Service 190728 - Our Wesleyan Heritage in Words and Song

Today's service consisted of readings from the writings and sermons of John Wesley and the singing of hymns with lyrics by John and tunes by Charles Wesley and others.

Lesson (1)    John Wesley — from “Directions for Singing” 

“Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength…Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one melodious sound. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before or stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith exactly as you can; and take care to not sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.”

 

Lesson (2)    John Wesley — from Sermon 77

“As the true God, God is likewise the Preserver of all things. God not only keeps them in being, but preserves them in that degree of well-being which is suitable to their several natures. God preserves them in their several relations, connexions, and dependencies, so as to compose one system of beings, to form one entire universe, according to the counsel of God’s will. How strongly and beautifully is this expressed: "By whom all things consist:" Or, more literally, "By and in God are all things compacted into one system." God is not only the support, but also the cement, of the whole universe.”

 

Lesson (3)    John Wesley -- from Sermon 139 “On Love”

"Love is kind." Whosoever feels the love of God and neighbor shed abroad in their heart, feels an ardent and uninterrupted thirst after the happiness of all fellow-creatures. Their soul melts away with the very fervent desire which they have continually to promote it; and out of the abundance of the heart their mouth speaks. In their tongue is the law of kindness. The same is impressed on all their actions. The flame within is continually working itself away, and spreading abroad more and more, in every instance of good-will to all with whom they have to do. So that whether they think or speak, or whatever they do, it all points to the same end, -- the advancing, by every possible way, the happiness of all fellow-creatures. Deceive not, therefore, your own souls: They who are not thus kind, have not love.”

 

Lesson (4)    John Wesley -- from Sermon 12

God has made us thinking beings, capable of perceiving what is present, and of reflecting or looking back on what is past. In particular, we are capable of perceiving whatsoever passes in our own hearts or lives; of knowing whatsoever we feel or do; and that either while it passes, or when it is past. This we mean when we say, a human is a conscious being: Humans have a consciousness, or inward perception, both of things present and past, relating to themselves, of their own tempers and outward behavior. But what we usually term conscience, implies somewhat more than this. It is not barely the knowledge of our present or the remembrance of our preceding life. To remember, to bear witness either of past or present things, is only one, and the least office of conscience: Its main business is to excuse or accuse, to approve or disapprove, to acquit or condemn.

 

Lesson (5)    John Wesley -- from his essay “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection”

 

"This great gift of God, the salvation of our souls, is no other than the image of God fresh stamped on our hearts. It is a `renewal of believers in the spirit of their minds, after the likeness of God that created them.' God hath now laid `the axe unto the root of the tree, purifying their hearts by faith,' and `cleansing all the thoughts of their hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' Having this hope, that they shall see God as God is, they `purify themselves even as God is pure,' and are `holy, as God that hath called them is holy, in all manner of conversation.' Not that they have already attained all that they shall attain, either are already in this sense perfect. But they daily `go on from strength to strength; beholding' now, `as in a glass, the glory of God, they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of God.’

 

Lesson (6)    John Wesley -- from Sermon 36

“And by faith, taken in its more particular meaning, for a confidence in a pardoning God, we establish holy law in our own hearts in a still more effectual manner. For there is no motive which so powerfully inclines us to love God, as the sense of the love of God in Christ. Nothing enables us like a piercing conviction of this to give our hearts to Christ who was given for us. And from this principle of grateful love to God arises love to our brother and sister also. Neither can we avoid loving our neighbor, if we truly believe the love wherewith God hath loved us. Now this love, grounded on faith and love to God, "works no ill to" our "neighbor." … Neither is love content with barely working no evil to our neighbour. It continually incites us to do good, as we have time and opportunity; to do good, in every possible kind, and in every possible degree, to all people.

 

Lesson (7)    John Wesley — from “Instructions for Singing”

“Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing God more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as God will approve…”