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"Excommunication is only for the contumacious; not to insult but to cure." ib.
"The public good is the sole end of church discipline. The interest of the governors of the church is no way concerned in it, but only the advantage of their flock. That sinners may be converted; that contagion may be hindered from spreading; that every one may be kept to his duty, and in obedience to the laws of God; that judgments may be averted from the public : and that God in all things may be glorified; that differences among neighbours may be made up, and charity improved." to.
BIS DOMESTIC CHARACTER.
"The parson is very exact in the governing of his house, making it a copy and model for his parish. Herbert.
"Grant, O Lord, that my care and conduct in the church of God, may appear in the order and piety of my own family. O Heavenly Lord and Master, bless us, and take us under thy gracious protection ; and make us an household fearing God, and examples to others of order, diligence, faithfulness, and piety." Bishop Wilson.
A Few months after his appointment to the see of Man, bishop Wilson returned to England for the purpose of being married to Mary the daughter of Thomas Patten, Esq., a gentleman who traced his descent by a direct line from a brother of the devout bishop William of Wainfleet, the munificent founder of Magdalen College, at Oxford, and whose family had long resided at Warrington, a town not very tar from the parish of Winwick, in which bishop Wilson had passed so many years of his ministry. Before taking so important a step he did not fail to implore the guidance and blessing of God, which he felt to be essential to his happiness in every condition of life. "Make her," he prayed, "whom Thou wilt make my wife a meet help for me, that we may live together to thy honour and glory in this world, and be made partakers of everlasting glory in the world to come." Another prayer composed for their daily use was also found amongst his papers, and it is here subjoined because it shows the spirit and temper in which they wished to live together.
"T. | f To be said every morning together,
"M. J * (^ before we stir abroad.
"O God, by whose favour and providence we are made one flesh, look mercifully upon us from heaven, and bless us, and make us instrumental to the eternal welfare of each other.
"Give us grace that we may faithfully perform our marriage vows, that we may live in perfect love and peace together, in a conscientious obedience to thy laws, and in a comfortable prospect of happiness all our days. Grant, if it be thy gracious will, that we may live to see our children christianly and virtuously brought up; or if in thy wisdom thou shalt order it otherwise, be pleased in mercy to provide for their everlasting happiness. In the mean time, give us grace that we may teach them, and our household, the fear of God, and be examples to them of piety and true religion.
Continue to us such a share of the good things of this world as to Thee seems most meet for us ; and whatever our condition shall be, enable us to be content and thankful. Vouchsafe us a share in the happiness of the next life: and thy blessed will be done for what shall happen to us in this.
"Hear us, O God, for Jesus Christ his sake, the Son of thy love. Amen, Amen."
Mrs. Wilson proved to be a most worthy and suitable companion for this excellent man, being, according to his own description, endued with great modesty and meekness of spirit, remarkable for the discharge of her duty to her parents, and for her love to her relations; he praises God for her great love to him and his friends, for her fidelity to her marriage vows, for her tender affection to her children, for her performance of all the offices of a kind and pious mother, for her peculiar care of her family, and the prudence and mildness with which she governed it; for her unaffected modesty in her own and her children's apparel, and the great humility of her conversation with all sorts of persons; for her great compassion for the poor and miserable, and her cheerful compliance with him in relieving them.
Unfortunately, however, very few notices of Mrs. Wilson have been preserved, and this sketch of her character is taken from one of her husband's prayers composed at the time of her death.
Their children were four in number. Amongst the special favours which he recounts in the Private Thoughts, is the having " an excellent wife, and four lovely children."
The following memorandum, addressed to his children, was found amongst his papers: "My children, if I do not live to tell you why I have saved no more for you out of my bishopric, let this satisfy you: that the less you have of goods gathered from the Church the better the rest that I leave you will prosper. Church-livings were never designed to make families, or to raise portions out of them, but to maintain our families, to keep up hospitality, to feed the poor, &c. And one day you will be glad that this was my settled opinion: and God grant I
may act accordingly I I never expect, and I thank
God I never desire, that you or your children should ever be great: but if ever the providence of God should raise any that proceed from my loins to any degree of worldly wealth or honour, I desire they will look back to the place and person from whence they came; this will keep them humble and sober-minded."
How soon is the brightest sky overcast with clouds! Two of his children died in infancy. They were taken away, indeed, from the evil to come, and redeemed by that Saviour whom they did not live to know upon earth: but still such separations are never joyous, but grievous. Another child was removed in her fourteenth year. And previously to this latter loss, Mrs. Wilson herself was parted by death from her afflicted husband on the 7th of March 1705, not seven years after their marriage. On the 5th of the preceding September he had accompanied her to Warrington, for the benefit of her native air, which, it was hoped, would prove of service to her then declining health; and he continued with her, praying for her and comforting her, till the day when she resigned her soul, full of the hope of a blessed immortality, into the hands of her heavenly Father. Some of his reflections and prayers on this trying occasion will be read with interest, as they throw a light upon the character of both of them.
HIS PRAYER IN HIS WIFE'S SICKNESS.
Whom, the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.—Heb. xii. 6.
O Lord, infinitely merciful, thy very corrections are the effect of thy love: therefore do thy faithful servants rejoice in the midst of their sorrows, stedfastly believing that all things shall work together for good to those that love God and trust in his mercy.
For thou, O Lord, dost convince us, by the afflictions that Thou bringest upon us, that nothing deserves our love but Thee, that no being in heaven or on earth can help us besides Thee; and that the sufferings of this life are not to be compared with the happiness of the next.
This is our faith and confidence, that every good gift cometh from above; and that our sorrow for our offences, our desires of being reconciled unto Thee, our purposes of amendment, are all the fruits of thy Holy Spirit, which does nothing in vain; and which, if we resist not thy grace, will form our souls for the happiness of a better life.