"THESE [sin and depravity] are coupled together as though they were the same; but they are not the same thing. The guilt is one thing, the power another, and the being yet another. That believers are delivered from the guilt and power of sin we allow; that they are delivered from the being of it we deny." — Wesley's Sermons, vol. i. p. 113.
"What sins are consistent with justifying faith?"
"No willful sin. If a believer willfully sins, he casts away his faith. Neither is it possible he should have justifying faith again, without previously repenting." - Works, vol. v. p. 195.
"In the sermon on Salvation by Faith, I say, 'He that is born of God sinneth not' (a proposition explained at large in another sermon, and every where either explicitly or virtually connected with, 'while he keepeth himself'), 'by any sinful desire; any unholy desire he stifieth in the birth.' (Assuredly he does, 'while he keepeth himself'). 'Nor doth he sin by infirmities, for his infirmities have no concurrence of his will; and without this they are not properly sins. — Works, vol. vi. p. 535.
"I observe the spirit and experience of these two run exactly parallel. Constant communion with God the Father and the Son fills their hearts with humble love. Now this is what I always did, and do now, mean by perfection. And this I believe many have attained, on the same evidence that I believe many are justified. May God increase their number a thousand-fold!" — Journal March, 1760.
"Wednesday, 12. - Having desired that as many as could of the neighboring towns (about Leeds) who believed they were saved from sin, would meet me, I spent the greatest part of this 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 willful 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; and I would to God thousands had experienced thus much: let them afterward experience as much more as God pleases." — Journal, March, 1760.
"Sunday, 4, was a day of solemn joy, equal to any I had seen in Dublin. At the love-feast in the evening, it appeared that God had now visited Limerick also. Five persons desired to return thanks to God, for a clear sense of His pardoning love: several others, for an increase of faith and for deliverance from doubts and fears. And two gave a plain, simple account, of the manner wherein God had cleansed their hearts, so that they now felt no anger, pride, or self-will; but continual love, and prayer, and praise." — Journal, July, 1762.
To Mr. S. F., 1762: —
"The proposition which I will hold is this: 'A person may be cleansed from all sinful tempers, and yet need the atoning blood.' For what? For 'negligences and ignorances;' for both words and actions, (as well as omissions), which are, in a sense, transgressions of the perfect law. And I believe no one is clear of these till he lays down this corruptible body." — Works, vol. vi. p. 741.
To Rev. Mr. F., 1702: —
"So far I can go with you, but no farther. I still say, and without any self-contradiction, I know no persons living who are so deeply conscious of their needing Christ both as prophet, priest, and king, as those who believe themselves, and whom I believe, to be cleansed from all sin; I mean, from all pride, anger, evil desire, idolatry, and unbelief. These very persons feel more than ever their own ignorance, littleness of grace, coming short of the full mind that was in Christ, and walking less accurately than they might have done after their Divine Pattern: are more convinced of the insufficiency of all they are, have, or do, to bear the eye of God without a Mediator; are more penetrated with the sense of the want of Him than ever they were before. —Works, vol. vii. p. 36.
To Charles Wesley, 1766: —
"The voice of one who truly loves God surely is, —
"'Tis worse than death my God to love,
And not my God alone.
Such a one is certainly 'as much athirst for sanctification, as he was once for justification.' You remember, this used to be one of your constant questions. It is not now; therefore you are altered in your sentiments: and unless we come to an explanation, we shall inevitably contradict each other. But this ought not to be in any wise, if it can possibly be avoided.
"I still think, to disbelieve all the professors amounts to a denial of the thing. For if there be no living witness of what we have preached for twenty years, I cannot, dare not, preach it any longer. The whole comes to one point: is there, or is there not, any instantaneous sanctification between justification and death? I say, Yes."' - Works, vol. vi. p. 668.
To Rev. John Fletcher, 1768: —
"I will go a step farther. I seldom find it profitable to converse with any who are not athirst for full salvation; and who are not big with earnest expectation of receiving it every moment. Now, you find none of these among those we are speaking of; but many, on the contrary, who are in various ways, directly or indirectly, opposing this blessed work of God; the work, I mean, which God is carrying on throughout this kingdom, by unlearned and plain men."' — Works, vol. vi. p. 686.
To a young disciple, 1772: —
"The difference between temptation and sin is generally plain enough to all that are simple of heart; but in some exempt cases it is not plain: there we want the unction of the Holy One. Voluntary humility, calling every defect a sin, is not well pleasing to God. Sin, properly speaking, is neither more nor less than 'a voluntary transgression of a known law of God."' — Works, vol. vii. p. 94.
"'Holy solitaries' is a phrase no more consistent with the Gospel than holy adulterers. The Gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness. 'Faith working by love' is the length and breadth and depth and height of Christian perfection. 'This commandment have we from Christ, that he who loves God, love his brother also;' and that we manifest our love 'by doing good unto all men; especially to them that are of the household of faith." - Works, vol. vii. p. 393.
"From long experience and observation, I am inclined to think, that whoever finds redemption in the blood of Jesus, whoever is justified, has then the choice of walking in the higher or the lower path. I believe the Holy Spirit at that time sets before him the 'more excellent way,' and incites him to walk therein, to choose the narrowest path in the narrow way, to aspire after the heights and depths of holiness, — after the entire image of God. But if he does not accept this offer, he insensibly declines into the lower order of Christians. He still goes on in what may be called a good way, serving God in his degree, and finds mercy in the close of life, through the blood of the covenant.
"I would be far from quenching the smoking flax, — from discouraging those who serve God in a low degree. But I could not wish them to stop here; I would encourage them to come up higher, without thundering hell and damnation in their ears. Without condemning the way wherein they were, telling them it is the way to destruction, I will endeavor to point out to them what is, in every respect, 'a more excellent way.'
"Let it be well remembered, I do not affirm that all who do not walk in this way are in the high-road to hell. But this much I must affirm, they will not have so high a place in heaven as they would have had, if they had chosen the better part." — Sermons, vol. ii. p. 267.
To Rev. Charles Wesley, in 1772: —
"If we only join faith and works in all our preaching, we shall not fail of a blessing. But of all preaching, what is usually called Gospel preaching is the most useless, if not the most mischievous, — a dull, yea, or lively harangue on the sufferings of Christ, or salvation by faith, without strongly inculcating holiness. I see, more and more, that this naturally tends to drive holiness out of the world." — Works, English edition, vol. xii. p. 130.