Are you a Christian?
AN EXTRACT OF THE REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY’S JOURNAL
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FROM FEBRUARY 1, 1737-8, TO HIS RETURN FROM GERMANY.
THAT men revile me, and say all manner of evil against me; that I am become as it were a monster unto many; that the zealous of almost every denomination cry out, away with such a fellow from the earth: “This gives me, with regard to myself, no degree of uneasiness. For I know the scripture must be fulfilled, “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?” But it does give me a concern, with regard to those who, by this artifice of the devil, are prevented from hearing that word which is able to save their souls. 2. For the sake of these, and indeed of all who desire to hear the truth of those things which have been so variously related, I have been induced to publish this farther account; and I doubt not but it will even hence appear, to all candid and impartial judges, that I have hitherto lived in all good conscience toward God. 3. I shall be easily excused, by those who either love or seek the Lord Jesus in sincerity, for speaking so largely of the Moravian Church; a city which ought to be set upon a hill: Their light hath been too long hid under a bushel: It is high time it should at length break forth, and “so shine before men, that others also may glorify their Father which is in heaven.” 4. If any should ask, “But do you think even this Church is perfect, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing?” I answer plainly, “No; though I trust it will be, when patience has had its perfect work.” But neither do I think it right to entertain the world with the spots of God’s children. 5. It has been further asked, whether I imagine God is to be found only among them. I reply, “By no means. I know there is a God in England, and we need not go to seek Him in strange lands.” I know that in our own, He is very nigh unto all that call upon Him; and therefore I think those unwise (to say no more) who run to inquire after Him in Holland or Germany. 6. When I went, the case was widely different. God had not then “made bare his arm” before us as he hath now done; in a manner (I will be bold to say) which had not been known either in Holland or Germany at that time, when He who ordereth all things wisely, according to “the counsel of his own will,” was pleased by me to open the intercourse between the English and the Moravian Church. 7. The particular reason which obliged me to relate so much of the conversation I had with those holy men, is this: — In September, 1738, when I returned from Germany, I exhorted all I could to follow after that great salvation, which is through faith in the blood of Christ; waiting for it, “in all the ordinances of God,” and in “doing good, as they had opportunity, to all men.” And many found the beginning of that salvation, being justified freely, having peace with God through Christ, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, and having his love shed abroad in their hearts. 8. But about September, 1739, while my brother and I were absent, certain men crept in among them unawares, greatly troubling and subverting their souls; telling them, they were in a delusion; that they had deceived themselves, and had no true faith at all. “For,” said they, “none has any justifying faith, who has ever any doubt or fear, which you know you have; or who has not a clean heart, which you know you have not: Nor will you ever have it, till you leave off using the means of grace; (so called;) till you leave off running to church and sacrament, and praying, and singing, and reading either the Bible, or any other book; for you cannot use these things without trusting in them. Therefore, till you leave them off, you can never have true faith; you can never till then trust in the blood of Christ.” 9. And this doctrine, from the beginning to this day, has been taught as the doctrine of the Moravian Church. I think, therefore, that it is my bounded duty to clear the Moravians from this aspersion; and the more, because I am perhaps the only person now in England that both can and will do it.
And I believe it is the peculiar providence of God that I can: That two years since the most eminent members of that Church should so fully declare both their experience and judgment, touching the very points now in question. 10. The sum of what has been asserted, as from them, is this: — “1. That a man cannot have any degree of justifying faith, till he is wholly freed from all doubt and fear; and till he has, in the full, proper sense, a new, a clean heart. “2. That a man may not use the ordinances of God, the Lord’s Supper in particular, before he has such a faith as excludes all doubt and fear, and implies a new, a clean heart.”
In flat opposition to this, I assert, “1. That a man may have a degree of justifying, faith, before he is wholly freed from all doubt and fear; and before he has, in the full, proper sense, a new, a clean heart. “2. That a man may use the ordinances of God, the Lord’s Supper in particular, before he has such a faith as excludes all doubt and fear, and implies a new, a clean heart.”
And I hereby openly and earnestly call upon that Church, (and upon Count Zinzendorf in particular, who, I trust, is not ashamed or afraid to avow any part of the Gospel of Christ,) to correct me, and explain themselves, if I have misunderstood or misrepresented them. John Wesley.
LONDON, Sept. 29, 1740.