John Wesley Quotes


On Preaching and Love:

  • I observed, "Love is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment." It is not only "the first and great" command, but all the commandments in one. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," they are all comprised in this one word, love.
    • Wesley quoting his own sermon on "The Circumcision of the Heart" (January 1, 1733) in the work A Plain Account Of Christian Perfection (Edition of 1777)
  • Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge. 
  • Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

  • I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.
    • Journal (11 June 1739)

On Slavery:

  • In returning I read a very different book, published by an honest Quaker, on that execrable sum of all villanies, commonly called the Slave-trade.
    • Journal (12 February 1772) after reading Some historical accounts of Guinea by Anthony Benezet.
  • Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart. But have you indeed? What is your heart made of? Is there no such principle as Compassion there? Do you never feel another's pain? Have you no Sympathy? No sense of human woe? No pity for the miserable? When you saw the flowing eyes, the heaving breasts, or the bleeding sides and tortured limbs of your fellow-creatures, was you a stone, or a brute? Did you look upon them with the eyes of a tiger? When you squeezed the agonizing creatures down in the ship, or when you threw their poor mangled remains into the sea, had you no relenting? Did not one tear drop from your eye, one sigh escape from your breast? Do you feel no relenting now? If you do not, you must go on, till the measure of your iniquities is full. Then will the Great GOD deal with You, as you have dealt with them, and require all their blood at your hands.
    • Thoughts Upon Slavery (1774)
  • No circumstances can make it necessary for a man to burst in sunder all the ties of humanity.

On Money:

  • Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.
    • Sermon 50 The Use of Money
      Popularly summarised as:
      Make all you can,
      Save all you can,
      Give all you can.

  • When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.

On Dress:

  • Let it be observed, that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this, nor any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness.
    • Sermon 93 On Dress
  • As to matters of dress, I would recommend one never to be first in the fashion nor the last out of it.

On the Church:

  • In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.
    • Popery Calmly Considered (1779)
  • The Church recruited people who had been starched and ironed before they were washed.

  • You may be as orthodox as the devil and as wicked.

On Respecting Others:

  • The longer I live, the larger allowances I make for human infirmities.
  • Think and let think.
  • When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.
  • Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.
  • The best of it is, God is with us.