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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Monday, January 31, 2011

Published Prayers by John Wesley: 3.


O LORD God Almighty, Father of angels and men, I praise and bless thy holy name for
all thy goodness and loving-kindness to me and all mankind. I bless thee for my creation,
preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thy great love in the
redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ. I bless thee for preserving me in the
night past, and bringing me safe to the beginning of a new day. Defend me in the same
with thy mighty power, and grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind
of danger; but let all my doings be so ordered by thy governance, that I may do always
that which is righteous in thy sight, through Jesus Christ my Redeemer. Grant me such
grace, that I may be able to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the
devil, and with a pure heart and mind to follow the steps of my gracious Redeemer. Keep
me, I beseech thee, O Lord, from all things hurtful to my soul or body, and grant me thy
pardon and peace, that, being cleansed from all my sins, I may serve thee with a quiet
mind, bring forth plenteously the fruit of good works, and continue in the same unto my
life’s end, through Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.

Published Prayers by John Wesley: 2.Preface

PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN [which in the opinion and experience of the dentalmethodist work very well for ‘grown-ups’.]

PREFACE to John Wesley’s Prayers for Children.
My Dear Child,
A lover of your soul has here drawn up a few Prayers, in order to
assist you in that great duty. Be sure that you do not omit, at least
morning and evening, to present yourself upon your knees before
God. You have mercies to pray for, and blessings to praise God
for. But take care that you do not mock God, drawing near with
your lips, while your heart is far from him. God sees you, and
knows your thoughts; therefore, see that you not only speak with
your lips, but pray with your heart. And that you may not ask in
vain, see that you forsake sin, and make it your endeavour to do
what God has shown you ought; because God says, "The prayers of
the wicked are an abomination unto the Lord." Ask then of God for
the blessings you want, in the name, and for the sake, of Jesus
Christ; and God will hear and answer you, and do more for you
than you can either ask or think.
JOHN WESLEY.

A sixteen year old reprimands Wesley

31 Jan 1743. One writing to desire that I would preach on Isaiah 58, I willingly complied with his request in the evening. A day or two after I received a letter from a girl of sixteen or seventeen, whom I had often observed as being in an eminent degree of a meek and lowly spirit. Some of her words were: ‘I do not think there were above six or seven words of the true gospel in your whole sermon. I think nothing ought to concern you but the errand which the Lord gave you. But how far are you from this! You preach more the law than the gospel!’ Ah, my poor still sister! Thou art an apt scholar indeed! I did not expect this quite so soon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

3 Sunday services, one 5 hours long

Sun 30 Jan 1757. Knowing God was able to strengthen me for his own work, I officiated at Snowsfields as usual before I went to West Street, where the service took me up between four and five hours. I preached in the evening and met the society, and my strength was as my day. I felt no more weariness at night than at eight in the morning.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Published Prayers by John Wesley: 1. Intoduction


I am starting a series of posts on some of the prayers that John Wesley wrote for publication.
It is sometimes a good idea to use the prayers that others have written as this can help us enlarge our own prayer life and even take us to areas that we wouldn't normally think of praying about. The prayers I have selected are from “Prayers for Children” in the Works of John Wesley: the Jackson Edition, Volume Eleven. The language of course is 18th-century English but I have chosen not to
paraphrase but to quote Wesley directly. One hears many echos from the Book of Common Prayer, which JW used every day of his life in ministry. Develop a similar pattern of prayer HERE
I have found that although these prayers were written for ‘children’ they work wonderfully in the life of this 50 year old dentalmethodist child.
I hope you enjoy them. They were published as morning and evening prayers.

A specious snare of the devil

Saturday 29 Jan 1774: and several times in the following week, I had much conversation with Ralph Mather, a devoted young man, but almost driven out of his senses by Mystic Divinity. If he escapes out of this specious snare of the devil, he will be an instrument of much good.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Salvation leading soon to Perfection

Fri 28 Jan 1774. I buried the remains of that venerable mother in Israel, Bilhah Aspernell. She found peace with God in 1738 and, soon after, purity of heart. From that time, she walked in the light of God’s countenance day and night without the least intermission. She was always in pain, yet always rejoicing and going about doing good. Her desire was that she might not live to be useless—and God granted her desire. On Sunday evening, she met her class as usual. The next day, she sent for her old fellow-traveller, Sarah Clay, and said to her, ‘Sally, I am going.’ She asked, ‘Where are you going?’ She cheerfully answered, ‘To my Jesus, to be sure!’ and spoke no more.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The most miserable sermon Wesley ever heard

Fri 28 Jan 1743: I left Bristol on Friday 28, came to Reading on Saturday, and to Windsor on Sunday morning. Thence I walked over to Egham, where Mr. ---- preached one of the most miserable sermons I ever heard: stuffed so full of dull, senseless, improbable lies of those he complimented with the title of ‘false prophets’.
I preached at one, and endeavoured to rescue the poor text (Mt. 7:15) out of so bad hands. About four I left Egham, and at eight in the evening met a joyful congregation at the Foundery.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wesley at the House of Lords

Tue 25 Jan 1785. I spent two or three hours in the House of Lords. I had frequently heard that this was the most venerable assembly in England. But how was I disappointed! What is a Lord, but a sinner, born to die!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Prayer for the Day: Conversion of St. Paul

O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wesley's Effigy

Mon 24 Jan 1774: I was desired by Mrs. Wright of New York to let her take my effigy in waxwork. She has that of Mr. Whitefield and many others; but none of them, I think, comes up to a well-drawn picture.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Prayer for the Week (Third after Epiphany)

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From DailyOffice

Message for the Rich, another for Ministers

Mon 24 Jan 1743. I preached at Bath. Some of the rich and great were present, to whom, as to the rest, I declared with all plainness of speech, (1) that by nature, they were all children of wrath; (2) that all their natural tempers were corrupt and abominable; and (3) all their words and works, which could never be any better but by faith; and that (4) a natural man has no more faith than a devil, if so much. One of them, my Lord ----, stayed very patiently till I came to the middle of the fourth head. Then starting up he said, ‘’Tis hot! ’Tis very hot,’ and got downstairs as fast as he could.
Several of the gentry desired to stay at the meeting of the society; to whom I explained the nature of inward religion, words flowing upon me faster than I could speak. One of them (a noted infidel) hung over the next seat in an attitude not to be described; and when he went left half a guinea with Mary Naylor for the use of the poor.
On the following days I spoke with each member of the society in Kingswood. I can’t understand how any minister can hope ever to give up his account with joy unless (as Ignatius advised) he ‘know all his flock by name, not overlooking the men-servants and maid-servants’.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The curse of the confusion of opinions

Sun 23 Jan 1774: Mr. Pentycross assisted me at the chapel. O what a curse upon the poor sons of men is the confusion of opinions! Worse by many degrees than the curse of Babel, the confusion of tongues. What but this could prevent this amiable young man from joining heart and hand with us?

Living Life God's Way: Overcoming Self-Deception

A Journey through the Letter of James
Living Life God's Way: Overcoming Self Deception

Text: James 1:17-27 and I have chosen to use the Good News Version

If you have a car, when was the last time you took your car for a service, or checked the oil and water and tyres? When was the last time you took yourself to the doctor for a physical checkup? I wouldn't be surprised if your car has been checked out more recently than your body! Interesting, isn't it? Safety on the road requires regular checks on the health of your car, yet many people wait until something goes wrong before assessing their physical fitness. As for spiritual health and fitness, where do we go to check on that?

Our series on Living Life God's Way, which is a journey through James, is certainly one answer to that question.

Professionals like your mechanic and your doctor know what they are looking for. They have a list of things to check and assess. A spiritual checkup may not be quite so neatly documented, yet the main components are very similar. God's Word has very clear guidelines for maintaining spiritual health. Last week and the next five weeks have us journeying through James and my experience of this little letter, written perhaps by the brother of Jesus, is that it is very useful for using as a spiritual checkup. It is very useful as a guide to living life God's way. In fact, some people call the letter of James: A Guide to Practical Christianity, and just as the doctor prods and pushes and sometimes hurts, so too does James.

James certainly doesn't hold back: he says what he thinks, with no regard to who might be offended in the process. James requires of us a willingness to put down our defensive barriers, our excuses for our behaviour, to stop deceiving ourselves regarding our particular way of living the Christian life, and look honestly at how we conduct ourselves in life.

Today the subtitle in our series Living Life God's Way is: Overcoming Self-deception.
We Christians can be quite good at deceiving ourselves particularly when it comes to defending the particular way that we choose to live our Christian lives. It's okay for me to behave this way because……… is a way we often think.

Perhaps this morning we consider ourselves to be progressing well on the Christian path: we always go to worship, give our tithe, and read our Bibles every day…… and yet perhaps we like the odd bit of gossip…… perhaps we can be argumentative……. perhaps we sometimes think we don't have to be bothered with other people's needs, especially the poor. We might even deceive ourselves into believing that because our church has programs that care for the poor, we don't need to care for them. If any of these words ring true for us, we know we have some work to do in response to James’ instructions.

Or maybe this morning we are all too aware of our failings and long to learn how to persevere in swimming against the strong currents of our society. If that describes us, then James has encouraging words.

So, let's work through the reading, allow God's Word to soothe us, caress us, comfort us,…… allow it also to prod and to push and to probe where perhaps we don't want to be prodded and pushed and probed.

Do not be deceived, my dear friends!
James here is pointing out to us that it is possible to deceive ourselves. The first step in overcoming self-deception, is to realise the ways in which we might be deceiving ourselves.

Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning.
God doesn't change…… his expectations of you and me are the same as the expectations and requirements that he had of Abraham, Moses, David, the disciples, Paul the apostle, and James who wrote this letter.
God doesn't change…….. that is actually very good news, isn't it?
Let us not deceive ourselves into believing that God has a different standard for us compared to the standard he had for previous generations. He doesn't!

By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures.
We, you and I, are God’s special creation.
A common way in which we deceive ourselves is that we believe we are not special to God. This verse reminds us that we are! Don't be deceived into thinking that your role in the Kingdom of God is not that important.

Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Here is the first prod in the examination. Does it hurt if I push here? Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Does that cause an ouch?
Someone has said we have two ears and one mouth for a reason: to listen at least twice as much as we talk!

Now James moves on and pushes somewhere else: be slow to become angry.

 Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose.
Did you hear that?
Let us not deceive ourselves into believing that it is okay to flip your lid. To freak out! It's not!

James moves on and carries on prodding:

 So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct.
No need to discuss that, is there? It is quite self-explanatory.
Stop thinking it's OK.

Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.
The word that God has planted in our hearts is this: you are saved by faith, filled with the Holy Spirit, and are therefore able to do all things in Him who strengthens you…. all things….. even overcome habits and addictions.

 Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice.
Now James begins to get to his real point. 
If you believe the Bible is the word of God, then put it into practice.
How…. we often ask.
Jesus taught that we put the word of God into practice in very simple ways: by loving our neighbour, by loving our enemy, by feeding the poor, etc, etc, etc.

 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like.
The picture we have here is someone who is a mess, hair all over the place, a big piece of mud on the cheek, last night’s supper stuck between the teeth….. and he looks in the mirror, but immediately forgets what he looks like and goes off…… to worship…… to work….. to school.

 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice---you will be blessed by God in what you do.
James is saying here….. the Bible, and especially the Law as fulfilled by Jesus, is a mirror image of what you and I are meant to look like.
In the Bible, and especially in Jesus, we are meant to see ourselves. As I look into this “mirror” I see myself as I am meant to be: someone who loves my neighbour, someone who loves my enemy, someone who feeds the poor, someone who forgives, and so on and so on. But if we read the Bible and then go out into the world and do not love our neighbour, love our enemy, feed the poor, forgive, and so on, we are like the person who looks in the mirror and forgets what he looks like!

Let us not be deceived into believing that the world determines what we should look like. Let us not allow the world to conform us but rather let us be conformed by the word of God.

 Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself.
This verse just needs repeating, and no further explanation: Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself.

What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.
God wants you and me to have pure and genuine religion.
Is the religion you and I practice, that is, the religion that everybody else sees when they look at us,…. is it….. pure….. and.... genuine?
Is it a religion that is deeply concerned about others?
Or is it a religion that is corrupted by the world, a religion which says: Hey, look after yourself and don't be too concerned about others. James is saying that true religion is other centered, rather than self centered.
Let us not be deceived into thinking that any other kind of religion other than the one that James describes for us in our reading today, is acceptable before God.

I started off by asking about your car and your physical health.
Often when you take your car into the garage, or yourself to the doctor, there is more work to be done. You have to go back, we have to buy medicine.
It is like that with spiritual health as well.
There is always more work to be done, and sometimes strong medicine in the form of changed behaviour is prescribed by the Great Physician.
Today in our series Living Life God's Way, we have looked at overcoming self-deception. Let us decide today to stop deceiving ourselves regarding what is acceptable in God's eyes.

God has placed James before us for the next few weeks….. can I encourage you to go home and read it and let God speak to you and, in the comfort of your own home, (yes, God does make house calls), let God examine you and prescribe to you through His  Word.

Overcoming Self-Deception: Reflection and Meditation

Living Life God's Way: Overcoming Self-Deception
 Spend some time thinking about the following statements made in the sermon

We Christians can be quite good at deceiving ourselves particularly when it comes to defending the particular way that we choose to live our Christian lives.

We might even deceive ourselves into believing that because our church has programs that care for the poor, we don't need to care for them.

The first step in overcoming self-deception, is to realise the ways in which we might be deceiving ourselves.

Let us not deceive ourselves into believing that it is okay to flip our lid. To freak out! It's not!

If you believe the Bible is the word of God, then put it into practice.

In the Bible, and especially in Jesus, we are meant to see ourselves.

If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself.

Is the religion you and I practice, that is, the religion that everybody else sees when they look at us,…. is it….. pure….. and.... genuine?

The Kingdom of God is Like.....Wheat and Weeds

Wheat and Weeds
Matthew 13:24-39,36-43

You have recently begun a series on the Kingdom of God and are thus hopefully aware of the fact that Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God than he did about anything else. His very first words in his public ministry were: The kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news (gospel).
What is the good news……. the good news is that the kingdom of God is near!

This was really good news to the Jewish hearers of Jesus’ preaching,…. they had waited 1000 years for God's kingdom to come…… and now a man stands in their midst and says: the kingdom of God is near.
And so it is that Trevor Hudson in his newest book (Discovering Our Spiritual Identity) says that the Gospel, the good news, is  nothing other than the availability of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is available to you and to me! (Amen)

Friends, the good news is not…. that you have been forgiven your sins. No….. the good news is, the Gospel is….. the prophesied kingdom of God is available to you and to me…..now!
So what is this kingdom that is so near that with one step of faith you can enter into it?.....Getting back to Trevor, he says: the kingdom is where ever the loving will of the Father effectively reigns.
Another writer on the subject of the kingdom of God, Scot McKnight, says this: “ the kingdom of God is the society in which the will of God is done.”

What this all means is that……… when a father welcomes back prodigal son…… God's Kingdom comes and God's will is done!
                                                                When you or I go out and seek a lost sheep and bring him or her back into God's fold….. God's Kingdom comes and God's will is done!
                                                                When you or I stop to help someone beaten up and left for dead on the roadside…….. God's Kingdom comes and God's will is done!
                                                                Jesus said on one occasion, and these words became the job description of the early Methodists, when you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give the thirsty something to drink, visit the sick, visit prisoners, welcome strangers,…. whenever you do these things, God's Kingdom             comes and God's will is done!

The Jewish Christian, David Stern, in his Jewish New Testament Commentary suggests that the kingdom of God is in fact the presence of the future, and I love that definition and since I first heard it, it has become my favourite definition of the kingdom of God.
We know that a time is coming when there will be no hunger, no thirst, no poverty, no sickness, and so on and so on…….. so when we do something now to alleviate these things, the future becomes the present. The promises of God become reality for the recipients of God's grace in Christ. In Christ we can experience the future…. now. The kingdom of God is the presence of the future.

Because the kingdom of God is so important, Jesus told many parables about it, so that folk could understand it, count the cost of entering into it and living the kingdom way,…. it's a costly lifestyle Jesus warns,…. and then they can make a choice and say: I'm in. I am going to live the kingdom way.
And when they make that choice, they are required to repent, which means turnaround from the world's way of living, and start living the kingdom way of living.

And so Jesus would often say: the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God, is like this......... and today we have one such parable. The parable of the wheat and weeds is what it is called in newer translations; in older translations it is called the parable of the wheat and the tares, which is in fact a better translation. To understand this parable better it is helpful to realise that the weeds that our translation refers to, refer to a poisonous ryegrass which was common in Israel and which looks just like wheat right up until the heads appear. The word translated as weeds in our translation should better be translated false rye or false wheat, which is what the tares of the older translations actually means. False rye is only identified when true rye forms its heads of wheat. It is only then that you realise you've got “weeds” or false rye, and if you then start stomping through your field, you cause a great deal of damage, trying to work out which is wheat and which is weed.

When this parable is read in the context of a gathering of the people of God like this, Jesus is really telling us that in the church there will always be wheat and……. weeds. And it will be very difficult, before the fruit appears, to tell the difference.

It is only when the fruit appears that the difference is obvious. When does fruit appear in us? There are several answers to this:
                fruit appears in us when you meet a beggar at an intersection
                fruit appears in us when a stranger asks you for help
                fruit appears in us when disaster strikes, or hardship, or suffering, or disease
                fruit appears in us when we are hit on one cheek.

In all of the above and of course in many other examples, our response will either be a Jesus/wheat/fruit of the Spirit response……. or it will be a weed response. It is when fruit appears that you can tell the difference between wheat and false wheat.

Jesus says until the time of really bearing fruit, which leads to the harvest, you won't always tell the difference between Christians and those who only claim to be Christians. We cannot tell the difference here this morning, can we?

Because wheat and weeds grow together, Jesus is also really saying here that not everything done in the name of Christianity is in fact a product of Christianity. Wheat and weeds.
Not everything done by ‘Christians’ is Christian. And we all know this don't we? Wheat and weeds.

And we see this all the time. It's just puzzling that we are so surprised when it happens!
Whenever you hear someone begin to say: “you know, so-and-so calls himself a Christian, but…….” you're about to hear of someone who claims to be wheat but acts like a weed, or so they say.

Our subject today is wheat and weeds…… which are you?
Let's not bother with what the person next to us is, that as a fruitless exercise.

What am I…….. wheat….. or weed?

One of the doctrines of Methodism is our doctrine of assurance, we can know before judgement day, before the harvest, whether we are wheat or weeds. God does not keep us in the dark about this.

If you are wheat, praise God! Praise him for his grace and his strength and his redeeming power, all of which are the only reason that you are wheat in the first place.

If you are weed……… there is good news for weeds in the Kingdom of God.
As you all know, parables don't always tell the whole story of the gospel. The truth about weeds in the fields is plain and simply that a weed remains a weed and can never become wheat.
However, in the kingdom of God, all things are possible, and especially the conversion from weed to wheat, from bad to good, from evil to redeemed, from condemned but repentant prisoner on a cross next to Jesus to citizen of heaven in eternity, from Saul to Paul and so on and so on. In the kingdom of God, weed can be converted to wheat right up to the very end. So this parable, like all parables, doesn't give us the all the story of the gospel,…. but Jesus does, and one of the reasons he wants the weeds left is because they might become wheat. Each one of us is probably praying for a weed that we love to convert to wheat….. carry on praying, because the Lord is in no hurry to rip up the weed, and we shouldn't be either. Let the wheat and weed grow together says Jesus.
So there is good news for the weeds in our midst today.

There is good news for those of us who are confused right now. We might be thinking: I’m……… wheat….. but if I'm honest there is weed in me as well. And this is not uncommon; many Bible greats show us how weed can be in the life of someone who is great wheat. Think of King David and learn from King David. Confess, repent and let the God who has redeemed you continue His perfecting work in you.

Finally I think there is a challenge for all of us: how good are you at a living with, worshipping amongst, the weeds that are always in our midst. Let both grow together says Jesus. And so I think he is saying, let both worship together, let both do Bible study together, let both serve in the church together, let both be involved in mission together. How good are you at a living with weeds.
The wheat might well want to pull itself up and move to the field next door, the one that looks as if it is full of good soil, one that seems to have no weeds……….. but……. Jesus says here and on many other occasions: we don't have that choice when we decide to live the kingdom way. Let both grow together. We cannot choose to remove ourselves from those in the kingdom who we find it difficult to get along with.
This parable demands that we reflect on whether we are like the people who just want to remove the weeds, to move away from the weeds, people who want a weedless environment, a weedless church and a weedless kingdom…………………………………..
or are we like Jesus, who chose to live among weeds and to love weeds? Are we like the Jesus who actually went out of his way to find the weediest field and weediest people he could, to visit them, to eat with them, to reach out to them and to offer the kingdom of God to them? That is the way of the kingdom, that is what the kingdom is like…………………. do you like this kingdom and its ways?
So, there is good news today.
There is good news for wheat today: you will survive among the weeds……. you don't have to run. But that is a kingdom choice that you have to make.
We have good news for weeds: God is in no hurry to remove you, but stop abusing his grace…………... Choose him and his kingdom today. But that is a kingdom choice for you to make.
And we have good news for the wheat that sometimes acts like weed: repent…. turn that part of your life towards the kingdom. But that is a kingdom choice for you to make.

Wheat and Weeds………………………….in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Reflections/Meditation on Wheat and Weeds

The Kingdom of God is Like.....Wheat and Weeds
Spend some time, perhaps with your journal, pondering the following statements made in the sermon

The Gospel, the good news, is  the availability of the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God is the society in which the will of God is done.
The kingdom of God is in fact the presence of the future.    
      
When this parable is read in the context of a gathering of the people of God like this, Jesus is really telling us that in the church there will always be wheat and weeds. And it will be very difficult, before the fruit appears, to tell the difference.

When does fruit appear in us?

However, in the kingdom of God, all things are possible, and especially the conversion from weed to wheat, from bad to good, from evil to redeemed, from condemned but repentant prisoner on a cross next to Jesus to citizen of heaven in eternity, from Saul to Paul and so on and so on. 
In the kingdom of God, weed can be converted to wheat right up to the very end.

The wheat might well want to pull itself up and move to the field next door, the one that looks as if it is full of good soil, one that seems to have no weeds……….. but……. Jesus says here and on many other occasions: we don't have that choice when we decide to live the Kingdom way.

 Let both grow together.

We cannot choose to remove ourselves from those in the Kingdom who we find it difficult to get along with.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lost Sheep Returns

Sat 22 Jan 1757. I called upon one who did run well for several years. But for a considerable time he had cast off the very form of religion. Yet his heart was not utterly hardened. He determined to set out once more. And since that time he has been more confirmed in walking suitably to the gospel.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hippopotamus and Lion

Sat 22 Jan 1780. I spent an hour or two very agreeably in Sir Ashton Lever’s Museum. It does not equal the British Museum in size, nor is it constructed on so large a plan, as it contains no manuscripts, no books, no antiquities, nor any remarkable works of art. But I believe, for natural curiosities, it is not excelled by any museum in Europe. And all the beasts, birds, reptiles, and insects, are admirable well ranged and preserved. So that if you saw many of them elsewhere, you would imagine, they were alive! The hippopotamus, in particular, looks as fierce as if he was just coming out of the river, and the old lion appears as formidable now as when he was stalking in the Tower

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wesley Hymn for the Week: Praying for a Blessing

1          Come, O thou all-victorious Lord,                           
            Thy power to us make known;                                 
            Strike with the hammer of thy word, (Jer. 23:29)               
            And break these hearts of stone.
                             
2          O that we all might now begin                                
            Our foolishness to mourn,                           
            And turn at once from every sin,        (Ezek. 18:30)             
            And to our Saviour turn.   
                           
3          Give us ourselves and thee to know                        
            In this our gracious day;                            
            Repentance unto life bestow, (Acts 11:18)            
            And take our sins away.  
                          
4          Conclude us first in unbelief,  (Rom. 11:32)           
            And freely then release;                             
            Fill every soul with sacred grief,                            
            And then with sacred peace.
                     
5          Impoverish, Lord, and then relieve,    (1 Sam. 2:7)             
            And then enrich the poor;                          
            The knowledge of our sickness give,                     
            The knowledge of our cure. 
                      
6          That blessed sense of guilt impart,                         
            And then remove the load;                        
            Trouble, and wash the troubled heart (John 5:4)                
            In the atoning blood.
                     
7          Our desperate state through sin declare,                            
            And speak our sins forgiven;  (Matt. 9:2)               
            By perfect holiness prepare,                       
            And take us up to heaven.                         

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Worst behaved congregation JW ever encountered

Wednesday 19 Jan 1785, I returned to Colchester and, on Thursday 20, preached to a lovely congregation at Purfleet and, the next morning, returned to London. On Sunday,23, I preached, morning and afternoon, at West Street and, in the evening, in the chapel at Knightsbridge. I think it will be the last time, for I know not that I have ever seen a worse behaved congregation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prayer for this Week (Second after Epiphany)

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


from BCP

JW offends Roman Catholics

Tue 18 Jan 1780. Receiving more and more accounts of the increase of popery, I believed it my duty to write a letter concerning it, which was afterwards inserted in the public papers. Many were grievously offended. But I cannot help it. I must follow my own conscience.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"You are a hypocrite, Mr Wesley, and we can have no fellowship with you"

Mon 17 Jan 1763. I rode to Lewisham, and wrote my sermon to be preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners. Sunday 23. In order to check if not stop a growing evil, I preached on ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ But it had just the contrary effect on many, who construed it into a satire upon G. Bell, one of whose friends said, ‘If the devil himself had been in the pulpit he would not have preached such a sermon.’
All this time I did not want information from all quarters ‘that Mr. Maxfield was at the bottom of all this; that he was the life of the cause; that he was continually spiriting up all with whom he was intimate against me; that he told them, I was not capable of teaching them, and insinuated that none was but himself; and that the inevitable consequence must be a division in the society.’
Yet I was not without hope that by bearing all things I should overcome evil with good, till on Tuesday 25, while I was sitting with many of our brethren, Mrs. Coventry (then quite intimate with Mr. Maxfield) came in, threw down her ticket, with those of her husband, daughters, and servants, and said, they would ‘hear two doctrines no longer’. They had often said before: ‘Mr. Maxfield preached perfection, but Mr. Wesley pulled it down.’ So I did, that perfection of Benjamin Harris, G. Bell, and all who abetted them. So the breach is made! The water is let out. Let those who can, gather it up.
I think it was on Friday the 28th that I received a letter from John Fox, and another from John and Elizabeth Dixon, declaring the same thing. Friday, February 4, Daniel Owen and G. Bell told me, they should ‘stay in the society no longer’. The next day Robert Lee, with five or six of his friends, spake to the same effect.
I now seriously considered whether it was in my power to have prevented this. I did not see that it was: for though I had heard from time to time many objections to Mr. Maxfield’s conduct, there was no possibility of clearing them up. Above a year ago I desired him to meet me with some that accused him, that I might hear them face to face. But his answer was as follows:
Dec. 28, 1761
I have considered the thing, since you spoke to me about meeting at Mrs. March’s. And I don’t think to be there, or to meet them at any time. It is enough that I was arraigned at the Conference. (At which I earnestly defended him, and silenced all his accusers.) I am not convinced that it is my duty to make James Morgan, etc. my judges. If you, sir, or any one of them, have anything to say to me alone, I will answer as far as I see good.
The next month I wrote him a long letter, telling him mildly all I heard or feared concerning him. He took it as a deep affront and in consequence thereof wrote as follows:
Jan. 14, 1762
If you call me proud or humble, angry or meek, it seems to sit much the same on my heart. If you call me John or Judas, Moses or Korah, I am content. As to a separation, I have no such thought, if you have, and now (as it were) squeeze blood out of a stone, be it to yourself.
Several months after, hearing some rumours, I again wrote to him freely. In his answer were the following words:
Sept. 23, 1762
Experience teaches me daily that they that preach salvation from the nature of sin will have the same treatment from the others as they had and have from the world. But I am willing to bear it.
Your brother is gone out of town. Had he stayed much longer and continued, Sunday after Sunday, to hinder me from preaching, he would have forced me to have got a place to preach in where I should not have heard what I think the highest truths contradicted.
In his next letter he explained himself a little farther:
Oct. 16, 1762
We have great opposition on every side. Nature, the world, and the devil will never be reconciled to Christian perfection. But the great wonder is that Christians will not be reconciled to it; all, almost everyone who call themselves ministers of Christ, or preachers of Christ, contend for sin to remain in the heart as long as we live, as though it were the only thing Christ delighted to behold in his members.
I long to have your heart set at full liberty. I know you will then see things in a wonderful different light from what it is possible to see them before.
The day after the first separation, viz., Jan. 26, I wrote him the following note:
My dear Brother,
For many years I and all the preachers in connection with me have taught that every believer may and ought to grow in grace. Lately you have taught or seemed to teach the contrary. The effect of this is, when I speak as I have done from the beginning those who believe what you say will not bear it. Nay, they will renounce connexion with us—as Mr. and Mrs. Coventry did last night. This breach lies wholly upon you. You have contradicted what I taught from the beginning. Hence it is that many cannot bear it, but when I speak as I always have done, they separate from the society. Is this for your honour, or to the glory of God?
O Tommy, seek counsel, not from man, but God; not from brother Bell, but Jesus Christ!
I am,
Your affectionate brother,
J. W.
Things now ripened apace for a farther separation, to prevent which (if it were possible), I desired all our preachers, as they had time, to be present at all meetings when I could not myself, particularly at the Friday meeting in the chapel at West Street. At this Mr. Maxfield was highly offended and wrote to me as follows:
Feb. 5, 1763
I wrote to you to ask if those who before met at brother Guilford’s might not meet in the chapel. Soon after you came to town, the preachers were brought into the meeting, though you told me again and again, they should not come. (True; but since I said this, there has been an entire change in the situation of things.) Had I known this I would rather have paid for a room out of my own pocket. I am not speaking of the people that met at the Foundery before, though I let some of them come to that meeting. . . . If you intend to have the preachers there to watch, and others that I think very unfit, and will not give me liberty to give leave to some that I think fit to be there, I shall not think it my duty to meet them.
So from this time he kept a separate meeting elsewhere.
Sun. 6. Knowing many were greatly tempted on occasion of these occurrences, I preached on 1 Cor. 10:13. ‘God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with every temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ In the evening we had a love-feast, at which many spoke with all simplicity. And their words were like fire. I hardly know when we have had so refreshing a season.
Mon. 7. One who is very intimate with them, that had left us, told me in plain terms: ‘Sir, the case lies here: they say, You are only an hypocrite, and therefore they can have no fellowship with you.’
So now the wonder is over. First it was revealed to them that all the people were dead to God. Then they saw that all the preachers were so, too—only for a time they excepted me. At last they discern me to be blind and dead too. Now let him help them that can!