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FROM THE TIME OF HIS LEAVING ROCHESTER TO THE CONFERENCE OF 1812.
MANCHESTER AND LIVERPOOL.
On Thursday, the 25th of August, Mr. E. with his family arrived in safety at Manchester. The appointment for this year was—Joseph Entwisle, Miles Martindale, John Stephens, John Brown; Evan Parry, Welsh Missionary ; Robert Costerdine, Supernumerary.
My father thus records his feelings upon entering on his work in his native town :
Manchester, Aug. 27.—Many things concur to recall to my remembrance former days. My soul is filled with gratitude to the God of all my mercies, and deeply humbled before him. My work appears, and really is, great and important, and a high degree of responsibility attaches to my office. O Lord be thou my guide and strong helper. I solemnly, in thy awful presence, make a surrender of my all to thee. O Lord, accept me: direct me: assist and succeed me in my labours.
In this large and important circuit, his time was so unceasingly occupied, that few opportunities could be secured for recording in his journal passing events, or the variations in his religious experience a practice which he had long proved to be highly conducive to his spiritual profit. The materials for this part of his history are therefore less ample than in former years. The following are extracts from his journal :
Sept. 21. Miles Platting.—Preached in a cellar. Blessed be God I found it good to preach the Gospel to
“Nov. 26.-On a review I find that I have been too much in a bustle this week. The variety of things which require my attention have crowded upon me, and perplexed my mind. I have not had my usual recollection: I have not taken things separately, but together.
Hence embarrassment in my work, and perturbation in my mind. Still my heart cleaves to God.
“ Jan. 1, 1809.-Having concluded the last year with about 2,000 persons in singing and prayer, I began this year in the same way, resolving to devote
all to God. This afternoon, at the renewal of the Covenant, Oldham Street Chapel was again crowded. I found my mind greatly affected; especially when the whole assembly, by standing up, expressed their resolution to devote themselves to God. This day, I doubt not, will long be remembered by many that were present. I feel the vows of God are upon me; and, though conscious of my weakness and inability, am resolved to bind myself unto the Lord in an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten. Lord help me.
“Sat. Jan. 22.- This day I began reading again Matthew Henry's Life. Humbled and abased by a comparison of myself with him. His vigorous mind was habitually exercised. Often do I resolve to be recollected, and to put forth all my strength in getting and doing good; yet hinderances strew all the way. Well, I'll not tamely submit. This solemn hour I resolve to make new efforts. I am God's servant, and he will surely help me, both as a Christian and as a minister.
“Feb. 18 - This week I find more than usual of the spirit of a pilgrim. The sicknesses and deaths of several of my brethren, of whom I have heard, have had a good effect upon me.
I have read Philip Henry's Life with much profit. He was called 'Heavenly Henry.' He had his conversation in heaven indeed. May I follow him as he followed Jesus Christ.
“ March 11.—My mind is more and more impressed with a sense of the necessity of walking with God. My office and station are sacred ; but it is possible to bring a carnal, worldly heart to spiritual work. O may I be a man of God :' not only authorized and employed of God, but a temple in which he resides, and unreservedly devoted to his service.
“ April 1.–J. Cheetham, an old disciple, who has known and enjoyed God above forty-seven years, drank tea with me. His piety and humility affected me much. He gave me an account of some fruits of my early labours in the ministry, which afforded me encouragement, and excited gratitude.
“ April 3. Partington.—Met with several here who had been profited by my preaching before I began to travel. To God be all the glory.
“ April 29.—This week has been completely filled up with public and private duties. My hands, and head, and heart have been engaged. Such a multiplicity of affairs come under my consideration, besides preaching, &c. that I have little time for preparing for the pulpit. However
, I thank God for a spirit of habitual diligence in my work. My soul longs for fruit of my labours, and for a nearer conformity to God. Surely the Lord will fulfil my desire according to his holy word.
“ May 27.-Unexpectedly called away to Colne, to preach the funeral sermon of the late Mr. Sagar. On my way to Southfield, old scenes brought to my recollection former times. Many a solemn and sorrowful, and many a joyful day have I had in this country. It is about thirteen years since I was in this neighbourhood last. How many are removed ! Lord, prepare me to follow them.
* June 3.-I have just received intelligence of the death of Aunt Pawson. How rapidly do my friends drop off. She died in full assurance of faith. After a life of exemplary piety for a number of years, she made a blessed end. I have had many seasons of instruction and comfort in the society of Uncle and Aunt Pawson. Now they are both gone to their reward. O may I follow them as they followed Christ. Soon shall I be gathered to my fathers. May it be in peace. Amen and Amen.
· June 17.—My time this week has been almost wholly filled
up with the performance of duties not the most agreeable. Often do I look backward on the times when I had nothing to do but read, meditate, pray, preach, &c. O that I had better improved those seasons. Well, thank God, my heart is now engaged in his service. I desire to know and do his will. În comparison of this every thing else appears trifling. A busy, bustling time is approaching. I feel much concerned that I may be prepared for the approaching Conference, by a deeper baptism of the Spirit, and a greater power to preserve a recollected, composed temper. O Lord, help me in all things to glorify thee.
“ July 1.--I perceive that by the various and com
plicated concerns of this large circuit, and of the Connexion, which, from my situation this year, necessarily engage my attention, my mind is in danger of distraction. God has impressed my soul with the necessity of more prayer, and a closer walk with him. Lord, help me.
They have made me the keeper of the vineyards.' Let me not neglect my own. I resolve, by God's grace, 1. To be more frequent and fervent in prayer. 2. To endeavour to keep my mind habitually recollected and stayed upon the Lord. 3. To interfere in no public matters without an evident call of providence, nor to be forward in meddling with any of the things which now particularly occupy the minds of many brethren. 4. Never to attach myself to any little parties which may be formed in the Connexion. My first leading object shall be to maintain communion with God, and to please him; and my second, to do good to others by a constant attention to the important duties of my station. O Lord, do not let me trust in any arm but thine.
"July 23.—A bustling week. Much employed in seeking lodgings for the preachers at the approaching Conference, which is to be held at Manchester. Still greater hurry and bustle are before me. This, however, comes in the way of providence. May I be preserved in a spirit of recollection and calm tranquillity. O Lord, help me to watch and pray, to preserve self-possession, and in all things to exercise a single eye to thy glory.
“O that to thee my constant mind
Might with an even flame aspire!' Sept. 3.—Entered again upon my regular work in the spirit of prayer, resolving to spend and be spent in E the service of my God and Saviour.
“Nov. 4.—Last night I heard the Rev. Robert Hall preach on Isaiah xliii. 10. Depth of thought, purity of diction, simplicity of manner, soundness of doctrine,evangelical and experimental, and a glowing energy and unction characterized the sermon and the preacher. The sermon made a deep impression on my soul. I am the better for it to-day. My soul pants for the living
“Nov. 25.—Various occurrences in the Society have occasioned me some anxiety of mind. I wish I could,
like the holy angels, do my work, and be calm. Perhaps I wish for too much. I am yet in a state of trial. Quere. Can any man live in the spirit of an office like mine, without frequent and painful exercise of mind?
“ Dec. 2.-I have finished this week the first volume of Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson. He was great in his way; but he had his defects. A love of what he regarded as pleasing to God seems to have predominated in his mind. While he was writing the Rambler, compiling his Dictionary, &c. Messrs. Wesley, Whitfield, and their coadjutors were evangelizing this kingdom, and spreading Christianity on the vast continent of America. God makes use of various instruments. Those employed in promoting his glory in the salvation of men are • vessels of honour. O my Lord, strengthen me that I may put forth all my energies in so divine an employment.
· Dec. 9.—In reading the second volume of Johnson's Life, I could not but observe how dark he was with respect to spiritual things, and how his fear of offending God was mixed with a love of company, plays, &c. and also, how he dreaded death. Thanks be to God for Christian experience.
Sat. Dec. 16.–For the first time, all my children are at home together. My concern for their good in both worlds 'grows with their growth. I hope they do fear God, and pray that they may become Christians indeed. I do not wish them to be great, but good. May they have neither poverty nor riches, but food convenient for them, and true religion in their hearts.
* Thurs. Dec. 21.-We had a conversation at the Leaders' Meeting on · Amen.' I fear a fermentation. The leaven is not good. Satan is busy. God's work is prospering, and Satan is trying his strength. The cause is God's. How boisterous are the human passions! How much of human weakness mixes with religion !
• Jan. 6, 1810.—The first week in the new year is nearly gone. I have been much blessed in my early morning exercises of prayer, reading the Holy Scriptures, and meditation on the truths of the Gospel. Some addition has been made to my stock of knowledge. Yet how little do I know, and that little imperfectly. I long for more retirement. Perhaps an enemy has a hand in