Wednesday, February 25, 2009
But if this be so, then is all preaching vain. It is needless to them that are elected; for they, whether with preaching or without, will infallibly be saved. … This, then, is a plain proof that the doctrine of predestination is not of God, because it makes void the ordinance of God; and God is not divided against himself. A Second is, that it directly tends to destroy holiness which is the end of all the ordinances of God. … the doctrine itself, - that every man is either elected or not elected from eternity, and that the one must inevitably be saved, and the other inevitably damned, - has a manifest tendency to destroy holiness in general; for it wholly takes away those first motives to follow after it, so frequently proposed in Scripture, the hope of future reward and fear of punishment, the hope of heaven and fear of hell. … This doctrine tends to destroy the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity. … How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings! … This uncomfortable doctrine directly tends to destroy our zeal for good works. … this doctrine not only tends to destroy Christian holiness, happiness, and good works, but hath also a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation. … For supposing the eternal unchangeable decree, one part of mankind must be saved, though the Christian Revelation were not in being, and the other part of mankind must be damned, notwithstanding that Revelation. And what would an infidel desire more? … it is a doctrine full of blasphemy … this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, “Jesus Christ the righteous, “the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth,” as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he everywhere speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It cannot be denied that the gracious words which came out of his mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people. … You represent him as mocking his helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying one thing, and meaning another; as pretending a love which he had not. … It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. … This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. … This is the blasphemy for which (however I love the persons who assert it) I abhor the doctrine of predestination … Sing, O hell, and rejoice, ye that are under the earth! For God, even the mighty God, hath spoken, and devoted to death thousands of souls, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof! Here, O death, is thy sting! They shall not, cannot escape; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here, O grave, is thy victory! Nations yet unborn, or ever they have done good or evil, are doomed never to see the light of life, but thou shalt gnaw on them for ever and ever!
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 7 - Pages 376-384)
Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness?
A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation from sin, previous to glory, putting the matter on quite another issue. … Be diligent to prevent them, and to guard these tender minds against the predestinarian poison.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 8 - Page 336)
The observing these melancholy examples day by day, this dreadful havoc which the devil makes of souls, especially of those who had begun to run well, by means of this anti-scriptural doctrine, constrains me to oppose it from the same principle whereon I labour to save souls from destruction. Nor is it sufficient to ask, Are there not also many who wrest the opposite doctrine to their own destruction? If there are, that is nothing to the point in question; for that is not the case here. Here is no wresting at all: The doctrine of absolute predestination naturally leads to the chambers of death.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Pages 257-258)
I apprehend, then, this is no fallacious objection, but a solid and weighty one; and defy any man living, who asserts the unconditional decree of reprobation or preterition, (just the same in effect,) to reconcile this with the scriptural doctrine of a future judgment. I say again, I defy any man on earth to show, how, on this scheme, God can “judge the world in righteousness.”
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Page 374)
I do not believe (what is only preterition or reprobation in other words) any such absolute election, as implies that all but the absolutely elect shall inevitably be damned. I do not believe the doctrine of irresistible grace, or of infallible perseverance; because both the one and the other implies that election which cannot stand without preterition or reprobation. I do not believe salvation by works. Yet if any man can prove (what I judge none ever did, or ever will) that there is no medium between this and absolute predestination; I will rather subscribe to this than to that, as far less absurd of the two.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Page 379)
If the salvation of every man that ever was, is, or shall be, finally saved, depends wholly and solely upon an absolute, irresistible, unchangeable decree of God, without any regard either to faith or works foreseen, then it is not, in any sense, by works.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 11 - Page 494)
But if such a Minister should at any time deliberately, and of set purpose, endeavour to establish absolute predestination, or to confute scriptural perfection; then I advise all the Methodists in the congregation quietly to go away.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 13 - Page 246)
That are the benefits we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is, the washing away the guilt of original sin, by the application of the merits of Christ’s death. … By baptism, we who were “by nature children of wrath” are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being admitted into the Church, though commonly connected therewith; being “grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace.” This is grounded on the plain words of our Lord: “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John iii. 5.) By water, then, as a means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again; whence it is also called by the Apostle, “the washing of regeneration.” … Herein a principle of grace is infused, which will not be wholly taken away, unless we quench the Holy Spirit by long-continued wickedness.
(The Works of John Wesley) (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996); (Volume:10 Page:192)