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these parts, and our borders are enlarging, but our labours are much increased thereby. When I came into this circuit, it was accounted proper for invalids, having only four places included in it. Now, it is become the most laborious I ever knew. But our success makes labour sweet; and I bless God I can walk six, ten, sixteen miles day after day without much fatigue. Amongst other places into which we have lately introduced the Gospel is Gravesend, which contains about seven thousand inhabitants by computation. Our prospect there is highly encouraging. The Lord is powerfully at work in this country: our brethren in the Canterbury and SevenOaks Circuits are greatly blessed in their labours. O Jesus, ride on, till all are subdued.'
On the 1st of April, my father preached again at Gravesend, and formed a society, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. L-d. He used sometimes in after life to refer to it with a pleasant smile, as the most united society he had ever known, except that at Dewsbury which adhered to Mr. Wesley after Mr. Atlay's division: this, like the one now formed at Gravesend, consisted simply of a good man and his wife; but each proved a nucleus around which numbers continually gathered, until they were counted by hundreds.
My father always took occasion from the return of his birth-day to review his course with more than ordinary strictness, and to renew his engagements with God. He generally made a particular record of the result of such inquiries in his journal. Of his spiritual state and progress during the past year he thus writes :
· Rochester, April 15.-I awoke very early this morning in the spirit of prayer, devotion, and thanksgiving. At three o'clock this morning, I entered upon my fortysecond year. Blessed be God for preserving grace. Oh! the mercies I have received ! the blessings of the upper and the nether springs which my God has bestowed upon me. They are innumerable. Upon the whole, I think this has been one of the most active
my life, and one of the most useful in my Master's work. Yet, oh! my omissions ! my manifold omissions! Be merciful unto me, O God, for the glory of thy name; and purge away my sins for thy name's sake.
"Gillingham, April 19.--Dined on board the Sand
wich, in which are confined about nine hundred French prisoners. The Commander and his lady are not far from the kingdom of God.
“ Tues. 25.—Lame with rheumatic pains. Good is the will of the Lord.
Gravesend, May 6.—The prospect here is contracted for want of a suitable place of worship. May God undertake for this people and provide for them.
“ Cobham, Thurs. 19.—God stilled the madness of the rioters, and we had a blessed season. My soul was filled with love to God and man; and the few that fear the Lord were melted down before him.
“Cobham, June 16.—The disturbers with horns, &c. exceedingly troublesome.
“ Lower Rainham, Frid. 17.—Yesterday persecuted; to-day caressed. “In honour and dishonour.
Mr. Entwisle was accustomed kindly to notice the children and servants in the families by whom he was entertained. He hoped that by conciliating their esteem and affection, he should acquire greater influence over them for good. He knew, too, that a “word spoken in season” with a view to their spiritual profit, accompanied with fervent prayer for the influence of the Holy Spirit, might leave a lasting impression, and prove a seed, which under the genial influence of the Sun of Righteousness, might some day spring up and bring forth abundant fruit. He seldom allowed the opportunity of thus speaking a word for God to pass by unimproved. His look and manner on these occasions were attractive and winning. The sweetness of his tones, with the benevolence and holy joy that beamed forth from his countenance, convinced the
that he was happy, and made them feel that he was their friend. An incident illustrative of this trait occurred about this time.
At Gillingham, a place visited by the travelling preachers every Tuesday evening, lived a respectable elderly couple of the name of Dyer. Mr. Entwisle was frequently entertained at their house. On one of these occasions a little girl, about twelve years of age, was on a visit at Mr. Dyer's. On going away, Mr. Entwisle affectionately took her by the hand and said with his accustomed sweetness, Well, my dear, are you on the Lord's side ?” Won by his kind and condescending
manner, she readily replied, “I hope so, Sir.” After he had left the house, she inquired of Mrs. Dyer, “What the gentleman meant ?” Mrs. D. was well qualified to explain to her how much was implied in being on the Lord's side. The important question fastened upon her mind: she became much affected; she considered herself pledged by her reply to be the Lord's; and resolved not to violate her engagement: she earnestly sought, and after some time happily found the Lord. Of this blessed result, however, Mr. E. was ignorant, until he visited Gillingham about twenty-nine years after, when he learned from Mrs. Dyer, who was still living (at the advanced age of eighty-four years,) that the little girl referred to had become decidedly pious, had been married to a clergyman, and was the mother of a large family. “ A word spoken in due season, how good is it.”
After the March Quarterly meeting, Mr. Entwisle received pressing solicitations for his labours during the ensuing year from the Stourport, Sheffield, Newcastleupon Tyne, and Manchester Circuits. He gave the preference to his native town, to which he felt himself under peculiar obligations. There he had first become acquainted with Methodism: there he had found the Lord: there he had been guided and nurtured by fathers and mothers in Israel ; and a direction had been given to his mind and heart, to which he felt himself in a great measure indebted for his comfort and usefulness in after life. Under a deep sense of obligation, he greatly desired to impart to his townsmen some spiritual gift.
Still it is doubtful whether the humble views he entertained of himself would not have led him to shrink from a post of so great responsibility, had he not been influenced by the hope that he might be useful to his numerous personal friends and relatives there, and
especially to his aged father, who still remained a stranger to the enjoyment of experimental religion. He had been in the habit of frequently writing to him most affectionately and faithfully on the subject, but with little beneficial result. In the course of the past year, his father had been dangerously ill, and had manifested some concern about his spiritual safety: although recovered, it was not to be expected that he could survive many years; a residence in Manchester would afford the opportunity
of frequent interviews, and of bringing all his influence to bear upon him and the family. He, therefore, felt it his duty to do violence to his love of seclusion, and to embrace this providential opening, trusting in the Lord for all needful supplies of grace. Having acted the part which his views of duty required, he then committed the matter to the Lord, assured that if “in all his
he acknowledged him," the Lord would " direct his paths.”
The preachers in the London District having elected Mr. Entwisle their representative in the Stationing Committee, an office and honour which he neither expected nor desired, he was obliged to leave home early for the Bristol Conference. He was kindly entertained at Mrs. Castleman's, a widow lady with whom he and Mr. Pawson had sojourned at the Conference of 1802. On this occasion Mr. Jonathan Parkin was his companion.
On Wed. 20th, the Stationing Committee commenced their labours, which were not concluded until Sat. 23rd. Mr. E. remarks:—“Nothing but Christian temper shewn through the whole business."
“Mon. 25.—Conference commenced. Two hundred and fifty preachers present. Mr. Jas. Wood, President. Dr. Coke, Secretary. Business goes on well. Mr. Wood acquits himself much to our advantage, and with credit to himself.
“Wed. 27.—My appointment to my native town has been brought about without my interference, and I believe it is of God. Yet to me it appears no light thing. To undertake such a charge is awful. Three thousand four hundred souls to be cared for and watched over, will require great attention and activity. My soul is impressed with a sense of the awful responsibility attached to the office of superintendent of such a circuit. I see and feel the necessity of more knowledge, zeal, and piety.
“July 29.—Every business which has come forward this Conference has raised the brethren in my esteem. There are honesty, integrity, piety, zeal for God, and disinterestedness among them indeed.
“ Tues. Aug. 9.—Conference ended in peace. We had a blessed refreshing season at the Lord's table. My soul was filled with the love of God.”
During the brief interval between his return from Conference and his removal from Rochester, a space of only one week, Mr. Entwisle was chiefly employed in preparing for his removal, and parting with beloved friends. Never did he feel more under such circumstances than on the present occasion. He was much attached to the people, and was held in the highest esteem by them. He had a large circle of pious and intelligent friends, with whom he had often held sweet communion. One of Mrs. Entwisle's sisters, Mrs. Manley, had been resident at Chatham for many years ; with her amiable family much agreeable intercourse was enjoyed, the pleasure of which was heightened by the conversion of one of the daughters, Miss Jane Manley, and her subsequent union with his esteemed colleague, the Rev. T. Stanley.
His ministry, too, throughout the circuit, had been greatly owned of God : five new societies had been formed: the number of members had increased from 375 to 550 ; discipline had been re-established; and all the societies brought into a lively and prosperous state. A new chapel had become necessary in Rochester; subscriptions had been in progress for some time, and all the arrangements made for commencing the work with a fair prospect of success; suitable provision had been made for the second preacher, so that it was no longer necessary to go from house to house for his meals: and the Rochester Circuit, which for some years had been nearly stationary, from that time took a higher rank in the Connexion, and an impulse was given to Methodism in that neighbourhood, which has been felt ever since, and has issued in such an enlargement of the work as to render two divisions of the circuit necessary; Sheerness and Gravesend having successively been constituted the heads of separate circuits.
In regard also to personal religion, it was a time of considerable improvement: the sweet communion with God enjoyed in this circuit, and especially in his retired chamber at Sheerness, was often referred to in after life, with the liveliest emotions of thankfulness and joy. Upon the review of these two years, Mr. E. remarks :“Blessed be God, I shall always remember with gratitude the time I spent in the Rochester Circuit, and believe I shall be better for it to all eternity.”