The "Imitation of Christ" – a book and a friend

QUOTE: About this time Wesley began to study the “Imitation of Christ,” which he had often seen, but never studied carefully. It taught him that true religion was seated in the heart, and that God’s law extended to all our thoughts as well as our words and actions. He was very angry with A Kempis for being too strict, though he only read Dean Stanhope’s translation; but nevertheless he frequently found much sensible comfort in the reading, such as he had been a stranger to before. Wesley’s love of A Kempis never failed. In 1761 he told his friend Byrom that “Thomas a Kempis was next to the Bible.” Up to 1725 Wesley had never had any religious friend. Now he was fortunate enough to meet with one, though we do not know his name, who became a true helper. He began to alter the whole form of his conversation, and earnestly sought to lead a new life. He took the Lord’s Supper every week, watched against all sin in word or deed, and began to strive and pray for inward holiness. “So that now, doing so much and living so good a life,” he says, “I doubted not but I was a good Christian.” 

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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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