Some Quotes from "The WORKS of John Wesley" (14 volumes, 1872)
0. If we know and feel that the very first motion of good is from above, as well as the power which conducts it to the end; if it is God that not only infuses every good desire, but that accompanies and follows it, else it vanishes away; then it evidently follows, that "he who glorieth" must "glory in the Lord." (Sermon 85, I.4., Works, VI:509)
1. Our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three, - that of repentance, of faith, and of holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third, religion itself (The Principles of a Methodist Farther Explained, VI.4; Works, VIII:472)
2. Q. 56. What can be done in order to revive the work of God where it is decayed? ... (7) Strongly and explicitly exhort all believers to "go on to perfection." That we may "all speak the same thing," I ask, once for all, Shall we defend this Perfection, or give it up? You'll agree to defend it, meaning thereby, (as we did from the beginning,) salvation from all sin, by the love of God and man filling our heart.... You are all agreed, we may be saved from all sin before death. The substance then is settled; but, as to the circumstance, is the change gradual or instantaneous? It is both the one and the other. From the moment we are justified, there may be a gradual sanctification, a growing in grace, a daily advance in the knowledge and love of God. And if sin cease before death, there must, in the nature of the thing, be an instantaneous change; there must be a last moment wherein it does exist, and a first moment wherein it does not (Minutes of Several Conversations, 1744-1789; Works, VIII:328-9; emphasis mine).
3. A Christian is so far perfect, as not to commit sin.
21. This is the glorious privilege of every Christian; yea, though he be but a babe in Christ. But it is only of those who are strong in the Lord, "and have overcome the wicked one," or rather of those who "have known him that is from the beginning," that it can be affirmed they are in such a sense perfect, as, Secondly, to be freed from evil thoughts and evil tempers (Sermon 40, II.20-21; Works, VI:15-16). See summed up here: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, point 12, also 17, 26 (Works XI:374, 387, 441).
4. Q. 9. What sins are consistent with justifying faith? A. No wilful sin. If a believer wilfully sins, he casts away his faith. Neither is it possible he should have justifying faith again without previously repenting (Minutes of Several Conversations, 1744-46, Conversation I; Works, VIII:276).
5. The number of those who were expelled the society was sixty-four: - Two for cursing and swearing. Two for habitual Sabbath-breaking. Seventeen for drunkenness. Two for retailing spirituous liquors. Three for quarrelling and brawling. One for beating his wife. Three for habitual, wilful lying. Four for railing and evil-speaking. One for idleness and laziness. And, Nine-and-twenty for lightness and carelessness (Journal, March 12., 1743.; Works, I:416).
6. I fear, wherever riches have increased, (exceeding few are the exceptions,) the essence of religion, the mind that was in Christ, has decreased in the same proportion (Thoughts upon Methodism, 9.; Works, XIII:260)
7. Be not content with any religion which does not imply the destruction of all the works of the devil; that is, of all sin. We know, weakness of understanding, and a thousand infirmities, will remain, while this corruptible body remains; but sin need not remain: This is that work of the devil, eminently so called, which the Son of God was manifested to destroy in this present life. He is able, he is willing, to destroy it now, in all that believe in him. Only be not straitened in your own bowels! Do not distrust his power, or his love! Put his promise to the proof! ... "He saveth to the uttermost all those that come to God through him!" (end of Sermon 62, Works, VI:277)
8. Finally, a quote from Wesley's mother, Susanna(h), who, in answering John's question, defined sin like this: "Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of your body over mind, that thing for you is sin."
Róbert Hargitai (www.hivo.hu), 12/2007-11/2008.
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