Throughout his life, Wilson suffered from spinal weakness. “God threw me on my back so that I could look up to him more,” he quipped. It was during one of these bouts of poor
health that the 26-year old Wilson began to read a book entitled Grace and Truth by Dr WP Mackay. He later described how he came to faith: “At the beginning of the chapter I was
a rank outsider. Before I got to the end, I had thrown myself at the feet of Christ and cried ‘My Lord and my God!’”
In 1870, Wilson married Flora Vickers, with whom he had five sons. He was ordained a deacon in 1880. Shortly after, he became curate at St Mary Abbots in Kensington, where he preached to one of the most fashionable congregations of Victorian London. By an ironic twist of fate, he would shortly become, as nicknamed by the then Bishop of London, the ‘Archbishop of the Gutter’. Church services were considered by the working people of the time as the exclusive preserve of the privileged. Since the working class refused to step foot inside a church, the enthusiastic young preacher began holding small, open air services at the time of day when coachmen, valets and grooms would be taking their evening stroll…
Wilson regularly suffered brutal physical assaults and even stonings during his open air missions. His outdoor work drew such huge crowds – and complaints – that he was
ordered to stop….
Read it all from the Church Army Magazine ShareIt (begins on page 4).