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especially grieved that the societies in his native town and in the neighbouring circuits, with which his earliest and most delightful recollections were associated, should be among the principal scenes of this mischievous agitation. It seems almost certain now,” he writes toward the close of the year, that there will be a division of the societies in Manchester, Liverpool, and Rochdale, and perhaps in some other places; but it is better to have a division than to have endless strife and contention. The Lord reigns.
While, however, others were agitating, true to his principles, he was intent upon getting and doing good. “I perceive,” he says, “my business is to live very near to God,—to keep my mind calm and quiet, and to endeavour in every possible way to promote the spiritual improvement of the young men committed to my pastoral care. O Lord, guide me with thy counsel; be my teacher and my helper.
Having formerly entertained the opinion that the plan of placing the juvior ministers in circuits under the care of experienced and judicious superintendents, competent to direct their studies and to form their ministerial character, might be preferable to that of collecting a number of young men into a collegiate institution, he was naturally led by the circumstances in which he was placed, and by the violent agitation which prevailed, to reconsider the whole subject, while the position he occupied gave him an opportunity of comparing the new plan with the old, the operation of which he had witnessed for near fifty years. A few extracts from his journal and correspondence will put the reader in possession of his views.
“Jan. 3, 1835.—I never entered on a new year in similar circumstances: not employed in the work of a circuit, but placed in this Institution for spiritual purposes. I do most firmly believe the arrangement is providential. My soul prospers. There is much of God in our domestic worship. The family is well ordered : all is regular. The young men are evidently improving in knowledge and in piety; and I trust they will go from hence better fitted for usefulness than they would have been without such a training. I feel deeply my responsibility: much is expected: I am conscious that I am not sufficient of myself. Yet I am not discouraged; my
sufficiency is of God. He employs me, and He will help
In a letter to his son, written a few days after, having described his general plan of procedure, he says, “ Our family is a family of love: all seem to be comfortable ; and our domestic worship is delightful. God is with us. Mr. Hannah's Lectures, which I attend as often as I can, are most instructive and interesting: they are so, beyond any thing I ever heard. They are simple and plain, yet display profound biblical knowledge, and are attended with much divine unction. If those who are afraid lest the Institution should hurt the young men, could see and hear all that passes, they would have different views.
“There are some bad spirits at work. The floods lift up their voice,' but the Lord sitteth above the waterfloods, and remains King for ever.' My mind is quite tranquil. I believe I am here by divine appointment. I am endeavouring incessantly to do good. The young men are deeply pious, and very tractable. My own soul prospers. I think I never enjoyed so much of God. I live now. I feel dead to the world. I cease from man. I find in my God and Saviour perfect satisfaction. To Him be glory."
About this time Mr. Entwisle wrote to his venerable friend the Rev. James Wood, of Bristol, who when the subject was under the consideration of the Conference, had opposed the establishment of the Theological Institution, chiefly on the ground that such institutions had not generally tended to promote the piety and zeal of young ministers; and from a fear that the evils which had appeared in other religious communities would arise in our own. Mr. E. knew that Mr. Wood's objections had resulted from the most affectionate and principled regard to the interests of real religion ; that they had been temperately and respectfully expressed at the proper time and in the proper place; that when the question was decided, he cheerfully acquiesced in the decision; and that he regarded the subsequent opposition with unqualified disapprobation. He believed that his venerable friend would rejoice to hear that God was with his servants in the new Institution; and that it was likely to result in the deepened piety and superior qualifications
of our connexional ministry. He therefore wrote to Mr. Wood, and gave him an account of the encouraging auspices under which they had commenced their undertaking: at the same time soliciting such advices as his long experience, deep piety, and sound and discriminating judgment well qualified him to give. Mr. Wood's answer, though not intended for the public eye, will not be unacceptable to the reader. It states indeed some of the grounds of his opposition to the Institution; but now that the controversy is over, the remembrance of these grounds may be salutary. If it be à sound maxim,
Fas est et ab hoste doceri,* much more may we derive advantage from a candid statement of the views of a dissentient and enlightened friend. In our attempts to promote the interests of the Church of Christ, as well as in our pursuit of personal religion, such a clear perception of the dangers which beset our path as induces habitual caution and circumspection is essential to our safety. And if the statement of Mr. Wood's pious fears have the effect of keeping before the Connexion the dangers to which one of its most important institutions is exposed, and exciting to the vigilance by which alone they can be avoided ; then may Mr. Wood's objections, stated in a truly Christian spirit, and with humble deference to the judgment of his brethren, in striking contrast with the self-willed and contentious opposition manifested in other quarters, conduce to the efficiency of that institution, the policy of which he doubted; the success of which, when established, he earnestly wished, and would rejoice to see. The following is a copy of Mr. Wood's letter :
“Bristol, Jan. 20, 1835. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, “ I sincerely thank you for your pious letter. It rejoiced my heart to hear that the Lord was with you in your early exercises in the Theological Institution. My view of it is the same as I feebly expressed when in London, but my hostility to it ceased when the vote passed the Conference in its favour by an overwhelming
• It is right to learn even from an enemy.
majority. (If it be of God, I wish it success. may it come to nought.)
"I really have not vanity enough to attempt to offer any thing to you by way of counsel or advice. I would rather sit at your feet and learn.
"I will simply state to you the ground of my opposition to the Theological Institution. I felt a ear at we were going out of the order of God in the choice of instruments, and their qualifications for carrying on his glorious work among the Methodists :
:—a work which has displayed the divine perfections,—for none but God could have accomplished it. And he hath done it by the feeblest means, that the excellency of the power might demonstratively appear to be of God, and glory redound to his holy name.
“I had an apprehension that,—at least for some years to come,- less caution would be exercised in the admission of young men to the ministry than formerly. The necessity of a sound conversion and a close walking with God, are held by the Methodists to be essential parts of ministerial qualifications. If these should ever be given up, or modified, or compromised, the glory will depart: erudition alone will not convert sinners to God. thankful that you have not only the former guard against the admission of improper persons into the ministry, but an additional ordeal,-the Examining Committee in London,—which is sure to have some of the most judicious persons in the body in it, which will counteract the evils arising from a want of judgment in a few of the District Committees.
" Another ground of my opposing the adoption of the Report of the Committee was, the strong tendency which has been generally found in the association of young men, whether in a college, in an academy, or in a private house, to corrupt one another. Not that this is necessarily so : it might be otherwise, and some happy instances have been known of young men who have been mutually helpful, and formed pious friendships, which have been matured by grace, and consummated in glory. But it may be feared, the contrary effects are far more
“ You well know that the present possession of grace does not insure a continuance of it. Self-denial, the
taking up our cross daily, and a keeping the body under, must be duly observed; faith, holy obedience, prayer, and watchfulness must be conscientiously regarded, in order to receive supplies of mercy and grace. Any omission of duty, as really as a direct transgression of the divine law, will cause the Lord to hide his face. A declension in Christian duty, will be followed by a loss of Christian feeling; and a loss of Christian feeling will make way for the evil of the heart to shew itself. In some persons this evil appears in levity and trifling. This will tend to corrupt others; especially if the trifler be naturally of a facetious turn of mind, his witty expressions will be fascinating to all who are not on their guard. In other persons, the evil of the heart may appear in a dissatisfied feeling and murmuring expressions; if these expressions be heard by others of the same temperament with them. selves, they will operate like leaven in meal, and spread more and more. Wholesome restraints are counted by such an oppressive yoke; and proper application for the improvement of the mind a wearisome employment. Whatever be the besetment of youth, the society of other youths will generally furnish opportunities for its indulgence, and often furnish temptation to draw it out.
“ I was likewise led to view the students subsequently to their leaving the Institution, and felt a fear that they would think too highly of themselves, and assume a pompous air as collegians; which would be matter of mirth to the foolish and the gay, of great sorrow to the sincere follower of Christ, and of endless injury to themselves.
“ Again : I had a fear that their concern for accuracy might exceed their care to secure heavenly unction; and that their ministry might become a display of fine words rather than the simple gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I had another fear, that they might be led to look down upon those of their brethren who never had the helps afforded by the Institution.
“ Other fears arose in my mind; but you will be ready to say, 'you had fears enough for the whole connexion.' Perhaps so; I will now leave the whole to Him who is the great, the glorious Head of his church.
“ The breach made in Lancashire by Dr. Warren's unwise conduct, will, I fear, be ruinous to many simple souls: but I fully expect great good will follow this great