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BUNGAY: PRINTED BY JOHN CHILDS AND SON.

THE PREFACE.

THE truly Reverend Doctor Thomas Wison, fifty-eight years Bishop of Sodor and Man, was blessed with the spirit of prayer in a very uncommon measure: of which his Sacra Privata, or Private Meditations and Prayers, are an eminent instance.

They have hitherto been locked up from the world in an expensive book; and are mixed throughout with so much meditation and prayer that can come properly from the clergy only, (to whom they are an invaluable treasure,) as to unfit them for general use.

They are now presented to the public in a separate volume: so that Pious Christians may, at a reasonable expense, distribute them amongst such people as either will not or cannot buy them; and the petitions peculiar to the Clergy only are all thrown out.

The pious reader will find those Meditations and Prayers too long, according to the present division of them, which there is no occasion to ad. here to. He may take them up, and lay them down, at his own discretion and convenience. It is recommended to him to go through them regularly, and to continue the use of them his whole life; selecting such parts for more frequent meditation, as are best adapted to his necessity and disposition.

As prayer is one of the most important works a man can be engaged in, and few find themselves able to discharge it in the manner they wish to do; it is humbly hoped, that this book, if duly attended to as it deserves, may with God's assist. ance teach them to pray; may lead our thoughts to meditate on religious subjects; and habituate us to clothe our meditations in the language of decent, pious, and fervent prayer.

That this valuable book may have this effect, is the intention and the earnest prayer of

THE EDITOR.

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MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE

OF THE

RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD

THOMAS WILSON,

JORD BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN.

IT is the custom of some nations to build monuments of stone or marble, in memory of their great men, and of some individuals to erect alinost as ponderous but more perishable quartos to their praise ; for our parts, we venture to address ourselves to a much loftier and more honourable task : we purpose to gather into these few pages

of this little book the memorials of one whose illustrious title sinks into insignifi. cance the styles of kings and heroes of a really good and virtuous man.

THOMAS Wilson was born at Burton, in the Hundred of Wirral, County Palatine of Chester, on the 20th December, 1663. It does not appear that his family was of any distinction in the county ; but on the contrary we are led to inter

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from the silence of his biographers, who doubtless took the trouble of enquiring, that, although long resident on the same spot, it was rather obscure than otherwise The only account he himself gives of his parents is, that they were honest, and fearing God."-In this sense he was come of a respectable family. Their further eulogium is to be found in his diary, where he speaks of the mortal authors of his being with the feelings of an affectionate son; while his early prayers in their behalf show how these were chastened and exalted by the feelings of a Christian. His classical studies were commenced under the tuition of Mr. Harpur, a teacher of some eminence in the city of Chester; and afterwards, like many of the young men of Lancashire and Cheshire at that time, he was sent to Dublin to complete his studies at the University. His allowance in Trinity College was twenty pounds per annum, but we are not to estimate this amount by the present value of money ; it was at that time suf. ficient for the support of a retired student in a cheap country. He entered the University with the intention of studying physic, but it does not appear distinctly by what human means his views and labours received another direction, although the example and persuasions of Archdeacon Hew. etson, with whom he speedily formed an intimate friendship, had no doubt much influence on his determination. He now applied himself sedulously to the study of theology, and made considerable progress in sacred literature: yet he did not entirely lay aside his medical pursuits. It is probable that he thought a physician of the soul should be capable, in cases of emergency, of administering to the body; and in his after life he had no occasion to regret, as lost time, the hours he now stole from his more immediate

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