A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
AS BELIEVED AND TAUGHT
BY THE REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY
FROM THE YEAR 1725 TO THE YEAR 1777.
K. QUERIES TO THOSE WHO DENY PERFECTION ATTAINABLE IN THIS LIFE.
23. Some questions, now published by one of these [who opposed Christian Perfection], induced a plain man to write the following —
Queries, humbly proposed to those who deny perfection to be attainable in this life.
(1.) Has there not been a larger measure of the Holy Spirit given under the Gospel, than under the Jewish dispensation? If not, in what sense was the Spirit not given before Christ was glorified? (John 7:39.)
(2.) Was that 'glory which followed the sufferings of Christ,' (1 Peter 1:11,) an external glory, or an internal, viz., the glory of holiness?
(3.) Has God anywhere in Scripture commanded us more than he has promised to us?
(4.) Are the promises of God respecting holiness to be fulfilled in this life, or only in the next?
(5.) Is a Christian under any other laws than those which God promises to 'write in our hearts?' (Jer. 31:31, &c.; Heb. 8:10.)
(6.) In what sense is 'the righteousness of the law fulfilled in those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?' (Rom. 8:4.)
(7.) Is it impossible for any one in this life to 'love God with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength?' And is the Christian under any law which is not fulfilled in this love?
(8.) Does the soul's going out of the body effect its purification from indwelling sin?
(9.) If so, is it not something else, not 'the blood of Christ which cleanseth' it 'from all sin?'
(10.) If his blood cleanseth us from all sin, while the soul and body are united, is it not in this life?
(11.) If when that union ceases, is it not in the next? And is not this too late?
(12.) If in the article of death; what situation is the soul in, when it is neither in the body nor out of it?
(13.) Has Christ anywhere taught us to pray for what he never designs to give?
(14.) Has he not taught us to pray, 'Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven?' And is it not done perfectly in heaven?
(15.) If so, has he not taught us to pray for perfection on earth? Does he not then design to give it?
(16.) Did not St. Paul pray according to the will of God, when he prayed that the Thessalonians might be 'sanctified wholly, and preserved' (in this world, not the next, unless he was praying for the dead) 'blameless in body, soul, and spirit, unto the coming of Jesus Christ?'
(17.) Do you sincerely desire to be freed from indwelling sin in this life?
(18.) If you do, did not God give you that desire?
(19.) If so, did he not give it you to mock you, since it is impossible it should ever be fulfilled?
(20.) If you have not sincerity enough even to desire it, are you not disputing about matters too high for you?
(21.) Do you ever pray God to 'cleanse the thoughts of your heart, that' you 'may perfectly love him?'
(22.) If you neither desire what you ask, nor believe it attainable, pray you not as a fool prayeth?
God help thee to consider these questions calmly and impartially!"