1733 — 1801

February 9, 2017 // Story


1733 — 1801

After reading and considering the foregoing [the first account sent by Alexander Mather to

John Wesley] account I observed to Mr. Mather that he had wholly omitted one considerable
branch of his experience, touching what is properly termed, The great salvation. He wrote me a
full and particular answer, the substance of which I have subjoined. — John Weslwy

I answer, 1. With regard to the time and place, it was at Rotherham, in the year 1757 …

What I had experienced in my own soul was an instantaneous deliverance from all those wrong
tempers and affections which I had long and sensibly groaned under; an entire disengagement from
every creature, with an entire devotedness to God; and from that moment I found an unspeakable
pleasure doing the will of God in all things. I had also a power to do it, and the constant
approbation both of my own conscience and of God. I had simplicity of heart, and a single eye to
God, at all times and in all places, with such a fervent zeal for the glory of God and the good of
souls as swallowed up every other care and consideration. Above all, I had uninterrupted
communion with God, whether sleeping or waking … May it never be retarded, but press into the
glorious liberty which is equally free for all the sons of God.

“As to the manner wherein this work was wrought, l. After I was clearly justified, I was

soon made sensible of my want of it. For although I was enabled to be very circumspect, and had a
continual power over outward and inward sin, yet I felt in me what I knew was contrary to the
mind which was in Christ, and what hindered me from enjoying and glorifying him, as I saw it was
the privilege of a child of God to do. And such I knew myself to be; both from the fruit and the
witness of his Spirit, which I felt in a strong degree, supporting me in conflicts of a very close and
particular nature. 2. My conviction of the need of a farther change was abundantly increased by the
searching preaching of Mr. Walsh, of blessed memory. This kept my conscience very tender, even
to a degree of scrupulosity; and helped me to be much in private prayer,and kept me watching
thereunto. 3. When I saw my call to preach, the difficulties attending that office showed me more
and more the need of such a change, that I might bear all things: and by searching the Scriptures I


saw the possibility of it more clearly, and was stirred up to seek it more earnestly. 4. When I
began travelling I had, no end, aim, or design, but to spend and be spent for God: not counting my
life, or any thing dear, so I might finish my course with joy, which indeed I expected would be
very short as ” I dealt my life at ever blow.” I saw as clearly as I do now, that nothing furthers that
end so much as a heart and life wholly devoted to God.

This made me neglect the advantage I had in my youth, of a tolerable acquaintance with

Latin, which I could easily have recovered; but this and every other gain I counted but loss, that I
might win that intimacy with God which I still think to be the life of preaching. Therefore I
husbanded all the time that I could save from company, from eating, or sleeping, to lay out in
wrestling with God for myself and the flock: so I devoted to God some part of every leisure hour,
over and above the hour from eleven to twelve in the forenoon, and from four to five in the
afternoon. Herein I was sweetly drawn after God, and had many and large views of that salvation
which I wanted, and which he had provided in his Son. The exceeding great and precious promises
were clearly opened to me. And having a full assurance of the power and faithfulness of the
promiser, my soul often tasted of their sweetness. And,though unbelief prevented my immediate
possession, yet I had a blessed foretaste of them. This made me desire the full enjoyment more and
more. I abhorred whatever seemed to keep me from it. I sought out every obstruction. I was willing
to offer up every Isaac, and inflamed with great ardour in wrestling with God; determined not to let
him go till he had emptied me of all sin and filled me with himself.

This l believe he did when I ventured upon Jesus as sufficient to save to the uttermost. He

wrought in me what I cannot express; what I judge it is impossible to utter. Yet I was not long
without reasoning; not concerning the work; of this I was absolutely sure; but whether such and
such things as I soon discovered in myself were consistent with it. And this had its use, as it
qualified me to advise others, who, though saved from sin, were tried in the same way.

Upon this head I consulted Mr. Walsh, and his advice helped me in some degree. But God

helped me much more in private prayer: herein I was clearly satisfied, 1. That deliverance from
sin does not imply deliverance from human infirmities. 2. That neither is it inconsistent with
feeling our natural appetites, or with the regular gratification of them: and 3. That salvation from
sin is not inconsistent with temptations of various kinds. And all this you have clearly and fully
declared in the Plain Account of Christian Perfection.

Source: “The EXPERIENCE of several eminent Methodist Preachers with an account of

their Call to and Success in the Ministry in a series of letters written by themselves to the Rev.
John Wesley” J. Collard, Printer, New York 1837

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(A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts)
Compiled by Duane V. Maxey

Vol. I — Named Accounts

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