Holiness at Oxford

QUOTE: When he went to Oxford, Wesley still “said his prayers,” both in public and private, and read the Scriptures, with other devotional books, especially comments on the New Testament. He had not any notion of inward holiness, but went on “habitually, and for the most part very contentedly, in some or other known sin, indeed, with some intermission and short struggles, especially before and after the Holy Communion,” which he was obliged to receive three times a year. “I cannot well tell,” he says, “what I hoped to be saved by now, when I was continually sinning against that little light I had, unless by those transient fits of what many divines taught me to call repentance.” * A conversation which he had late one night with the porter of his college made a lasting impression on his mind, and convinced him that there was something in religion which he had not yet found. At first Wesley indulged in a little pleasantry but when he found that this man had only one coat, and that though nothing had passed his lips that day but a drink of water, his heart was full of gratitude, he said, “You thank God when you have nothing to wear, nothing to eat, and no bed to lie upon. What else do you thank Him for “ “I thank Him,” answered the porter, “that He has given me my life and being, and a heart to love Him, and a desire to serve Him.”

The beginning of 1725 seems to have been marked by a great increase of spiritual desire. Wesley was not yet twenty-two. He thought of entering the Church, and Consulted his parents. His father wished that he should devote himself to “critical learning,” but Mrs. Wesley was greatly pleased by his desire to take orders. His father wrote him on January 26th, 1725, to express his pleasure that his son had such a high conception of the work of a minister, and to point out the motives that should govern his choice of such a life. “The principal spring and motive, to which all the former should be only secondary, must certainly be the glory of God and the service of His Church in the edification of our neighbour. And woe to him who, with any meaner leading view, attempts so sacred a work.”

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The quote above is from The Life of John Wesley by John Telford – Chapter4, EARLIER YEARS AT OXFORD, AND CURACY AT WROOTE, 1720—1729 and is found at http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-life-of-john-wesley-by-john-telford/the-life-of-john-wesley-by-john-telford-chapter-4/. Copyright © 1993-2011. Wesley Center for Applied Theology, c/o Northwest Nazarene University. All Rights Reserved.

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