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John Wesley (1703 - 1791)
Read freely text sermons and articles by the speaker John Wesley in text and pdf format. Was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms became a highly successful evangelical movement in Britain, which encouraged people to experience Jesus Christ personally.
Wesley helped to organise and form societies of Christians throughout Great Britain, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members. His great contribution was to appoint itinerant, unordained preachers who travelled widely to evangelise and care for people in the societies. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including the prison reform and abolitionism movements.
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A Call to Backsliders
"Will the Lord absent himself for ever? And will he be no more entreated? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? And is his promise come utterly to an end for evermore?" Ps. 77:7, 8.
1. Presumption is one grand snare of the devil, in which many of the chil ... read more
A Caution against Bigotry
"And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name: and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not." Mark 9:38, 39.
1. In the preceding verses we read, that after ... read more
A Miraculous Cure of Breast Cancer
Sat 26 Dec 1761: I made a particular inquiry into the case of Mary Special, a young woman then in Tottenham-Court-Road. She said, "Four years since I found much pain in my breasts, and afterwards hard lumps. Four months ago my left breast broke, and kept ... read more
A Person after God's Own Heart
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
If you have the time, try and read the whole of Psalm139. The Interpreters Bi ... read more
A Sick John Wesley
Wed 30 and Thur 31 Dec 1741: By the unusual overflowing of peace and love to all which I felt, I was inclined to believe some trial was at hand. At three in the afternoon my fever came. But finding it was not violent, I would not break my word, and theref ... read more
An Israelite Indeed
"Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." John 1:47.
1. Some years ago a very ingenious man, Professor Hutcheson of Glasgow, published two treatises, The Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. In the latter of these he maintains that the ... read more
Are You Are Thirsty?
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
The Psalmist presented to us in these verses, and in the rest of the Psalm, is a sad and
downhearted person. It is uncl ... read more
Are you Hungry?
The laborers appetite works for him,
His hunger drives him on.
You may be reading this devotion at the start of your day or you might be reading it
before you go to sleep; perhaps you are reading it during your lunch break or perhaps
... read more
Awake, Thou That Sleepest
Preached on Sunday April 4, 1742, before the University of Oxford, by the Rev. Charles Wesley, M.A. Student of Christ-Church.
"Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph. 5:14.
In discoursing on these w ... read more
Blessed in Order to be a Blessing
Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can
comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we
ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:4
In commenting on this verse, Wesley says: He that has experienced one kind of
affliction is able ... read more
Case of Reason Impartially Considered
"Brethren, be not children in understanding: Howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." 1 Cor. 14:20.
1. It is the true remark of an eminent man, who had made many observations on human nature, "If reason be against a man, a man ... read more
And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered: It is. If it be, give me thine hand.
2 Ki ... read more
Causes of the Inefficiency of Christianity
"~Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daugh~ter of my people recovered?" Jer. 8:22~~.
1. This question, as here proposed by the Prophet, relates only to a particular people, -- the children of Isr ... read more
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.
1. There is scarce any expression in Holy Writ which has given more offence than this. The word perfect is what many cannot bear. The very sound of it is an abomination t ... read more
Do You Want To?
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears
will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the
way; walk in it. Isaiah 30:21
Just as when we get married we surrender a certain lifestyle in favour of another, so too
when we are born again ... read more
Duty of Constant Communion
The following discourse was written above five-and-fifty years ago, for the use of my pupils at Oxford. I have added very little, but retrenched much; as I then used more words than I do now. But, I thank God, I have not yet seen cause to alter my sentime ... read more
Sat 26 Dec 1747: I called on one with whose mother I had prayed a little before her death. I knew not till now how she came to desire me, of all persons, to pray with her. It seems her daughter, who was of a lion-like spirit, came to me some time before a ... read more
For the Persecuted
Think of those who persecute you and try to pray this hymn.
In their notes on the following hymn the editors of the Bicentennial Edition of the Works
of John Wesley say: This hymn echoes the riots and persecutions which Charles Wesley
faced in Cornwal ... read more
To The Reader:
Nothing but the strongest conviction, not only that what is here advanced is the truth as it is in Jesus, but also that I am indispensably obliged to declare this truth to all the world, could have induced me openly to oppose the senti ... read more
Go and Learn
On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who
need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what
this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have
not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
This is one of two occasi ... read more
God's Approbation of his Works
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Gen. 1:31.
1. When God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, at the conclusion of each day's work it is said, "And God saw that it was good." Whatever ... read more
God's Love to Fallen Man
"Not as the offence, so also is the free gift." Rom. 5:15.
1. How exceeding common, and how bitter, is the outcry against our first parent for the mischief which he not only brought upon himself, but entailed upon his latest posterity! It was by his w ... read more
Great Privilege of Those that are Born of God
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." 1 John 3:9.
1. It has been frequently supposed, that the being born of God was all one with the being justified; that the new birth and justification were only different expressions, denoting the same th ... read more
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
One need look no further than Job in the Old Testament to see someone around whom
floods rose and against whom winds raged. The Lord himself describes Job as a ... read more
For it is with your heart that you believe and are
justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess
and are saved. Romans 10:10
This verse, in accordance with all of Scripture, reminds us that it is the heart that needs to
be in our religion. Wes ... read more
Heaviness through Manifold Temptations
"Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." 1 Pet. 1:6.
1. In the preceding discourse I have particularly spoken of that darkness of mind into which those are often observed to fall who once walked in the light of ... read more
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
There is no doubt that the God who lovingly created each one of us and daily sustains us
is worthy of honour and glory and praise from the very beings whom He h ... read more
Human Life a Dream
"Even like as a dream when one awaketh; so shalt thou make their image to vanish out of the city." Ps. 73:20.
1. Anyone that considers the foregoing verses will easily observe that the Psalmist is speaking directly of the wicked, that prosper in their ... read more
Imperfection of Human Knowledge
"We know in part." 1 Cor. 13:9.
1. The desire of knowledge is an universal principle in man, fixed in his inmost nature. It is not variable, but constant in every rational creature, unless while it is suspended by some stronger desire. And it is insat ... read more
In What Sense We Are to Leave the World
"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be to you a Father, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor. 6:17, 18.
1. How exceeding f ... read more
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
We live in an age that encourages us not only to prepare for every eventuality, but to
insure against every eventuality as well. We build a house and insure it against burning ... read more
John Wesley Quotes
"Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.”
“Vice does not lose its character by becoming fashionable.”
“Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.”
“Certainly this is a duty, n ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 1
Verse 1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ - That is, strictly speaking, the account of his birth and genealogy. This title therefore properly relates to the verses that immediately follow: but as it sometimes signifies the history of a person, i ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 10
X. 1. His twelve disciples - Hence it appears that he had already chosen out of his disciples, those whom he afterward termed apostles. The number seems to have relation to the twelve patriarchs, and the twelve tribes of Israel. Mark 3:14; ; Luke 6:13; . ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 11
XI. 1. In their cities - The other cities of Israel.
Verse 2. He sent two of his disciples - Not because he doubted himself; but to confirm their faith. Luke 7:18.
Verse 3. He that is to come - The Messiah.
Verse 4. Go and tell John the things th ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 12
XII. 1. His disciples plucked the ears of corn, and ate - Just what sufficed for present necessity: dried corn was a common food among the Jews. Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1.
Verse 3. Have ye not read what David did - And necessity was a sufficient plea for his ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 13
XIII. 1. Mark 4:1; Luke 8:4.
Verse 2. He went into the vessel - Which constantly waited upon him, while he was on the sea coast.
Verse 3. In parables - The word is here taken in its proper sense, for apt similes or comparisons. This way of speaking, ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 14
XIV. 1. At that time - When our Lord had spent about a year in his public ministry. Tetrarch - King of a fourth part of his father's dominions. Mark 6:14.
Verse 2. He is risen from the dead - Herod was a Sadducee: and the Sadducees denied the resurrect ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 15
XV. 1. Mark 7:1.
Verse 2. The elders - The chief doctors or, teachers among the Jews.
Verse 3. They wash not their hands when they eat bread - Food in general is termed bread in Hebrew; so that to eat bread is the same as to make a meal.
Verse 4. ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 16
XVI. 1. A sign from heaven - Such they imagined Satan could not counterfeit. Mark 8:11; Matthew 12:38.
Verse 2. Luke 12:54.
Verse 3. The signs of the times - The signs which evidently show, that this is the time of the Messiah.
Verse 4. A wicked ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 17
XVII. 1. A high mountain - Probably Mount Tabor. Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28.
Verse 2. And was transfigured - Or transformed. The indwelling Deity darted out its rays through the veil of the flesh; and that with such transcendent splendour, that he no longer b ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 18
XVIII. 1. Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? - Which of us shall be thy prime minister? They still dreamed of a temporal kingdom.
Verse 2. And Jesus calling to him a little child - This is supposed to have been the great Ignatius, whom Traja ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 19
XIX. 1. He departed - and from that time walked no more in Galilee. Mark 10:1.
Verse 2. Multitudes followed him, and he healed them there - That is, wheresoever they followed him.
Verse 3. The Pharisees came tempting him - Trying to make him contrad ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 2
II. 1. Bethlehem of Judea - There was another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon. In the days of Herod - commonly called Herod the Great, born at Ascalon. The sceptre was now on the point of departing from Judah. Among his sons were Archelaus, mentioned Ma ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 20
XX. 1. That some of those who were first called may yet be last, our Lord confirms by the following parable: of which the primary scope is, to show, That many of the Jews would be rejected, and many of the Gentiles accepted; the secondary, That of the Gen ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 21
XXI. 1. Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29; John 12:12.
Verse 5. The daughter of Sion - That is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem: the first words of the passage are cited from Isaiah 62:11; the rest from Zechariah 9:9. The ancient Jewish doctors were wont to apply the ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 22
XXII. 1. Jesus answering, spake - That is, spake with reference to what had just past.
Verse 2. A king, who made a marriage feast for his son - So did God, when he brought his first - begotten into the world.
Verse 3. Them that were invited - Namely ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 23
XXIII. 1. Then - Leaving all converse with his adversaries, whom he now left to the hardness of their hearts.
Verse 2. The scribes sit in the chair of Moses - That is, read and expound the law of Moses, and are their appointed teachers.
Verse 3. All ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 24
XXIV. 1. Mark 13:1; Luke 21:5.
Verse 2. There shall not he left one stone upon another - This was most punctually fulfilled; for after the temple was burnt, Titus, the Roman general, ordered the very foundations of it to be dug up; after which the grou ... read more
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes - Matthew 25
XXV. This chapter contains the last public discourse which our Lord uttered before he was offered up. He had before frequently declared what would be the portion of all the workers of iniquity. But what will become of those who do no harm? Honest, inoffen ... read more