John Wesley (June 28, 1703 – March 2, 1791) was an English cleric, theologian, and evangelist, who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. Wesley argued for the notion of Christian perfection and against Calvinism—and, in particular, against its doctrine of predestination. His evangelicalism, firmly grounded in sacramental theology, maintained that means of grace sometimes had a role in sanctification of the believer; however, he taught that it was by faith a believer was transformed into the likeness of Christ. He held that, in this life, Christians could achieve a state where the love of God “reigned supreme in their hearts”, giving them not only outward but inward holiness. Wesley’s teachings, collectively known as Wesleyan theology, continue to inform the doctrine of Methodist churches.
Continued Excerpt From “A Plain Account of Genuine Christianity 1753”
11. And he who seeks no praise cannot fear dispraise. Censure gives him no uneasiness, being conscious to himself that he would not willingly offend and that he has the approbation of the Lord of all. He cannot fear want, knowing in whose hand is the earth and the fulness thereof and that it is impossible for him to withhold from one that fears him any manner of thing that is good. He cannot fear pain, knowing it will never be sent unless it be for his real advantage, and that then his strength will be proportioned to it, as it has always been in times past. He cannot fear death, being able to trust him he loves with his soul as well as his body, yes, glad to leave the corruptible body in the dust, ’till it is raised, incorruptible and immortal. So that, in honor or shame, in abundance or want, in ease or pain, in life or death, always and in all things, he has learned to be content, to be easy, thankful, joyful, happy.
12. He is happy in knowing there is a God—an intelligent Cause and Lord of all—and that he is not the produce either of blind chance or inexorable necessity. He is happy in the full assurance he has that this Creator and End of all things is a being of boundless wisdom, of infinite power to execute all the designs of his wisdom and of no less infinite goodness to direct all his power to the advantage of all his creatures. Nay, even the consideration of his immutable justice, rendering to all their due, of his unspotted holiness, of his all-sufficiency in himself, and of that immense ocean of all perfections which center in God from eternity to eternity, is a continual addition to the happiness of a Christian.
13. A farther addition is made thereto while, in contemplating even the things that surround him, that thought strikes warmly upon his heart—
These are your glorious works, Parent of Good! while he takes knowledge of the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and wisdom in the things that are seen, the heavens, the earth, the fowls of the air, the lilies of the field. How much more, while, rejoicing in the constant care which he still takes of the work of his own hand, he breaks out in a transport of love and praise, O Lord our Governor! How excellent is your Name in all the earth; you that have set your glory above the heavens!—while he, as it were, sees the Lord sitting upon his throne and ruling all things well; while he observes the general providence of God co-extended with his whole creation and surveys all the effects of it in the heavens and earth, as a well-pleased spectator; while he sees the wisdom and goodness of his general government descending to every particular, so presiding over the whole universe as over a single person, so watching over every single person as if he were the whole universe—how does he exult when he reviews the various traces of the Almighty Goodness in what has befallen himself in the several circumstances and changes of his own life, all which he now sees have been allotted to him and dealt out in number, weight, and measure. With what triumph of soul, in surveying either the general or particular providence of God, does he observe every line pointing out an hereafter, every scene opening into eternity?
14. He is peculiarly and inexpressibly happy in the clearest and fullest conviction: “This all-powerful, all-wise, all-gracious Being, this Governor of all, loves me. This lover of my soul is always with me, is never absent; no, not for a moment. And I love him: there is none in heaven but thee, none on earth that I desire beside thee! And he has given me to resemble himself; he has stamped his image on my heart. And I live unto him; I do only his will; I glorify him with my body and my spirit. And it will not be long before I shall die unto him, I shall die into the arms of God. And then farewell sin and pain, then it only remains that I should live with him forever.”
15. This is the plain, naked portraiture of a Christian. But be not prejudiced against him for his name. Forgive his particularities of opinion and (what you think) superstitious modes of worship. These are circumstances but of small concern and do not enter into the essence of his character. Cover them with a veil of love and look at the substance: his tempers, his holiness, his happiness. Can calm reason conceive either a more amiable or a more desirable character?
Is it your own? Away with names! Away with opinions! I care not what you are called. I ask not (it does not deserve a thought) what opinion you are of, so you are conscious to yourself that you are the man whom I have been (however faintly) describing.
Do not you know you ought to be such? Is the Governor of the world well pleased that you are not?
Do you at least desire it? I would to God that desire may penetrate your inmost soul and that you may have no rest in your spirit ’till you are not only almost but altogether a Christian!
The End to “A Plain Account of Genuine Christianity 1753”
John Wesley Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley
John Wesley Website: https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/denominationalfounders/john-wesley.html