““Both you and I want a deeper awakening, which will produce a death to outward things and speculative knowledge. Let us shut our eyes to the gilded clouds without us; let us draw inward, and search after God, if haply we may find him.
Let us hold our confidence, though we are often constrained against hope to believe in hope.”
More Online Resources
The Journal of John Wesley
John Wesley's Notes on the Old Testament
John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament
John Wesley: Founder of Methodists
The following excerpt from the journal of John Wesley (1703-1791) is his honest account of an incident that occurred during his journey by ship from England to the colony of Georgia in 1736. He describes how the “Germans”—the Moravian Christians onboard—through their servitude and their courage during a storm at sea, gave such a testimony of hope that he recognized that he did not know Jesus as they did. This eventually resulted in his being born again and then leading one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history, including the birth of the Methodist Church.
“Sunday, [January] 25 .
—At noon our third storm began. At four it was more violent than before. At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behavior. Of their humility they had given a continual proof by performing those servile offices for the other passengers, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired and would receive no pay, saying, ‘it was good for their proud hearts,’ and ‘their loving Saviour had done more for them.’ And every day had given them an occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger and revenge.
“In the midst of the psalm . . . the sea broke over, split the mainsail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterward, ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked, ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied, mildly, ‘No; our women and children are not afraid to die.’ . . .
“Saturday, [February] 7 [After safely landing in Georgia.]
“Mr. Oglethorpe returned from Savannah with Mr. Spangenberg, one of the pastors of the Germans. I soon found what spirit he was of and asked his advice with regard to my own conduct. He said, ‘My brother, I must first ask you one or two questions. Have you the witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?’ I was surprised, and knew not what to answer. He observed it and asked, ‘Do you know Jesus Christ?’ I paused and said, ‘I know He is the Saviour of the world.’ ‘True,’ replied he; ‘but do you know He has saved you?’ I answered, ‘I hope He has died to save me.’ He only added, ‘Do you know yourself?’ I said, ‘I do.’ But I fear they were vain words.”
At the time of Wesley’s journey, he was a missionary and had been leading others in a sacrificial lifestyle of following the Bible in a group called the Holy Club at Oxford University. However, when Wesley saw the Moravians’ dependence on God, he admitted he was not truly saved. It was an important turning point in his walk of faith and in his desire to know God. After he turned around, he led a spiritual awakening that nearly three centuries later is still affecting nations.