Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

passive clay.' I found a willingness to be any thing, to do any thing, to suffer any thing, so God may be glorified.

“Wed. 21, Kingston Lisle.—0 how wavering is my mind! Most of the day I could neither read nor meditate. O how unfit am I for the ministry! It seems, (as is frequently the case, impossible for me to proceed in the work. How little do I know of men and things; of the Holy Scriptures, and of real Christian experience. I want to be a ‘workman that needeth not to be ashamed.' Lord, help me to give thee my heart, and to be always employed for the good of souls. The deadness of the people in these parts depresses my spirits. There has been preaching here twenty years, and yet but few professors, and I fear not above one who is in a safe state. * Arise, O Lord, thou and the ark of thy strength.' 0 how I long for the salvation of souls !

“ Frid. 23, Great Bedwin.—Found this a day of great perplexity. Though my soul panted after God as the hfart panteth after the water brooks, yet my ideas were so scattered, that I could not read or study to profit. It seemed almost impossible to preach; but I recollected God had in times past assisted me, and I endeavoured to trust him again.

"I found great enlargement of soul and liberty of speech while preaching from Acts xix. 2. O may I never distrust God again! What a work has God wrought here. O Lord, ride on, till all are subdued. Lay down with my heart filled with divine love. In the night awoke under a powerful temptation; my sleep departed from me; I got up, and prayed to the Lord my

mind was somewhat relieved. "Frid. 30.-Saw the greatness of my charge: begged of God to show me the worth of souls, that I may speak as one who is in earnest. In prayer, I was shown how short I came of making ‘full proof of my ministry”; how little I have done for God; and how much of self and pride has been mixed with that little. But, O thou who knowest all things, thou knowest I desire to think, and speak, and act for thee. O dreadful Jehovah ! here I am, no longer mine, but thine. I now desire to make a solemn covenant engagement with thee. 0 accept of a heart that fain would be thine. O impart unto me

till

much of thy Holy Spirit, that I may be a burning and shining light.”

Many of the excellent of the earth have found it a valuable help to piety and devotedness to God, to enter into written covenant engagements with Him, by frequent reference to which they have been reminded of their solemn obligations. Of this help Mr. Entwisle felt it a privilege to avail himself. He therefore drew up a form of covenant, in which he surrendered himself without reserve to the divine disposal, and solemnly engaged to “

use all his gifts, grace, time, health, and strength, for the glory of God and the good of souls.” This covenant, after much fervent prayer, he signed and sealed upon his knees, alone with God, at High Wycomb, on the 2nd of June, 1788. He was favoured with much of the divine presence during the solemn transaction ; and it appears to bave had a happy influence upon his future life. The devoted spirit which pervades this document, drawn up during the first year of his itinerancy, he was enabled by the grace of God to maintain with but little variation to the close of his ministerial course.

The following extracts from his journal will conclude the history of his residence and labours in Oxfordshire.

“ June 4.–For several days, though my heart has been much engaged with God, I have not found that liberty in public prayer and preaching which I usually feel. This morning in prayer I inquired the cause, which seemed to be, want of simplicity of intention. I do not pray to a present God as I ought in public. I do not address immortal souls with that life and zeal with which I ought. It is an easy thing to preach every day; but to keep the heart properly engaged in the work, requires much self-denial and mortification, and a life of holy watchfulness, prayer, and faith. Thou knowest, O Lord, I would be singularly pious, laborious, and (if it be thy will) useful. Remarkably favoured this evening in public. How well it is to have nothing in view but the glory of God and the good of souls. Lord, keep me disinterested, -dead to human praise,

fearless of human frowns.

“June 7.-In my way from Waddesden to Oxford, much tempted to peevishness; yet it is a pain to me to feel any temper contrary to love. At Oxford I found

66

the enemy was again sowing the seeds of discord. My soul was much grieved on the occasion. But, blessed be God, it did not disturb my peace.

Lord's-day, June 8.-Much depressed to-day both in public und private, by seeing the dreadful state of the society here, occasioned by evil-speaking. I resolved to give tickets to those only who agree to speak no evil of an absent brother or sister.

“June 11.-Our Quarterly Meeting at High Wycomb. What I had before feared befel me ;—a resting in creature comforts. I seemed so pleased with the company of my friends, particularly my two fellow-labourers, that I forgot too much the presence of God. Yet I went away resolved more than ever to be devoted to God.

* June 14.—I got to Oxford early this morning, promising myself an agreeable season in my study. But my mind is so confused, my ideas so scattered, that I can neither read, write, meditate, nor pray with any degree of recollection. I seem shut up: my mind incapable of any new ideas. I know not how to preach. It appears as if I had no idea how to compose a discourse. Well, I'll trust my Divine Master. He has helped me many a time. He will again. *

Much assisted to-night while preaching from Psalm cvi. 31, My meditation of him shall be sweet.'

Mon. 16.—Much tempted, while riding, to peevishness. O how often am I so tempted to this evil that I can scarcely forbear abusing my horse. Lord, make me holy!

Mon. 23.—Much hurt to-day by lightness of spirit and too much talk. I find that even religious conversation when unseasonable is injurious to piety.

June 30.- In the course of this last week God was much with me, and I have found a sensible increase of holiness as well as divine knowledge. I bless God, my mind is brought into a studious, calm, recollected frame. This evening, I took leave of my dear friends at Slade End and Moreton. As God in mercy made me instrumental in the conversion of several here, we had a sorrowful parting. Though I concealed it, yet my heart was full. Lord, keep those young, tender lambs !

* July 10.—My dear brother Reece came to Wycomb to spend the day with me. We had a pleasing and profitable interview. I cannot but admire and desire to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

imitate his piety and recollection of mind. If he continue to improve his talents and increase in piety, he will certainly be a very great man in the church of God. O that I may at least creep after him. God has made us like David and Jonathan.

Thurs. 24.–Went to take leave of Brother Pescod, who was going to Conference. I have abundant cause to bless God for being cast with him.

Sat. 26.—This has been a precious day indeed. When Brother Reece and I were at prayer together, it seemed as if I was speaking to God face to face. O how his love was poured into my heart. Tears of love mine eyes o'erflowed.

I found it a great trial to part with my friends at Wycomb; and was almost overwhelmed with grief. Here we have no continuing city.

“ July 31st.—This morning I received a letter from Mr. Thompson, informing me that I was appointed to labour with him in the Birstal Circuit. I received it with a mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy, in being permitted to labour with one who will be as a father to me. Sorrow, feeling my want of abilities for such a circuit.”

After parting with his esteemed Superintendent and colleague at Oxford, with whom he had spent the first year of his itinerancy in great harmony and peace, and with an encouraging measure of success,—the number of members in the circuit having increased from 560 to 620,-he set out on horseback on the 1st of August for Manchester, to visit his parents before entering upon his new circuit, preaching, according to the usage of the times, at the various places through which he passed in

his way

To a Methodist preacher, the time of removal to a new circuit is usually a season of painful excitement. Places which have become endeared as the scenes of toil, of conflict, and of gracious visitations from on high, and which are thus associated with the most tender and profitable recollections, must be forsaken,-perhaps never to be visited again. Then there is the pain of parting with beloved colleagues, and with Christian friends, to whom he has become strongly and affectionately attached; —and no attachments are stronger than those which are based on Christian principle, and especially those which are established between the Christian minister and his

spiritual children. But from these he must tear himself away, to labour among people to whom as yet he is utterly unknown. No wonder that occasionally it should be a season of deep depression; relieved, however, by the animating prospect of meeting again in that happier clime where the pang of parting shall never be felt. Such it was to the subject of this memoir, when called for the first time to change circuits. And his depression was the deeper, because he was appointed to labour among a people who had been favoured with some of the very best preachers in the Connexion. He had but a mean opinion of his own qualifications, and feared he should never “make his way.”

On Friday, the 15th of August, he arrived at Birstal. Here he had the advantage of the judicious counsels of the Rev. Wm. Thompson, his Superintendent, whom Mr. Atmore describes as “a man of remarkably strong sense, a fertile genius, a clear understanding, a quick discernment, a retentive memory, and a sound judgment. His mind, naturally endowed with strong parts, was greatly improved by reading and close thinking; so that as a Minister, he was a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. He was supposed by many to be one of the closest reasoners and most able speakers, that ever sat in the Methodist Conference.”

Mr. Entwisle entered upon the work of his new circuit with renewed acts of self-dedication to the service of God and his church. On the day after his arrival he writes :

Sat. Aug. 16, 1788. -O Lord, I now solemnly devote my all to thee and thy people. O may I walk in and out before this people as becomes a minister of Jesus Christ. May I give myself wholly to these things, that my profiting may appear unto all. Wherein I am deficient in years, may I make it up in seriousness and gravity ; and by continual application attended with thy blessing, may I be enabled to bring out of my treasury things new and old for the edification of thy people.'

He thus records the labours of his first Sabbath. · Sund. 17.—This day I had a deep sense of my own helplessness, but found God remarkably precious to my soul. I preached four times to large congregations,

9

« EdellinenJatka »