MR. WESLEY FREQUENTLY PREACHED ON CHRISTIAN PERFECTION.
"IT is the grand depositum which God has given to the people called Methodists; and chiefly to propagate this, it appears God raised them up." . . . "We believe that God's design in raising up the preachers called Methodists in America was to reform the continent, and spread Scriptural holiness over these lands." — Methodist Discipline.
"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.'" — Journal.
"My brother and I set out for Tiverton. About eleven I preached at Burford. On Saturday evening I explained, at Bristol, the nature and extent of Christian perfection." — Journal, Nov., 1739.
"We had an uncommon blessing, at Manchester, both morning and afternoon. In the evening I met the believers, and strongly exhorted them to 'go on unto perfection.' To many of them it seemed a new doctrine. However, they all received it in love; and a flame was kindled, which I trust neither men nor devils shall ever be able to quench." — Journal, April, 1761.
"I preached at seven on, 'Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.' And oh, what a flame did God kindle! Many were 'on fire, to be dissolved in love.'" — Journal, July, 1761.
"I came to London. I found the same spirit which I left here, both in the morning and evening service. Monday 2, at five, I began a course of sermons on Christian perfection." — Journal, November, 1761.
"A large congregation attended at five in the morning, and seemed to be just ripe for the exhortation, 'Let us go on unto perfection.' I had, indeed, the satisfaction of finding most of the believers here athirst for full redemption." — Journal, April, 1764.
"Hence we rode to Grimsby, once the most dead, now the most lively, place in all the county. Here has been a large and swift increase both of the society and hearers, so that the house, though galleries are added, is still too small. In the morning, Wednesday, 4, I explained at large the nature of Christian perfection. Many who had doubted of it before were fully satisfied. It remains only to experience what we believe." — Journal, April, 1764.
At seven I clearly and strongly described the height and depth of Christian holiness; and (what is strange) I could not afterward find that any person was offended." — Journal, Nov., 1764.
"At five in the morning, I began a course of sermons on Christian perfection; if haply that thirst after it might return which was so general a few years ago. Since that time, how deeply have we grieved the Holy Spirit of God! Yet two or three have lately received His pure love; and a few more are brought to the birth." — Journal, Dec., 1767.
Sarah Crosby writes to Miss Bosanquet, in 1770: —
"Mr. Wesley left Leeds yesterday. I never heard him preach better, if so well. In every sermon he set forth 'Christian perfection' in the most beautiful light.'" — Tyerman, vol. iii. p. 68.
"In the evening, the house at Swinfleet not being able to contain a third of the congregation, I preached on a smooth, green place, sheltered from the wind, on Heb. vii. 25. Many rejoiced to hear of being 'saved to the uttermost,' the very thing which their souls longed after." — Journal, July, 1770.
"The next evening (at Macclesfield) I preached on Heb. xii. 14: 'Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' I was enabled to make a close application, chiefly to those that expected to be saved by faith. I hope none of them will hereafter dream of going to heaven by any faith which does not produce holiness." — Journal, April, 1777.
"Forty years ago, I knew and preached every Christian doctrine which I now preach." — Journal, Sept. 1778.
"About ten, I preached at New Mills, to as simple a people as those at Chapel. Perceiving they had suffered much by not having the doctrine of perfection clearly explained, and strongly pressed upon them, I preached expressly on the head; and spoke to the same effect in meeting the society. The spirits of many greatly revived; and they are now 'going on unto perfection.' I found it needful to press the same thing at Stockport, in the evening." — Journal, April, 1782.
"In the evening, I exhorted them all to expect pardon or holiness, to-day, and not to-morrow. O, let their love never grow cold!" — Journal, May, 1783.
"Friday, 6, being the quarterly day for meeting the local preachers, between twenty and thirty of them met at West Street, and opened their hearts to each other. Taking the opportunity of having them all together, at the watch-night, I strongly insisted on St. Paul's advice to Timothy, 'Keep that which is committed to thy trust;' particularly the doctrine of Christian perfection, which God has peculiarly entrusted to the Methodists." — Journal, Feb. 1789.
"At nine I preached in the new chapel, at Tunstal; the most elegant I have seen since I left Bath. My text was, 'Let us go on unto perfection;' and the people seemed to devour the word." — Journal, April, 1790.
"We went to Wigan, for many years proverbially called wicked Wigan. But it is not now what it was. The inhabitants in general, have taken a softer mould. The house, in the evening, was more than filled; and all that could get in, seemed to be greatly affected, while I strongly applied our Lord's words, 'I will: be thou clean.'" — Journal, May, 1790.
"If I were convinced that none in England had attained what has been so strongly and clearly preached by such a number of preachers, in so many places, and for so long a time, I should be clearly convinced that we had all mistaken the meaning of those Scriptures." — Plain Account, p. 88.
The instances given are only a specimen of what runs all through his journals. In the journals of Dr. Adam Clarke, Bramwell, Carvosso, Mrs. Hester Ann Rogers, and Lady Maxwell, where a great number of Mr. Wesley's sermons and texts are noticed, you will find a large proportion of them are on the subject of full salvation, or perfection. More than one half of the hymns composed by Mr. Wesley, were upon the subject of holiness.