ONE METHODIST VOL. 1 NO. 12 July 1999

By John Wesley (From Wesley's Works, Volume 11)

Sunday. -- Love of God and Simplicity: Means of which are, Prayer and Meditation.

1. HAVE I been simple and recollected in everything I said or did? Have I (1.)been simple in everything, that is, looked upon God, my Good, my Pattern, my one Desire, my Disposer, Parent of Good; acted wholly for Him; bounded my views with the present action or hour? (2.)Recollected? that is, has this simple view been distinct and uninterrupted? Have I, in order to keep it so, used the signs agreed upon with my friends, wherever I was? Have I done anything without a previous perception of its being the will of God? or without a perception of its being an exercise or a means of the virtue of the day? Have I said anything without it?

2. Have I prayed with fervor? at going in and out of church? in the church? morning and evening in private? Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with my friends, at rising? before lying down? on Saturday noon? all the time I am engaged in exterior work in private? before I go into the place of public or private prayer, for help therein? Have I, wherever I was, gone to church morning and evening, unless for necessary mercy? and spent from one hour to three in private? Have I, in private prayer, frequently stopped short and observed what fervor? Have I repeated it over and over, till I adverted to every word? Have I at the beginning of every prayer or paragraph owned I cannot pray? Have I paused before I concluded in his name, and adverted to my Savior now interceding for me at the right hand of God, and offering up these prayers?

3. Have I duly used ejaculations? that is, have I every hour prayed for humility, faith, hope, love, and the particular virtue of the day? considered with whom I was the last hour, what I did, and how? with regard to recollection, love of man, humility, self-denial, resignation, and thankfulness? considered the next hour in the same respects, offered up all I do to my Redeemer, begged his assistance in every particular, and commended my soul to his keeping? Have I done this deliberately, not in haste, seriously, not doing my thing else the while, and fervently as I could?

4. Have I duly prayed for the virtue of the day? that is, have I prayed for it at going out and coming in? deliberately, seriously, fervently?

5. Have I used a Collect (type of prayer -ed.) at nine, twelve, and three? and grace before and after eating? aloud at my own room? deliberately, seriously, fervently?

6. Have I duly meditated? every day, unless for necessary mercy, (1.) From six, etc., to prayers? (2.) From four to five? What was particular in the providence of this day? How ought the virtue of the day to have been exerted upon it? How did it fall short? (Here faults.) (3.) On Sunday, from six to seven, with Kempis? from three to four on redemption, or God's attributes? Wednesday and Friday, from twelve to one, on the Passion? after ending a book, on what I had marked in it?

Monday. -- Love of Man.

1. HAVE I been zealous to do, and active in doing, good? that is, (1.) Have I embraced every probable opportunity of doing good, and preventing, removing, or lessening evil? (2.) Have I pursued it with my might? (3.) Have I thought anything too dear to part with, to serve my neighbor? (4.) Have I spent an hour at least every day in speaking to some one or other? (5.) Have I given anyone up till he expressly renounced me? (6.) Have I, before I spoke to any, learned, as far as I could, his temper, way of thinking, past life, and peculiar hindrances, internal and external? fixed the point to be aimed at? then the means to it? (7.) Have I in speaking proposed the motives, then the difficulties, then balanced them, then exhorted him to consider both calmly and deeply, and to pray earnestly for help? (8.) Have I in speaking to a stranger explained what religion is not? (not negative, not external;) and what it is? (a recovery of the image of God;) searched at what step in it he stops, and what makes him stop there? exhorted and directed him? (9.) Have I persuaded all I could to attend public prayers, sermons, and sacraments, and in general to obey the laws of the Church Catholic (meaning universal - ed.), the Church of England, the State, the University, and their respective Colleges? (10.) Have I, when taxed with any act of obedience, avowed it, and turned the attack with sweetness and firmness?

(11.) Have I disputed upon any practical point, unless it was to be practiced just then? (12.) Have I in disputing, (i.) Desired him to define the terms of the question; to limit it; what he grants, what denies? (ii.) Delayed speaking my opinion? let him explain and prove his? then insinuated and pressed objections? (13.) Have I after every visit asked him who went with me, "Did I say anything wrong?" (14.) Have I when any one asked advice, directed and exhorted him with all my power?

  1. Have I rejoiced with and for my neighbor in virtue or pleasure? grieved with him in pain, for him in sin?
  2. Have I received his infirmities with pity, not anger?
  3. Have I thought or spoke unkindly of or to him? Have I revealed any evil of anyone, unless it was necessary to some particular good I had in view? Have I then done it with all the tenderness of phrase and manner consistent with that end? Have I anyway appeared to approve them that did otherwise?
  4. Has goodwill been, and appeared to be, the spring of all my actions toward others?
  5. Have I duly used intercession? (1.) Before, (2.) After, speaking to any? (3.) For my friends on Sunday? (4.) For my pupils on Monday? (5.) For those who have particularly desired it, on Wednesday and Friday? (6.) For the family in which I am, every day?


The separate creaturely life, as opposed to life in union with God, is only a life of various appetites, hungers, and wants, and cannot possibly be anything else. God Himself cannot make a creature to be in itself, or in its own nature, anything else but a state of emptiness. The highest life that is natural and creaturely can go no higher than this: it can only be a bare capacity for goodness and cannot possibly be a good and happy life but by the life of God dwelling in it and in union with it. And this is the two-fold life that, of all necessity, must be united in every good and happy and perfect creature. --- William Law (1686-1761)

If it be the earnest desire and longing of your heart to be merciful as He is merciful; to be full of His unwearied patience, to dwell in His unalterable meekness; if you long to be like Him in universal, impartial love; if you desire to communicate every good to every creature that you are able; if you love and practice everything that is good, righteous, and lovely for its own sake, because it is good, righteous, and lovely; and resist no evil but with goodness; then you have the utmost certainty that the Spirit of God dwells and governs in you. --- William Law (1686-1761)

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