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be done. I think particular attention ought to be paid to our watering places, in the appointment of preachers."
The Conference this year was held at Sheffield. Mr. E. was most hospitably entertained at the house of Mr. W. Staley.
Two circumstances occurred to invest this Conference with peculiar interest to his mind. 1. His esteemed brother-in-law, the Rev. Henry Moore, was elected President. 2. His son Joseph was received on trial as a travelling preacher, and appointed to the Wednesbury Circuit. His heart was deeply affected with gratitude to God, that he had now two sons in the itinerant ministry. “Many of the brethren,” he remarks, "congratulated me on the appearance of two sons on our Stations. My prayer to God for them is, that they may be examples to believers in every thing that is holy and good, and that they may make full proof of their ministry.”
At this Conference Mr. E. was appointed to the Birmingham Circuit, with the Rev. Dr. Taft, and the Rev. John Bicknell as his colleagues.
On Monday evening, Sept. 1st, he preached his farewell sermon at Bradford, to a large and attentive congregation, on Rom. v. 2; and on the following day“ had a sorrowful parting” with his beloved daughter and her family, and with many attached friends and spiritual children. During the three years he had spent in this circuit, the Lord had been pleased to own his labours and that of his colleagues with an extraordinary degree of success. Upwards of a thousand persons had been brought to a saving knowledge of the truth; and the work of grace had been deepened in the hearts of believers. It had been a “time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” which could not soon be forgotten. To the old and established members of the Wesleyan Society in Bradford and the neighbourhood, the names of Entwisle and Stoner are as " ointment poured forth,” and their memory is precious. And yet in the review of even this prosperous period, Mr. E. felt deeply humbled before God; as will appear from the following brief entry in his journal :
“ Tues, Sept. 2.-Rose early; I look back on three years spent here, and cry.God be merciful to me a sinner!-yet with gratitude for many, many mercies.”
FROM SEPT. 1823 TO SEPT. 1826.
On Tuesday Sept. 2, Mr. Entwisle left Bradford with feelings of deep and affectionate regret, spent that night among his relatives at Manchester, preached at Congleton on Wednesday, and on Thursday evening arrived at Birmingham, the appointed scene of his future labours.
The state of religion here painfully contrasted with that he had left behind at Bradford. There was much wickedness in the town; the Methodist Society bore but a small proportion to the population of the place; piety was at a low ebb; and a spirit of disunion unhappily prevailed, which presented a formidable obstacle to the success of his ministry among them. Many causes of discouragement presented themselves to his view upon his entrance into the circuit; but believing that the Master by whom he was employed would be his helper, he would not yield to discouragement, but commenced his labours in a spirit of “calmly fervent zeal,” in the full persuasion that if he were faithful, God would prosper the work of his hands. The following are his own statements on the subject, shortly after his arrival :
“I am now settled in my new circuit. I feel much on account of leaving my old friends at Bradford amongst whom I laboured with so much satisfaction and success. In the society here the tone of Christian feeling generally runs low. The population of the town is said to be about 120,000; and yet there are not 1500 in our society. In Bradford, which is so much smaller a town, there are 1100. There are, indeed, several popular Dissenting ministers here who have large congregations. How far conversion-work and the power of religion may prosper among them, I do not yet know. Religion, I fear, is in a low state in our society here: some leading
persons, who have great zeal for the temporalities of the society, and wish to see it respectable, are but superficial in their experience of divine things.' I am afraid, too, there is a bad taste as to preaching amongst the people; they want fine and great sermons; they are not simple enough. Well, I must, and through grace, I WILL, preach the old truths in the most plain and simple man. ner possible, and leave all with God. The congregations are large and attentive; perhaps the common people will hear gladly the simple Gospel. O my Lord, teach me and help me, I beseech thee. Favour me with thy presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, and give me souls for my hire. I have been encouraged in meeting the leaders. I may reckon upon their co-operation in any plans of usefulness that may be brought forward. A spirit of prayer for prosperity seems to be excited. I feel a strong desire to see the work of God prosper. There appear to be many obstacles, arising from the state of the society, as well as from the wickedness of the people. However, the Lord is able to maintain his
I will endeavour in simplicity of mind to preach his truth faithfully, and surely he will set his seal to it. Whether I am permitted to see it or not, good will be done. Often have I heard of conversions under my ministry twenty and even thirty years after they took place. I must therefore sow in hope. O for a spirit of deep devotion ! O for growing nearnes to God! If my own soul prosper, all shall be well.”
A letter received about this time, from his son William, who was stationed at Hull, furnishes a pleasing illustration of one of the grounds of encouragement noticed in the last extract from Mr. E.'s diary. He says, shortly after entering upon the labours of the Hull Circuit; “From all quarters of the town I meet with the most affectionate assurances of respectful attachment to you; your converts meeting me in various places, and telling me with kindness how much they love me for my father's sake.”
In his reply written shortly after, Mr. E. gives the following valuable advices :
Let me advise you, my dear William, first of all, and above every thing else, to obtain an increase of religion in your heart. It is a good thing that the heart
be established with grace.' In order to this, let your thoughts, reading, conversations, prayers, turn chiefly toward that point. Meditate deeply, seriously, frequently on the subject. Read Mr. Wesley's experimental writings, and Mr. Fletcher's, with the lives of Walsh, and others: read a portion of one of these every day, with an express view to your own spiritual improvement. Fletcher's Life will pay you well. Converse with the most pious persons that fall in your way on experimental subjects. Be much, very much in prayer for a fresh out-pouring of the Holy Spirit; and pray in faith. We cannot be more certain of any thing than of this—that prayers to God for more of the power and comfort of religion are pleasing to him, and he will most assuredly attend to them. You cannot be too confident of success when you ask of the Lord all the mind which was in Christ Jesus, and power to walk as he also walked. My dear William, if it were in my power, I certainly would contribute to make you one of the wisest, best, and happiest of men. And if I, being evil,' &c. Matt. vii. 17. Stagger not at the promise through unbelief, but be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
“I am not recommending an earnest, importunate wrestling with God only; but also an habitual unvarying attention to the progress of your own soul in genuine piety. When this is maintained, although you will still experience a warfare, yet in general your mind will be comfortable in your work. Such a state of mind is most desirable to a preacher, not only on his own account, for his own safety and comfort, but likewise for the benefit of others. For, in the first place, it naturally produces such thoughts and feelings connected with his sacred work as he cannot have without it. The Scriptures and other books are read with greater advantage. In short, an attention to your own mind will convince you, that vigorous growing piety in the heart forms a moral and spiritual ability for getting and doing good, which cannot exist in a low and wavering state of religious feeling.
Secondly, the mind is so conscious of the truth• We are not sufficient of ourselves,' &c. 2 Cor. iii. 5, that its entire dependence is upon the Lord; and to this we may apply,— Them that honour me I will honour.'
“My dear William, I am concerned, above all things,
that you may acquire through grace a habit of steady, uniform, calm devotion; because then I know
wili proceed in your work pleasantly, and your profiting will appear unto all.' Pay an unremitting attention to this one thing; in public, in company, in retirement,—when walking, riding, &c. never lose sight of it;-Be always with God. And do not forget the old Methodist and scriptural plan of going to God now,—this moment,—by simple faith, for what you now want, and which he has promised to bestow.”
In another letter he repeats the former advices, with an important addition : “ Visit the sick, the poor, and the AGED.
Find out old Methodists, and converse with them.
Advices such as these, coming from a father whose habitual conduct was a practical illustration of the principles they embody, could not fail to exert a salutary influence in the formation of the ministerial character of the son to whom they were given.
For some years the progress of Methodism in Birmingham had been impeded by the want of sufficient accommodation for those who were disposed to hear, in the principal and central chapel in Cherry street. Every sitting was let, and there were numerous applications for family pews which could not be met. Many who received their first religious impressions there, being unable to obtain accommodation for their families, sought it in the neighbouring Dissenting chapels. At length the adjoining property was purchased, and the enlargement of the chapel had considerably advanced when Mr. E. went to the circuit. During its progress, the congregation was kindly accommodated with the use of the Baptist chapel in Cannon street, at half-past eight o'clock on Sunday morning, and of the New Meeting (Socinian chapel) in Moore street, at six in the evening. The former had been favoured with the truly evangelical ministry of the Rev. Samuel Pearce. The latter had been the scene of the ministrations of the celebrated Dr. Priestley. The congregations connected with both these places of worship acted with great liberality and kindness.
In the latter place of worship, however, my father seldom felt quite at home. A consideration of the unevangelical character of the ministrations of the sabbath morning