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unsettled, than to lose our usefulness to the present generation, for the sake of securing an uncertain good to the next.*
“I am led to think that there would have been no division at Dewsbury, had they had no encouragement from Mr. A. It seems there has been a cabal between him and some of the Trustees for five or six years. Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. It is very dreadful to be the author of divisions in the church of God.
“O my dear brother, let not these things hurt our souls. Let you and me labour after much holiness of heart and life, much wisdom and zeal; that we may make full proof of our ministry, and be able to say, 'Our Gospel came not unto you in word only,' &c.
“ I have been deeply convinced for some time that I shall be of little use as a preacher unless the people see. the doctrines which they hear. Unless in my tempers and behaviour they see that humility, zeal, &c. which I recommend in the pulpit. I want to be distinguished from others not merely by a black coat, but by superior wisdom and prudence, humility, meekness, &c. I want to enjoy constant fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. I would have my conversation with the people to be holy, spiritual, heavenly and divine, meet to minister grace unto the hearers. When this is the case with a preacher, ‘he bears his great commission in his look.' Into whatsoever family he comes, he brings a blessing with him; and when he goes away, he leaves a blessing behind him. I want so to act and speak to the people, that when I leave them, I
be able to say, 'Ye yourselves are witnesses and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblameably we have behaved ourselves among you that believe.'
This is the copy which I would imitate. I bless God for his gracious presence, for the help he affords me in my great and important work, for the favour he gives me in the eyes of the people, (which I trust will never feed my pride,) and for the use, little as it may comparatively be, which he is pleased to make of me. I am ex
.* So he thought at that time; but as he advanced in years and wisdom his views were changed, and he perceived the propriety and necessity of settling the chapels so as to secure them for ever for their original purpose. See page 48.
ceedingly happy in my fellow-labourers. We are as one soul. Indeed all the family is the same. Oh! what a kind providence it was that cast my lot with Mr. Pawson
He is indeed a most blessed man, and Mrs. Pawson a most devoted woman. O that I could imitate them! Farewell.
“I am yours in the best of bonds,
“ Joseph ENTWISLE." “PS.—Please to write again soon. I long to hear how you go on. I would advise you to read D. Brainard's Life; I have often found it a great benefit to my soul.”
From the date of the preceding letter to the 1st of June, 1790, there is a chasm in my father's diary; he recommences with the following paragraph:
“ Birstal, June 1, 1790.—I have been much stirred up by reading the life of Mr. Matthew Henry. O how he shone as a Christian and a minister! Hereby I was led to examine myself very closely and impartially, and to take a view of my conduct both as a Christian and a preacher. I am convinced, 1. That I have lived below my privilege, and have not enjoyed that sensible fellowship with God which I might have enjoyed. 2. That I have neglected several Christian duties, particularly serious self-examination, secret prayer, and reading the Holy Scriptures in a devotional way. My particular calling as a preacher is so like my general calling as a Christian, that I fear I have too often forgotten myself. Lord, pardon thy servant in this thing. 3. I have conformed too much to the trifling spirit of some persons I have been in
with. I am of so flexible a disposition that I am apt to be tinctured with the spirit of the persons with whom I converse freely. Lord, establish my heart with grace.
“I am very defective as a minister. 1. I have not sufficiently felt the weight and importance of my great work. Oh! how often has my heart been cold and dead in speaking of the most serious and important things, 2. I have not been so diligent as I should have been in improving my time in reading, study and prayer. Much precious time has been spent to very little purpose. 3. Instead of studying, making observations on, and improving by, the various tempers, defects, virtues, &c. of men,
I have suffered my thoughts to rove I knew not where.* How many precious hours have I lost by this folly! 4. But that which lies heaviest upon my conscience, is, a conviction that I have not been so spiritual and profitable in my conversation in the families where I have been cast, as I ought to be. One thing, I must write,O may
it be written as with a pen of diamond upon my heart !—While I was preaching this evening, I cast my eyes upon a person who has received the preachers into his house at his own expense for many years. I have gone frequently for nearly two years, and have received many tokens of his kindness. While I looked at him, I felt an uncommon love to him. It struck my mind, • What have I done to promote his spiritual welfare ? Why does he receive the ministers of Christ into his house ? Is it not because he expects to receive some spiritual profit by their ministry and conversation ? O how unkind, how ungrateful have I been to him! what little pains have I taken to profit him and his family in spiritual things !' I see I have great cause to lament and bewail my unfaithfulness and unfruitfulness both as a Christian and as a preacher. I desire to feel all my vileness, to abhor myself and repent before the Lord as in dust and ashes ; and for the future, to be entirely consecrated to his service and the good of souls.
“June 5.—This morning I finished the Life of Matthew Henry,--a holy, mortified, laborious minister of Christ. o that I may drink into his spirit, and follow his example of laboriousness and diligence. He seemed always upon the wing, spending and being spent for the good of souls and the glory of God. Yet, he had his dark times. He often complains in his diary of coldness, &c., in reading, meditation, and preaching. Courage, my soul! Fear not.
“I found my mind this afternoon distressed about the affairs of our Connexion. I have a great fear of divisions among us after the death of our honoured father in the gospel. O Lord, maintain thy own cause."
The period now arrived when he must remove to another scene of labour. The two years spent in this circuit were upon the whole a time of great improvement, The division at Dewsbury was, indeed, a source of many painful exercises of mind: but the discipline
was salutary; and the opportunity it afforded him, at this early period of his itinerancy, to witnes the disastrous effects of divisions, had a most beneficial influence
upon his future life, and contributed in a high degree to the promotion of that pacific spirit by which he was afterwards characterized, and which often secured for him under circumstances of difficulty and danger the blessedness of the peace-maker. He regarded the peace of a religious community as so great a blessing and so essential to prosperity, that he was prepared to sacrifice every thing but a good conscience and the interests of religion, to maintain it; but he was sensible that where these were compromised, even peace would be bought at too dear a price.
Here also, though he had much preaching, he had considerably less travelling than in the Oxfordshire Circuit, and more leisure for study, with the advantage of access to a good library. That these advantages were diligently improved, there is sufficient evidence in the number of sermons composed during this period, and in their marked superiority to those of an earlier date. One means of improvement of which he availed himself at this time, was that of frequent epistolary correspondence with intelligent and pious friends, especially with his former colleague, the Rev. Richard Reece, and with his early companion, the Rev. Robert Lomas; between both of whom and Mr. Entwisle there subsisted a friendship like that between David and Jonathan. They opened their hearts to each other without reserve, and generally proposed to each other in their letters some difficulty to be solved, some text for elucidation, some theme for discussion, or the outlines of a newlycomposed sermon for free and friendly criticism. These literary exercises were mutually beneficial.
He had also the opportunity of learning much of Methodism from the Rev. Messrs. Thompson and Pawson, who were among the most influential men of their day; and took an active and decided part in all those great questions which about this time and for some years subsequently to Mr. Wesley's death, agitated the Connexion. It would be improper to omit that both Mr. and Mrs. Pawson were persons of exalted piety, and maintained a spiritual correspondence with many of the
most eminently pious members of the Society in various parts of the kingdom. Daily intercourse with such eminent Christians contributed not a little to his own progress in knowledge and holiness.
Neither was he without encouragement as to the success of his ministerial labours; for although no great revi of religion took place, yet he had many seals to his ministry, and upon the whole, Methodism steadily gained ground in most places throughout the circuit.
At the Conference of 1790, held in Bristol,—the last which the venerable founder of the Connexion attended,
-Mr. Entwisle was appointed to labour in the Halifax Circuit, with the Rev. William Thompson, his Superintendent. It was a gratification to him, that his friend Mr. Reece was now again a near neighbour, being stationed in the Wakefield Circuit, with Mr. Mather and Mr. Highfield.
The following extracts from Mr. Entwisle’s diary will shew the spirit in which he commenced and prosecuted his labours in the Halifax Circuit, with the various exercises of his mind, and the principal incidents of his personal history during the year :
“ Mon. Aug. 16.–For the last fortnight my mind has been in various frames ; sometimes favoured with great nearness to God; at other times, troubled and careful about many things. During the time of Conference, I was entirely unanxious respecting where I might be appointed to labour the ensuing year. I could rejoice in this testimony, that I only wanted to be and to do what God would have me. I knew I could not go where God was not; and therefore left myself in his hands. Now I am settled in my Circuit, and find a strong desire to be more devoted to God and more faithful in the discharge of the duties of my office. O my God, I can appeal to Thee, that I desire to be a holy, serious, spiritual, watchful Christian; a wise, faithful, zealous preacher, spending and being spent in thy service. Who is sufficient for these things ? O for a larger measure of divine grace !
Tues. Aug. 17.—Rose this morning in a calm, serene state of mind, in which I continued most of the day. Felt detached from all creature enjoyments, and found in God a fulness of every thing I want to keep