Friday, November 21, 2008

Extract from the journal of John Wesley

I thought this portion was interesting and worth repeating here.

From Thur. Jan 4th 1739
One who had had the form of godliness many years, wrote the following reflections:
"My friends affirm I am mad, because I said I was not a Christian a year ago. I affirm, I am not a Christian now. Indeed, what I might have been I know not, had I been faithful to the grace then given, when, expecting nothing less, I recieved such a sense of the forgiveness of my sins, as till then I never knew. But that I am not a Christian at this day, I as assuredly know, as that Jesus is the Christ.
"For a Christian is one who has the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, which (to mention no more) are love, peace, joy. But these I have not. I have not any love of God. I do not love either the Father or the Son. do you ask, how do I know whether I love God, I answer by another question, 'How do you know whether you love me?' Why, as you know whether you are hot or cold. you feel this moment, that you do or do not love me. And I feel this moment, I do not love God; which therefore I know, because I feel it. There is no word more proper, more clear, or more strong.
"And I know it also by St. John's plain rule, 'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.' For I love the world. I desire the things of the world, some or other of them, and have done all my life. I have always placed some part of my happiness in some or other of the things that are seen. Particularly in meat and drink, and in the company of those I loved. For many years I have been, yea, and still am, hankering after a happiness, in loving, and being loved by one or another. And in these I have from time to time taken more pleasure than in God.
"Again, joy in the Holy Ghost I have not. I have now and then some starts of joy in God: But it is not that joy. For it is not abiding. Neither is it greater than I have had on some worldly occasions. So that I can in no wise be said to 'rejoice evermore;' much less to 'rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.'
"Yet again: I have not 'the peace of God;' that peace, peculiarly so called. The peace I have may be accounted for on natural principles. I have health, strength, friends, a competent fortune, and a composed, cheerful temper. Who would not have a sort of peace in such circumstances? But I have none which can with any propriety be called, a 'peace which passeth all understanding.'
"From hence I conclude, (and let all the saints of the world hear, that whereinsoever they boast, they may be found even as I,) though I have given, and do give, all my goods to feed the poor, I am not a Christian. Though I have endured hardship, though I have in all things denied myself and taken up my cross, I am not a Christian. My works are nothing, my sufferings are nothing; I have not the fruits of the Spirit of Chirst. Though I have constantly used all the means of grace for twenty years, I am not a Christian."