John Wesley Quotes: 23 Great Sayings

by Pamela Rose Williams on August 15, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

John Wesley was an Anglican minister who joined his brother Charles and James Oglethorpe to serve as pastor to the colonists in Savannah, Georgia in 1735. On board the ship that he also captained while en route to America, a storm caused him to doubt his faith. It wasn’t that he had no faith but what he realized was that he did not have “saving faith”. John was not well received by the colonists and so he returned to England in 1737. It was not until 1738 that he had the spiritual conversion that caused him to believe that salvation was in Christ alone. After that conversion he devoted his life to evangelism.

“I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.”

John is best known as the preacher who started the Methodist denomination; breaking away from the Church of England. His brother Charles joined with John as the “hymn writer” leaving all the preaching to John. In fact, John Wesley is said to have preached more than 40,000 messages in his lifetime. Although John is credited with bringing Methodism out of the Church of England, he remained an Anglican until he died. [1] [2] During his life John Wesley said some amazing things; here are just a few of his quotes.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

About Affliction

“Even in the greatest afflictions, we ought to testify to God, that, in receiving them from his hand, we feel pleasure in the midst of the pain, from being afflicted by Him who loves us, and whom we love.”

“The readiest way which God takes to draw a man to himself is, to afflict him in that he loves most, and with good reason; and to cause this affliction to arise from some good action done with a single eye; because nothing can more clearly show him the emptiness of what is most lovely and desirable in the world.”

About Character

“Vice does not lose its character by becoming fashionable.”

“Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.”

“Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. ‘Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness.’”

About Christians & Christianity

“I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.”

“When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can, does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!”

“A Methodist (Christian) is one who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul, which is continually crying, ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth whom I desire besides thee.’ My God and my all! ‘Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.’ He is therefore happy in God; yea, always happy, as having in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life, and over-flowing his soul with peace and joy. Perfect love living now cast out fear, he rejoices evermore. Yea, his joy is full, and all his bones cry out, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten me again unto a living hope of an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, reserved in heaven for me.”

About Evangelism

“The world is my parish” (in response to the bishop of Bristol who objected to his preaching as it “disrupted” local Anglican services)

“You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go not only to those that need you, but to those that need you most. It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance.”

“Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing!”

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.”

“It is no marvel that the devil does not love field preaching! Neither do I; I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit. But where is my zeal if I do not trample all these underfoot in order to save one more soul?”

About Faith & Faithfulness

“I was indeed fighting continually, but not conquering … I fell and rose, and fell again.” (said after realizing he had no saving faith) 

“Faith is the divine evidence whereby the spiritual man discerneth God, and the things of God.”

“There is no faithfulness like that which ought to be between a guide of souls and the person directed by him. They ought continually to regard each other in God, and closely to examine themselves, whether all their thoughts are pure, and all their words directed with Christian discretion. Other affairs are only the things of men; but these are peculiarly the things of God.”

About Prayer

“Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it. One who always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity. He blesses God for all things, looks on them as coming from Him, and receives them for His sake- not choosing nor refusing, liking or disliking,anything, but only as it is agreeable or disagreeable to His perfect will.” [3]

“God grant that I may never live to be useless!” [3]

“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.” [3]

“… with all prayer (Eph. 6:18)” All sorts of prayer- public, private, mental, vocal. Do not be diligent in one kind of prayer and negligent in others… let us use all.” [3]

About Reading and Thinking

“It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people. ”

“Think and let think.”

Maybe You Have Some More

Do you have a favorite quote by John Wesley? Share it in the comments below.

Sources:

[1] www.christianitytoday.com

[2] www.ccel.org

[3] How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., Used by Permission



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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Hwee Hwee Tan August 15, 2012 at 4:42 am

I like the quote about a Christian being one who loves God with all his heart, soul and mind. Our love for God should be like an unquenchable flame, hot, passionate, all-consuming and warmly sweet.

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Pamela Rose Williams August 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

Amen Hwee Hwee Tan … this verse comes to mind:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37)

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ADEOLA ADEDAMOLA August 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

Am pleased with this page, please send me more of it. thanks

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Michael August 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

Great Article I loved the quotes.

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Pamela Rose Williams August 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

thanks Michael.

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Derek Hill August 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

This was a great read Pam. I always love learning about other Christians and the lives that they have led. These were some really convicting quotes. I loved the 2nd one under affliction. It really shows the heart of God for us. When the beauty of this world fades, then we can really see how beautiful and amazing God is. This was a wonderful article!

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Pamela Rose Williams August 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Thanks Derek, I really like “Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.” Shows our heart for God and others. :)

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Jack Wellman August 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Love these quotes Pam. Especially the “all you can” ones…amazing man who served an awesome God.

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Pamela Rose Williams August 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hi Jack, thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do think that the featured quote is his most famous … it was the theme of his meetings.

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Josh August 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm

All great quotes Pam. Another one of Wesley’s that I like is:

“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

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Pamela Rose Williams August 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hi Josh — that was #24 on my list! Great one, thanks for the addition.

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James May 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Sorry to disappoint, but this is a misquote as is the “do all the good you can…”. John Wesley did not write either. Check out the United Methodist Reporter article entitled Wesley, Misquoted. Rev. Dr. Richard Heitzenrater, Wesley scholar and history book author, clearly dispels these often mis-attributed quotes.

http://umportal.org/article.asp?id=8201

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Robert August 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

Thanks Pam. I find myself in agreement with John Wesley more than any other great theologian that I have read. Great article. I need to memorize some of these quotes.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Pamela Rose Williams August 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Good idea Robert

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Harrill Lovelace August 18, 2012 at 2:27 am

The Bible is God’s Word. It is simple and concise and all He has given us. We see that God has told women to be silent in the assemby. So my question is a simple one indeed. How may a woman call herself a preacher when the Bible says she may not speak in the assembly? Well, the answer is just as simple-she can not. Neither can she be an elder nor a deacon. God’s Word’s -not mine. Women can teach other women and children, can witness, and serve in any other capacity though. The very text that tells us the qualifications of an elder and deacon that states they must be the “husband of 1 wife” is a clincher. There are others though. Pam you may serve God in a multitude of ways, but not from the pulpit, nor as as an officer of the Church. The spiritual leader of any congregation is the body of elders. Again this is decreed from scripture. I see women who are great workers for God who do not try to take on what God has forbidden, and the New Testament has many examples of their contributions also. The fact remains that being a leader or speaker or teacher in the assembly that includes men is not part of it. Those that add to or take away from what the Apostles taught do so at their own risk of being accursed. This is from the writings of Paul. If you feel he is wrong maybe prayer is in order, but the fact remains that God has given each gender certain responsibilities and limitations, and to go against these scriptures is to go against God Himself. Men are to lead the family. Men are to lead the congregation as well. Good luck, and I know this will not be well received by many. If you can find the scriptures that prove me wrong I would be glad to read them, but there just aren’t any. There was only one Church started by Jesus, and only one gospel, and only one way to salvation. Jesus has given Himself for mankind as a sacrifice for sin, and He only requires that we read the gospel, believe that gospel, and be obedient to it. We are to repent, be baptized in water for the remission of sin, and we are given the seal of God then. It is for us to remain steadfast until death then to enter the gates of Heaven. Here is more scripture that is ignored in the name of “christanity”. There have been what the world has labeled as great thinkers that have changed what God has written, and they tell us we must only obey John 3:16. There is more to it than that. Even the opening verses of Jesus’ conversation at the beginning of that chapter tell us there is more than simple belief. This comment most likely will be trashed, but it is all about what scripture teaches, and not what a denominational organization has added to the gospel-or left out. The fact that denominations did not start until centuries after Jesus commissioned His Apostles to lead His Church has to give rise to some important questions. One of them beingwhat did mankind do before Baptist or Methodist or Catholic or Presbyterian “scholars enlightened us. The anwer is that the scriptures are sufficient, and never needed any changes. Again you may call me everything except a real Christian, but please prove your beliefs through scripture before you dismiss me. It is all you and I have, but it is what God has left for us. Calvin and Wesley have led generations of people astray from what Jesus Himself taught, but the devil’s greatest trick is not to concel his existence, but it is to confuse-divide-and conquer. Ever wonder why the Apostles never preacher “faith only” salvation, but went about teaching and baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ from the beginning-from the very first sermon and on? Ever wonder why they never had a female Apostle or evangelist? Ever wonder why the Greek never used anything other than the masculine when speaking of Church leaders? They were inspired, but Calvin and Wesley were not. Scripture must be taken as a whole and agree throughout. I understand one may make a case for about anything by trying to isolate certain verses, but this is not how the gospel is presented to us. We have it all, and must be faithful to it all, and every verse is as important as any other. So let the nashing of teeth begin, but please prove me wrong by scripture study instead of just dismissing me as a an idiot. The gospel has been attacked since it was first preached, so again there is nothing new under the sun.

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Derek Hill August 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hello Harrill. I can understand where your motivation comes from but lets look at a couple of things. The scriptures you are referring to are directly connected to the church. This is a website, not a church. We don’t worship God through music on this site nor do we take communion here or an offering. This is a website, not a church service. Acts 18:24-26 shows how 2 women(Priscilla and Aquila), in kindness, corrected a man(Apollos) outside of the church(it says “they took him”, meaning they got him away from the congregation before explaining). Now, they did correct him and taught him something he did not know, but it was not during the service. This is a website where many people come to learn things of God’s nature and Word. Pam cannot help it if you read her articles, nor is she demanding that men read them. It would be like if she was teaching children in Sunday school and you walked into the room and thought she was teaching you instead. What about women who write books for Christians? Are they in the wrong too? Also, Calvin and Wesley have done many great things in the name of Christ. Yes they are human and have made mistakes like you and I, but “leading people astray” is incorrect. Both men did much for the kingdom. Yes, they had different views on aspects of the faith, but none of them were salvation issues. They both believed Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life). Pam is not claiming to be a pastor, but her bio is clear that she is married to a pastor. This means that she lets him guide and teach from the pulpit. Pam is doing nothing wrong here brother. I encourage you to think of this as a website and not an assembly, congregation or church(it is none of those).

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Julie July 28, 2013 at 4:57 am

Aquila was the husband, and Priscilla his wife.
Acts 18:1-2 “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; (2) And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.”

Read carefully, or you will misuse the scriptures. :0)

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Pamela Rose Williams August 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hello Harrill Lovelace,

Thank you for commenting on our site. And I thank Derek for his good counsel and Godly advice to you — and even defense of me.

Harrill, I would like to speak for myself as well regarding your comments to clear up your misunderstanding of my position. Here is my response to you:

1st as Derek correctly pointed out, this is not a church and so the scriptures which you allude to do not apply.

2nd you said //Pam you may serve God in a multitude of ways, but not from the pulpit, nor as as an officer of the Church.// We are in agreement here and again I remind you at WhatChristiansWantToKnow, I am doing neither of these things.

3rd you said //The spiritual leader of any congregation is the body of elders. Again this is decreed from scripture.// I ask, will you please cite that Scripture for me?

My spiritual leader and my pastor is MY OWN husband (Eph 5:22, 24; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1,5). I submit to his leadership and we study the Bible together. We also serve together in ministry. I am not a preacher nor a pastor. For you to publicly admonish me in this way is not biblical and goes against Christian unity (Rom 15:19; Eph 4:29; Phil 2:3-5).

I have no desire to nash my teeth nor prove you wrong. There is nothing edifying in that.

This article was published to show how God used a man to influence other men and women. The Word of God is the ONLY perfect teaching that we have, however God uses men and women to share that Word in various ways. God has gifted me as a writer and so I honor Him by sharing my talent here. You are free to read what I write or not.

In closing I want to echo Derek’s wise words as he said “I encourage you to think of this as a website and not an assembly, congregation or church(it is none of those).”

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Jack Wellman August 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I will also chime in on this Harrill. Comments are sometimes not edifying but allowed to address an important issue. I guess I don’t see why you made the comment:

“How may a woman call herself a preacher when the Bible says she may not speak in the assembly?”

I have known Pam for sometime now. In fact I continue to learn from her as I do the other writers on this website. As Derek said, this is not a church at all but more of an area where Christians can learn things that, as the website is called, What Christians Want to Know. I do not see where she is calling herself a preacher or stating that women should be allowed to be preacher/pastor in a church. Is there something or somewhere that gave you the impression that she was stating this? Beth Moore is among my favorite authors and her book “Voices of the Faithful” is among my favorites and just because she is a woman does not detract 1 bit from her wonderful works. In fact, I am more in awe of God’s masterpiece, the woman, that I need to see life from their perspective more and more and am grateful when I can. We are not trying to prove anyone wrong from Scripture or any “gnashing of teeth” to be done here. Thank you for your comment but I most certainly stand with Pam and Derek in their comments and in this article in particular and with ALL of Pam’s fine works here.

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Robert Driskell August 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Some food for thought:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 ESV).

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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John August 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for the nice quotes to challenge us!

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Eugene August 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Intersting and stimulating read. A good interplay of thoughts, analyses and spirituality. One phenomenon remains clear, though – knowledge may be gained from either gender. Glory to God.

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John Eweje December 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

What an inspire quotes good works.

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John Eweje December 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm

These are qoutes from the alter of fire sent to refine & made belivers what they’re ought to be.

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mary March 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

I have read the replies and statement on this website. However, I noticed that these replies statement was created in 2012. i guess i am a little late because this is the year of 2013, Nevertheless, i would like to insert my thoughts and opinion. To Mr. Lovelace, I read your reply to Pam very carefully. I would like to offer my suggestion or opinion. You had a lot to say about the qualifications of elders and women being silent in the church.Since we are living under grace and not the law, what is the qualification of a woman in the New Testament? There are a multitude of God word in the New Testament that need to be interpreted clearly. In my opinion it often comes from the pulpit, that the gospel of Christ’s is sending a mix message to the congregation. In other words, man (not Christ) is mixing the gospel. We cannot adhere’s to the law and live under grace at the same time. My opinion is that when we hear the pastor preaching the gospel of Christ and when he reference to the Old Testament to support that preaching should be clearly stated to the congregation.

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jenayne March 8, 2013 at 2:26 am

you really changed lots of people lives god bless you

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