ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN WESLEY
William M. Arnett
Source: Wesleyan Theological Journal
The person and work of the Holy Spirit have a
significant role in the theological thought of John Wesley. That role is
primarily redemptive, and it is therefore interwoven in Wesley’s doctrine of
salvation, which was the chief burden of his more than fifty years of
The two great poles of his doctrine of salvation were justification and
sanctification, and the experiential basis of his thought is the soil out of
which grew his deep concern with the work of the Holy Spirit.
For Wesley, every doctrine of the Christian faith is centered in the context of
vital Christian experience in which the Holy Spirit is a key factor. The
Trinitarian basis is apparent, for it was the office of Jesus Christ to reveal
the Heavenly Father and thus make possible our salvation by His life and death,
and in turn it is the office of the Holy Spirit to reveal the Son to sinful man
and administer His atoning work in his soul. Hence, Wesley’s theology is
Christoscentric and the person of Christ is essential to every other doctrine.
The administrative role of the Holy Spirit in relation to the work of Christ
makes it imperative to have a proper understanding of the work of the Holy
Spirit in Wesley’s thought.
The focus of this investigation is the role of the
Holy Spirit in entire sanctification in Wesley’s writings. Four related
aspects are emphasized: first, the preparatory work of the Holy Spirit
antecedent to entire sanctification—second, the preliminary work of the Holy
Spirit in entire sanctification—third, the purifying work of the Holy Spirit
in entire sanctification, with Wesley’s variation in nomenclature; and
finally, the witness of the Holy Spirit in entire sanctification.
The Preparatory Work of the Holy Spirit Antecedent to Entire Sanctification
There is a vital activity of the Holy Spirit in the
life of the unbeliever without which Christian experience would be impossible.
In his open letter “To A Roman Catholic” in 1749, Wesley affirmed his belief
in the infinite and eternal Spirit of God, equal with the Father and the Son,
Who is not only perfectly holy in Himself, but
immediate cause of all holiness in us; enlightening our understandings,
rectifying our wills and affections, renewing our natures, uniting our persons
to Christ, assuring us of the adoption of sons, leading us in our actions,
purifying and sanctifying our souls and bodies, to a full and eternal enjoyment
Wesley took his stand with Augustine, Luther, and
Calvin in his insistence that man is totally corrupt by nature, and as a
consequence is subject to the judgment and wrath of God. But to these somber
facts he adds another principle, namely, the free gift of God’s grace which he
called preventing or prevenient grace, imparted to all men as a first,
unconditional benefit of the atonement, not in the sense of regeneration, but as
the spirit of awakening and conviction. For Wesley, God’s prevenient grace,
which goes before salvation, is related to the activity of the Holy Spirit.
allowing that all the souls of men are dead in sin by nature, this
excuses none, seeing there is no man that is in a state of mere nature; there is
no man, unless he has quenched the Spirit [Italics mine], that is wholly
void of the grace of God. No man living is entirely destitute of what is
vulgarly called natural conscience. But this is not natural: It is more
properly termed, preventing grace. Every man has a greater or less
measure of this, which waiteth not for the call of man.
Man must cooperate with God, however, if he is to
come to salvation in Jesus Christ. Wesley agrees with Augustine’s remark:
“He that made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves.”
A primary task of the Holy Spirit is to reveal,
testify, and defend the truth as it is in Jesus.
In connection with His primary task, the Spirit performs a two-fold office,
first toward the world (John 16:8ff.), and secondly toward believers (John
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convince the world, through the agency of
preaching and miracles, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. The
Spirit will convict men particularly of the sin of unbelief, which is “the
confluence of all sins.”
The law of God is applied by the Holy Spirit to the heart of man and deeply
convicts him of his utter sinfulness and helplessness.
The law becomes to us an occasion of wrath, and exposes us to punishment as
But God gives us the light of the gospel that we might repent,
and the first step towards entering into the kingdom of grace is “to become as
little children—lowly in heart, knowing yourselves utterly ignorant and
helpless, and hanging wholly on your Father who is in heaven for a supply of all
Wesley insists that “true repentance is a change from spiritual death to
spiritual life, and leads to life everlasting.”
There are two kinds, or stages of repentance prior to initial salvation,
according to Wesley’s interpretation. The first he calls “legal”
repentance, which is “a thorough conviction of sin,” and the second is
“evangelical” repentance, or “a change of heart (and consequently of life)
from all sin to all holiness.”
Discussing the universality of sin and its consequences in his sermon on “The
New Birth,” Wesley concludes by stating “hence it is, that, being born in
sin, we must be ‘born again.’ Hence every one that is born of a woman must
be born of the Spirit of God.”
From this brief analysis of the preparatory work of
the Holy Spirit prior to entire sanctification, it is quite apparent that
Wesley’s presentation of the gospel was characterized by New Testament
realism. In his sermon “On Grieving the Holy Spirit” he stresses that
can be no point of greater importance to him who knows that it is the Holy
Spirit which leads us into all truth and into all holiness, than to consider
with what temper of soul we are to entertain his divine presence; so as not
either to drive him from us, or to disappoint him of the gracious ends for which
his abode with us is designed; which is not the amusement of our understanding,
but the conversion and entire sanctification of our hearts and lives. . . . The
title “holy,” applied to the Spirit of God, does not only denote that he is
holy in his own nature; but that he makes us so; that he is the great fountain
of holiness to his Church—the Spirit from whence flows all the grace and
virtue, by which the stains of guilt are cleansed, and we are renewed in all
holy dispositions, and again bear the image of our Creator.
It is interesting to note that this sermon was
written in 1733, five years prior to Wesley’s heart-warming experience at
Concerning born-again believers, Wesley expressed
the conviction that it is universally allowed that the Holy Spirit, together
with the Father and Son, indwells those who believe. The Holy Spirit first
inspired, “and still preserves, the life of God in our souls.”
The internal agency of the Holy Ghost is generally admitted as well, for He
leads the believer into all truth and glorifies Christ in his life. The bodies
and souls of believers are the temples of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.
In regard to the biblical phrase, “receiving the Holy Ghost,” Wesley
insisted that this occurs at justification. Writing to Joseph Benson on December
28, 1770, respecting entire sanctification, he exhorted him to confirm the
brethren “with all zeal and diligence” in a two-fold manner, first, “in
holding fast that whereto they have attained-namely, the remission of all their
sins by faith in a bleeding Lord,” and secondly, “in expecting a second
change, whereby they shall be saved from all sin and perfected in love.”
Immediately following the second point, Wesley adds this important comment,
they like to call this “receiving the Holy Ghost,” they may: only the phrase
in that sense is not scriptural and not quite proper; for they all “received
the Holy Ghost” when they were justified. God then “sent forth the Spirit of
His Son into their hearts, crying Abba, Father.”
The Preliminary Work of the Holy Spirit in Entire Sanctification
Prior to the actual experience of entire
sanctification there is an important ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of
a believer to indicate clearly and forcefully the need of sanctifying grace as a
second crisis experience following the new birth. Since sanctification is
“entire holiness of heart and life,”
the Holy Spirit is given to convince the followers of Christ of this truth and
to enable them to be holy.
Therefore, to despise the Apostle’s commandments to holiness of heart and life
is to despise God Himself. The significance of entire sanctification as a
definite second work of grace for Wesley is evident in his strong insistence
that “a deep conviction of our demerit, after we are accepted . . . is
absolutely necessary, in order to our seeing the true value of the atoning
blood; in order to our feeling that we need this as much, after we are
justified, as ever we did before.”
The Holy Spirit seeks to engender “a deep conviction that we are not yet
whole; that our hearts are not fully purified; that there is yet in us a
‘carnal mind,’ which is still in its nature ‘enmity against God’; that
the whole body of sin remains in our heart, weakened indeed, but not
In such strong language, Wesley sought to safeguard against a shallow notion of
remaining depravity, and further, to produce an earnest expectation of
deliverance through the sanctifying grace of God. It is important to note that
his conception of sin was more inclusive than “voluntary transgression.” Sin
was not a material substance or “thing,” however, for Wesley expected
deliverance from all sin in this life.
He spoke of the “mischievousness of that opinion” that “we are wholly
sanctified when we are justified; that our hearts are then cleansed from all
is true, we are then delivered, as was observed before, from the dominion of
outward sin; and, at the same time, the power of inward sin is so broken, that
we need no longer follow, or be led by it: but it is by no means true, that
inward sin is then totally destroyed; that the root of pride, self-will, anger,
love of the world, is then taken out of the heart; or that the carnal mind, and
the heart bent to backsliding, are entirely extirpated.
A timely warning along these lines for those in the
present day who share the Wesleyan-Arminian heritage is sounded in a perceptive,
scholarly discussion by Merne A. Harris and Richard S. Taylor on “The Dual
Nature of Sin,” particularly in regard to those “who know secular psychology
better than they know the Bible and Christian theology.”
The Purifying Work of the Holy Spirit in Entire Sanctification
Wesley uses the word “purify” as well as other
terms or phrases to signify the sanctifying ministry of the Holy Spirit in a
definite second work of grace. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to sanctify.
Wesley used the term “inspiration” or “perceptible inspiration” for the
general ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. He defines
“inspiration” as the “inward assistance of the Holy Ghost which ‘helps
our infirmities, enlightens our understanding, rectifies our will, comforts,
purifies, and sanctifies us.’”
Just as Wesley had received help from the Moravians
in regard to the true nature of justifying faith, there is evidence that he also
received illumination concerning the experiential reality of a pure heart. While
he was with the Moravians at Herrnhut, Wesley records in his Journal for
August 8, 1738, that he had the blessing of hearing Christian David preach four
he described the state of those who are “weak in faith,” who are justified,
but have not yet a new, clean heart; who have received forgiveness through the
blood of Christ, but have not received the constant indwelling of the Holy
Ghost. This state he explained once from, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” when he showed at large, from various
Scriptures, that many are children of God and heirs of the promises, long before
their hearts are softened by holy “mourning;” . . . before they are “pure
in heart,” from all self-will and sin. . .”
Approximately two years after his visit to Herrnhut,
there is an interesting entry in his Journal regarding a sermon he
preached at the Foundery on June 24, 1740, in which he used the text, “Cast
not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Hebrews
10:35). His message was directed to those “who have known and felt your sins
finding sin remaining in you still is no proof that you are not a believer. Sin
does remain in one that is justified, though it has not dominion over him. For
he has not a clean heart at first, neither are “all things” as yet “become
new.” But fear not though you have an evil heart. Yet a little while, and you
shall be endued with power from on high, whereby you may “purify yourselves,
even as He is pure”; and be “holy, as He which hath called you is holy.”
“You shall be endued with power from on high” in
the quotation, which Wesley addressed to believers, is obviously a reference to
the promise of Jesus recorded in
For Wesley the word “sprinkle” in
both the blood of Christ sprinkled upon their conscience, to take away their
guilt, as the water of purification was sprinkled, to take away their ceremonial
uncleanness and the grace of the spirit sprinkle en [sic] the whole soul, to
purify it from all corrupt inclinations and dispositions.
“From all your uncleanness” in verse 29 of the
same chapter means for Wesley “salvation from all uncleanness including
justification, entire sanctification, and meetness for glory.”
Wesley used a variety of terms in his discussions
concerning entire sanctification, including pneumatological phrases or terms.
Writing to Walter Churchey in 1771, he stated that “entire sanctification, or
Christian perfection, is neither more nor less than pure love; love expelling
sin, and governing both the heart and life of a child of God. The Refiner’s
fire purges out all that is contrary to love. . . .”
Obviously, he used the two terms, entire sanctification and Christian perfection
synonymously, and it is incorrect to interpret the latter term merely as a
process in Wesley’s thinking.
Crisis and process are never divorced in Wesley’s conception of entire
sanctification or Christian perfection, but he did expect a crisis with the
process, whether one or the other term was used.
As the word “crisis” implies, Wesley stressed the instantaneousness of
entire sanctification. He made a significant observation in a letter to Sarah
Rutter on December 5, 1789, approximately fifteen months before his death:
“Gradual sanctification may increase from the time you was [sic] justified;
but full deliverance from sin, I believe, is always instantaneous—at least, I
never yet knew an exception.”
Another set of terms was used by Wesley when he
In distinguishing justification and sanctification,
Wesley wrote “the one implies, what God does for us through His Son; the
other, what He works in us by His Spirit.”
It is apparent, however, that Wesley did not conceive the work of the Son and
that of the Holy Spirit as mutually exclusive, as this quotation might suggest,
but intimately related. What Christ made possible through His atoning work, the
Holy Spirit makes actual in the lives of believers. As Wesley suggests in his
The petition of our Lord for His disciples in
In Wesley’s commentary on
There is an interesting observation to be made in
regard to Wesley’s understanding of “receiving the Holy Spirit.” He
employs the term or idea in various aspects of Christian experience, including
the time or conditions prior to justification, as well as in regeneration and
entire sanctification. For example, in his treatise, “A Farther Appeal to Men
of Reason and Religion,” Wesley states that “the author of faith and
salvation is God alone.” Furthermore,
is no more of power than of merit in man; but as all merit is in the Son of God,
in what He has done and suffered for us, so all power is in the Spirit of God.
And therefore every man in order to believe unto salvation, must receive the
Obviously Wesley is speaking of man’s need prior
to actual justification. The reception of the Holy Spirit is necessary for a
soul to be brought into a justified relationship. Also, we have already noted in
his letter to Joseph Benson in 1770 he expresses the view that all believers
“received the Holy Ghost” when they were justified. Similarly, in his
spirit of bondage here seems directly to mean, those operations of the Holy Spirit,
by which the soul, on its first conviction, feels itself in bondage to sin, to
the world, to Satan, and obnoxious to the wrath of God. This, therefore, and the
Spirit of adoption are one and the same Spirit, only manifesting itself
in various operations, according to the various circumstances of the person.
Thus, for Wesley, the various operations of the Holy
Spirit, while including conviction, faith, and regeneration, must also lead to
and culminate in entire sanctification.
There is also evidence in Wesley’s writings that
there is a dual usage of the phrase, “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” His
There are four expressions in regard to the Holy
Spirit in Wesley’s discussion of Cornelius and his household: “baptism of
the Spirit,” “received the Holy Ghost,” “gift of the Holy Ghost,” and
“baptized with the Holy Ghost.” These expressions are found in his
does not say, they have THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT; therefore they do not need
baptism with water: but just the contrary; if they have received the Spirit,
then baptize them with water.
easily is this question decided, if we will take the word of God for our judge!
Either men have RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST, or not. If they have not, “Repent,”
saith God, “and be baptized, and ye shall receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY
GHOST.” If they have, if they are already BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, then who
can forbid water?
Concerning Cornelius and his household, Herbert
McGonigle states that “Wesley held that they were already justified” prior
to the encounter with Peter and his message at
accepted of him—Through Christ, though he knows Him not. The assertion is
express, and admits of no exception. He is in the favour of God, whether
enjoying his written word and ordinances or not. Nevertheless the addition of
these is an unspeakable blessing to those who were before, in some measure,
accepted: otherwise, God would never have sent an angel from heaven to direct
Cornelius to St. Peter.
Perhaps the statement, “He is in the favour of
God,” is tantamount to justification, though Wesley does not use the word
“justified” in his comments. An interesting observation relates to
Wesley’s earlier comment on
In a sermon preached at
There is a similar emphasis in his sermon on “The
First Fruits of the Spirit.” Those who “are in Christ Jesus” are “filled
with faith and with the Holy Ghost.”
Later in the sermon Wesley points out that these “children of God” still
have “the corruption of nature,” or “inward sin,” remaining in them.
The problem is, of course, how a Christian can be filled with the Holy Spirit
and yet have “inward sin” remaining. Presumably, for Wesley, they were not
We have already observed his threefold distinction
of Christian believers: a babe in Christ, young men, and fathers, but in that
context Wesley says only fathers are perfected in love, or filled with the Holy
Spirit. In the two sermons just cited, all Christians should be Spirit-filled
without distinction. Obviously, there is a lack of clarity at these points. In
another context Wesley insists that it is impossible to be filled with love, or
perfected in love, and still have inward sin. His very brief definition of
entire sanctification or Christian perfection is that it is “love excluding
Ostensibly, the Holy Spirit is the Divine Agent Who fills the Christian’s
heart with love. Again, in the two sermons already mentioned, a Christian can be
“filled with the Holy Spirit,” yet inward sin remains. Sin cannot remain,
however, if the believer is filled with love. It is apparent there is tension in
The sanctifying ministry of the Holy Spirit is
likewise an emphasis in the hymns of the Wesleys. The following verses are
representative of this element in Wesleyan hymnology.
Thy sanctifying Spirit pour
To quench my thirst and wash me clean,
Now, Father, let the gracious shower
Descend, and make me pure from sin.
* * * *
Within me Thy good Spirit place,
Spirit of health, and love, and power;
Plant in me Thy victorious grace,
And sin shall never enter more.
* * * *
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast,
Let us all in Thee inherit,
Let us find that second rest:
Take away our power of sinning,
Alpha and Omega be,
End of faith as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.
* * * *
Come then, and dwell in me
Spirit of power within
And bring the glorious liberty
From sorrow, fear, and sin:
The seed of sin’s disease,
Spirit of health, remove,
Spirit of finish’d holiness,
Spirit of perfect love.
Spirit of Faith, come down,
Reveal the things of God,
And make to us the Godhead known
And witness with the blood:
‘Tis Thine the blood to apply,
And give us eyes to see
Who did for every sinner die
Hath surely died for me.
Inspire the living faith,
(Which whosoe’er receives
The witness in himself he hath,
And consciously believes;)
The faith that conquers all,
And doth the mountain move,
And saves who’er on Jesus call,
And perfects them in love.
These many references from the writings of John
Wesley give ample testimony to the fact that the purifying work of the Holy
Spirit’s ministry is conspicuously involved in the doctrine and experience of
entire sanctification as a definite second work of grace.
The Witness of the Holy Spirit in Entire Sanctification
Wesley regarded “the witness of the Spirit,” or
Divine assurance, to be “the main doctrine of the Methodists” and “the
very foundation of Christianity.”
The witness of the Spirit is twofold in nature regarding salvation: first, there
is an inner impression of assurance called a direct witness, and secondly, there
is the testimony of a changed life which constitutes the indirect witness.
In a similar manner, Wesley insisted that there is a
Divine assurance to the reality of entire sanctification. In “A Plain Account
of Christian Perfection” (1777) he quotes from an earlier treatise, “Farther
Thoughts on Christian Perfection” (1761).
16. But how do you know, that you are sanctified, saved from your inbred
I can know it no otherwise than I know that I am justified. “Hereby know we
that we are of God,” in either sense, “by the Spirit that he hath given
know it by the witness and by the fruit of the Spirit. . . .
the witness of sanctification is not always clear at first; (as neither is that
of justification;) neither is it afterward always the same, but, like that of
justification, sometimes stronger and sometimes fainter. Yea, and sometimes it
is withdrawn. Yet, in general, the latter testimony of the Spirit is both as
clear and as steady as the former.
Wesley urged those who had experienced entire
sanctification to testify discreetly to it. Writing concerning this gracious
experience, he advised:
certainly, if God has given you this light, He did not intend that you should
hide it under a bushel. . . . Everyone ought to declare what God has done for
his soul, and that with all simplicity. . . . One reason why those who are saved
from sin should freely declare it to believers is because nothing is a stronger
incitement to them to seek after the same blessing. And we ought by every
possible means to press every serious believer to forget the things which are
behind and with all earnestness to go on to perfection.
There is a biblical precedent, of course, for
Wesley’s encouragement to Christian testimony concerning the experience of a
pure heart, or entire sanctification. Peter does so in
years ago my brother frequently said, “Your day of Pentecost is not fully
come; but I doubt it will: And you will then hear of persons sanctified, as
frequently as you do now of persons justified.” Any unprejudiced reader may
observe, that it has now fully
come. [Italics mine.] And accordingly we did hear of persons
In another entry on October 29, 1762, regarding his
belief in instantaneous sanctification, he declared “I have known and taught
it (and so has my brother, as our writings show) above these twenty years.”
In his significant sermon, “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” he recorded a
strong, indirect witness: “I have continually testified in private and in
public, that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith.”
A result of the extensive research for this paper
is, first of all, the conclusion that there is a plenitude of references in the
writings of John Wesley in which the ministry of the Holy Spirit is associated
with his discussion of entire sanctification and Christian perfection. Of
necessity, the evidence presented has had to be selective, not exhaustive. The
weight of evidence calls into question W. E. Sangster’s criticism that Wesley
did not “link the doctrine (i.e. Christian perfection or entire
sanctification) enough (as Paul does) with . . . the Holy Spirit.”
Sangster’s helpful analysis of Wesley’s teaching concerning perfection is
centered primarily in the famous treatise, “A Plain Account of Christian
Perfection.” His criticism is not made in a guarded fashion, however, as being
confined only to the “Plain Account” which covers eighty pages in Wesley’s
There are other significant writings of Wesley that bear upon this subject, and
especially his sermons, “On Sin in Believers,” “The Repentance of
Believers,” and “The Scripture Way of Salvation.”
Important insights can be gleaned from Wesley’s other writings as well.
Another conclusion relates to Wesley’s use of
pneumatological nomenclature in regard to entire sanctification. Although he
maintained that he had been consistent in his belief about the doctrine,
there are some areas of tension, perhaps ambiguity, in regard to his application
of pneumatological phrases, such as “receiving the Holy Spirit,” “the
baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Various
references from his scattered writings indicate that Wesley had not worked out
fully every facet of his teaching on the Holy Spirit. In spite of some “loose
ends” theologically, the judgment of Bishop William R. Cannon, a foremost
Wesleyan scholar is noteworthy.
far as I have been able to determine, in the entire range of historical
theology, there has never been a more orderly, well-arranged, and consistent
theologian than John Wesley. Others have been more profound than he. He has
lacked the encyclopaedic breadth of Aquinas and Calvin. The range of his
explorations was limited. But given what he tried to accomplish theologically,
no one, so far as I can tell, essayed his task more clear-headedly or brought
off his work more consistently than did the Founder of Methodism.
It is only fair to remember that Wesley was
primarily an evangelist, and that his theological doctrines were in the service
of his evangelism. His itinerant ministry across many years was exceedingly
demanding. Once his evangelistic ministry began in the late 1730’s, the
opportunities for leisured scholarship were virtually gone. A writer in an
American horseman magazine has conjectured that John Wesley may have spent more
time on horseback than any man in history—an estimated 175,000 miles,
equivalent to seven times around the world.
When we view the abundance of his travels to spread the gospel, the wonder is
that Wesley found time to write anything at all, and when a survey is made of
his extensive writings (roughly 18,000 pages, plus!), an equal wonder is that he
found time to itinerate.
It has been left to Wesley’s posterity to work out
in greater detail some areas of the Wesleyan theological structure. Where there
has been fidelity to Holy Scripture, these efforts have complemented and
supplemented Wesley’s valuable insights, without altering in any way the
doctrinal standards that he specified for Methodism.
A final conclusion relates to Wesley’s vision for
a universal penetration of the message of scriptural holiness through
evangelistic zeal and the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit. He regarded this
biblical truth to be a special heritage entrusted by God to the people called
The thrust of the doctrine was not sectarian or provincial, however, but
truly Christian and universal, as expressed in one of Wesley’s prayers.
all the inhabitants of the earth do Thy will as willingly as the holy angels!
May these do it continually even as they, without any interruption of their
willing service; yea, and perfectly as they! Mayest Thou, Spirit of grace,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make them perfect in every good
work to do Thy will, and work in them all that is well-pleasing in Thy sight!
In concluding this study of the role of the Holy
Spirit in entire sanctification as understood by John Wesley, it is appropriate
to call attention to “The Findings” of the first
not the task of Methodists to perform with the Scriptures in the twentieth
century a task like that which John Wesley performed in the eighteenth century?
Our sense of indebtedness for the biblical insights of Wesley is profound, and
we believe these insights will long continue to be relevant. Does not loyalty to
this great contribution of the Wesleys require us now to go further and perform
in the twentieth century a like task of bringing the world under the judgment of
the Word of God? Is it not the proper work of the Holy Spirit in every
generation to make Christ and His commands contemporary?
If we are to fulfill our Christian responsibility in
this generation, working with God for the transformation of men and society, we
need desperately both the purity and power of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying
grace, as demonstrated so forcefully and successfully in the life and ministry
of John Wesley.
Cf. William R. Cannon, “Salvation in the
Theology of John Wesley,” Methodist History, IX (October,1970), 3.
Cf. Lycurgus M. Starkey, Jr. The Work of the Holy Spirit (New York:
Abingdom Press, 1962), 33f., 45f.
John Wesley, “The
The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley,
A. M., John Telford, ed. (London: The Epworth Press, 1931), 3:9. Hereafter
referred to as Letters.
The Works of the Rev. John Wesley,
A. M., Thomas Jackson, ed. (London: John Magon, 1829), 6:512. Sermon LXXXV,
“On Working Out Our Own Salvation.” Hereafter referred to as Works.
John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New
Testament (London: The Epworth Press, 1950), 366. Note on
87-88. Note on
2:231. Sermon XXXIX.
7:485–86. Sermon CXXXVIII.
N. T. Notes,
623. Note on 1 Corinthians 12:13.
N. T. Notes,
759. Note on 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
on 1 Thessalonians 4:8.
2:396. Sermon XLVII, “The Repentance of Believers.”
Cf. George Allen Turner, The More Excellent Way
(Winona Lake: Light and Life Press, 1952), 249, 236, 247, and the important
footnote (74) on 266.
2:394–95. Sermon XLVII, “The Repentance of Believers.”
The Word and the Doctrine,
Kenneth S. Geiger, compiler (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1965), 89ff.,
The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley,
A. M., Nehemiah Curnock, ed. (London: Charles H. Kelly, 1909), 2:25.
Hereafter referred to as Journal.
N. T. Notes,
John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the Old
E. g., Roy S. Nicholson lists twenty-three terms
used by Wesley. See Nicholson’s article, “John Wesley’s Personal
Experience of Christian Perfection,” The Asbury Seminarian, VI
(January, 1952), 74–75.
A Compend of Wesley’s Theology,
Robert W. Burtner and Robert E. Chiles, eds. (Nashville: Abingdon Press,
1954), 139, 195.
Cf. A. Skevington Wood, The Burning
Heart—John Wesley, Evangelist (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1967), 267, 269.
1:119. Sermon V, “Justification by Faith.”
N. T. Notes,
2:453. Sermon L, “The
N. T. Notes,
N T. Notes,
See the helpful discussion by Leslie D. Wilcox, Be
Ye Holy (Cincinnati: The Revivalist Press, 1965), 281f.
N T. Notes,
6:395. Sermon LXXIV.
N T. Notes,
See McGonigle’s helpful discussion,
“Pneumatological Nomenclature in Early Methodism,” Wesleyan
Theological Journal, VIII (Spring 1973), 61ff.
N T. Notes,
1:92ff., especially 104–06, 110. Sermon IV.
5:88–89. Sermon VIII.
5:223; Works, 12:416.
Sermon XXXV, “Christian Perfection.”
The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley,
G. Osborn, ed. (London: Wesleyan Methodist Conference Office, 1869), 4:219.
See Sermons, Discourse I “The Witness of
the Spirit,” in 1:199ff. Discourse II “The Witness of the Spirit,”
2:341ff.; and “The Witness of Our Own Spirit,” 1:219ff.
2:453. Sermon L.
W. E. Sangster, The Path to Perfection
(Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1943), 44.
Research areas are: Works, 14 vols.; Journal,
8 vols.; Letters, 8 vols.; Explanatory Notes Upon the Old
Testament, 3 vols.; and Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament.
Grand total: 18,173 pages, though there is some duplication. The total does
not include the Osborn edition of The Poetical Works of John and Charles
Wesley, 13 vols., his Christian Library, 50 vols. nor his A
Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation. or a Compendium of Natural
Philosophy, 5 vols.
Cannon, op. cit., 3.
Victor D. Sutch, “A Man Who Valued a Good
Horse,” The Western Horseman, September 1966, 72, 88.
The specified doctrinal standards are: (1) The
Standard Sermons, (2) Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament,
and in addition for American Methodism, (3) The Twenty-five Articles of
N. T. Notes,
38. Prayer comment on