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Already God has given us souls. There seems to be a considerable awakening; and in the last fortnight, seve. ral have found peace with God. “Lo! the promise of a shower drops already from above.' O how delightful it is to see the work of God prosper.”
Two months later he writes to his daughter, Mrs. Dalby, in the same encouraging strain, and mentions some of the plans of usefulness he had adopted with
“Dec. 5.—We are much encouraged in our work in this city and neighbourhood; we enjoy as far as I know, a perfect freedom from the · Radical' spirit which is disturbing some societies, and a considerable deepening of the work of God in the hearts of professors. A system of pastoral visitation which we have adopted will, I am persuaded, be productive of much good. We have collected such lists of our societies, that we know where every one lives, in whatever street, or square, or court, or room, in town and country. We find it practicable, without robbing us of the time necessary for reading and pulpit preparations, to visit all the people. I have paid 184 visits; my colleagues as many, -perhaps more, including what they have done in the country. In this way, we get to know the people; we find out backsliders and loiterers, the discouraged, and the afflicted; and they are convinced that we care for them.”
The Rev. John Lancaster having died towards the latter end of November, the President sent Mr. Samuel Entwisle to the Dudley Circuit to supply his place. He proceeded to his destination in the beginning of December, and with much fear and trembling commenced his work in King street Chapel, on Sunday, Dec. 6th. He wrote to his father the following day, and after alluding to some sources of discouragement, he remarked :—"If any thing will do me good, surely the zeal and piety of this people will. They lift up the hands of their preachers by their fervent prayers; and good Mr. Moss, the chapel-keeper at King street, implores a blessing upon us before we go into the pulpit with an earnestness and affection enough to cheer the most desponding spirit.”
In reply his father says, among many other things characteristic of his tender paternal affection and fervent piety,—“We all followed you in the
journey, and in your entrance upon your work on Sunday. We not only talked about it, but also prayed for you morning and evening in the family; and for myself I can say, I pray for you in secret, whenever I
for myself. I am glad to find that the zeal and piety of the people encourage you. Let those that excel in virtue, whatever be their outward condition, be the highest in your esteem. Seek out the old, pious members. In your visits to them, you will learn much. I have sometimes derived greater advantage, even for the pulpit, while sitting by the bed-side of an eminent Christian in affliction, than by hours in my study. You know, I don't mean that such visits should supersede your studies; but they will greatly assist them. See Acts vi. 4. Do so, and all shall be well. God will give you light, life, power, and every good and useful gift. A greater than Fletcher, or Wesley, will be with you, to instruct, direct, and help you. Be always with God, by recollection, faith, and prayer, having a single eye; and HE will always be at your right hand. See Matt. vi. 22; and Psalm xvi. 8. You have ‘only twenty sermons.' There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?' Our Lord fed above five thousand by them. His blessing will make a little go a great way. Besides, he will multiply the sower's seed: you shall have sermons as you need them. Your father speaks experimentally. Fear not: only believe. Honour God by confiding in him, and he will honour you."
My father had now the happiness to see his three surviving sons all engaged in the work of the Wesleyan ministry; and he indulged the pleasing hope, that when he should be gathered to his fathers, he should leave them to fill up his place. But the Lord saw good to put his faith and obedient love to the test.
On the 4th of March, 1830, he received a letter from the Rev. Thomas Stanley, superintendent of the Dudley Circuit, informing him of the failure of his son Samuel's health. He was pronounced by a skilful medical gentleman to be in imminent danger of pulmonary disease, if it were not already established; and perfect rest with immediate change of air, was. deemed indispensable. The next day but one, late in the evening, he arrived at
Bath, greatly exhausted with the fatigue of the journey. His altered appearance, great weakness, and ghastly countenance, deeply affected his father: his heart sunk within him, when he first saw him ; but a slight degree of improvement effected by change of air, and the comforts and endearments of home, gave some hope of recovery: it was, however, of short continuance, and soon succeeded by the most painful anticipations. Sir George S. Gibbes, a physician of considerable celebrity resident in the city was called in, with Mr. B. Roberts, surgeon, son of the Rev. T. Roberts. Every thing which medical skill and affectionate attention could do, was done; but the fatal disease advanced with a steady pace. The affliction was the more painful, because attended with deep mental depression; arising in a great measure from physical causes, though in part attributable to the affecting views he had of the Divine purity, and the habit of looking too much at the defects in his own religious character, and too little at the infinite merits of his Saviour.
He was a young man whose deep piety, superior endowments, and uniform consistency, maintained for many years, gave the promise of more than ordinary use fulness. The early termination of his ministerial labours ; the lingering disease by which he slowly wasted away, attended as it was with extreme suffering; and, above all, the deep depression with which it was accompanied, -altogether constituted a sore trial to his afflicted father, and put all his graces to the severest test. But they stood the test: not a murmuring word escaped his lips, not one hard thought of God for a moment dwelt upon his mind. He felt exquisitely as a father; but as a Christian he bowed with entire submission to the Divine will.
It seldom happens that heavy afflictions come singly. As in the case of Job, one often follows close
the heels of another; and while one billow of sorrow rolls after another, “ deep calls unto deep at the noise of His water-spouts,” whose judgments are an unfathomable abyss. It was thus with Mr. Entwisle at the period under review. Mrs. E. was is so enfeebled and precarious a state, that he could not calculate upon her being long spared to him. His son William laboured under a severe pulmonary affection, which left little hope of his
long surviving Samuel: and the kind offices demanded by fraternal affection for a suffering and dying brother, in addition to the regular work of the circuit
, made such inroads
the health of the writer of this memoir, that the general expectation of those who were acquainted with the family was, that the three brothers would soon be laid together in the same grave. The following extracts from my father's diary will show how his mind was affected under this complication of trials :
“ March 21.—A constant weight upon my mind respecting Samuel. His life is in jeopardy, and his mind depressed; he is exceedingly feeble, his cough bad, and his appetite poor. I have but little hope of his restoration; yet I feel resignation to the Divine will, and cannot doubt of his eternal salvation if he depart this life.
The Lord gave,' and if he' take away,' I trust I shall be enabled to say, ' Blessed be the name of the Lord !' O Lord, help me to improve these painful exercises. May I die to this vain world. May I cease from man. May I delight myself also in thee! Thou art my portion, saith
soul.' “ Mon. Mar. 22.—A broken night. Servant ill. Rose early, and made two fires. Happy in
soul. Amidst all, much cause for gratitude. God is my all. In Him I find satisfaction. It is a good thing to give thanks unto God.'
April 11.–A day of grief. Mrs. and Miss Wood came from Bristol to take leave of my dear Samuel, expecting to see his face no more. The circumstances of the day excited my paternal feelings in a high degree. Mrs. Wood says, his very name in their family creates reverence. The young men are deeply affected, and all the servants also. He has left a blessed savour behind him; and the testimonies borne to his usefulness in his situation are highly satisfactory to me. A mixture of grief and gratitude fills my soul.
April 25.-— Received a kind, sympathizing letter from my friend Mr. Watson. It affected my mind much. My dear Samuel is exceedingly feeble: his life is like a living death. All the father is alive in me, while I see him suffering and sinking, and cannot help him. However, though he enjoys but little comfort, I cannot doubt of his safety; and I do believe that God will scatter
the clouds, and fill him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
“Sometimes a sudden gloom overspreads my mind. There is the prospect of losing Samuel :-William is not likely to be long-lived—nor Joseph—nor Mary; and my dear wife expects every winter to be her last. To be left alone in the world seems very doleful! I am called to die to the world, to live a life of prayer and faith, and to employ my remaining time and strength in the Lord's work."
The following is a copy of the principal part of the letter referred to in the preceding extract :
“MY DEAR FRIEND,
“I felt much grieved to hear of the illness of Mr. Samuel; and the more so, as your letter of this morning gives no greater hope. Still I trust that you may not have that trial; although to have three sons so employed, and such sons, ' to stand before the Lord,' is almost too much felicity for earth. However, painful as are the struggles of nature, you have happily not to learn the lesson of submission, or that what is dark to man is light to God. Wise and comforting too was the advice of one of the friends of Job, “Although thou sayest I cannot see Him, yet judgment is before Him, therefore trust thou in Him. Give my affectionate and sympathetic regards to the poor sufferer, and bid him be of good courage, for all is God, and therefore all is Love. If the voice which called to your Samuel from the temple on earth, now calls him out of the temple above, it is the same voice; and with equal readiness may he be able to say, 'Here am I, for Thou didst call me.' If to minister before the Lord' in the lower sanctuary be honour and joy, how much more in the glorious temple above! How soon will all be equalled ! Eternity our only home! God grant us an abundant entrance !
“I am, my dear Friend,
“ RICHARD WATSON."
A fortnight afterwards, the Annual Meeting of the Bath Auxiliary Wesleyan Missionary Society was held.