Pearl of Great Value - Matt. 13:45-46

Wesley Quotes: Quotations from John (and Charles Wesley when noted)

On Christian Perfection

Sanctification in the proper sense is an instantaneous deliverance from all sin, and includes an instantaneous power then given always to cleave to God. The proposition which I hold is this: a person may be cleansed from all sinful tempers, and yet need the atoning blood. [my emphasis] 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 them till he lay his body down. [This quotation should end forever the charge that Wesley taught absolute 'sinless perfection,' or that his teaching implied that a sanctified person no longer required the blood of Christ for forgiveness.]


I believe it to be an inward thing, namely, the life of God in the soul of man; a participation of the Divine nature; the mind of Christ; or the renewal of our heart after the image of Him that created us. -- Journal, Sept. 1793


But what is the perfection here spoken of? It is not only a deliverance from doubts and fears, but from sin; from all inward as well as outward sin; from evil desires and evil tempers, as well as from evil words and works. Yea, and it is not only a negative blessing, a deliverance from all evil dispositions, implied in that expression, "I will circumcise thy heart," but a positive one likewise, even the planting all good dispositions in their place, clearly implied in that expression, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. -- Journal, March, 1775

We continually declare that there is no such perfection in this life as implies either a dispensation from doing good and attending all the ordinances of God, or a freedom from ignorance, mistake, temptation, and a thousand infirmities necessarily connected with flesh and blood.


He breaks the power of canceled sin,/ He sets the prisoner free;/ His blood can make the foulest clean;/ His blood availed for me. --Charles Wesley


The moment a sinner is justified his heart is cleansed in a low degree; but yet he has not a clean heart, in the full, proper sense, till he is made perfect in love. -- Journal, 1744,


Perhaps the general prejudice against Christian perfection may chiefly arise from a misapprehension of the nature of it. We willingly allow, and continually declare there is no such perfection in this life as implies either a dispensation from doing good and attending all the ordinances of God, or a freedom from ignorance, mistake, temptation, and a thousand infirmities necessarily connected with flesh and blood. -- "Plain Account"


The perfection I teach, is perfect love; loving God with all the heart, receiving Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, to reign alone over all our thoughts, words and actions. That we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; 'that now is the accepted time, now is the day of this salvation.' -- Wesley's Works, Vol. VI, p. 500


To Miss Jane Hilton, 1766: "Do you now feel anything like anger, or pride, self-will, or any remains of the carnal mind? Was your second deliverance wrought while I was at Beverly? at the time of the sermon, or after it? You did not tell me, in what manner you found the change; and whether it has continued without any intermission from that moment. Certainly there never need be any decay: there never will, if you continue watching unto prayer." --Works, Vol. VII, p. 42

To set perfection too high, is the surest way to drive it out of the world. Whereunto you have attained, hold fast; never cast it away through a voluntary humility.

Look for it (sanctification) every day, every hour, every moment, why not this hour? this moment? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or by works: If by works, you want something to be done first, before you are sanctified. You think, I must be, or do, thus or thus. Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are, and if as you are, then expect it now. It is of importance to observe that there is an inseparable connection between these three points. Expect it by faith, expect it as you are, and expect it now.

I want you to be all love. This is the perfection I believe and teach. And this perfection is consistent with a thousand nervous disorders, which that high-strained perfection is not.


The neglect of prayer is a grand hindrance to holiness.

Come, Savior, Jesus, from above,/ Assist me with thy heavenly grace;/ Empty my heart of earthly love,/ And for thyself prepare the place.
Nothing on earth do I desire/ But thy pure love within my breast;/ This, only this, will I require,/And freely give up all the rest. -- Tr. by John Wesley

On Other Subjects


God will do nothing but in answer to prayer.


Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.


Keep us little and unknown, prized and loved by God alone. – Charles Wesley


I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power.  And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.


Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.


The longer I live, the larger allowances I make for human infirmities. I exact more from myself and less from others. Go thou and do likewise.


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 sin; I mean from all pride, anger, evil desire, and unbelief.


If you seek your happiness in God alone, you will never be disappointed: if in anything else, you surely will; for all creatures are broken cisterns. Let your eye be single. Seek one thing--to save your own soul and those that hear you.


The Methodists must take heed to their doctrine, their experience, their practice, and their discipline. If they attend to their doctrines only, they will make the people antinomians; if to the experimental part of religion only, they will make them enthusiasts; if to the practical part only, they will make them Pharisees; and if they do not attend to their discipline, they will be like persons who bestow much pains in cultivating their garden, and put no fence round it, to save it from the wild boar of the forest.


To William Wilberforce ( BALAM, February 24, 1791.  DEAR SIR, -- Unless the divine power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, [‘Athanasius against the world.’] I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing I Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it. Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance, that a man who has a black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress; it being a law in all our Colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for nothing. What villainy is this! That He who has guided you from youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things is the prayer of, dear sir, Your affectionate servant.


I wish your zeal was better employed than in persuading men to be either dipped or sprinkled. I will employ mine by the grace of God in persuading them to love God with all their hearts and their neighbor as themselves. - Letter to Gilbert Boyce


But although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union, yet need it prevent our union in affection? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works.

Is it not the duty of every Arminian Preacher, First, never, in public or in private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach; seeing it is neither better nor worse than calling names? -- a practice no more consistent with good sense or good manners, than it is with Christianity. Secondly. To do all that in him lies to prevent his hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin and folly of it? And is it not equally the duty of every Calvinist Preacher, First, never in public or in private, in preaching or in conversation, to use the word Arminian as a term of reproach? Secondly. To do all that in him lies to prevent his hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin and folly thereof; and that the more earnestly and diligently, if they have been accustomed so to do? perhaps encouraged therein by his own example

Faith is given according to our present need. You have now such faith as is necessary for your living unto God. As yet you are not called to die. When you are, you shall have faith for this also. To-day improve the faith you now have, and trust God for to-morrow. - Letter to Miss Bishop


They who feel less, certainly suffer less; but the more we suffer, the more we may improve; the more obedience, the more holiness, we may learn by the things we suffer. So that, upon the whole, I do not know if the insensible ones have the advantage over us. - The Same


We have but one point in view; to be altogether Christians, scriptural, rational Christians. For which we well know, not only the world, but the almost Christians will never forgive us. - The Same


On Money


When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.


Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.