In vain the firstborn seraph tries to sound the depths of love divine. Let earth adore; let angel minds inquire no more. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed you. Preached at St. First, What is implied in being almost; Secondly, What in being altogether a Christian. A second thing implied in the being almost a Christian, is, the having a form of godliness, of that godliness which is prescribed in the gospel of Christ; the having the outside of a real Christian.
Accordingly the almost Christian does nothing which the gospel forbids. He takes not the name of God in vain: he blesses and curses not: he swears not at all, but his communication is yes, yes; no, no.
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He profanes not the day of the Lord, nor allows it to be profaned, even by the stranger that is within his gates. He avoids, as much as in him lies, all strife and contention, continually endeavoring to live peaceably with all men. And, if he suffers wrong, he avenges not himself, neither returns evil for evil.
He is no railer, no brawler, no scoffer, either at the faults or infirmities of his neighbor. And, in doing good, he does not confine himself to cheap and easy offices of kindness, but labors and suffers for the profit of many, that by all means he may help some. For, being not slothful in this, or in any business, as he hath opportunity he does good, all manner of good to all men; and to their souls as well as their bodies. He reproves the wicked, instructs the ignorant, confirms the wavering, quickens the good, and comforts the afflicted.
He labors to awaken those that sleep; to lead those whom God hath already awakened to the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, that they may wash therein and be clean; and to stir up those who are saved, through faith, to adorn the gospel of Christ in all things. He that hath the form of godliness, uses also the means of grace; yes, all of them, and at all opportunities. He constantly frequents the house of God; and that, not as the manner of some is, who come into the presence of the Most High, either loaded with gold and costly apparel, or in all the gaudy vanity of dress, and either by their unseasonable civilities to each other, or the impertinent gayety of their behavior, disclaim all pretensions to the form, as well as to the power of godliness.
Would to God there were none even among ourselves who fall under the same condemnation: who come into this house, it may be, gazing about, or with all the signs of the most listless, careless indifference, yough sometimes they may seem to use a prayer to God for his blessing on what they are entering upon; who, during that awful service, are either asleep, or reclined in the most convenient posture for it; or, as yough they supposed God was asleep, talking with one another, or looking round, as utterly void of employment. Neither let these be accused of the form of godliness.
No; he who has even this, behaves with seriousness and attention in every part of that solemn service.
Theme of Real Christianity in John Wesley’s Commentary on the Book of Revelation
To this, if we add the constant use of family prayer, by those who are masters of families, and the setting times apart for private addresses to God, with a daily seriousness of behavior; he who uniformlv practises this outward religion has the form of godliness. There needs but one thing more in order to his being almost a Christian, aud that is, sincerity. By sincerity, I mean a real, inward principle of religion from whence these outward actions flow.
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- John Wesley.
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Settling Down. God Is with Us. From reading this well-written and easily accessible book, it can be seen rather clearly that Wesley's idea of holy love for God and neighbor is at the core of who Wesley was. This holy love of God worked throughout Wesley's life as he was continually transformed and empowered within his social context. Collins rightly portrays this time and time again as he highlights Wesley's concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of the marginalized in society.
All in all, Collins does an extraordinary job at showing how Wesley was not only a great theologian, but was a "real Christian" who experienced the love and grace of God that breaks the chains of sin, and transforms the hearts of humanity for service. I would personally recommend this text to anyone who wants to begin a journey into the life of John Wesley and the Wesleyan theology.
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This book is very valuable to any student, pastor, or anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of how God continually works in our lives through enabling grace. Definitely worth the read! Though the author is inclined to agree with Wesley, he does not ignore the less savory aspects of his life. Overall, his treatment of Wesley is fair and reasonable. The book is easy to read and covers Wesley's life from birth to death. Not only does it serve as a valuable introduction to the life of one of Christianity's leaders, it also is a guide to the foundation of early Methodism, making it a worthwhile read for anyone interested in better understanding the Methodist faith and its effects.
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Biography of John Wesley, Methodist Church Co-Founder
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A Real Christian
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