June 13, 2010

One result of the Moravians baptism in the Holy Spirit was a joyful assurance of their pardon and salvation. This made a strong impact on people in many countries including John and Charles Wesley.

In 1736, John and Charles Wesley sailed to America as Anglican missionaries. A company of Moravian immigrants were also on the vessel. During a terrible storm, they all faced the danger of shipwreck.

John Wesley wrote in his journal: 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 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. Here 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 wherewith their service began, 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 sung on. I asked one of them afterwards: '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'.

In Georgia, John Wesley sought spiritual counsel from the Moravian Bishop, A. G. Spangenberg. Back in England in 1738 the Wesley brothers became intimately acquainted with the Moravians, especially Peter Boehler who later became a leading Moravian bishop.

On March 4, 1738, John Wesley wrote in his diary: ‘I found my brother at Oxford recovering from a sharp chest pain and with him Peter Boehler. On Sunday, the 5th, I was clearly convicted of unbelief and of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved. Immediately it struck into my mind, "Leave off preaching. How can you preach to others who have not faith yourself?" I asked Boehler whether he thought I should leave it off, or not. He answered, "By no means." I asked; "But what can I preach?" He said: "Preach faith till you have faith." Accordingly, Monday, 6th, I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person, to whom I offered salvation by faith alone, was a prisoner under sentence of death’. Eventually John Wesley came to assurance of salvation.

His own testimony reads; Wednesday, May 3, 1738. My brother had a long and particular conversation with Peter Boehler. And it now pleased God to open his eyes; so that he also saw clearly, what was the nature of that one true living faith, whereby alone "through grace" we are saved.