John Wesley ( 28 June 1703 Epworth – 2 March 1791 London)
The Will of God
22. Perhaps some may ask, “Ought we not then to inquire what is the will of God in all things And ought not His will to be the rule of our practice” Unquestionably it ought. But how is a sober Christian to make this inquiry to know what is the will of God Not by waiting for supernatural dreams; not by expecting God to reveal it in visions; not by looking for any particular impressions or sudden impulses on his mind: no; but by consulting the oracles of God. “To the law and to the testimony!” This is the general method of knowing what is “the holy and acceptable will of God.”
23. “But how shall I know what is the will of God, in such and such a particular case The thing proposed is, in itself, of an indifferent nature, and so left undetermined in Scripture.” I answer, the Scripture itself gives you a general rule. applicable to all particular cases: “The will of God is our sanctification.” It is His will that we should be inwardly and outwardly holy; that we should be good, and do good, in every kind and in the highest degree whereof we are capable. Thus far we tread upon firm ground. This is as clear as the shining of the sun. In order, therefore, to know what is the will of God in a particular case, we have only to apply this general rule.
24. Suppose, for instance, it were proposed to a reasonable man to marry, or to enter into a new business: in order to know whether this is the will of God, being assured, “It is the will of God concerning me, that I should be as holy and do as much good as I can,” he has only to enquire, “In which of these states can I be most holy, and do the most good” And this is to be determined, partly by reason, and partly by experience. Experience tells him what advantages he has in his present state, either for being or doing good; and reason is to show, what he certainly or probably will have in the state proposed. By comparing these, he is to judge which of the two may most conduce to his being and doing good; and as far as he knows this, so far he is certain what is the will of God. (John Wesley The-nature-of-enthusiasm)
“But is not flattery,” a man may say, “one species of lying And has not this been allowed in all ages to be the sure means of pleasing Has not that observation been confirmed by numerous experiments, (Pleasing all men)
A man may have pride in him, may think of himself in some particulars above what he ought to think, (and so be proud in that particular,) and yet not be a proud man in his general character. He may have anger in him, yea, and a strong propensity to furious anger, without giving way to it. — “But can anger and pride be in that heart, where only meekness and humility are felt” No; but some pride and anger may be in that heart, where there is much humility and meekness.
Resentment of an affront is sin; it is anomia, disconformity to the law of love. This has existed in me a thousand times. Yet it did not, and does not, reign. — “But guilt and power are essential properties of sin; therefore where one is, all must be.” No: In the instance before us, if the resentment I feel is not yielded to, even for a moment, there is no guilt at all, no condemnation from God upon that account. And in this case, it has no power: though it “lusteth against the Spirit,” it cannot prevail. Here, therefore, as in ten thousand instances, there is sin without either guilt or power. (Sin in Believers)
“Think, and speak, and do what you are persuaded Christ himself would do in your case, were he on earth. It becomes a Christian, rather to be an example to all, who was, and is, and ever will be, our absolute pattern. O Christians, how did Christ pray, and redeem time for prayer! How did Christ preach, out of whose mouth proceeded no other but gracious words What time did Christ spend in impertinent discourse How did Christ go up and down, doing good to men, and what was pleasing to God Beloved, I commend to you these four memorials: (1.) Mind duty: (2.) What is the duty of another in your case, is your own: (3.) Do not meddle with anything, if you cannot say, The blessing of the Lord be upon it: (4.) Above all, sooner forget your Christian name, than forget to eye Christ! Whatever treatment you meet with from the world, remember him and follow his steps, ‘who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.'” (On Conscience)
Happiness as well as Holiness is implied by a heart which is right toward God and men. (J.Wesley)