Wesley: “Love… is the new religion”

These considerations insensibly stole upon me as I grew acquainted with the Mystic writers, whose noble descriptions of union with God and internal religion made everything else appear mean, flat, and insipid. But in truth they made good works appear so too; yea, and faith itself, and what not? These gave me an entire new view of religion—nothing like any I had before. But, alas! it was nothing like that religion which Christ and His apostles lived and taught. I had a plenary dispensation from all the commands of God: the form ran thus, ‘Love is all; all the commands beside are only means of love: you must choose those which you feel are means to you, and use them as long as they are so.’ Thus were all the bands burst at once. And though I could never fully come into this, nor contentedly omit what God enjoined; yet, I know not how, I fluctuated between obedience and disobedience. I had no heart, no vigour, no zeal in obeying; continually doubting whether I was right or wrong, and never out of perplexities and entanglements. Nor can I at this hour give a distinct account how or when I came a little back toward the right way: only my present sense is this—all the other enemies of Christianity are triflers; the Mystics are the most dangerous of its enemies. They stab it in the vitals; and its most serious professors are most likely to fall by them. May I praise Him who hath snatched me out of this fire likewise, by warning all others that it is set on fire of hell.( John Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, ed. Nehemiah Curnock, vol. 1 (London: Robert Culley; Charles H. Kelly, 1909–1916), 420.)

Wesley had experienced what the UMC experiences now, and lived to write about it as a warning to his children. They did not listen.

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