the minority of Mr. Boardman, then an infant, as being contrary to another of his resolves.
The reflections on his recovery from a dangerous illness, in 1693, and the resolutions to walk more watchfully for the future, betoken a full understanding of the purposes and advantages of the afflictions which God sends upon the children of men, and a desire neither to despise the chastenings of the Lord, nor to faint when rebuked of Him.
His conduct on one occasion towards lord Derby, in a case of considerable delicacy, and one in which he risked his present comfortable situation and all his expectations, shows him to have been actuated by no other feeling than that it was his duty to do good, when it seemed to be in the power of his hand to do it. His noble patron was very much involved in debt, through extravagance and carelessness; and Mr. Wilson, trusting that God, who had favoured him up to that period of his life, would still "give a blessing upon his honest endeavours," and sure that even if he were thrown upon the world, he should "have the glory and satisfaction of having done a great good work," resolved to seek an interview with Lord Derby on the subject. After a short conversation, he left the room, placing in his lordship's hand a letter, which began as follows :—
"My Lord,—Nothing but a sense of duty and gratitude could have put me upon taking such a liberty as this, but because I have reason to believe it 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." The letter proceeded to declare that dishonour was done to the noble family, and ruin brought upon many worthy persons, by the irregularity of the payments; and concludes by saying, that none but a faithful servant would expose himself to the consequences of speaking with such boldness, and therefore that in this character, as well as that of a dutiful chaplain, he presumed to subscribe himself. This letter bears the date of October 22, 1696.
The result was equally honourable and satisfactory to both parties. The earl saw at once that nothing but the best motives could have induced his chaplain to take this step, and was equally convinced that there was much need for reformation; and to effect this desirable object, he applied immediately for the advice and assistance of Mr. Wilson, and thus in a short time removed the cloud which obscured his reputation, and relieved the distresses of those whom his extravagance was ruining.
A few remarks which Mr. Wilson made in his Life of Dr. Sherlock, show that he was fully alive to the responsibilities and difficulties belonging to the situation which he now held. "The office of a chaplain," he says, " is an employment that requires as much christian courage, conduct, and piety, to discharge it faithfully, (where there are so many temptations, and so much need of virtue to overcome them,) as any state of life whatever; and, therefore, it often happens that such as seek or accept that charge in hopes of preferment, do find a necessity of quitting either those hopes or a good conscience."
And it is probable that his own conduct on this occasion was influenced by his recollection of the example of his uncle, who was once placed in a similar situation, as is related in the following manner :—
Dr. Sherlock's patron, sir Robert Bindlosse, "had a just esteem for the church and her ministers, both at that time under a cloud: and being every way what they called an accomplished gentleman, it was no wonder that very many were fond of the honour of conversing with him: which had this unhappy effect, that it made him in love with company, and many of the evils that attended it; and too many of the family followed his example. To make some amends, as they thought, for