03
Aug
12

Gems from Wesley’s Journal

Some great quotes I came across while reading Wesley’s Journal this week – a mix of the profound, the witty, and the humourous.

On an elegant meeting house:

“I was shown Dr. Taylor’s new meeting house, perhaps the most elegant one in Europe.  It is eight-square, built of the finest brick, with sixteen sash-windows below, as many above, and eight skylights in the dome, which, indeed, are purely ornamental.  The inside is finished in the highest taste and is as clean as any nobleman’s saloon.  The communion table is fine mahogany; the very latches of the pew doors are polished brass.  How can it be thought that the old, coarse gospel should find admission here?’ “Wednesday, November 23, 1757.

Advice for travellers:

“The captain with whom we were to sail was in great haste to have our things on board; but I would send them while the wind was against us.  On Wednesday he sent message after message, so in the evening we went down to the ship, near Passage; but there was nothing ready, or near ready for sailing.  Hence I learned two or three rules very needful for those who sail between England and Ireland: (1) never pay till you set sail; (2) go not on board till the captain goes on board; (3) send not your baggage on board till you go yourself.”  Tuesday, August 1, 1758.

His love for a soft cushion:

“On Monday and Tuesday evening I preached abroad, near the Keelmen’s Hospital, to twice the people we should have had at the house.  What marvel the devil does not love field preaching?  Neither do I.  I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit.  But where is my zeal, if I do not trample all these under foot, in order to save one more soul?”  Saturday, June 23, 1759.

Preaching to the rich:

“It is well a few of the rich and noble are called.  Oh, that God would increase their number!  But I should rejoice (were it the will of God), if it were done by the ministry of others.  If I might choose, I should still (as I have done hitherto) preach the gospel to the poor.” Saturday November 13, 1759.

Preaching over a hog sty:

“We had a pretty large congregation; but the stench from the swine under the room was scarcely supportable. Was ever a preaching place over a hog sty before?  Surely they love the gospel who come to hear it in such a place.”  Friday, November 23, 1759.

A false messenger:

“One came to me, as she said, with a message from the Lord, to tell me, I was laying up treasures on earth, taking my ease, and minding only my eating and drinking.  I told her, God knew me better, and if He had sent her, He would have sent her with a more proper message.”  Wednesday, January 16, 1760.

A fool of a saint:

“I read the celebrated Life of St. Katherine, of Genoa.  My Lesley calls one “a devil of a saint”; I am sure this was a fool of a saint; that is, if it was not the folly of her historian, who has aggrandized her into a mere idiot.  Indeed, we seldom find a saint of God’s making, sainted by the bishop of Rome.”  December 3, 1761.

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2 Responses to “Gems from Wesley’s Journal”


  1. 1 Erin Green
    August 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

    This is awesome. I love anything that gives you a glimpse of what authors are really like in real life. . . can you imagine if someone 200 years from now posted your diary online!? SOFT CUSHIONS!!!

    • August 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Yeah, it helps you to get a sense of someone’s personality in a way that you can’t get from reading the usual theological literature. People who read your journal in 200 years would be baffled by your fascination with beads, I am sure. And my interest in maps would seem quaint and antiquarian, since we have now entered the age of GPS but I am a GPS hater.


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