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was laid at Oxford by two young men, (under God;) the superstructure was raised by the mighty power of God, employing various instruments, till, at length it presented to the view a magnificent structure, the admiration of the world. A few persons are still alive, who saw the foundation when newly laid; and with various emotions of hope and fear, joy and sorrow, have observed the progress of the spiritual building. And now their fears are alarmed at the probable consequences of the violent disputes which exist about the ornaments and manage ment of it. Let every member of our community pray that God may be the glory in the midst of us, and a wall of fire around us.
The present state of Methodism is very different from what it was fifty years ago. The Methodists are become a numerous and respectable body. In the three kingdoms upwards of ninety thousand persons have united in Christian fellowship; and, perhaps, more than four times that number constantly attend preaching, and approve of the doctrines they hear. Many of these are persons of fortune, respectable tradesmen, and men of good repute among their neighbours. Persecution has in a great measure ceased, and the Methodists, as a Body, have great influence on the nation at large. God hath spoken the word, and great is the multitude of them that preach it. In consequence of this, the word of God is preached in almost every corner of the land, and the means of grace abound. The Methodists, at present, enjoy great advantages for their own improvement in knowledge and holiness, and opportunities of extensive usefulness to mankind. God has set before them an open door, which earth and hell may strive to shut, but strive in vain, unless they themselves shut it. How much depends upon the conduct of so large a body of Christians! How loudly are they called upon to diligence and activity in the service of God! How great the danger of their losing their ancient glory! Each of these reflections furnishes matter for serious meditation, and fervent prayer.
Should all the members of this community, colleotively, enter fully into the spirit of Christianity, and adorn the doctrines of Christ their Saviour in all things, its members be burning and shining lights, and all who
sustain public or private offices, keep in their proper places, and do their proper work, the gates of hell shall never prevail against them. They will be invincible. They will stand firm as the mount of God; the Lord will be glorified among men; thousands will be added to the church of Christ; the progress of infidelity, of consequence, will be checked, and the Methodists shall be a people honoured with the divine presence and blessing, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. But,-if their love grow cold, their piety decay, their zeal languish, and their active exertions for the good of mankind give place to lukewarmness and indolence, the glory will depart; God will be dishonoured ; Deism, we may expect, will rapidly increase; and unless God raise
up others who shall be jealous for his honour, religion in this country will again be found in a very low state. May God prevent it.
• Their opportunities of improvement in knowledge and holiness, together with the extensive field of usefulness which presents itself, loudly call upon them to redouble their diligence.
• What thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' The alarming progress of infidelity should operate as a powerful stimulus to constant exertions to promote the interests of truth, religion, and God. And the delightful probability of perpetuating, through the divine blessing, the present revival of religion to succeeding generations, should fire our souls with holy ambition and glowing zeal. Millions of human beings yet unborn may eventually be brought to eternal glory, and through an eternity of happiness give glory to God for raising up and preserving the Methodists. Transporting thought!
• How great the danger of their losing their ancient glory. Outward peace, though in itself an unspeakable blessing, may be the accidental cause of an undue attachment to the world, and an unprofitable and unlawful friendship with worldly men. The whole body of Methodists are in danger from this quarter, and their temptations are continually increasing. The preachers also, from their situations and circumstances, may unawares lose the spirit of primitive Christian ministers. They are generally well provided for, much respected by the people, frequently invited to the tables of the most
opulent of their flocks, by whom they are treated as gentlemen; their labour is moderate, and their circuits contracted. Methodist preachers, especially in respectable circuits, fill up more honourable stations, and are placed in more comfortable circumstances, than vast numbers of the inferior clergy. Without much watchfulness and prayer, self-denial and deadness to the world, and a resolute and strict observance of their excellent rules, the above advantages, which might be improved to good purpose, will become occasions of great evil, and in a few years we may see the Methodist preachers soft, effeminate, and inactive in the vineyard of the Lord.
“ But that which is most alarming, is, the present agitated state of the community about church-government, &c. This occasions a great loss of time, and foments unchristian tempers; and, unless it subside, may be followed with the most dreadful consequences. May God bring good out of this evil. May the lukewarm be roused from their indifferency, and the warm and zealous glow with increasing ardour of soul in the service of their Master. May the preachers by their deep and genuine piety, burning zeal, indefatigable laboriousness, and extensive usefulness, secure the affection and esteem of all their people, and may all the different members supply their part, and edify one another in love. And O may I, thine unworthy creature, live in an habitual spirit of devotion to thee, labour faithfully and successfully in the work of the ministry, and hear thee say at last, · Well done.' O may
I obtain mercy of thee in that day. Amen, and Amen.”
More than half a century has passed away since the preceding paragraphs were written; but their force remains undiminished. Indeed, all the considerations by which Mr. E. endeavoured to excite himself and others to diligence, zeal, and fidelity in the service of Christ, have rather acquired increasing weight by the lapse of years, and ought to operate with a more uniform and constraining power.
Although Mr. Entwisle was remarkable for his kindness and his tender regard to the feelings of all with whom he had to do, making it his habitual study to “please" all men "for good to edification," and guarding carefully against every thing which might give needless
pain or offence; yet, when faithfulness to the cause of God and to the souls of men required it, he could do violence to his own feelings, and exercise discipline with firmness, or administer reproof with plainness and fidelity, but still tempered with the spirit of meekness and love. An illustration is supplied by a letter of reproof addressed to an influential gentleman, a member of society about this time. The following is a copy :
Shafton, Dec. 1, 1797. ** MY DEAR SIR, “You will be surprised at receiving an epistle from me so shortly after I have been at your house; but a sense of duty and a serious regard for your spiritual welfare constrain me to take this method of addressing you, as I had not an opportunity of conversing with you alone when at
I hope that what I am about to say will be received by you as the effect of Christian love, and the serious admonition of a servant of Jesus Christ, who desires to warn every man and teach every man, that he may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. It always gives me pain, to pain the minds of others; and I would not designedly give unnecessary pain to any man, much less to any who fear God.
“ Will you be angry if I act the part of a sincere friend, not by flattering you, but by faithfully pointing out a few things which must be very injurious to yourself, grieve the minds of your Christian brethren, lay stumbling blocks in the way of sinners, and, which is worst of all, dishonour God. No man or woman has influenced me in this. I am persuaded the Holy Spirit moved upon my mind to do it for your good. May the Lord help you to consider and improve the friendly hints of one who has your good much at heart.
I would observe, 1. there is in your natural temper a certain levity to which you give too much way, and thereby you are led to talk at random, contrary to that apostolical injunction, 'Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt,' that it may minister grace to the hearers.' O remember our Lord's words :-* Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.'
“ Secondly, it has appeared to me, for some time, that you live, in a good degree, under the power of self-will, Your own will must be done, your own humour must be gratified at all events. Consider how contrary this is to the spirit of Jesus, to the general tenor of the Gospel precepts, and to that which our Lord requires of every disciple, viz. a denial of self. Lift up your heart to God, lest you be offended. The Lord help you to hear me patiently. • But I must observe thirdly, there is in your
behavi. our a great degree of imperiousness, which is contrary to the meekness and gentleness of Christ. O remember, One is your Master, who is in heaven. The above things, which many take notice of, are certainly, to say the least of them, great blemishes in a religious character. Very many stumble at them, though perhaps few have the courage faithfully to reprove and admonish you. O my dear Sir, let me entreat you to reflect upon these things. Examine yourself on the heads mentioned above; pray that God may search and try you; and resolve, through divine aid, to lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset you.
For the sake of those who are near and dear to you, out of regard for the cause of truth and religion, for the honour of God, and for the sake of your own soul, the salvation of which is endangered by these evils, resolve to live in the spirit of Christianity.
Providence has placed you in a situation in which you may bring much glory to our adorable Lord, and be useful to mankind. Olet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.'
"I do not speak to discourage, much less to grieve or offend you. Blessed be God, through his grace you may overcome every constitutional besetment, and lay aside every bad habit. You may have constant peace of mind in the enjoyment of God, be a blessing and comfort to your family, useful in the church and in the world, and finally obtain a high degree of glory.
"But, in my opinion, it is absolutely necessary, first, that you see the evil of these things; secondly, that you be at perpetual war with corrupt nature; kill it by one continual stroke. Thirdly, plead with God in fervent,