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On the 11th of the following December, he records a gracious preservation from serious injury under “circumstances so extraordinary,” as he states in a note to his son, that he could not but think there must have been invisible
agency in the case; adding, “but for the sense I have of my unworthiness I should apply to it, Heb. i. 14.” The following is the record in his journal :
“ Mon. Dec. 12.—On my return from Lambeth Chapel last evening, I was graciously preserved in time of danger. When I crossed China row, a carriage was coming. Of this I was unconscious ;-being deeply engaged in meditation and prayer, and the road being macadamized, I heard no souud. In a moment I fell forward on my face, (which my hat saved,) perhaps a yard or more, and rolled in the mud. I rose up, and to my surprise saw a four-wheeled carriage with some ladies in it, standing, the gentleman having alighted, apparently in great alarm, to inquire how I was hurt. I assured him I was not hurt, and proceeded on my way
home. The outcry arising from alarm in some persons near brought others to the spot, amongst whom were some pious females who thought I had been run over by the carriage. I believe there was in this case angelic agency. For, l. It was just as if some one, seeing my danger, and perceiving that I was insensible of it, had kindly pushed me forward so far that though I lay all my length, even my feet were out of the way of the nearest wheel. 2. I felt nothing touch me to occasion the fall, nor do I know that my foot slipped. 3. Had I not fallen in a forward direction, I certainly should have been
4. Though I was thrown so far on my face, and, being rheumatic, fall heavily, I fell so lightly, that I was not shaken, and felt no inconvenience, with the exception of a slight bruise in the ball of my right hand. All the evening and most of the night being awake through indisposition in another way, my heart glowed with gratitude to my gracious preserver. It is the Lord. I might have had my legs broken, or have been killed on the spot. O to grace how great a debtor.' O Lord, I present myself, my all to thee. O accept me for Jesu's sake.”
I give the above account just as I find it. The reader may form his own judgment of it. Those who are dis
posed to shut God out of the providential government of his own world, and to confine his presence and operations to some remote province of his dominions, may regard the occurrence itself as a fortunate escape -a 'mere accident,'—and his own view of it as an instance of superstitious weakness and infirmity; but those who admit the providential government of God, and believe the express declarations of his word, especially such as the following: —“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father :"
-“ But the very hairs of your head are all numbered:” —“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling; for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone:”—“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" and “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints ;"—will regard his “ acknowledg. ment of God,” in a case in which life might have been suddenly destroyed, as an exercise of that true “wisdom which cometh down from above."
During the whole of this winter, Mrs. Eptwisle's affiction continued, in consequence of which Mr. E.'s rest was much broken, and at times his health and spirits were seriously affected, and he found it difficult to discharge his public duties in a way satisfactory to his own mind. The following quotations will shew how his mind was affected by these trials.
Jan. 14, 1832.—“All these things are wisely ordered by our Heavenly Father for our good. I am not disposed to complain, but to acknowledge the WISDOM and KINDNESS of such arrangements of providence as entail infirmities and various sufferings on persons in the decline of life: for if aged people were healthy and vigorous as in youth, they would forget themselves, and build more than tabernacles on earth. By our affiictions we are taught our entire dependance upon God.
Jan. 28.—My feelings are indescribable and unaccountable. I labour under constant depression in my spirits. My soul prospers: I am enabled to live in the spirit of devotion and under a sense of the divine favour; my desire to do good increases; and my heart is more
and more in the work of God; still I am greatly weighed down. Deep sighs are frequent and involuntary. Lord, why am I thus? I think it is owing in a great measure to the affliction of my dear wife and the death of my children. For a long time last year, I had little regular rest; and now, I often awake in the night, and thoughts of past events rush on me like a flood.
Various occurrences combine to oppress my mind. Every pleasing little child I see produces associations that are painful. John in his playful infancy and boyhood, and the rest of my children
Then their deaths are brought before me—all of them at once sometimes. The late removal of Samuel and William, the present delicate state of Joseph, the distance of Mary from me, the sufferings of my dear wife from asthma, now advancing in years, and the sensible decline of my own strength, which renders what once would have been perfectly easy, now almost overpowering for want of physical strength; all these things put together may perhaps account for the lowness of my spirits.
“I feel myself •ā feeble thing of nought;' 'yet the Lord thinketh on me;' and his thoughts are thoughts of love, thoughts of good and not of evil. Unto him I look. On him I depend, and will depend, come what may. I am much tempted to look forward to loss of ability to labour in the vineyard, and loss of wife and children; but I must live now, and take no thought for the morrow.' O Lord, help me; and when my strength and my heart fail, be thou the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
It has already been stated that Mr. Entwisle at an early period of his ministry, commenced the practice, which was general in those days, of meeting the Societies at the close of the Sunday evening service in the principal chapels. This practice he still kept up. It was with him a matter of regret, that owing in part to the numerous Sabbath occupations of our people and ministers, and in part to the increased length of our ordinary Sabbath evening services, this practice was gradually falling into desuetude. To him it appeared of great importance, to keep up, by means of these Sunday evening Society Meetings, a visible and marked line of distinction between the society and congregation; and not a few were
the awakenings which came under his own observation, among persons connected together by the most endearing ties, whose visible though temporary separation on these occasions irresistibly led their thoughts onward to the final separation which must take place in the great day of accounts, without a change of heart.—The opportunity also was most favourable for addressing to the Society suitable advices, in which the pastor might with propriety descend more minutely and familiarly into detail, than in the mixed congregation. Neither did he think that very long sermons, which often prevent these meetings, were upon the whole so useful as those of moderate length. Nor did he think the constant practice of holding Sunday evening prayer meetings, by which they were sometimes superseded, an adequate substitute for them. He was for adhering to our old principles, and carrying out those well-tried plans which by the blessing of God had been productive, from the beginning, of the most blessed results.
His plan was, generally, to conclude the Sunday evening's service about half-past seven, and then to meet the Society, concluding the whole service at eight o'clock, or a few minutes after. About once a year, he read over the Rules of Society, and made such remarks
them as the state and circumstances of the members might require. He occasionally enlarged upon different branches of personal religion, and “the gradations in Christian experience, that the people might know where they were.” He frequently enforced the important duties of private prayer, religious meditation, the devotional reading of the Holy Scriptures, self-examination, the religious observance and improvement of the Sabbath, and strenuous personal and united efforts to promote the glory of God and the advancement of his cause; also the relative duties of husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, and heads of families; sometimes he met these several classes separately; occasionally he gave fatherly counsels to the Society, especially the young and inexperienced, with respect to company, conversation, and their general course of reading; and sometimes read interesting accounts of recent revivals of religion, with a view to raise the expectations and stimulate the zeal of the members.
These separate meetings of the society were usually well attended; they endeared him to the people, led them more highly to value church-membership; and contributed in a high degree to the stability, Christian consistency, spiritual improvement, and consequent enlargement of the Society. In his journal he often refers to the comfort he felt, when thus meeting “ the family of God.”
A general improvement in the state of the circuit greatly cheered his spirit, and called forth expressions of gratitude to God. Thus on the 6th of May he writes: " Sun. evening, Walworth. Gal. vi. 14, and Sacrament. The chapel crowded with attentive hearers. Great numbers attended the table of the Lord. Owhat a blessed change in this place! O what love, union, prosperity. I found it good to be there.'
Again : “Sun. June 17.—A full day. The Lord was with me all day. Met the Local Preachers at eight. At half-past ten, read prayers and preached at Lambeth to a very large and attentive congregation. At half-past two, met classes at Lmabeth. At six, preached at Southville, and met the society. Returned home tired, but very happy in my work. More and more are added unto the Lord. To Him be all the glory.”
And again: “Tu. July 3.—Quarterly Meeting. Peace, harmony, love, and prosperity both in temporal and spiritual things.
But while thus favoured with both temporal and spiritual prosperity in his circuit, the Lord saw good to exercise him with “a thorn in the flesh.” His spirits were often deeply depressed; and when much fatigued, his head was sometimes so confused, and his memory so impaired, that he found it difficult to preach. Thus he says, on Sunday, June 10th :
“Whitsunday, Walworth, half-past ten. Uncommonly assisted and blessed in preaching this morning. In the afternoon, met four classes at Broadwall. Evening, Lambeth, John iv. 10. My spirits fatigued by previous labour, my head dull, thoughts crude and confused, though the subject was familiar. felt a strong desire to do good, with perfect conscious inability to do justice to the subject, and a distressing apprehension that God would be dishonoured by my poor sermon, and that an opportunity