S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.

John Wesley

I this day [June 28, 1788] enter on my eighty-sixth year; and what cause have I to praise God, as for a thousand spiritual blessings, so for bodily blessings also! How little have I suffered yet by “the rush of numerous years”!… To what cause can I impute this, that I am as I am? First, doubtless, to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which I am called, as long as he pleases to continue me therein; and next, subordinately to this, to the prayers of his children.

May we not impute it, as inferior means:

1. To my constant exercise and change of air?

2. To my never having lost a night’s sleep, sick or well, at land or at sea, since I was born?

3. To my having sleep at command, so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I call it, and it comes, day or night?

4. To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning?

5. To my constant preaching at five in the morning, for above fifty years?

6. To my having had so little pain in my life, and so little sorrow, or anxious care?

John Wesley: Journal, June 28, 1788: Coke and Moore’s Life of Wesley, Lond., 1837, 520.

“Child,” said my father to me, when I was young, “you think to carry everything by dint of argument. But you will find, by and by, how very little is ever done in the world by clear reason.” Very little indeed!

It is true of almost all men, except so far as we are taught of God,—

  • “Against experience we believe,
  • We argue against demonstration;
  • Pleased while our reason we deceive,
  • And set our judgment by our passion.”
  • Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can.

    John Wesley: Letter to Joseph Benson, Oct. 5, 1770: Wesley’s Select Letters, 1837, 203.

    That which contradicts reason cannot be said to stand upon reasonable grounds, and such, undoubtedly, is every proposition which is incompatible with the divine justice or mercy. What then shall I say of predestination? If it was inevitably decreed from all eternity that a determinate part of mankind should be saved, and none beside them, a vast majority of the world were only born to eternal death, without so much as a possibility of avoiding it. How is this consistent with either the divine justice or mercy? Is it merciful to ordain a creature to everlasting misery? Is it just to punish man for sins which he could not but commit? That God should be the author of sin and injustice, which must, I think, be the consequence of maintaining this opinion, is a contradiction to the clearest ideas we have of the divine nature and perfections.

    John Wesley: Southey’s Life of Wesley, 3d edit., Lond., 1846, i. 33.