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Becomes a Supernumerary—Takes_leave of Hoxton-Settles at
over himself—Visits Manchester-Centenary Meeting- Letter
-Cheerful submission—Dizziness—Agitation about the Gown
REV. JOSEPH ENTWISLE, SEN.
FROM HIS BIRTH TO THE TIME OF HIS CONVERSION TO
My honoured father, the Rev. JOSEPH ENTWISLE, SEN., was born in Manchester on the 15th of April, 1767. His father, WILLIAM ENTWISLE, whose ancestors for several generations had been Nonconformists, was a native of Ringley, near Bolton, in Lancashire; he was a robust, good-looking, sensible man. His mother, whose maiden name was ELLEN MAKIN, was a woman of considerable beauty, below the middle size, remarkably quick and active, systematic and orderly in her habits, and uncommonly neat and clean in her person, attire, and habitation. Her father, being a high Church man, with strong prejudices against Dissent, for some time resolutely opposed the marriage of his daughter to a Presbyterian ; he was, however, at length prevailed upon 'to give a reluctant consent to their union.
Their circumstances, though not affluent, were comfortable : he was a thorough man of business, and held a good situation ; she was industrious, and clever in the management of her household affairs; so that they were enabled to make comfortable provision for their family, and to bring them up with respectability and credit.
They had nine children. Three daughters and one son died in infancy. Five sons grew up to manhood,
of whom my father was the eldest but one. peared to inherit the good qualities of both his parents ; his person being comely, his countenance open and benevolent, his apprehension quick, his mind vigorous and active, and his disposition amiable.
Both he and his brothers were educated at the Free School connected with the old Presbyterian Chapel, in Chapel Walks, Manchester. His quickness of apprehension and diligent application soon rendered him a favourite with his master, under whose care he received a plain English education.
His parents, from the time of their marriage, had regularly attended the Presbyterian Chapel just mentioned: they were strict in their observance of the Sabbath, regularly conducted their family to chapel morning and afternoon, and improved the intervals of public worship at home; especially the Sunday evenings, when their children were usually employed in reading the Holy Scriptures. Yet, although in these respects, they were conscientious and exemplary; and although the father's ancestors had been Nonconformists for more than a century, and some of them eminent for piety,-neither of his parents had at this time any knowledge of experimental religion. This will excite but little surprise when it is added, that the Gospel was not preached in the chapel which they attended. One of the ministers, the Rev. Dr. Barnes, who was an estimable man and a popular preacher, was remarkably cautious as to any full declaration of his sentiments; but at this period he was generally considered to be a moderate Arian : the other was reputed to be a Socinian. Their discourses, however, were seldom doctrinal; their general character was that of elegantly written moral essays. Afterwards, other ministers succeeded, who preached openly against those important truths which are essentially connected with vital and experimental religion. Referring to this period of his life, Mr. Entwisle ob
-“Here I must express deep regret that the descendants of the good old Puritans should have so degenerated in doctrine and experimental and practical godliness. The first minister of that congregation was the Rev. Henry Newcome, an eminently gifted and pious man, who died in 1695. Then, I think, a Mr.
Chorlton, of whom the Rev. Matthew Henry speaks in high terms. And this celebrated commentator himself, who, when settled at Chester, frequently itinerated through Lancashire and Cheshire, often preached there. Ah! what a change !"
He mentions, however, some of his relatives who retained the piety by which their forefathers had distinguished. “When a little boy," he says, “ I was on a visit to some relations who resided near Bury, in Lancashire. They were Presbyterians; very aged persons; and from their manner of life and family prayers, which at the time made a deep impression on my mind, I am persuaded they were experimental Christians. Indeed after I began to preach, Mr. Mason of Bury, one of their sons, told me, that his mother walked in the light of God's countenance forty years before she departed this life.”
Notwithstanding the unfavourable circumstances in which my father was placed, sitting as he did under a ministry in which all that was vital and saving in the Gospel, was kept out of sight, and trained by parents who were strangers to experimental religion, his youthful mind was often under the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit. * Often,” says he, “was my heart affected and drawn out after God in the public service of the chapel, especially while engaged in singing Dr. Watts's Psalms,-at that time in use; but afterwards, as I have been informed, discarded in favour of a hymn book more in accordance with the views of the minister and congregation. When very young, not more than nine or ten years of age, my mind was frequently under a divine influence; sometimes unhappy, and at other times drawn by the cords of love. Had I sat under a Gospel ministry, and been favoured with intercourse with experimental Christians, I am persuaded that at that early period of my life, I should have embraced the truth as it is in Jesus. Blessed be the Lord, whose providence and grace brought me by a way which I knew not to the knowledge and enjoyment of himself.”
But little is known of Mr. Entwisle's history during the period of early childhood. One circumstance he has often been heard to mention, which occurred when he was quite a child, and which had considerable influence