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He was the first member of the family who had been taken away, after having arrived at the period of personal responsibility; and, notwithstanding the many fears entertained on his account, he had died well. My father's heart overflowed with gratitude, and he resumed his work under a deeper sense of obligation, and with a more vivid impression of the brevity and uncertainty of human life. “Surely all flesh is grass,” he remarks; “how lately was James green and flourishing! now he is cut down and withered. His sudden removal has had a deep effect on my mind. Eternity has appeared very near. getting more into the spirit of religion. O may self be annihilated; and may Christ be all in all !
The unexpected and sudden removal of James seemed to give increasing intensity to his affection for the other members of the family; his correspondence with them became more frequent and full, and in
letter it was manifest, that their eternal interests were ever upon his heart. The following extracts from a communication to William, in reference to some painful exercises of his mind, may be useful to those who have recently entered upon the work of the ministry.
I would not advise you to perplex yourself in reasoning whether
did or did not enjoy perfect love at the time you professed to enjoy it. You thought so at the time; nor is there any proof that you did not enjoy it, in what you
have since felt to the contrary. I have known some persons who have fallen into a dangerous error ; viz. after they have thought their hearts were cleansed, and declared it to others, though they have given way to bad tempers, yet they have, as they expressed it, · held fast their confidence,' and still continued to profess to enjoy perfect love. This is down-right Antinomianism; and professors of this kind have brought an evil report on the good land, while their own salvation has been endangered. Avoid this error; but at the same time, don't sink into despondency. Remember two things : 1. The fountain for sin and uncleanness is still open, and you may wash. 2. If any man sin,' &c. 1 John ii. 1, 2. On this subject read over carefully Mr. Wesley's Plain Account of Christian Perfection.
“I am glad to find you are so jealous over yourself with regard to self-seeking, self-complacency, &c. Your
present circumstances and call to public work will expose you constantly to temptation, alternately to pride and to discouragement. If you had always liberty in public, you would be in danger of pride ; and therefore to hide pride from you, and that you may be taught to glory only in the Lord, he suffers those painful exercises of which you speak. Go on, William, in the name of the Lord, and you
shall be preserved from the rocks on either hand. I know all your feelings and temptations, and can see rocks and shoals on your passage, that you cannot see yet. I tremble sometimes when I recollect the dangers in my first year's public work,—dangers of which I had no apprehension at the time. But the Lord kept me, and he can keep you also. Only hang on him. Pray much. Be humble, yet confident of divine aid. Let self die. Let Christ be exalted. Let him be all in all.
With regard to your studies—I quite approve of your plan, and would suggest a few things which you will find profitable. 1. It is not the reading of many books, but the digesting of a few, that will increase your stock of solid knowledge. Very often great readers are like great eaters : much remains undigested, which therefore rather disorders than nourishes. 2. Every volume written by a good author has cost him much thought; and what may be read in an hour is the result, perhaps, of a month's hard study. Every such volume, therefore, deserves an attentive reading; and one volume well read pays well. 3. Hence I would recommend a plan which I have long attended to; when you read a book that is worth reading - and when you find a book is not worth reading, dismiss it after an hour,)—always have a blank paper in it, which will serve a double purpose ; it will keep your place, as we say; and you can put down the page, and a word for a hint, or a text of Scripture which is illustrated, for a second perusal. There may sometimes in the best authors be several pages together in which there is nothing that may require a second reading: such pages may be passed over; but take one by one the passages you have noted down in your first reading, and reconsider, weigh, commit to memory in some cases, and to your Common-Place book, in others, and you will derive solid information. About thirty years ago I met with a Treatise on Providence, which I analysed. I have the
skeleton of the 8vo. volume in my common-place book now. From the exercise of abridging the book, I derived so much profit, that I have found the advantage of it ever since. A subject once bottomed is ever after familiar to the mind, and every thing met with in reading that has a bearing upon it finds its place in the mind; and the stock of knowledge on that subject, and methods of illustrating, are constantly accumulating.
“Here I would recommend to you to read in this way Mr. Wesley on Original Sin. This book was written against Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, and is a master-piece. Then read Fletcher's Appeal on the same subject, which is excellent in a different way: when you have digested these, go on to the doctrine of Justification. You will find several sermons of Mr. Wesley's on that subject; one on Eph. ii. 8; one on Rom. iv. 5; one on Rom. x. 5—7. Closely connected with the doctrine of Justification, are three excellent sermons on the Law—text, Rom. iii. 31. -These may suffice at present: another time I shall say more."
To his daughter, Mrs. Dalby, he writes :—“I hope your affectionate partner and yourself will daily take sweet counsel together how to make your calling and election sure. You know I have often said,-a good degree of religion is the best thing to assist us in doing or suffering. I am glad that you see the propriety of having few acquaintances,-commonly called friends ;—you have each of you, one bosom friend at home; your interests are one, and you have one mind. Let me recommend to you, my dear Mary, to let your necessary domestic business be your pleasure, and religion your business. Redeem time for frequent meditation and prayer, if it be only a quarter of an hour at once.
Don't neglect your closet. Be determined to walk with God. In this way your union will be sanctified, and you will secure the favour and protection of divine providence. God, even our own God, will give you his blessing.”
Shortly after the preceding paragraph was penned, he wrote to William. The following is an extract.
I do not wonder at the exercises and conflicts of your mind. I have experienced such myself, and reckon them
the all things' which work together for good.' The way in which providence has led you into public
work appears to me very satisfactory. The way was made plain : you only followed the opening before you. Now that you are admitted on the Plan, your way is, to have done with reasoning respecting your call, and go straight forward, giving your whole heart to God, and endeavouring to serve your generation according to his will; always attending to present duty, and looking for a present blessing. Satan often gains advantage over us, by calling off the mind from present privileges and duties to something future. In some circumstances, thoughts concerning future situations, &c. are not only unavoidable, but necessary, and form a part of Christian duty. At your time of life, and especially in your present circumstances, inattention and unconcern would argue a want of Christian feeling and Christian prudence. However, you will find it necessary to keep your heart with all diligence. My advice still is,-follow the openings of providence; and, in the mean time, keep your soul alive to God; simply aim at his glory in the performance of the duties of your calling, and rest fully persuaded that he who has hitherto directed you, and your father before you, will not fail to make good to you that scripture, 'In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'
“I do not blame you for desiring to be wholly employed in the work of the ministry ;-in which your whole employment, if your heart were right, would be to read, meditate, study, pray, and preach,—the happiest, as it is the most honourable and useful employment under heaven, if a man's heart be right, and if he have his Master with him. With regard to this, I can only say, if the Lord call you to it, he will make your way plain. Nor would I discourage you in desiring so great and good a work. It would give me great pleasure to see you engaged in it. However, don't let the thought of this make you uneasy in your present calling. There is a time for all things, and the Lord's time is the best. My name was printed in the Minutes the third time before I took a circuit; and I have often been thankful to God that I did not go out sooner. If you give yourself wholly to the Lord, it is probable there will in due time be an opening, if you are spared. Meanwhile, give diligence to get your head and heart prepared for whatever the Lord may call you to do.
“I am glad you read Walsh so frequently, He entered deeply into the spirit of religion, and while he was remarkably studious, and possessed uncommon talents, he was humble, watchful, and prayerful. That part of the work which consists of extracts from his diary, presents to you his heart and its workings in various circumstances; and shews you that notwithstanding his piety, gifts, zeal, and usefulness, he had to wrestle not only with flesh and blood, but also with spiritual wickedness in high places."
William could write a beautiful hand when he pleased; but frequently he wrote with such uncommon rapidity, that it was extremely difficult to decipher his writing. My father's hand was remarkably clear and perspicuous, and he was in the habit of recommending to those who fell into the fault just alluded to,—to spare the time and patience of their friends, if at a little additional expense of their own.
He thus refers to the subject at the close of this letter :
• Your sister unites with your mother and me in a request that you will write a legible hand.
You are accustomed to write rapidly, and you can read your own writing, but we can scarcely make it out. A word to the wise is enough. The difference between writing as I write this letter, and as I should write if in great haste, is only about a quarter of an hour. And if the mind be quite calm and recollected, as there are no long pauses to think what shall be said next, there is no time at all lost by slow writing. Mr. Wesley was one of the slowest writers I have known: he took his pen off nearly at every letter; and yet putting down his deliberate thoughts leisurely, he wrote as much in the time as most men, and seldom had need to correct what he once wrote.”
At the Christmas Quarterly Meeting, Mr. Entwisle was affectionately urged to remain a third year in the Sheffield Circuit. He had, however, given the Stewards and leading friends previous intimations of his intention to remove at the Conference. He was attached to the people,-he felt much union of spirit with his esteemed colleagues, and the pleasure of the Lord prospered in their hands; but he found the long night rides in that hilly and exposed country injurious, his chest was frequently affected, he was often disabled by rheumatism;