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UM Historical Page ^ | John Wesley

Posted on 10/11/2002 7:11:26 PM PDT by xzins

GO TO ABOVE LINK FOR ENTIRE PAMPHLET. I have included the basic summary, paragraph 26 to end.

 26. In the year 1764, upon a review of the whole subject, I wrote down the sum of what I had observed in the following short propositions:


"(1.) There is such a thing as perfection; for it is again and again

mentioned in Scripture.

 "(2.) It is not so early as justification; for justified persons

are to `go on unto perfection.' (Heb. 6:1.)

 "(3.) It is not so late as death; for St. Paul speaks of living

men that were perfect. (Phil. 3:15.)

 "(4.) It is not absolute. Absolute perfection belongs not to man,

nor to angels, but to God alone.

 "(5.) It does not make a man infallible: None is infallible, while

he remains in the body.

 "(6.) Is it sinless? It is not worth while to contend for a term.

It is `salvation from sin.'

 "(7.) It is `perfect love.' (1 John 4:18.) This is the essence

of it; its properties, or inseparable fruits, are, rejoicing evermore,

praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks. (1 Thess. 5:16,


"(8.) It is improvable. It is so far from lying in an indivisible point,

from being incapable of increase, that one perfected in love may grow in

grace far swifter than he did before.

 "(9.) It is amissible, capable of being lost; of which we have

numerous instances. But we were not thoroughly convinced of this, till

five or six years ago.

 "(10.) It is constantly both preceded and followed by a gradual


"(11.) But is it in itself instantaneous or not? In examining this,

let us go on step by step.

 "An instantaneous change has been wrought in some believers: None

can deny this.

 "Since that change, they enjoy perfect love; they feel this, and

this alone; they `rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything

give thanks.' Now, this is all that I mean by perfection; therefore, these

are witnesses of the perfection which I preach.

 "`But in some this change was not instantaneous.' They did not

perceive the instant when it was wrought. It is often difficult to perceive

the instant when a man dies; yet there is an instant in which life ceases.

And if ever sin ceases, there must be a last moment of its existence, and

a first moment of our deliverance from it.

 "`But if they have this love now, they will lose it.' They may;

but they need not. And whether they do or no, they have it now; they now

experience what we teach. They now are all love; they now rejoice, pray,

and praise without ceasing.

 "`However, sin is only suspended in them; it is not destroyed.'

Call it which you please. They are all love to-day; and they take no thought

for the morrow.

 "`But this doctrine has been much abused.' So has that of justification

by faith. But that is no reason for giving up either this or any other

scriptural doctrine. `When you wash your child,' as one speaks, `throw

away the water; but do not throw away the child.'

 "`But those who think they are saved from sin say they have no

need of the merits of Christ.' They say just the contrary. Their language

is, --

        `Every moment, Lord, I want

        The merit of thy death!'

They never before had so deep, so unspeakable, a conviction of the need

of Christ in all his offices as they have now.

 "Therefore, all our Preachers should make a point of preaching

perfection to believers constantly, strongly, and explicitly; and all believers

should mind this one thing, and continually agonize for it."

27. I have now done what I proposed. I have given a plain and simple

account of the manner wherein I first received the doctrine of perfection,

and the sense wherein I received, and wherein I do receive, and teach it

to this day. I have declared the whole and every part of what I mean by

that scriptural expression. I have drawn the picture of it at full length,

without either disguise or covering. And I would now ask any impartial

person, What is there so frightful herein? Whence is all this outcry, which,

for these twenty years and upwards, has been made throughout the kingdom;

as if all Christianity were destroyed, and all religion torn up by the

roots? Why is it, that the very name of perfection has been cast out of

the mouths of Christians; yea, exploded and abhorred, as if it contained

the most pernicious heresy? Why have the Preachers of it been hooted at,

like mad dogs, even by men that fear God; nay, and by some of their own

children, some whom they, under God, had begotten through the gospel? What

reason is there for this, or what pretence? Reason; sound reason, there

is none. It is impossible there should. But pretences there are, and those

in great abundance. Indeed, there is ground to fear that, with some who

treat us thus, it is mere pretence; that it is no more than a copy of their

countenance, from the beginning to the end. They wanted, they sought, occasion

against me; and here they found what they sought. "This is Mr. Wesley's

doctrine! He preaches perfection!" He does; yet this is not his doctrine

any more than it is yours, or any one's else, that is a Minister of Christ.

For it is His doctrine, peculiarly, emphatically His; it is the doctrine

of Jesus Christ. Those are his words, not mine: Esesthe oun teleioi,

hOsper ho PatEr HymOn ho en tois ouranois teleios esti, -- "Ye shall

therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." And

who says, ye shall not; or, at least, not till your soul is separated from

the body? It is the doctrine of St. Paul, the doctrine of St. James, of

St. Peter, and St. John; and no otherwise Mr. Wesley's, than as it is the

doctrine of every one who preaches the pure and the whole gospel. I tell

you, as plain as I can speak, where and when I found this. I found it in

the oracles of God, in the Old and Now Testament; when I read them with

no other view or desire but to save my own soul. But whosesoever this doctrine

is, I pray you, what harm is there in it? Look at it again; survey it on

every side, and that with the closest attention. In one view, it is purity

of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is the giving God all

our heart; it is one desire and design ruling all our tempers. It is the

devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body, and substance to God. In

another view, it is all the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk

as Christ walked. It is the circumcision of the heart from all filthiness,

all inward as well as outward pollution. It is a renewal of the heart in

the whole image of God, the full likeness of Him that created it. In yet

another, it is the loving God with all our heart, and our neighbour as

ourselves. Now, take it in which of these views you please, (for there

is no material difference,) and this is the whole and sole perfection,

as a train of writings prove to a demonstration, which I have believed

and taught for these forty years, from the year 1725 to the year 1765.

 28. Now let this perfection appear in its native form, and who

can speak one word against it? Will any dare to speak against loving the

Lord our God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves? against

a renewal of heart, not only in part, but in the whole image of God? Who

is he that will open his mouth against being cleansed from all pollution

both of flesh and spirit; or against having all the mind that was in Christ,

and walking in all things as Christ walked? What man, who calls himself

a Christian, has the hardiness to object to the devoting, not a part, but

all our soul, body, and substance to God? What serious man would oppose

the giving God all our heart, and the having one design ruling all our

tempers? I say, again, let this perfection appear in its own shape, and

who will fight against it? It must be disguised before it can be opposed.

It must be covered with a bear-skin first, or even the wild beasts of the

people will scarce be induced to worry it. But whatever these do, let not

the children of God any longer fight against the image of God. Let not

the members of Christ say anything against having the whole mind that was

in Christ. Let not those who are alive to God oppose the dedicating all

our life to Him. Why should you who have his love shed abroad in your heart

withstand the giving him all your heart? Does not all that is within you

cry out, "O who that loves can love enough?" What pity that those who desire

and design to please him should have any other design or desire! much more,

that they should dread, as a fatal delusion, yea, abhor as an abomination

to God, the having this one desire and design ruling every temper! Why

should devout men be afraid of devoting all their soul, body, and substance

to God? Why should those who love Christ count it a damnable error, to

think we may have all the mind that was in him? We allow, we contend, that

we are justified freely through the righteousness and the blood of Christ.

And why are you so hot against us, because we expect likewise to be sanctified

wholly through his Spirit? We look for no favour either from the open servants

of sin, or from those who have only the form of religion. But how long

will you who worship God in spirit, who are "circumcised with the circumcision

not made with hands," set our battle in array against those who seek a

entire circumcision of heart, who thirst to be cleansed "from all filthiness

of flesh and spirit," and to "perfect holiness in the fear of God?" Are

we your enemies, because we look for a full deliverance from that "carnal

mind which is enmity against God?" Nay, we are your brethren, your fellow-labourers

in the vineyard of our Lord, your companions in the kingdom and patience

of Jesus. Although this we confess, (if we are fools therein, yet as fools

bear with us,) we do expect to love God with all our heart, and our neighbour

as ourselves. Yea, we do believe, that he will in this world so cleanse

the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, that

we shall perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his holy name."






SOME thoughts occurred to my mind this morning concerning Christian

perfection, and the manner and time of receiving it, which I believe may

be useful to set down.

 1. By perfection I mean the humble, gentle, patient love of God,

and our neighbour, ruling our tempers, words, and actions.

 I do not include an impossibility of falling from it, either in

part or in whole. Therefore, I retract several expressions in our Hymns,

which partly express, partly imply, such an impossibility.

 And I do not contend for the term sinless, though I do

not object against it.

 2. As to the manner. I believe this perfection is always wrought

in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently, in an instant.

 But I believe a gradual work, both preceding and following that


 3. As to the time. I believe this instant generally is the instant

of death, the moment before the soul leaves the body. But I believe it

may be ten, twenty, or forty years before.

 I believe it is usually many years after justification; but that it may be within five years or five months after it, I know no conclusive argument to the contrary.

 If it must be many years after justification, I would be glad to know how many. Pretium quotus arroget annus? [This quotation from Horace is thus translated by Boscawen: -- "How many years give sanction to our lines?" -- EDIT.]

 And how many days or months, or even years, can any one allow to be between perfection and death? How far from justification must it be; and how near to death?

 LONDON, Jan. 27, 1767.

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: chrisitian; love; perfection
Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

Is that Jesus' suggestion, is it Jesus' recommendation, .... instruction....command?

If the instruction or command is given is it reasonable to think that the power and means to obey will also be given? Or is it more reasonable to think that when Jesus gave the command or instruction that he gave it with the express understanding that they were futile words that could NEVER be obeyed?

1 posted on 10/11/2002 7:11:27 PM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
Amen Brother Wesley! Amen.

"Is that Jesus' suggestion, is it Jesus' recommendation, .... instruction....command? "

I say instruction and command. No joke, no kidding, no sugestion.
2 posted on 10/11/2002 8:25:25 PM PDT by rising tide
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To: rising tide; The Grammarian; Revelation 911; fortheDeclaration; maestro
What follows are a number of "perfect" verses. It is indisputable that "perfect" is a bible word. We cannot run away from it.

Matthew 5:48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 19:21
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Luke 6:40
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

John 17:23
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

1 Corinthians 2:6
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

1 Corinthians 13:10
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 13:9
For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Galatians 3:3
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Ephesians 4:12
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:13
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Philippians 3:12
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:15
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Colossians 3:14
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Colossians 4:12
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

2 Timothy 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 6:1
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Hebrews 12:23
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Hebrews 13:21
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

James 1:4
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 2:22
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 3:2
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 John 2:5
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

1 John 4:12
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Revelation 3:2
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 posted on 10/12/2002 1:24:15 AM PDT by xzins
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To: All
Romans 6:19
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Romans 6:22
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Ephesians 4:24
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

1 Thessalonians 3:13
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

1 Timothy 2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Titus 2:3
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Hebrews 12:10
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Corinthians 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

1 Corinthians 7:34
There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 3:5
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Colossians 1:22
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Titus 1:8
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

1 Peter 1:15
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1 Peter 1:16
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

2 Peter 2:21
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

2 Peter 3:11
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Revelation 22:11
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

Revelation 3:2
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Luke 1
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

Mark 6:20
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Luke 1:70
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
4 posted on 10/12/2002 6:16:47 AM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
nice post x - At its simplest point I think Wesley was conveying the basis for the strive in personal holiness. You can plainly see how Phoebe Palmer was influenced - Im not entirely sure if the M.E. church of the time drew from this (perhaps you know), but am well aware that Free Methodism did. Wesley is such a fun read too - such a passionate man - though frankly there are days when I prefer Charles hymns as they were brief encapsulations of the sermons. - I wonder at times if Charles talents were lost in the grandeur of Johns talents.
5 posted on 10/15/2002 7:20:23 AM PDT by Revelation 911
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To: Revelation 911
Who can argue that God expects holiness and that there is a great promise of power to be faithful held out to us. The Free Methodists far better than the United Methodists hold on to these promises of God.
6 posted on 10/15/2002 7:33:54 AM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins; Revelation 911
What's the difference between a "Free" Methodist and a "United" Methodist?
7 posted on 10/15/2002 7:40:07 AM PDT by Josephs Dad
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To: Josephs Dad
If I remember right they are a Civil War era split over both slavery and the doctrine under discussion here, "perfection in love."

Jokingly, the FM's will say that the UM's charge far more money....thus, they are the "free" methodists.
8 posted on 10/15/2002 7:51:02 AM PDT by xzins
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To: Josephs Dad; xzins
free methodists prefer lime jello as opposed to orange jello

seriously - we split in 1860 over pew rental, slavery, female ordination, plainess of dress, and are generally considered the conservative little brother of mainstream methodism. Our doctrine is typical Wesley - but there is a large influence from the holiness movement as well. Quite bound in legalism until the 70's - its relaxed quite a bit. Our predominant ministry is overseas missions, the bulk of membership being located in Africa - there are about 90,000 members in the states.

Thanks for asking

How about you ? - what is your backround?

9 posted on 10/15/2002 8:34:48 AM PDT by Revelation 911
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To: Revelation 911; The Grammarian; fortheDeclaration; winstonchurchill; ShadowAce; P-Marlowe; ...
John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Acts 20:32
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Acts 26:18
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

1 Corinthians 1:2
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

1 Corinthians 6:11
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:21
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

Hebrews 2:11
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Hebrews 10:10
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:29
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 13:12
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Jude 1:1
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

10 posted on 10/15/2002 8:51:30 AM PDT by xzins
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