John Wesley: From the Journal
In the previous edition of Christian History we printed excerpts from John Wesley’s Journal describing key moments in his spiritual growth and discovery. A large reader response to this particular article prompts us to include here further comments from the Journal wherein Wesley summarizes his early spiritual journey, concluding with his conversion.
Wednesday, May 24, 1738
What occurred on Wednesday May 24, 1738, I think best to relate at large, after premising what may make it the better understood. Let him that cannot receive it, ask of the Father of lights, that he would give more light to him and me.
1. I believe, till I was about ten years old, I had not sinned away that Washing of the Holy Ghost which was given me in baptism, having been strictly educated and carefully taught, that I could only be saved by universal obedience, by keeping all the commandments of God; in the meaning of which I was diligently instructed. And those instructions, so far as they respected outward duties and sins, I gladly received, and often thought of. But all that was said to me of inward obedience, or holiness, I neither understood nor remembered. So that I was indeed as ignorant of the true meaning of the law as I was of the Gospel of Christ.
2. The next six or seven years were spent at school; where outward restraints being removed, I was much more negligent than before even of outward duties, and almost continually guilty of outward sins, which I knew to be such, though they were not scandalous in the eye of the world. However I still read the Scriptures, and said my prayers morning and evening. And what I now hoped to be saved by was, 1. Not being so bad as other people. 2. Having still a kindness for religion. And 3. Reading the Bible, ...