Happy Aldersgate Day!

This day we remember what might be called John Wesley's "Pentecost experience." While listening to Luther's preface to Romans being read at a Bible study group (meeting at Aldersgate St. in London), Wesley suddenly felt his heart "strangely warmed" and had a new conviction and assurance that Jesus had died for him, for his own sins. It became personal for him.

Though he was already a priest in the Church of England Wesley's ministry took on a new fire after this day by the grace of the Holy Spirit working in him. Since we Methodists are often in the habit of talking about "grace" and "Wesley's theology of grace" I thought I might include a description of the meaning of "grace" from Wesley's sermon, "The Witness of our own Spirit":

By the 'grace of God' is sometimes to be understood that free love, that unmerited mercy by which I a sinner, through the merits of Christ, am now reconciled to God. But in this place (2 Cor. 1:12) it rather means that power of God the Holy Ghost, which 'worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' (see Phil. 2:13) As soon as ever the grace of God in the former sense, his pardoning love, is manifested to our souls, the grace of God in the latter sense, the power of his Spirit, takes place therein. (section 15)

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