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THE continued Patronage of our numerous Readers, notwithstanding the multiplication of similar Works, demands an Annual Tribute of Gratitude from the Editors; which they now respectfully tender, with the greatest readiness and pleasure. It is gratifying, in a high degree, to find that their constant Endeavours to furnish the Religious Public with Subjects worthy of their attention, are crowned with permanent Success; and they beg leave to renew their Assurances, that their diligence in procuring Materials the most useful and acceptable, shall not be remitted.
It is yet a higher source of pleasure and gratitude to learn, that the GOD of all Grace still vouchsafes to smile on this Work, by rendering it the instrument, in his hands, of promoting the knowledge and experience of the glorious Gospel; especially as the Editors have abundant reason to believe, that this Miscellany circulates among many persons who have little opportunity to procure, or to peruse, larger treatises. The Memorials of Pious Men excite in the breasts of Ministers and others, a holy emulation to be followers of those who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.' The Obituaries, it is certain, afford much consolation to numbers of God's children, who are liable to bondage, through fear of death,' by exhibiting, in a striking man
ner, the power and grace of the dear Redeemer, in the support of weak believers in the hour of trial. The Religious Intelligence, which this Work has an opportunity of obtaining, superior to that enjoyed by any other periodical publication, is increasingly interesting, as it shews, to the joy of every Observer of Divine Providence, that, even in these disastrous days, the walls of our British Jerusalem are built with unprecedented zeal; and that, amidst the wide-spreading Desolations of War, the Prince of Peace is extending the dominions of his grace.
With these convictions of the Utility of the Work, and with a firm persuasion that their labours are not in vain in the Lord,' the Editors are determined, by divine assistance, to PERSEVERE in their Original Plan, with every Improvement that their own experience, or the judgment of others may suggest; and for this end they again earnestly solicit the kind Assistance of their Brethren in the Ministry, and of all others who are qualified and disposed to enrich the Publication by their Evangeli cal Productions.
THE LATE REV. THOMAS WILSON, PERPETUAL CURATE OF SLAIGHWAITE, NEAR HUDDERSFIELD, who died July 2, aged 64.
MR. WILSON was possessed of strong faith in the diving word, a fervent love of God and Christ, and a lively sense of the vast worth of mens' souls. During his whole ministry he was a most diligent preacher, uncommonly zealous in his manner, and remarkably plain and pointed in his addresses to mens' consciences. His praise, not as a scholar indeed, but as a good minister of Jesus Christ, will long continue to be heard through a large and populous district. His simplicity and godly sincerity were admitted and admired by great numbers, who could not be prevailed upon, by his tears and entreaties, to forsake their sinful courses; nevertheless, he has left behind him many seals of his ministry; and many, it is believed, converted by his means, died before him, in faith, and most joyfully received his spirit into the heavenly habitations. He lived down prejudice and slander in a very uncommon degree: his rule and his practice were, To overcome evil by doing good. He was eminently a man of peace: he loved it in his heart, he sought it earnestly; but this divine and amiable disposition did not damp his zeal for the cause of God, and his concern to save mens' souls. He boldly rebuked sin; he shewed his abhorrence, particularly, to that destructive vice of drunkenness, so prevalent in manufacturing places, which robs so many of the lower orders, not only of their comforts, but of the necessaries of life. He kept a watchful eye over pu lic-houses; he felt and frequently expressed the deepest sorrow (and his regrets were not always unavailing) at the irregularities and excesses which occurred in those places, and especially on Sunday evenings. Many nights of broken rest did he pass, occupied with reflections on the depravity, blindness, and madness of sinners, who were treasuring up to them-1 B
selves wrath against the day of wrath, while they despised or neglected all his warnings, his warm, vehement, affectionate appeals to their consciences!
The love and attachment of Mr. Wilson to the Established Church was unquestionable: he loved its order, its doctrines, and its services. The unity, peace, and concord of all good men were also most devoutly desired by him; for the attainment of which he seemed ready to make any sacrifice short of vilifying the church to which he belonged.
As Mr.Wilson loved the doctrines and the order of the church, of which he was a minister, so he was uniformly and exemplarily zealous in supporting the state, of which he was a subject. He had well weighed and appreciated the advantages of our civil constitution. Thankful, in the highest degree, for such privileges as those which each British subject is heir to, and which have been so invariably maintained under the mild and equitable government of our present Sovereign, he abhorred from his soul all the attempts which have been made, of late years, to render the people dissatisfied and disaffected. He saw it his duty frequently to preach the scriptural doctrine of obedience to rulers; and wondered how any man, professing to fear God, could withhold honour from the king.
All his doctrine, and the regulation of his practice, he derived from the Bible, in which he meditated day and night. To constant meditation on the Scriptures, he added much prayer; indeed, he was most eminently a man of prayer. He carried all his wants, his difficulties, his doubts, his fears, his distresses, to the throne of grace, relying on the merits and intercession of his Redeemer. He knew the value of this privilege, and seemed to be lifting up his heart to Heaven all the day long. In this frame he passed through the long and arduous trial of his patience, with which it pleased God to visit him. He was dumb, and opened not his mouth,' because it was. His doing.
Much might be said of his affection to his people, and his kindness and liberality to the poor and necessitous; suffice it to say, his people were his flock. Few, I apprehend, bave done more in his circumstances, at any time, to relieve the distressed; and yet, not indiscriminately, or on great occasions only, but discreetly and gradually, both by counsel and by money. Tho' he loved order and neatness, and shewed that he was not destitute even of a taste for elegance, yet it plainly appeared, that the wants of the poor occupied his thoughts more than his own accommodation. He was always ready, after the example of his beloved Master, to deny himself for their sakes; and; for His sake indeed, it not unfrequently happened that he was con trained, by sights of distress, or the importunities of those who had experienced his liberality, to give the last piece of silver he had ; he, however, was wont to say, it was not the duty of ministers who had families, to do as he did. To such persons
he recommended their making a due provision for th out of their incomes, whenever God put it in their stead of children to perpetuate his memory, this g behind him a new and spacious edifice for divine worship, at his solicitation, and on which he bestowed much care, time, and labour; and, adjoining to it, a neat and convenient parsonage-house, erected at his own expence, for the better accommodation of his successors.
Mr. Wilson was somewhat advanced in life when he first turned his thoughts towards the ministry; and he had not had the advantage of a regular classical education. A clergyman of Leeds, of a kindred spirit, beheld in his fervent piety the dawning of singular usefulness, and put him in the way of obtaining holy orders. He applied himself to the study of the languages, and was ordained to a curacy near Wetherby, Yorkshire. There his ardent spirit laboured diligently; and much concern about religion appeared in many of his congregation. Some things there were, however, disagreeable to him in that situation; and, on the removal of the late Mr. Powley to Dewsbury, Mr. Wilson, thro' his means, became curate of Slaighwaite. Here he found a numerous congregation, a plain people, who were not offended at his plain preaching; and among them he determined to ‘spend and be spent.'
A short time after he settled at this place, he married a widow lady, possessed of a moderate fortune, who resided in the neighbourhood. While her virtues made his home agreeable, her fortune enabled him to be charitable in his daily visits among his people. This union, however, did not continue long: in the course of a few years he was left a widower, and so remained to his death, a pattern of unblameable purity and sobriety.
In his deportment, Mr. Wilson was grave without affectation or moroseness, and cheerful without levity. His freedom of manner, openness of heart, and good humour, rendered him a welcome visitor to the houses of his acquaintances, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. His conversation was diversified by pleasant anecdote, and rendered edifying by profitable remarks, happily introduced. This truly excellent man of God (added the gentleman to whom we are indebted for this article) was my counsellor and most intimate friend during 20 years. I call to remembrance, with comfort and gratitude to God, that I was ordained to his curacy, which opened the way to a friendship which has never been interrupted. I have fully known, therefore, his doctrine, his manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, afflictious. I believe, indeed, he had, in coinmon with all the servants of God, the corruption and infirmities of our nature. He acknowledged to me, in the strongest terms, on the Sunday preceding his death, his sinfulness and unworthiness. He fought a good fight, and now has finished his The tears of numerous spectators, as well as those who