THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT TO ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION.
"NONE, therefore, ought to believe that the work is done till there is added the testimony of the Spirit witnessing his entire sanctification as clearly as his justification." — Plain Account, p. 79.
"Some have the testimony both of their justification and sanctification, without any intermission at all, which, I presume, more might have, did they walk humbly and closely with God." — Wesley's Plain Account, p. 122.
"Indeed, the witness of sanctification is not always clear at first (as neither is that of justification); neither is it afterward always the same, but, like that of justification, sometimes stronger and sometimes fainter. Yea, and sometimes it is withdrawn. Yet, in general, the latter testimony of the Spirit is both as clear and as steady as the former." — Plain Account, p. 119.
"There are now about twenty persons here, who believe they are saved from sin: 1. Because they always love, pray, rejoice, and give thanks; and, 2. Because they have the witness of it in themselves. But, if these lose what they have received, nothing will be more easy than to think they never had it. There were four hundred (to speak at the lowest) in London, who (unless they told me lies) had the same experience. If near half of these have lost what they had received, I do not wonder if they think they never had it: it is so ready a way of excusing themselves for throwing away the blessed gift of God." — Works, vol. vi. p. 768.
"Having desired that as many as could of the neighboring towns, who believe that they were saved from sin, would meet me, I spent the greatest part of the day in examining them one by one. The testimony of some I could not receive: but concerning the far greatest part, it is plain (unless they could be supposed to tell wilful and deliberate lies), 1. That they feel no inward sin, and, to the best of their knowledge, commit no outward sin; 2. That they see and love God every moment, and pray, rejoice, give thanks evermore; 3. That they have constantly as clear a witness from God of sanctification as they have of justification. Now, in this I do rejoice, and will rejoice, call it what you please." — Works, vol. iv. p. 56.
"As soon as Mr. Fugill began to speak, I felt my soul was all love. I was so stayed on God as I never felt before, and knew that I loved him with all my heart. When I came home I could ask for nothing; I could only give thanks. And the witness, that God had saved me from all my sins, grew clearer every hour. On Wednesday this was stronger than ever. I have never since found my heart wander from God." — Journal, March, 1760.
"Since my last account, many have been sanctified, and several justified. One of the former is William Moor. He was a long time struggling for the blessing; and one night he was resolved not to go to bed without it. He continued wrestling with God for two hours, when he felt a glorious change, and the Spirit of God witnessing that the work was done." — Journal, May, 1762.
"Thence I went to Otley. There, also, the work of God increases, particularly with regard to sanctification. And I think every one who has experienced it, retains a clear witness of what God has wrought." — Works, vol. iv. p. 505.
To Miss J. C. M., 1762: —
"When you was justified, you had a direct witness that your sins were forgiven: afterward, this witness was frequently intermitted; and yet you did not doubt of it. In like manner, you have had a direct witness that you are saved from sin, and this witness is frequently intermitted; and yet even then you do not doubt of it. But I much doubt it God withdraws either the one witness or the other with out some occasion given on our part. I never knew any one receive the abiding witness gradually; therefore I incline to think this also is given in a moment." — Works, vol. vii. p. 250.
To Mrs. A. F., 1764: —
"In the 'Thoughts on Perfection,' it is observed that, before any can be assured they are saved from sin, they must not only feel no sin, but 'have a direct witness' of that salvation. And this several have had as clear as S—— R—— has, who afterward fell from that salvation; although S—- R——, to be consistent with her scheme, must deny they ever had it; yea, and must affirm that witness was either from nature or from the devil. If it was really from God, is He well pleased with this? " — Works, vol. vii. p. 15.
To Miss J. C. M., 1764: —
"You are a living witness of two great truths: The one, that there cannot be a lasting, steady enjoyment of pure love without the direct testimony of the Spirit concerning it; without God's Spirit shining on His own work: the other, that setting perfection too high is the ready way to drive it out of the world." — Works, vol. vii. p. 250.
"About two in the afternoon, I preached at Potts, and in the evening at Hutton-Rudby. Here is the largest society in these parts, and the most alive to God. After spending some time with them all, I met those apart who believe they are saved from sin. I was agreeably surprised. I think not above two, out of sixteen or seventeen whom l examined have lost the direct witness of that salvation ever since they experienced it." — Journal, July 1766.
To Mrs. Elizabeth Bennis, 1766: —
"One of our preachers has lately advanced a new position among us, — that there is no direct or immediate witness of sanctification, but only a perception or consciousness that we are changed, filled with love, and cleansed from sin. But, if I understand you right, you find a direct testimony that you are a child of God." — Works, vol. vii. p. 50.
To Rev. John Mason, 1768: —
" If any deny the witness of sanctification, and occasion disputing in the select society, let him or her meet therein no more." " — Works, vol. vii. p. 96.
"I rode to Derry-Anvil, where are some of the liveliest Christians I have seen in the kingdom. Eight of them I examined closely, who testified that they had never lost the witness, nor felt any decay, since the hour they were perfected in love." — Journal, June, 1773.
"I met such a select society (at Whitby) as I have not seen since I left London. They were about forty, of whom I did not find one who had not a clear witness of being saved from inbred sin. Several of them had lost it for a season, but could never rest till they had recovered it. And every one of them seemed now to walk in the full light of God's countenance." — Journal, June, 1784.