Below are more excerpts from John Wesley, our featured Anglican theologian and writer this week. See Monday’s post for more on Wesley and his theology. Notice the exquisite focus on God and his power. Notice the realism and humility embedded in his writings. Notice the wonderful Christian hope that bursts forth. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to let God speak to you through Fr. John.
Wesley on the nature of real religion:
Here then we see in the clearest, strongest light, what is real religion: A restoration of man by him that bruises the serpent’s head to all that the old serpent deprived him of, a restoration not only to the favor but likewise to the image of God, implying not merely deliverance from sin, but being filled with the fulness of God. Nothing short of this is Christian religion. Not anything else: Do not imagine an outward form, a round of duties, both in public and private is religion! Do not suppose that honesty, justice, and whatever is called morality (though excellent in its place) is religion! And least of all dream that orthodoxy, right opinion (vulgarly called faith) is religion. Of all religious dreams, this is the vainest, which takes hay and stubble for gold tried in the fire!
–Sermon, The End of Christ’s Coming
Wesley on the Lord’s Supper:
I showed at large (1) That the Lord’s supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying to men either preventing, or justifying, or sanctifying grace, according to their several necessities. (2) That the persons for whom it was ordained are all those who know and feel that they want the grace of God, either to restrain them from sin, or to show their sins forgiven, or to renew their souls in the image of God. (3) That inasmuch as we come to his table not to give him anything but to receive whatsoever he sees best for us, there is no previous preparation indispensably necessary but a desire to receive whatsoever he pleases to give. (4) That no fitness is required at the time of communicating but a sense of our state of utter sinfulness and helplessness.
Wesley on Christian Perfection:
Christian perfection, therefore, does not imply (as some men seem to have imagined) an exemption either from ignorance, or mistake, or infirmity, or temptations. Indeed, it is only another term for holiness [emphasis mine]. They are two names for the same thing. Thus everyone that is holy is, in the scripture sense, perfect. Yet we may, lastly, observe that neither in this respect is there any absolute perfection on earth. There is no perfection of degrees, as it is termed, none which does not admit of a continual increase.
–Sermon, Christian Perfection