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THE VIEWS OF MR. WESLEY UPON THE COMMANDS OF GOD.
IN a volume of occasional sermons by the Rev. John Wesley, a celebrated English Meth⚫ odist divine, we find the following remarks in a discourse upon the perfection of mankind. "There is," says he, a very clear and full promise, that we shall all love the Lord our God with all our hearts. So we read, Deut. 30:6: Then will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.' Equally express is the word of the Lord, which is no less a promise, though in the form of a command: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.' No words can be more strong than these, no promise can be more express. In like manner, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,' is as express a promise as a command. And, indeed, that general and unlimited promise, which runs through the whole
gospel dispensation, 'I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts,' turns all the commands into promises, and consequently that among the rest. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.' The command here is equivalent to a promise, and gives us full reason to expect, that he will work in us what he requires of us."
Mr. Wesley further says, in the same connection, "That when the apostle says to the Ephesians, 'Ye have been taught, as the truth is in Jesus, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man, which is created after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness:' he leaves us no room to doubt but God will thus renew us in the spirit of our mind, and create us anew in the image of God, wherein we were first created. Otherwise it could not be said, That this is the truth as it is in Jesus. The command of God given by St. Peter, 'Be ye holy as he that hath called you is holy, in all manner of conversation,' implies a promise that we shall be thus holy. As God has called us to holiness, he is undoubtedly willing, as well as able, to work this holiness in us. For he cannot mock his helpless creatures, calling upon them to receive what he never intends to give."
or his works. You rather wish to be totally delivered from them; to have sin entirely rooted out of you.
"There is a remarkable passage in John Bunyan's Holy War:
"When Immanuel had driven Diabolos (the devil) and all his] forces out of the city of Mansoul, Diabolos petitioned to Immanuel, that he might have only a small part of the city. When this was rejected, he begged to have only a little room within the walls. But Immanuel answered, 'He shall not have any place in it at all, no, not to rest the sole of his foot.' Had not the good old man forgot himself? Did not the force of truth so prevail over him here, as utterly to overturn his own system? For if this is not complete salvation from all sin, I cannot tell what is.
"No, says a great man, this is the error of errors I hate it from my heart. I pursue it through all the world with fire and sword. Nay, why so vehement? Do you seriously think there is no error under heaven equal to this? Here is something I cannot understand. Why are those that oppose salvation from sin, few excepted, so eager, I had almost said furious! Are you fighting pro aris and focis?
for God and your country; for all you have in the world; for all that is near and dear unto you; for your liberty; your life? In God's name, why are you so fond of sin? What good has it ever done you? What good is it ever likely to do you, either in this world, or in the world to come? And why are you so violent against those who hope for a deliverance from it? Have patience with us, if we are in an error: yea, suffer us to enjoy our error. If we should not attain it, the very expectation of it gives us present comfort, yea, and ministers strength to resist those enemies which we expect to conquer. Now we are saved by hope: from this very hope a degree of comfort springs. Be not angry at those who are happy in their mistake. For, be their opinion right or wrong, your temper is undeniably sinful. Bear with us, as we do with you, and see if the Lord will not deliver us; whether he is not able, yea, and willing, to save them to the uttermost that come unto God through him."
Such is the reasoning of Mr. Wesley, the reputed founder of Methodism, upon the belief in universal holiness! He thought Bunyan forgot his own system, when he refused the
of the universe and its various nations, to the four corners of which the gospel was to extend. The Jews and Gentiles, says the learned doctor, are certainly represented by the clean and unclean animals in this large vessel: these, by the ministry of the gospel, were to be offered up a spiritual sacrifice to God. Peter was to be a prime instrument this work: he was to offer them to God, and rejoice in the work of his hands. The spirit of the direction seems to be this: "The middle wall of partition is now to be pulled down; the Jews and Gentiles. are to become one flock, under one shepherd and bishop of souls. Thou, Peter, shalt open the door of faith to the Gentiles, and be also. the minister of the uncircumcision, Rise up; already a blessed sacrifice is prepared: go and offer it to God, and let thy soul feed on the. fruits of his mercy and goodness, in thus showing his gracious design of saving both Jews and Gentiles by Christ crucified." God, who first made the distinction between Jews and Gentiles, has a right to remove it, whenever and by whatever means he chooses: he, therefore, who made the distinction, for wise purposes, between the clean and unclean, now pronounces all to be clean. He had authority to do the first: