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The Rev. R. Watson was one of the ministers who assisted on the occasion. The mournful interest he felt in my brother Samuel's case, had induced him to send an intimation of his intention to visit him; but circumstances he could not control prevented the fulfilment of his promise. He therefore wrote him, immediately after his return to the Mission House, a most affectionate and consolatory letter, which proved a means of great spiritual good to the suffering young minister. Although the greater part of it has appeared in the Wesleyan Magazine, and in the Rev. T. Jackson's admirable Memoir of Mr. Watson, no apology is necessary for its introduction here; as this volume may fall into the hands of some to whom the works referred to are not accessible; and it is impossible that a letter in every respect so worthy of its highly gifted author can be read without advantage.
“MY DEAR SIR, “I was much disappointed in not being able to call upon you when in Bath, from causes which no doubt
you were informed of. I could have added nothing to what you yourself, through infinite mercy, know of the only subjects which now interest you, or to the encouragement which you receive from those around you. An additional voice, bidding you take courage, might, however, have been welcome; and to me it would have been, I doubt not, profitable to have seen that grace of God in you, which I hear from your venerable father, affords you peace and assurance of final victory. To God be the praise.
“In the midst of sufferings, growing, I fear, greater daily, two circumstances call for your peculiar gratitude,
-that you have not now for the first time to seek refuge from the storm ; and that the very preparation for that ministry from which we regret to see you so early discharged, more immediately led your thoughts to those truths, in their evidence, harmony, and fulness, which now are the only rock on which you could repose. O the suitableness of the blessed Gospel to man in every state ! to suffering, dying man most of all! The grand reason of pardon and acceptance is the precious blood which our Lord shed for us, and which now sprinkles a throne,
which for that very reason is, and must be only a throne of grace to all who believingly draw near to God through Him. This is our plea; a plea which leads us wholly out of our sinful, polluted, and guilty selves, to that on which the eye of justice can look and be satisfied ; to that which sets mercy free from all restraint, to pour herself forth in richest influence in the office of savingsaving to the uttermost—all that appeal to mercy alone. My dear Friend, here you rest, I know; and when you are tempted to doubt, to that grand resting-point cleave with all your soul. The more steadily you do it, the more you honour your Saviour's atonement, and the more you magnify the wisdom and love of the Father; you commit your case then to the naked merit of the true Sacrifice, suffering nothing to claim the smallest share as auxiliary to that which is infinite and everlasting, and you are bold to claim blessings corresponding to its height, and depth, and length, and breadth ; blessings varied as your wants, and eternal as your nature. That plea has availed for you already; you know its availing power; you had it on your lips when you first tasted the graciousness of pardoning love; and by it you have found access to God, in all those sweeter moments of intimate access to God with which you have been since favoured. Its power is this moment and every moment the same; and by it you shall obtain strength to suffer, and courage to die. Deep and joyful are the words of Christ, 'I am the way;' the way to the Father, to conscious fellowship, sanctifying, transforming intercourse, assurances of paternal love, to heaven itself. Into that way
faith brings us; and all believing acts, (which may be as many as our thoughts of Christ) prove how directly it brings us to the Father, and the Father to us.
“But sickness, and especially sickness unto death, has its peculiar trials. The thoughts may wander; the spirits flag; the fears of nature rise up, and for a time shake the soul; and the enemy pursues us to the last step from water to land. Here, then, is the great office of filial confidence. If when an enemy you were reconciled by his death, much more, being reconciled shall you be saved by his life, by his intercession for you in heaven, and that gracious help which he sends from above. 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.' Why?
c. Because he cannot slay me in anger; even that stroke is
love. 'I am persuaded,' says St. Paul, that he will keep that which I have committed to him against that
day.' Why? For I know whom I have believed.' And se you know him; his love, wisdom, power; his gracious
visitations, his kind forbearance, his tender sympathy: is that he ‘knows your frame, and remembers that you are
but dust;' that he will not fail to say of you in the languor and sinking of your nature, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' Because every thing in Christ inspires confidence, unlimited confidence, and this entire reliance is essential to our peace, we are commanded to look to Christ,—to run our course 'looking unto Jesus.' When Stephen was dying, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. There, on the same glorious sight, may your eye, my dear brother, rest, the eye of your steadfast faith, till faith is absorbed in the glorious vision of your Lord himself.
“The measure of affliction, and the duration of suffering, are in the hands of him who cannot err: and he will give strength for the day. It is lawful, with submission, to make these matters of prayer; and greatly does God honour prayer, because it is an expression of trust. in him. But the great thing is a perfectly resigned will, grounded upon the full conviction that good is the will of the Lord. Then shall we say,
"Thankful I take the cup from thee,
Prepared and mingled by thy skill;' then shall we feel that we have only to live for the present moment. Now, may you be able to say, now, in this pang, in this interval of ease, in this hour of danger, in this visitation of joy, in all, may I glorify my Lord; and by all may his will and work in me be done. I commend you earnestly, at this distance, in prayer, to the care and blessing of your heavenly Father. The earth which you are leaving is a mere vanity, as you know, without God; all that it is more, it is made by him; and in heaven God will be all in all. You will know more, love more there ; be employed in a higher service; and will have this privilege,-you will escape to land before your friends, triumph before them, and see the Lord before them.
* Thrice blessed, bliss-inspiring hope!
May it fully triumph over fear in you. You will not tread the wine-press alone: parents, and brothers, and friends, all of whom have an interest in God, will aid you, —are aiding you, by their prayers. Above all, the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength. God be merciful to you, and bless you, and lift upon you the eternal unclouded light of his countenance.
"Yours most affectionately,
This richly evangelical and consolatory letter was placed by my brother Samuel in his pocket Testament under the pillow of his dying bed, and seldom did a day pass until his departure, without a perusal of its elevating and refreshing lines. After his death, it was laid up by my father among his most valuable papers; and carefully preserved to the day of his death.
My father's mind was greatly relieved by the increasing comfort of his dying son, several interesting and satisfactory conversations with whom are recorded in his journal, some of which are embodied in a brief Memoir published in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for 1831. On one of these occasions, June 18th, my father thus expresses his gratitude and joy. “The Lord be praised for his mercy. Now, I can freely give up my Samuel. Death to him will be eternal gain. As the outward man decays, the inner man is renewed day by day. As he draws nearer the grave, he ripens for heaven. Glory be to God.”
Three days afterwards, he was called to the painful surrender which he had been thus graciously prepared to make. The following is his own account of the closing
“Mon. June 21.—This morning my dear Samuel seemed so much better that I thought his life would be protracted for some weeks. He was cheerful, and enjoyed his dinner. About half past two, however, while coughing, a blood vessel ruptured, and in less than half an hour he breathed his last. My dear wife and I were at Mr. J. M. Shum's, just opposite, and Joseph was with him. In one minute we were sent for and present. This event was sudden and alarming. He called upon the name of the Lord Jesus as long as he could speak. I
kneeled down while his brother Joseph supported him, and commended his soul to Christ; and then, as Joseph was quite exhausted, I took his place, and supported him on my breast, till the happy spirit took its flight. With inexpressible feelings, in the presence of his mother and brother, I closed those dear eyes which had, hundreds of times, sparkling with pleasure, met ours; now sealed in death till the last trumpet's joyful sound ! • Busy meddling memory' musters up past endearments, and harrows up my feelings. Well, though he is dead, he shall live again; and I shall meet him where parting shall be no more, and where there shall be no more sin, nor death, nor sorrow, nor suffering. O may I die to the world, and live for eternity; then all shall be well for ever.”
On Saturday the 26th, the mortal remains were committed to the silent tomb in one of the vaults under Walcot Chapel ; and on Monday evening, my father's venerable friend, the Rev. James Wood, improved the mournful occasion to a numerous and deeply affected congregation.
This afflictive dispensation and the precarious and uncertain tenure by which he still held the surviving members of his family, were greatly sanctified to my father. It was truly edifying to witness his perfect resignation, his deep spirituality, and his calm and solemn joy. It was manifest to all, that he was drawn into a closer union with God, that he was more completely weaned from the creature, and that God was his all. In his ministerial labours also, both in public and private, be seemed to be more than ever under the solemn impression, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.”
Towards the latter end of the next month, an event occurred which gave Mr. Entwisle lively pleasure; the second daughter of his brother William, who died in 1811, was married to the Rev. James Watkin, a Wesleyan Missionary, appointed to labour in Tongatabu. He regarded the employment of a Missionary as the most honourable on earth, and esteemed it as a special instance of the goodness of the Father of the fatherless that his orphan niece should be honoured to be the wife