June 20, 2010

In the evening of Wednesday, May 24, 1738, John Wesley went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where someone was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ was been described, he felt his heart strangely warmed. He said, I felt I did trust Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Friday, May 26. My soul continued in peace, but yet in heaviness, because of manifold temptations. I asked Mr. Telchig, the Moravian, what to do. He said, "You must not fight with them as you did before, but flee from them the moment they appear, and take shelter in Jesus ."

The Methodists and Moravians often met together then for Bible study and prayer. George Whitefield's biographer wrote: Whitefield began the New Year (1739) as gloriously as he ended that which had just expired. He received Sacrament, preached twice, expounded twice, attended a Moravian love feast in Fetter Lane, where he spent the whole night in prayer to God, psalms and thanksgivings, and then pronounced "this to be the happiest New Year's Day he had ever seen."

It is said that the love feast at Fetter Lane was a memorable one. It is recorded that, besides about sixty Moravians, there were present about seven of the Oxford Methodists, namely John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Wesley Hall, Benjamin Ingham, Charles Kinchin and Richards Hitchins, all of the ordained clergymen of the Church of England. Wesley writes: "About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of His Majesty, we broke out with one voice "We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord!"

What the Moravians imparted to John Wesley is summarized by one of his biographers, W. H. Fitchett: "In substance it was three things which lie in the very alphabet of Christianity, but which somehow the teachings of a godly home, of a great University, and of an ancient Church, and of famous books, had not taught Wesley. There are that, a. salvation is through Christ's Atonement alone, and not through our own works; b. that it's sole condition is faith; and c. that it is attested to the spiritual consciousness by the Holy Spirit. There truths today are platitudes; to Wesley they were, at this stage of his life, discoveries."

Wesley's estimate of the Moravian revival which resulted in his own conversion was prophetic. He said, "Peter Boehler left London to embark for Carolina. Oh what a work hath God begun since his coming into England! Such a one as shall never come to an end, till Heaven and earth pass away!"