Saturday, March 25, 2006

John Wesley on the Bible, "O give me that book!"

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To candid, reasonable men, I am not afraid to lay open what have been the inmost thoughts of my heart. I have thought, I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be "homo unius libri."

Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone: only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights: "Lord, is it not Thy word, 'If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God'? Thou 'givest liberally, and upbraidest not.' Thou hast said, 'If any be willing to do Thy will, he shall know.' I am willing to do, let me know, Thy will. ' I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual." I meditate thereon with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God; and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.

Concerning the Scriptures in general, it may be observed, the word of the living God, which directed the first patriarchs also, was, in the time of Moses, committed to writing. To this were added, in several succeeding generations, the inspired writings of the other prophets. Afterward, what the Son of God preached, and the Holy Ghost spake by the apostles, the apostles and evangelists wrote. This is what we now style the "Holy Scripture:" this is that "word of God which remaineth for ever:" of which, though "heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle shall not pass away." The Scripture therefore of the "Old and New Testament," is a most solid and precious system of divine truth. Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess. It is the fountain of heavenly wisdom, which they who are able to taste, prefer to all writings of men, however wise, or learned, or holy.

From his Preface to Standard Sermons

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, my friend. I knew someone would post this. I plan to paraphrase it for an upcoming sermon on the Bible. It's beautiful. So was Wesley. So is our Book.

NAF said...

Amen. Give me that book. I love this quote, and found it while reading Wesleys works. I thought somebody would have it up online.

Lindsay Cameron said...

I find the first two paragraphs in the Preface to Wesley's Standard Sermons but not the third paragraph. Can you help me to understand this, or perhaps provide reference details?

John Samson said...

What a great quote , I heard it quoted to us when I was a young man of twenty one years of age , not even thinking that one day I will enter this great ministry of Jesus Christ .
It was lost for a few years and today I HAVE found the full quote.May God rest John Wesley`s gallant soul in peace.If we as the ministers of the 21st centuary stay on the beaten path, we will meet him on that happy shore.

Pastor John Samson