Wednesday with the Wesleys’

Saturday, [April] 22 [1738] —I met Peter Bohler once more. I had now no objection to what he said of the nature of faith; viz. 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.” 1 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” [Rom. 8:16] and “He that believeth hath the witness in himself” [cf. Acts 10:43] fully convinced me of the former; as “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” [1 Jn. 3:9] and “Whosover believeth is born of God” [cf. 1 Jn. 5:1] did of the latter. But I could not compre hend what he spoke of “an instantaneous work.” I could not understandhow 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; viz., “Thus, I grant, God wrought in the first ages of Christianity; but the times are changed. What reason have I to believe he works in the same manner now?”

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