I cannot easily part with those I love.
Letter, 22nd October, 1777

They (the Methodists) have many schools for teaching, reading, writing and arithmetic, but only one for teaching the higher parts of learning. This is kept in Kingswood, near Bristol, and contains about forty scholars.
. . . . . . . . . .

Each preacher has his food wherever he labours and twelve pounds a year for clothes and other expenses. If he is married, he has ten pounds a year for his wife. This money is raised by the voluntary contributions of the Societies. It is by these likewise that the poor are assisted where the allowance fixed by the laws of the land does not suffice. Accordingly the stewards of the Societies in London distribute seven or eight pounds weekly among the poor.
. . . . . . . . . .

There are only three Methodist societies in America. … There are five preachers there.
to Professor John Liden of Lund, 1769


When I can learn nothing else, I like to learn the names of houses and villages as I pass them.
The Life of John Wesley by John Telford, p.272

You were never in your lives in so critical a situation as you are at this time. It is your part to be peacemakers, to be loving and tender to all, but to addict yourselves to no party. In spite of all solicitations, of rough or smooth words, say not one word against one or the other side. Keep yourselves pure, do all you can to help and soften all; but beware how you adopt another’s jar.

See that you act in full union with each other; this is of the utmost consequence. Not only let there be no bitterness or anger but no shyness or coldness between you.
to the Preachers in America, 1775


Surely the people of this place* were highly favored. Mercy embraced them on every side.
Journal, 28th March, 1790
* -- Burslem

There is, indeed, a wide difference between the relation wherein you stand to the Americans and the relation wherein I stand to all the Methodists. … I am under God the father of the whole family. Therefore I naturally care for you all in a manner no other persons can do. Therefore I in a measure for you all …

But in one point, my dear brother, I am a little afraid both the Doctor* and you differ from me. I study to be little: you study to be great. I creep: you strut along. I found a school: you a college! Nay, and call it after your own names! …

One instance of this has given me great concern. How can you, how dare you suffer yourself to be called Bishop? I shudder, I start at the very thought! Men may call me a knave or a fool, a rascal, a scoundrel, and I am content; but they shall never by my consent call me Bishop!
to Francis Asbury, 1788
* -- Thomas Coke


At all times it is of use to have a Friend to whom you can pour out your heart without any disguise or reserve.
Letter, 12th November, 1776

Abstain from all spirituous liquors. Touch them not on any pretence whatever.
. . . . . . . . . .

Every day of your life take at least an hour’s exercise … If you can, take it in the open air.
. . . . . . . . . .

Sleep early and rise early, unless you are ill.
. . . . . . . . . .

Beware of anger! Beware of worldly sorrow! Beware of the fear that hath torment! Beware of foolish and hurtful desires! Beware of inordinate affection! Remember the command: “My son, give me thy heart!”
Thoughts on Nervous Disorders


This doctrine* is the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists; and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appears to have raised us up.
Works, xiii. 9
* -- perfect love or entire sanctification

Is there no remedy for lowness of spirits? Undoubtedly there is, a most certain cure, if you are willing to pay the price for it. But this price is not silver or gold, nor anything purchasable thereby. If you would give all the substance of your house for it, it would be utterly despised. And all the medicines under the sun avail nothing in this distemper. The whole Materia Medica put together will do you no lasting service; they do not strike at the root of the disease; you must remove the cause, if you wish to remove the effect. But this cannot be done by your own strength; it can only be done by the mighty power of God. If you are convinced of this, set about it trusting in Him, and you will surely conquer.
Thoughts on Nervous Disorders


Why are we more nervous than our forefathers? Because we lie longer in bed; they, rich and poor, slept about eight, when they heard the curfew bell, and rose at four; the bell ringing at that hour (as well as at eight) in every parish in England. …

Yet something may be allowed to irregular passions for these undoubtedly affect the body, the nerves in particular. Even violent joy, though it raises the spirits for a time, does afterwards sink them greatly. And everyone knows what an influence fear has upon our whole frame. Nay, even hope deferred maketh the heart grow sick, puts the mind all out of tune. The same effect have all foolish and hurtful desires. They pierce us through with may sorrows.
Thoughts on Nervous Disorders

But let the “righteousness which is of God by faith” be brought in, and so shall its proud waves be stayed.
Works, v.15


1. Our design is, with God’s assistance, to train up children in all such things as are needful for them.
2. We take them between the ages of Six and Twelve in order to teach them Reading, Writing, and Sewing; and, if it be desired, the English Grammar, Arithmetic & other Sorts of Needlework.
3. It is our particular Desire, that all who are educated here, may be brought up in the fear of God; And at the utmost distance from Vice in general, so in particular from Idleness & Effeminacy. The Children therefore of tender parents so call’d 9who are indeed offering up their Sons and their Daughters unto Devils) have no Business here: for the rules will not be broken in favour of any person whatsoever. Nor is any Child received unless her parents agree, 1. That she shall observe all the Rules of the House, & 2. That they will not take her from School, no, not a Day, till they take her for good and all.
Rules for the Girls’ School at Kingswood

Can you empty the great deep drop by drop? Then you may reform us by dissuasives from particular vices.
Works, v.15


Here was my first irregularity, and it was not voluntary but constrained. The second was extemporary prayer. This likewise I believed to be my bounden duty, for the sake of those who desired to watch over their souls. I could not in conscience refrain from it.

When the people joined together, simply to help each other to heaven, increased by hundreds and thousands, still they had no more thought of leaving the Church than of leaving the kingdom. Nay, I continually and earnestly cautioned them against it; reminding them that we were a part of the Church of England.
Separation from the Church

There are no Methodists that will bear no restraints. Explain this at large to the Society.
Works, xiii. 164


From a child I was taught to love and reverence the Scriptures, the Oracles of God; and next to these, to esteem the Primitive Fathers, the Writers of the first three centuries. Next after the Primitive Church, I esteemed our own, the Church of England, as the most scriptural national Church in the world. I therefore, not only assented to all the doctrines , but observed all the rubric in the Liturgy; and that with all possible exactness.

In this judgment, and with this spirit, I went to America, strongly attached to the Bible, the Primitive Church, and the Church of England, from which I would not vary in one jot or tittle on any account whatever. In this spirit I returned as regular a clergyman as any in the three kingdoms; till after not being permitted to preach in the Churches, I was constrained to preach in the open air.
Separation from the Church

I can see nothing that I have done or suffered that will bear looking at. I have no other plea than this: I the chief of sinners am, but Jesus died for me.
Moore’s Life, II. 389


When I have an opportunity of doing good, I will permit no man to tie my hands.
Reynolds’ Anecdotes of Wesley, p.25

I firmly believe I am a scriptural episcopos as much as any man in England or in Europe. For the Uninterrupted Succession I know to be a fable which no man ever did or can prove. ...

I submit still (though sometimes with a doubting conscience) to Mitred Infidels. I do indeed vary from them in some points of doctrine and in some points of discipline: (by preaching abroad, for instance, by praying extempore, and by forming Societies.) but not a hair’s breadth further than I believe to be meet, right and my bounden duty. I walk still by the same rule I have done for between forty and fifty years. I do nothing rashly. It is not likely I should. The high day of my blood is over.
Separation from the Church


As to my own judgment, I still believe the episcopal form of Church government to be both scriptural and apostolical [sic], I mean, well agreeing with the practice and writings of the Apostles. But that it is prescribed in Scripture, I do not believe. This opinion, which I once zealously espoused, I have been heartily ashamed of, ever since I read Bishop Stillingfleet’s Irenicon. I think he has unanswerably proved that neither Christ nor His Apostles prescribe any particular form of Church government, and that the plea of divine right for diocesan episcopacy was never heard of in the Primitive Church.
to the Reverend James Clarke, 1756

If those who “gain all they can,” and “save all they can,” will likewise “give all they can”; then, the more they gain, the more they will grow in grace, and the more treasure they will lay up in heaven.
Works, xiii. 261


We honour the blessed Virgin as the Mother of the holy Jesus, and as she was a person of eminent piety; but we do not think it lawful to give that honour to her which belongs not to a creature and doth equal her with the Redeemer … We read nothing in the Bible of her bodily assumption into heaven nor of her exaltation to a throne above the angels and archangels.

. . . . . . . . . .

We freely own that Christ is to be adored in the Lord’s Supper; but that the elements are to be adored, we deny.
Reply to the Roman Catechism

The sea breezes may be of service to you, if you have constant exercise.
Letter, 15th September, 1777


It is a known principle of the Church of England that nothing is to be received as an article of faith, which is not read from the holy Scripture or to be inferred therefrom, by just and plain consequences.

. . . . . . . . . .

I lay this down as an undoubted truth: the more the doctrine of any Church agrees with the Scripture, the more readily ought it to be received. And on the other hand, the more the doctrine of any Church differs from the Scripture, the greater cause we have to doubt of it.
The Advantage of the Church of England

Joy you shall have, if joy be best.
Letter, 16th December, 1772


My dear Friend, Consider, I am not persuading you to leave or change your religion, but to follow after that fear and love of God without which all religion is vain. I say not a word to you about your opinions or outward manner of worship; but I say all worship is an abomination to the Lord unless you worship Him in spirit and in truth, with your heart as well as your lips, with your spirit and your understanding also. …

We ought, without this endless jangling about opinions, to provoke one an other to love and to good works. Let the points wherein we differ stand aside; here are enough wherein we agree, enough to be the ground of every Christian temper and of every Christian action.
To a Roman Catholic

I am now nearly as I was before my illness; but, I hope, more determined to sell all for the pearl.
Letter, 31st July, 1775


An evil practice is the depriving the laity of the Cup in the Lord’s Supper. It is acknowledged by all that our Lord instituted and delivered this Sacrament in both kinds, giving the wine as well as the bread to all that partook of it, and that it continued to be so delivered in the Church of Rome for above a thousand years. And yet, notwithstanding this, the Church of Rome now forbids the people to drink of the Cup. A more insolent and barefaced corruption cannot be easily conceived.

Another evil practice in the Church of Rome, utterly unheard of in the ancient Church, is that when there is none to receive the Lord’s Supper, the priest communicates it alone. (Indeed, it is not properly to communicate, when only one receives it.) This likewise is an absolute innovation in the Church of God.
Popery Calmly Considered

Oh what a pearl, of how great price, is the very lowest degree of the peace of God!
Works, xii. 170


The greatest abuse of all in the Lord’s Supper is the worshipping the consecrated bread. And this the Church of Rome not only practices, but positively enjoins.

. . . . . . . . . .

A more dangerous error in the Church of Rome is the forbidding the clergy to marry. … The Apostle, on the contrary, says: “Marriage is honourable in all.”

. . . . . . . . . .

Lastly, what can more directly tend to destroy truth from off the earth, than the doctrine of the Church of Rome that “no faith is to be kept with heretics”?
Popery Calmly Considered

I believe the merciful God regards the lives and tempers of men more than their ideas. I believe He respects the goodness of the heart more than the clearness of the head.
Works, vii. 354


We grant confession to men to be, in many cases, of use, public in case of public scandal; private to a spiritual guide for disburdening of the conscience, and as a help to repentance. But to make auricular confession or particular confession to a priest necessary to forgiveness and salvation, when God has not so made it, is apparently to teach for doctrine the commandment of men; and to make it necessary in all cases is to make of what may be a useful means, a dangerous snare, both to the confessor and those that confess.

. . . . . . . . . .

To pardon sin, and absolve the sinner judicially, so as the conscience may rest firmly upon it, is a power reserved by God to Himself.
Reply to the Roman Catechism

And invite all to this: one love, one present and eternal heaven.
Letter, 16th September, 1774


Is not Rome the mother of all Churches? We answer, No. The word of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem. There the Church began. She therefore, not the Church of Rome, is the mother of all Churches. The Church of Rome, therefore, has no right to require any person to believe what she teaches on her sole authority.

. . . . . . . . . .

The Church of Rome is no more the Church in general than the Church of England is. It is only one particular branch of the Catholic or Universal Church of Christ, which is the whole body of believers in Christ, scattered over the whole earth. … In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.
Popery Calmly Considered

Let your eye be single; aim still at one thing – holy loving faith; giving God the whole heart.
Letter, 16th September, 1774


The Service of the Roman Church is everywhere performed in the Latin tongue, which is nowhere vulgarly understood … This irrational and unscriptural practice destroys the great end of public worship.

. . . . . . . . . .

Scripture and antiquity are flatly against transubstantiation. And so are our very senses.
Popery Calmly Considered

The Church of Rome does not scruple to impose upon the consciences of men, in the doctrine of the Mass, various traditions, that have no authority in holy writ.
The Advantage of the Church of England

The Methodists must take heed to their doctrine, their experience, their practice, and their discipline.
to Robert Miller, 1783


By this time I should be some judge of man; and if I am, all England and Ireland cannot afford such a body of men, number for number, for sense and true experience both of men and things, as the body of Methodist preachers. Our leaders in London, Bristol and Dublin are by no means weal men. I would not be ashamed to compare them with a like number of tradesmen in every part of the three kingdoms. But I assure you they are no more than children compared to the preachers in Conference, as you would be thoroughly convinced could you but have the opportunity of spending one day among them.
to Alexander Clark, 1772

God keeps you long in this school that you may thoroughly learn to be meek and lowly in heart, and to seek all your happiness in God.
Letter, 27th January, 1776


Here therefore my scruples are at an end, and I conceive myself at full liberty, as I violate no order and invade no man’s right, by appointing and sending labourers into the harvest. … And I have prepared a liturgy, little differing from the of the Church of England (I think the best constituted national Church in the world) which I advise all the travelling [sic] preachers to use on the Lord’s Day, in all the congregations, reading the litany only on Wednesdays and Fridays, and praying extempore on all other days. I also advise the elders to administer the Supper of the Lord on every Lord’s Day.

If anyone will point out a more rational and scriptural way of feeding and guiding those poor sheep in the wilderness, I will gladly embrace it.
To American Methodists, 1784

Look up, and receive a fresh supply of grace.
Letter, 2nd March, 1773


Here therefore my scruples are at an end, and I conceive myself at full liberty, as I violate no order and invade no man’s right, by appointing and sending labourers into the harvest. … And I have prepared a liturgy, little differing from the of the Church of England (I think the best constituted national Church in the world) which I advise all the travelling [sic] preachers to use on the Lord’s Day, in all the congregations, reading the litany only on Wednesdays and Fridays, and praying extempore on all other days. I also advise the elders to administer the Supper of the Lord on every Lord’s Day.

If anyone will point out a more rational and scriptural way of feeding and guiding those poor sheep in the wilderness, I will gladly embrace it.
To American Methodists, 1784

Look up, and receive a fresh supply of grace.
Letter, 2nd March, 1773


The Great Salvation is at hand, if you will receive it as the gift of God.
Letter, 21st April, 1787

Lord King’s Account of the Primitive Church convinced me many years ago that bishops and presbyters are the same order, and consequently have the same right to ordain. For many years I have been importuned from time to time to exercise this right, by ordaining part of our travelling [sic] preachers. But I have still refused; not only for peace sake, but because I was determined as little as possible to violate the established order of the national Church to which I belonged.

But the case is widely different between England and North America. Here there are bishops who have a legal jurisdiction. In America, there are none, neither any parish ministers. So that for some hundred miles together there is none either to baptise [sic] or administer the Lord’s Supper.
To American Methodists, 1784


I went to a gentleman who is much troubled with what they call lowness of spirits. Many such have I been with before; but in several of them it was no bodily distemper. They wanted something, they knew not what; and were therefore heavy, uneasy, and dissatisfied with everything. The plain truth is, they wanted God, they wanted Christ, they wanted faith; and God convinced them of their want, in a way their physicians no more understood than themselves. Accordingly nothing availed till the great Physician came. For in spite of all natural means, He who made them for Himself would not suffer them to rest till they rested in Him.
Journal, 13th July, 1739

With what is past, or what is to come, we have little to do. Now is the day of Salvation.
Letter, 21st April, 1787


A loving word, spoken in faith, shall not fall to the ground.
. . . . . . . . . .

You have this treasure in an earthen vessel; you dwell in a poor shattered house of clay, which presses down the immortal spirit.
. . . . . . . . . .

The knowledge of ourselves is true humility; and without this we cannot be freed from vanity.
. . . . . . . . . .

It is a great thing to spend all our time to the glory of God.
Letter to Miss March, 1760-77

See that you be not ashamed of a good Master, nor of the least of His servants.
Letter, 18th January, 1776


I am now, and have been from my youth, a member and minister of the Church of England. And I have no desire to separate from it till my soul separates from my body. Yet if I were not permitted to remain therein without omitting what God requires me to do, it would then become meet and right and my bounden duty to separate from it without delay. To be more particular, I know God has committed me a dispensation of the Gospel. Yea, and my own salvation depends upon preaching it. “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” If then I could not remain in the Church without omitting this, without desisting from preaching the Gospel, I should be under the necessity of separating from it or losing my own soul.

Blessed be God, I do not slack my labour; I can preach and write still.
Journal, 1st January, 1790


In like manner, if I could not continue united to any smaller Society, Church or body of Christians, without committing sin, without lying and hypocrisy, without preaching to others doctrines which I did not myself believe, I should be under an absolute necessity of separating from that Society. And in all these cases the sin of separation, with all the evils consequent upon it, would not lie upon me, but upon those who constrained me to make that separation, by requiring of me such terms of communion as I could not in conscience comply with. But setting aside this case, suppose the Church or Society to which I am now united, does not require me to do anything which the Scripture forbids, or to omit anything which the Scripture enjoins, it is then my indispensable duty to continue therein.

Envy will invent a thousand things, and with the most plausible circumstances.
Letter, 9th November, 1787


I have spoken the more explicitly upon this head because it is so little understood; because so many of those who profess much religion, nay, and really enjoy a measure of it, have not the least conception of this matter, neither imagine such a separation to be any sin at all. They leave a Christian Society with as much unconcern as they would go out of one room into another. They give occasion to all this complicated mischief; and wipe their mouth, and say they have done no evil! Whereas they are justly chargeable before God and man, both with an action that is evil in itself, and with all the evil consequences which may be expected to follow, to themselves, to their brethren and to the world.

Leave that with Him. The success is His. The work only is yours. Your point is this – work your work betimes; and in His time He will give you a full reward.
Letter, 4th November, 1774


Keep to the whole Methodist discipline whoever is pleased or displeased.
Letter, 29th April, 1776

The whole body of Roman Catholics define schism, a separation from the Church of Rome; and almost all our own writers define it, a separation from the Church of England. Thus both the one and the other set out wrong and stumble at the very threshold. …

The immense pains which have been taken both by Papists and Protestants in writing whole volumes against schisms as a separation whether from the Church of Rome or from the Church of England, have been employed to mighty little purpose. They have been fighting with shadows of their own raising.


Do not rashly tear asunder the sacred ties which unite you to any Christian Society. … Take care how you rend the Body of Christ, by separating from your brethren. It is a thing evil in itself. It is a sore evil in its consequences.

Beware of countenancing or abetting and Parties in a Christian Society. Never encourage, much less cause, either by word or action, any division therein. … Leave off contention before it is meddled with; shun the very beginning of strife.

Happy is he that attains the character of a peacemaker in the Church of God.

Never deny, never conceal, never speak doubtfully of what God hath wrought.
Letter, 12th November, 1776


10. Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And, in general, do not mend our rules, but keep them: not for wrath but for conscience’ sake.

11. You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not to those that want you, but to those that want you most.

12. Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel; as such, it is your part to employ your time in the manner which we direct; partly in preaching and visiting from house to house; partly in reading, meditation and prayer. Above all, if you labour with us in our Lord’s vineyard, it is needful that you should do that part of the work which we advise, at those times and places which we judge most for His glory.
Rules of a Helper


6. Speak evil of no one; else your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.

7. Tell everyone what you think wrong in him, and that plainly, and as soon as may be, else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.

8. Do not affect the gentleman. You have no more to do with his character than with that of a dancing-master. A preacher of the Gospel is a servant of all.

9. Be ashamed of nothing but sin; not of fetching wood (if time permit), or of drawing water; not of cleaning your own shoes or your neighbor’s.
Rules of a Helper


Keep your rules, and they will keep you.
Letter, 9th November, 1787

1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed a moment. Never be trifilingly [sic] employed. Never while away time; neither spend any more at any place than is strictly necessary.

2. Be serious. Let your motto be: Holiness to the Lord. Avoid all lightness, jesting and foolish talking.

3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women; particularly with young women in private.

4. Take no step toward marriage without first acquainting us with your design.

5. Believe evil of no one, unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything. You know the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.
Rule of a Helper


It is true, this cannot be done on a sudden; but it may between this and the next Conference. And even as to the drops that many have sold, if their wives sell them at home, well; but it is not proper for any preacher to hawk them about; it has a bad appearance; it does not suit well the dignity of his calling.

Two years after, it was agreed by all our brethren, that no preacher who will not relinquish his trade of buying and selling or of making and vending pills, drops, balsams or medicines of any kind, shall (not) be considered as a travelling [sic] preacher any longer; and that it shall be demanded of all those preachers who have traded in cloth, hardware, pills, drops, balsams or medicines of any kind, at the next Conference whether they have entirely left it off or not.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

We cannot impute too much to divine Providence, unless we make it interfere with our free agency.
Letter, 26th April, 1777


Should our helpers follow trades?

This is an important question; therefore it will be proper to consider it thoroughly. The question is not whether they may occasionally work with their hands, as St. Paul did; but whether it be proper for them to keep shop and follow merchandise. Of those who do so at present, it may be observed, they are unquestionably upright men; they are men of considerable gifts. We see the fruit of their labour, and they have a large share in the esteem and love of the people. All this pleads on their side, and cannot but give us a prejudice in their favor. … But where will it stop? If one preacher follow trade, so may twenty; so may every one. And if any of them trade a little, why not ever so much? Who can fix how far he should go? Therefore, we advise our brethren who have been concerned herein, to give up all, and attend to the one business.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

Every believer ought to enjoy life.
Letter, 27th July, 1787


The sum is: Go into every house, in course, and teach every one therein, young and old, if they belong to us, to be Christians inwardly and outwardly.

Make every particular plain to their understanding. Fix it in their memory. Write it on their heart. In order to (do) this, there must be “line upon line, precept upon precept.” I remember to have heard my father ask my mother: “How could you have the patience to tell that blockhead the same thing twenty times over?” She answered: “Why, if I had told him but nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour.” What patience indeed, what love, what knowledge is requisite for this!
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

Oh let no man think his labor of love is lost because the fruit does not immediately appear.
Journal, 13th June, 1742


Which is the best method of preaching?
i. to invite. ii. to convince. iii. to offer Christ. iv. to build up; and to do this, in some measure, in every sermon.
1. Be sure to begin and end, precisely at the time appointed.
2. Endeavour to be serious, weighty and solemn in your whole deportment before the congregation.
3. Always suit your subject to the audience.
4. Choose the plainest texts you can.
5. Take care not to ramble from your text, but keep close to it, and make out from it what you take in hand.
6. Beware of allegorizing or spiritualizing too much.
7. Take care of anything awkward or affected, either in your phrase, gesture or pronunciation.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

However tempted thereto by profit or pleasure, contract no intimacy with worldy-minded men.
Letter, 1st August, 1786


Build all the preaching-houses, if the ground will permit, in the octagon form. It is best for the voice, and, on many accounts more commodious than any other. Let the roof arise one-third of the breadth; this is the true proportion. Have windows and doors enough; and let all the windows be sashed, opening downward. Let there be no tub-pulpit, but a square projection, with a long seat behind. Let there be no backs to the seats, which should have aisles on each side, and be parted in the middle by a rail running along, to divide the men from the women.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

If we could bring all our preachers, itinerant and local, uniformly and steadily to insist on those two points, Christ dying for us, and Christ reigning in us, we should shake the trembling gates of hell.
Letter, 28th December, 1774


Believing is the act of man, but it is the gift of God.
to T. Lessey, 7th January, 1787

Gaining knowledge is a good thing; but saving souls is better. … You will have abundant time for gaining other knowledge if you spend all your mornings therein. Only sleep not more than you need; talk not more than you need; and never be idle, nor triflingly [sic] employed. But if you can do but one, either following your studies or by instructing the ignorant, let your studies alone. I would throw all the libraries in the world rather than be guilty of the perdition of one soul.
. . . . . . . . . . .
True, it is far easier to preach a good sermon than to instruct the ignorant in the principles of religion.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744


In the meantime it is your wisdom to make the full use of those which you have.
Letter, 1st August, 1786

Question: Do you not entail a schism on the Church? i.e. is it not probable that your hearers, after your death, will be scattered into all sects and parties, or that they will form themselves into a distinct sect?

Answer: 1. We are persuaded the body of our hearers will, even after our death, remain in the Church, unless they be thrust out.
2. We believe, notwithstanding, either that they will be thrust out, or that they will leaven the whole Church.
3. We do, and will do, all we can to prevent those consequences which are supposed likely to happen after our death.
4. but we cannot, with a good conscience, neglect the present opportunity of saving souls while we live, for fear of consequences which may possibly or probably happen after we are dead.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744


It is desired that all things be considered as in the immediate presence of God. That we may meet with a single eye, and as little children, who have everything to learn; that every point which is proposed may be examined to the foundation: that every person may speak freely whatever is in his heart; and that every question that arises may be thoroughly debated and settled …

While we are conversing let us have an especial care to set God always before us. In the intermediate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for private exercises. Therein let us give ourselves to prayer for one another and for a blessing on this our labour.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

If He sees, and when He sees best, He will put more talents into your hands.
Letter, 1st August, 1786


The greatest hindrances … you are to expect from the rich or cowardly or lazy Methodists. But regard them not, neither stewards, leaders nor people. Whenever the weather will permit, go out, in God’s name, into the most public places, and call all to repent and believe the Gospel; every Sunday in particular.

Question: What may we reasonably expect to be God’s design in raising up the preachers called Methodists?
Answer: To reform the nation, particularly the Church; to spread Scriptural holiness over the land.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

A little fatigue I do not regard, but I cannot afford to lose time.
Letter, 17th February, 1776


Then many of the Methodists growing rich, became lovers of the present world. Next they married unawakened or half-awakened wives, and conversed with their relations. Hence, worldly prudence, maxims, customs, crept back upon them, producing more and more conformity to the world. Hence followed gross neglect of relative duties, especially education of children. And this is not easily cured by the Preachers.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

The poor are the Christians. Let us take care to lay up our treasure in heaven.
Letter, 30th September, 1786


What servants, journeymen, labourers, carpenters, bricklayers, do as they would be done by? Which of them does as much work as he can? Set him down for a knave that does not.

Who does as he would be done by, in buying and selling, particularly in selling horses? Write him knave that does not. And the Methodist knave is the worst of all knaves.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

Be honest, not purloining, not secreting or privately keeping back anything for yourself; not taking, using, disposing or giving away the least thing belonging to your employer, without his leave, without his knowledge and consent first asked and then obtained. To do otherwise is no better then plain theft and cuts off all pretensions to honesty. Equally dishonest it is to hurt or waste anything, or to let it be lost through your carelessness or negligence.
Directions to Servants

The righteousness of Christ is necessary to entitle us to heaven, personal holiness to qualify us for it.
Works, vii. 314


For what avails public preaching alone, though we could preach like angels?

I heard Dr. Lupton say, my father, visiting one of his parishioners, who had never missed going to Church for forty years, then lying on his death-bed, asked him: “Thomas, where do you think your soul will go?” “Soul! Soul!” said Thomas. “Yes, do you not know what your soul is?” “Aye, surely,” said he, “Why, it is a little bone in the back, that lives longer than the rest of the body.” So much Thomas had learned by constantly hearing good sermons, for forty years!
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

It is a rule with me to take nothing ill that is well meant.
Letter, 25th September, 1757


After all our preaching, many of our people are almost as ignorant as if they had never heard the Gospel. I study to speak as plainly as I can; yet I frequently meet with those who have been my hearers for many years, who know not whether Christ be God or man; or that infant shave any original sin. And how few are there that know the nature of repentance, faith and holiness! Most of them have a sort of confidence that Christ will justify and save them, while the world has their hearts, and they live to themselves. And I have found, by experience, that one of these has learned more from an hour’s close discourse than from ten years’ public preaching.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

You may line in and to Jesus; yea, and that continually, by simple faith, and holy, humble love.
Letter, 12th August, 1769


What cause have we to bleed before the Lord this day, that have so long neglected this great and good work! That have been preachers so many years, and have done so little by personal instruction for the saving of men’s souls! If we had but set on this work sooner, how many more might have been brought to Christ! And how much holier and happier might we have made our Societies before now! And why might we have not done it sooner? There were many hindrances in the way; and so there are still, and always will be; but the greatest hindrance was in ourselves, in our dulness [sic] and littleness of faith and love.
Minutes of Conversations, 1744

You like to be honored, but had you not rather be beloved?
Works, vii. 146


On the notice of my death, let all the preachers in England and Ireland repair to London within six weeks.

Let them seek god by solemn fasting and prayer.

Let them draw up articles of agreement to be signed by those who choose to act in concert.

Let those be dismissed who do not choose it in the most friendly manner possible.

Let them choose by votes a committee of three, five or seven, each of whom is to be Moderator in his turn.

Let the Committee do what I do now; propose preachers to be tried, admitted or excluded; fix the place of each preacher for the ensuing year and the time of the next Conference.
To The Travelling [sic] Preachers, 1769

How amiable is courtesy joined to sincerity!
Wesley Studies, p.203


How soon may you hear “the voice that speaks Jehovah near!” Why shall it not be today?
Letter, 26th January, 1774

You are at present one body. You act in concert with each other and by united councils. And now is the time to consider what can be done in order to continue this union. Indeed, as long as I live there will be no great difficulty. I am, under God, a centre of union to all our travelling [sic] as well as local preachers. …

Those who desire or seek any earthly thing, whether honour, profit or ease, will not, cannot continue in the Connexion; it will not answer their design. Some of them, perhaps a fourth of the whole number, will secure preferment in the Church. Others will turn Independents, and get separate congregations.
To The Travelling [sic] Preachers, 1769


Keep at the utmost distance from foolish desires, from desiring any happiness but in God.
Works, xi, 462

I find no decay in my hearing, smell, taste or appetite (though I want but a third of the food I did once), nor do I feel any such thing as weariness, either in traveling or preaching. And I am not conscious of any decay in writing sermons, which I do as readily and, I believe, as correctly as ever.

To what causes can I impute this, that I am as I am? First, doubtless to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which I am called, as long as he pleases to continue me therein; and next, subordinately to this, to the prayers of His children.
Journal, 28th June, 1782