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we are saved. Immediately it struck into my mind, Leave off preaching. How can you preach to others who have not faith yourself ?' I asked Böhler whether he thought I should leave it off or not. He answered, “By no means.' I asked, “But what can I preach ?' He said, “ Preach faith till
have it; and then because you have it, you will
“ Accordingly, Monday, 6th, I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person to whom I offered salvation by faith alone was a prisoner under sentence of death. His name was Clifford. Peter Böhler had many times desired me to speak to him before. But I could not prevail on myself to do so; being still (as I had been many years) a zealous assertor of the impossibility of a death-bed repentance.
Thursday, 23d, I met Peter Böhler again, who now amazed me more and more, by the account he gave of the fruits of living faith,—the holiness and happiness which he affirmed to attend it. The next morning I began the Greek Testament again, resolving to abide by the law and the testimony;' and being confident that God would hereby show me whether this doctrine was of God. Saturday, April 22, I met Peter Böhler once
I had now no objection to what he said of the nature of faith ; namely, that it is, (to use the words of our Church,) 'a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that through the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God.' Neither could I deny either the happiness or holiness which he described as fruits of this living faith. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children
of God;' and, 'He that believeth hath the witness in himself;' fully convinced me of the former : as, • Whatsoever is born of God doth not commit sin; and, 'Whosoever believeth is born of God;' did of the latter. But I could not comprehend what he spoke of an instantaneous work. I could not understand how this faith should be given in a moment; how a man could at once be thus turned from darkness to light, from sin and misery to righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost. I searched the Scriptures again touching this very thing, particularly the Acts of the Apostles ; but, to my utter astonishment, found scarce any instances there of other than instantaneous conversions ; scarce any so slow as that of St. Paul, who was three days in the pangs of the new birth.
I had but one retreat left ; namely, Thus I grant God wrought in the first ages of Christianity; but the times are changed. reason have I to believe he works in the same manner now?'
“But on Sunday, 23d, I was beat out of this retreat too, by the concurring evidence of several living witnesses, who testified, God had thus wrought in themselves; giving them in a moment such a faith in the blood of his Son, as translated them out of darkness into light, out of sin and fear into holiness and happiness. Here ended my disputing. I could only cry out, “Lord, help thou my unbelief!'
“I asked Peter Böhler again, whether I ought not to refrain from teaching others. He said, “No; do not hide in the earth the talent God hath given vou.' Accordingly, on Tuesday, 25th, I spoke clearly and fully at Blendon, to Mr. Delamotte's family, of the nature and fruits of faith. Mr. Broughton and my
brother were there. Mr. Broughton's great objection was, he could never think that I had not faith, who had done and suffered such things. My brother was very angry, and told me I did not know what mischief Í had done by talking thus. And indeed it did please God then to kindle a fire, which, I trust, shall never be extinguished.
“ Wednesday, May 3d, my brother had a long and particular conversation with Peter Böhler. And it now pleased God to open his eyes ; so that he also saw clearly what was the nature of that one true living faith whereby alone, through grace, we are saved.
Thursday, 4th, Peter Böhler left London, in order to embark for Carolina. O what a work hath God begun since his coming into England ! such an one as shall never come to an end till heaven and earth pass away."
On his arrival at Southampton, Böhler addressed a very affectionate Latin letter to Mr. Wesley, urging him to the immediate exercise of faith in Christ, that he might be saved from the guilt and power of sin, and filled with peace, and joy, and holy love.
When the doctrine of salvation from sin, by faith in the Lord Jesus, accompanied by the inward witness of adoption, was first proposed to Mr. Charles Wesley, he opposed it with all his might, and was very angry with his brother for entertaining principles so directly contrary to those which Mr. Law had taught them, and which they had so cordially entertained. About this time he had a severe illness, so that his life was in imminent danger. When his sufferings were excruciating, and it was doubtful whether he could survive many hours, he was visited by Böhler. “I asked him," says Mr. Charles Wes
ley, “to pray for me. He seemed unwilling at first; but beginning faintly, he raised his voice by degrees, and prayed for my recovery with strange confidence. Then he took me by the hand, and calmly said, “You will not die now. I thought within myself, “I cannot hold out in this pain till morning.' He said, “Do you hope to be saved ?' I answered, “Yes.' For what reason do you hope to be saved ?'
• Because I have used my best endeavours to serve God. He shook bis head, and said
I thought him very uncharitable, saying in my heart, “What, are not my endeavours a sufficient ground of hope? Would he rob me of my endeavours ? I have nothing else to trust to.'”*
Mr. Charles Wesley, who was thus offended with the doctrine of free and present salvation from sin by faith in Christ, turned his anxious and prayerful attention to the subject, and was soon led to concur in sentiment with his brother and the devout Ger
Hitherto John had always taken the lead in matters of a religious nature ; but this order was now reversed. Charles, who had been the last to receive the doctrine in question, was the first to realize its truth in his own experience. On the morning of Whitsunday, May 21st, having had a second return of his illness, and his brother and some other friends having spent the preceding night in prayer for him, he awoke in the earnest hope of soon attaining the object of his desire,—the knowledge of God reconciled in Christ Jesus. About nine o'clock his brother and some friends visited him, and sang a hymn suited to the day. When they had left him he betook himself to prayer. Soon afterwards one
• Whitehead's Lives of John and Charles Wesley, vol. i. p.
of his religious acquaintance said to him, in a very impressive manner,
“ Believe in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and thou shalt be healed of all thine infirmities.” The words went to his heart, and animated him with confidence; and in reading various passages of Scripture he was enabled to trust in Christ, as set forth to be a propitiation for his sins, through faith in his blood, and received that peace and rest in God which he so earnestly sought.
Three days afterwards Mr. John Wesley received the same blessing. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, he says,
I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart; something of which I described, in the broken manner I was able, in the following letter to a friend :
“I see that the whole law of God is holy, just, and good. I know every thought, every temper of my soul, ought to bear God's
image and superscription. But how am I fallen from the glory of God ! I feel that I am sold under sin. I know that I too deserve nothing but wrath, being full of all abominations, and having no good thing in me to atone for them, or to remove the wrath of God. All my works, my righteousness, my prayers, need an atonement for themselves, so that my mouth is stopped. I have nothing to plead. God is holy. I am unholy. God is a consuming fire. I am altogether a sinner, meet to be consumed.
“ Yet I hear a voice (and is it not the voice of God ?) saying, “Believe, and thou shalt be saved. 'He that believeth is passed from death unto life.' "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' “O let no one deceive us by vain words, as if we