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its freedom from all affectation and pomp, and its adaptation to the meanest capacity. May he be so preserved."
Mr. Gaulter in a letter written on the same subject a few days after, says,—" Your dear boy here is doing well. His first efforts as a preacher Mr. Hulett approves, and says, the promise is high. No pomp of anti-English language; of that abominable stuff which real ignorance calls eloquence, and bad taste, genius. The attempt was to do good, which is, I believe, his leading motive. Being truly converted, he will, I have no doubt, seek the salvation of others. I could wish to think that some were so disposed; but I am distressed when I hear them applauded for that which depresses the hope I would indulge for the true prosperity of Methodism, and its perpetual establishment in the world. If Methodism die, it will die by its ministers, as every revival of pure religion has done since the rise of Christianity, the symptoms of which have long appeared among us, but which I hope will be prevented by the prudent precautions of those men, whose only end has been to diffuse the saving religion of the Son of God throughout the world.”
This intelligence was highly gratifying to Mr. Entwisle's mind. He regarded the work of the Christian ministry as the most honourable and useful in which man can possibly be engaged. But he deemed a divine call to this work essential. He never could understand how a Christian parent could acquire the right to appoint his son to the high office of an ambassador for the King of kings : he regarded this as an invasion of God's prerogative. He knew too, how possible it is to mistake mere imagination for a divine call; and had seen not a few instances of those who were confident of their own call to the ministry, while all who knew them, and were most competent to judge, stood in doubt. He conceived too that there was no small danger of delusions of this kind in the case of those whose earliest associations were connected with the office and work of the Methodist ministry. He had therefore been extremely cautions in the early part of his correspondence with William on this subject. But having been fully satisfied as to his call, he rejoiced to hear, that he had done violence to his natural timidity, and obeyed it. In a letter written to him a few days afterwards, he says:
“The receipt of yours with Mr. Hulett's postscript was very satisfactory, and excited in my mind gratitude to God. I trust he will keep you humble, and at the same time encourage you in your work. I am thankful to God that in the order of his providence, you were placed under the paternal care of Mr. Hulett, to whom you are greatly indebted on the present as well as on former occasions. May the Lord reward him a hundredfold.
“It gave me much pleasure to hear from Mr. Hulett that you were plain and simple, and free from affectation. Never aim at high things, but .condescend to men of low estate. I have never forgotten a saying of Mr. Benson to an old acquaintance of mine, a young local preacher, about thirty-five years ago, ‘Don't seek to be great, but good. I hope my dear William, you will give yourself entirely to God. Walk with him. Be an example to believers. Let no man despise thy youth.'Read over and over St. Paul's epistles to Timothy. I found them useful when younger than you. Commit them to memory. I wish I had done in my first setting out in the work what I now recommend to you, viz. every day commit to memory, with great exactness, some portion of Holy Scripture. Well chosen texts of Scripture not only embellish but enrich a sermon, and also give it vigour and energy.”
On Wednesday, July 14, Mr. Entwisle accompanied by Mrs. E. set off for Bristol Conference, taking Birmingham in the way, where he spent a day or two at Mr. Scott's with his son James, for whose spiritual interests he felt deeply concerned. On Friday, he proceeded in company with Mr. and Mrs. Moore to Bristol, where the Stationing Committee was to meet on Monday morning.
The memoranda this Conference are more brief than usual. He simply notices the election of the Rev. Jonathan Crowther to the President's Chair; and the dangerous illness of his friend the Rev. John Gaulter, whose life hung in doubt the greater part of the Conference ; with the Rev. Messrs. W. Martin's and R.Wood's removal from the Sheffield Circuit, and the appointment of the Rev. Messrs. J. Hanwell and J. Everett as his colleagues in their stead.
On Friday, August 13th, he left Bristol, visited and preached at Worcester and Madeley; spent a night at
Birmingham with his son James, and reached home on Wednesday, Aug. 18.—This proved to be his last interview with his son James. About a fortnight after, he received the painful intelligence, on his return home late one night from Grenoside, that James was dangerously ill, and not likely to recover. He set off early the next morning for Birmingham, where he arrived about eight in the evening. The Rev. Messrs. Edmondson and Oakes met him at the coach, from whom he learned the afflictive intelligence that James had died soon after five o'clock that morning,–
-a little before his father had set off from Sheffield in hope of seeing him once more. He felt exquisitely; and yet the keen edge was taken off this affliction by the great mercy which had been extended to his son, and the remarkable manner in which he had been prepared for his change.
It has already been stated that my father felt much concerned about James's spiritual interests. He had when at Woodhouse-Grove School experienced the justifying grace of God, and for some time walked in the light of his countenance; but he had lost this blessing; and, though there was no reason to believe that he had been betrayed into any immorality, he had become careless and trifling. There were many temptations in Birmingham, and the openness of his disposition, with a natural tendency to levity, exposed him to danger. It will not therefore excite wonder that his father should entertain
fears for his safety. During his visits before and after Conference, he had had much close and serious conversation with him, which appeared to have left a good impression upon his mind. On Tuesday, August 24, having occasion to send him a small parcel, he enclosed a letter in which he expressed his great anxiety on his account, referred to the tempta tions by which he was surrounded, cautioned him against some dangers which especially threatened him, and with much affectionate earnestness urged upon him the pursuit of real religion as the most serious and important thing in the world ;-concluding with the following words, those which are printed in italics being written in larger letters and underscored.
My dear James, don't treat these advices with indifference. Remember, you will not always have a father
to advise and pray for you. Death's shafts fly thick! My mind is so impressed on your account, that my prayers for you are more frequent and fervent than usual ; and if you join me in prayer,—all shall be well with
you time and in eternity.'
The following Monday, August the 30th, having as usual risen early, while engaged in his morning devotional exercises, the case of James lay with such unusual weight upon his heart, that after interceding with God for him with much earnestness for some time, he took up his
pen and wrote to him again, with a special view to his spiritual good. It is a subject of regret, that this letter, if preserved, has not yet been found. It was despatched by the first post, and received by James the following morning. He was standing with Mrs. Scott in the shop when the postman delivered it. He read it with much apparent emotion,—and burst into tears. Mrs. Scott inquired if the letter contained any evil tidings. He replied, “No;” but added, that he had never received such a letter from his father before ; he then read to Mrs. Scott and a young man who was in the shop, some parts of the letter, and said, “I will take care of this letter, for I believe it is the last I shall ever receive from my father.” He was then in perfect health. But in the afternoon of the same day he was seized with violent inflammation of the bowels. A medical gentleman was immediately sent for, who paid him every possible attention. On the following day, being much worse, Dr. Johnson, a physician of considerable eminence was also called in, whose kind and unremitting attentions will never be forgotten by the family. He visited him four or five times a day, and afterwards in the most handsome and sympathising terms refused to accept any fee, saying, that to afford relief and satisfaction to the mind of a bereaved and absent father under such circumstances was a richer compensation than any fee could afford. But medical skill, and the unremitting attentions of friends were alike unavailing, so far as the body was concerned ; nothing seemed to arrest the progress of the disease, which terminated fatally the following Saturday morning.
The Rev. Messrs. Edmondson and Oakes, who were then stationed in Birmingham, kindly and frequently visited him during his short and fatal affliction. On
Mr. Edmondson's first visit, James said, "I cannot pray. I am given up.” A consciousness of his unfaithfulness and of his neglect of the “ great salvation" seemed to have driven him almost to despair. But after conversation and prayer, he was encouraged. He sought the Lord with all his heart, and found him to the joy of his soul. He was enabled to rely on the atonement, was made exceedingly happy, and expressed an earnest desire, if it were agreeable to the will of God, to depart and be with Christ, fearing lest he should again dishononr God and grieve the Holy Spirit, were he raised up again. He bore with patience the extreme pain he was called to suffer, and spent his remaining strength in praising God for the riches of his grace, and warning the young friends who called to see him, to flee from the wrath to come, and to make sure work for eternity in the season of youth and health. In the absence of father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Oakes spent the whole of Friday night with him, and remained until his spirit took its peaceful departure, when they closed his eyes. The Lord cut short his work in righteousness. He prepared, and then took him to himself.
My father felt much on his arrival, when he first learned, that James was gone. But when informed how graciously the Lord had manifested himself, he could not but rejoice and give thanks: his language was: • While the father feels and weeps, faith says, 'It is the Lord,' and I am resigned. My heart feels, and my eyes overflow, yet I submit, and believe that what the Lord has done, is the very
best.” On the following Monday, the remains were committed to the grave in St. Mary's Churchyard: the Rev. Messrs. Edmondson, Leach, and Oakes attended the funeral, and spent the greater part of the day with my father. Mr. Leach remarks :—“I was very much struck with the calm, resigned, and cheerful state in which he appeared the whole of the day. I thought I saw in his conduct the spirit which enables good men to say, “It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good. The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'” The following day he returned home, sorrowing, yet not without hope.
The death of James was greatly sanctified to my father.