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petuous, and irritable; though such, he has often assured the writer, was his natural disposition.
About a year after he joined the Methodist Society, he was permitted to witness the triumphant death of a consistent and devoted member of the class in which he met:a solemn scene, which left an indelible impression on his mind; and which he was accustomed to mention to his family and friends, as one of the special favours he had received from above, and which had exerted a most beneficial iniluence upon his experience and character through life. He thus refers to the circumstance in a letter to his daughter:—“When I was about fifteen years of age, happy in God, I sat up with a class-mate, a man of deep piety, who had for many years endured painful aflliction with Christian fortitude. At the solemn hour of midnight, he called me to his bed-side, and repeated Heb. xii. 11, Now no chastening,' &c., and then resigned his happy spirit into the hands of Christ his Saviour. Often have I given thanks to God, that so early in my religious life, it was my privilege to see a Christian die, and one who had had a thorny passage
It was somewhere about the same period, that while praying in his father's family one day, and earnestly pleading with God for the salvation of its members, not one of them besides himself, being at that time a partaker of his saving grace,-he had such realizing views of the misery of the damned, and such an overpowering sense of the awful danger to which his most beloved friends were exposed, that he was unable to sustain his distressing emotions, and literally fainted away. The family, as may be supposed, were much affected.
While thus engaged in the earnest pursuit of increasing personal piety, and in active endeavours to be useful to his family and the church, his mind began to be painfully exercised about preaching. To use his own expression," he was pressed in spirit' to 'testify the Gospel of the grace of God.'” To this he was also urged by pious friends, who were of opinion that the Lord had committed to his trust talents which ought to be employed in the public service of the church. But a consideration of his extreme youth, and an humbling
sense of his comparative ignorance and inexperience, made him shrink from a work of so great magnitude and moment, and induced a fear that the impression was not from God. Being in doubt as to the path of duty, he prayed earnestly for direction, and consulted the Rev. John Allen, at that time superintendent of the Marchester Circuit, to whom he fully opened his mind. Mr. Allen, who was “judicious, faithful, and affectionate,” a man of good report among all who knew him,--adviseid him “to make trial, and preach.” He did so; with much fear and tremblis,, but in humble dependence on Di. vine aid.
His first attempt was made on the 16th of February, 1783, at Unsworth, near Bury, in Lancashire, six miles from Manchester, in the house of John Walkden, an old disciple, who had long been in the habit of entertaining the travelling and local preachers. His text was Luke ix. 60, “But go thou and preach the kingdom of God." He was then two months under sixteen years of age, and had never before spoken in public, even by way of exhortation in a prayer-meeting; but the Lord helped and blessed him. His modesty and timidity were such, that he scarcely ever opened his eyes during the sermon; and indeed, for some time after, he usually preached with his eyes shut. It was his purpose, if he had not liberty in preaching the first time, to give it up. He afterwards saw that he had done wrong in thius“ prescribing to the Lord.” “But,” he remarks, “ the Lord knew my intention was good, and he condescended to my weakness and ignorance.”
His second attempt was at the house of Martha Cash, at Chorlton. Shortly afterwards he was appointed to preach in Oldham street Chapel. Being sensibly assisted by the Holy Spirit, encouraged by the people, authorised by the preachers, and favoured with some fruit of his labours, he felt it his duty to go forward in the strength of
grace, His name was placed on the circuit plan, and he continued to labour as a Local Preacher above four years. There were no printed plans in those days. The Superintendent of the Circuit, or the Assistant, as he was then called, when he had prepared the draught, used to employ a person to write out a copy in a fair and legible hand for each of the Local Preachers.
Although at this time his appearance, as may
supposed, was extremely juvenile, for like David, “ he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance,” yet his mind was considerably matured, and the gravity of his demeanour beyond his years. His whole deportment was in keeping with the Apostle's charge to Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” It is no matter of surprise, therefore, that his extreme youthfulness was overruled for good : many, whom higher motives failed to influence, were led by curiosity to see and hear so young a preacher.
One instance of this may interest the reader, and may afford relief to some who are subject to discouragement because they do not see that immediate fruit of their labours which they desire. During one of Mr. Entwisle's late visits to his native town, an elderly man whom he did not remember to have seen before, grasped his hand with much warmth of affection, and accosted him as his spiritual father. He found upon inquiry that the old man had been a member of society above fifty years :that when living in utter ignorance of God and of the plan of salvation, he heard that a boy was to preach in the Methodist preaching house at Booth-Bank. Curiosity induced him to go and hear him, and under “ the boy preacher," as my father was then frequently called, it pleased the Lord to awaken him to a sense of his guilt and danger. He turned to God from that very
hour. But the knowledge of the pleasing fact was—doubtless for sufficient reasons,—withheld from my father for above fifty years.
“Cast thy bread upon the waters ; for thou shalt find it after many days."
The state of his religious experience and his proficiency in the divine life about this period, will best appear from a few extracts from a Diary, commenced before he was seventeen years of age.
“Feb. 16, 1784.—I found my heart prone to wander from God. I immediately began to reason with the enemy, which was accompanied with unbelief. Hardness of heart followed, with pride, self-will, yea every evil temper; which made me cry out, • 'Tis worse than death my God to love, and not my God alone !' Oh! the sore an
guish I felt. Behold! for joy I had great bitterness; my soul was burdened with the weight of inbred sin. My enemies seemed to triumph over me and say, "Where is now thy God?' Oh! how my soul panted and thirsted for the living God.
my heart was, “Lord, I am oppressed; undertake thou for me.' But, for ever blessed be God! as I was coming through the street, he broke into my soul, and filled me with joy.”
“ March 5.—In the evening the Lord again visited my soul in a very powerful manner. O how God's love overpowers my soul! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”
“ Sat. 13.—Yesterday was a day of fasting and prayer, that God might establish my heart, and fill it with all the fulness of his love; and that he would bless my poor imperfect labours.
“ Sun. March 21.—When I awoke, my soul panted after the living God. I went to hear Mr. Murlin preach; and it was like marrow and fatness to my soul. After preaching, I met in the Select Band: there I had an opportunity of telling what God had done and was doing for me and in me. I was greatly refreshed in so doing, and God so wonderfully and amply poured his love into my heart, that it almost overpowered me.
“ Tues. April 5.—I went to preach at Davyhulme. I was tempted to think the people would not profit if I went, and therefore endeavoured to excuse myself. However, I took up my cross and went; and while I was preaching from these words, • There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,' O how the Lord did water his heritage! Glory be to thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; again I have, through thy mercy, proved the devil to be a liar. And I praise thee still more, that I have entered into thy rest. May I keep hid in the clefts of the rock, and at last be received into thy everlasting kingdom! Amen and amen.
“ Sun. April 11,—Being Easter Sunday, Mr. Wesley preached at Manchester; and glory be to God, it was a good time to my soul. The Lord, I know, is risen indeed, and that too in my
heart. - April 12.-0 how my soul doth feast on thee, great God! while others are following the lust of the flesh, the
lust of the eye, and the pride of life. My soul is filled with thy love, which is better than wine. O
the eyes of the blind, unstop the deaf ears, turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. 0 Thou, who saidst to the dead bones, Live! speak to these dead souls, and may they henceforth live, not unto themselves, but unto thee, who hast lived and died for all. Even so, Lord Jesus, may the ends of the earth see thy salvation! Amen.
“ April 16.-In conversing with a friend, I was convinced that it was the will of God, that I should live by faith in liim momentarily,—experience a renewal in love every moment, and receive fresh supplies of grace perpetually. My friend exhorted me to begin now; and so I did. Glory be to God.
“ Wed. 21.—The fellowship which has subsisted betwixt God anıl my soul since last Fridlay, is inexpressible. Indeed I find him strengthening me every moment. O most holy, most powerful, and almighty God! what manner of love is this which thou hast bestowed
upon me, that thou shouldst dwell in and cheer
every moment! Thou art so good, there is no telling of thy goodness! Whilst I am now writing, the mighty power of God overshadows me, and he is restoring my soul in an abundant manner. Lord Jesus, water me every moment; give me thy Spirit as a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
'Spring up, O well, I ever cry,
Spring up within my soul.”
“Friday 23.—This morning I lay an hour longer than I should have done, which damped my fervour in some measure. O my
the time past suffice, and may I be given up to thee every breath I breathe. May I be temperate in all things; in sleep, eating, drinking, &c. Whether I eat, or drink, or whatever I do, may I do all to thy glory!
“Wed. May 12.—Glory be to God for ever for his goodness to my soul. I experience fellowship with him every moment. Last Sunday I preached at Delph ; and oh! how abundantly did the Lord pour his grace into my heart. As I was coming home, these words were