HOLINESS AND FRIENDSHIPS

QUOTE: Wesley’s removal from Christ Church to Lincoln had one happy result. As soon as he determined to become a real Christian, not merely a nominal one, he found that his acquaintance were as ignorant of God as himself; but whilst he was aware of his ignorance, they were not aware of theirs. He tried to help them, but without success. “Meantime,” he says, “I found, by sad experience, that even their harmless conversation, so called, damped all my good resolutions. I saw no possible way of getting rid of them, unless it should please God to remove me to another college. He did so, in a manner contrary to alJ human expectation. I was elected Fellow of a college where I knew not one person.” He was aware that many would call upon him for various reasons, but he had made up his mind to have no chance acquaintance. He narrowly observed the temper and behaviour of all who came, and determined that he would only cultivate the friendship of those who were likely to lead him on the way to heaven. He did not return the visits of those who were not of this spirit. Such people, therefore, gradually left him to himself. When he wrote this account he said that this had been his invariable rule for about threescore years.*

Wesley behaved as courteously as he could, but he was determined both to redeem the time and save his own soul. On March 19th, 1727, he tells his mother that the conversation of one or two friends, of whom he should always speak with gratitude, had first taken away his relish for most other pleasures. He had now begun to lose his love for company ” the most elegant entertainment next to books,”—so that, unless the persons had a religious turn of thought, he felt much better pleased without them. He was inclined to prefer some more retired position than he had at Oxford, where he might fix his habits of mind “before the flexibility of youth was over.” A school in Yorkshire had lately been offered him, with a good salary. What charmed him most, however, was the description of the place which some gentlemen had given him the previous day. It lay in a little valley, so hemmed in by hills that it was scarcely accessible. There was no company in the school, and scarcely any outside. This account, which his visitors thought would put such a post out of the question, strongly attracted Wesley. He adds, “I am full of business, but have found a way to write without taking any time from that. It is but rising an hour sooner in the morning, and going into company an hour later in the evening, both which may be done without any inconvenience.” *

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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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