Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Conversation with John Wesley

From J.I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, an excerpt from John Wesley's journal is quoted. It's a conversation between John Wesley and Charles Simeon.

"Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. . . . Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put in into your heart?"
"Yes," says the veteran, "I do indeed."
"And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself by God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?"
"Yes, solely through Christ."
"But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?"
"No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last."
"Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?"
"What, then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as a infant in a mother's arms?"
"Yes, altogether."
"And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom?"
"Yes, I have no hope but in him."
"Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification and by faith, my final perseverance; it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite those things wherein we agree."

I know I'm guilty of thinking only of the things I disagree with with certain people, I hope that these words with echo in my heart.

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