Wesley Stories: John Wesley and Charles Simeon
Joseph Beumont Wakeley
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 2. Fall 2012. Volume 30.
Date Posted Jan., 2013
Mr. Simeon gives an account of an interview he had with the venerable founder of Methodism a short time after Mr. Simeon was ordained. After having been introduced to him, Mr. Simeon said to Mr. Wesley: "Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian, and I have sometimes been called a Calvinist, and, therefore, I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before we begin the combat, with your permission I should like to ask you a few questions, not for impertinent curiosity, but for instruction."
Permission was readily and kindly granted by Mr. Wesley, and Mr. Simeon proceeded to ask: "Pray, sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so dependent you would never have thought of turning to God if God had not put it into your heart?"
"Yes," says Mr. Wesley; "I do indeed." "And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by any thing you can do, and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?"
"Yes; solely through Christ." "But, sir, suppose you were first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterward by your own works?" "No," said Mr. Wesley; "I must be saved from first to last by Christ."
"Allow, then, you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way to keep yourself by your own power?" "No." "What then? are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as an infant in its mother's arms?"
"Yes, altogether." "And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto his eternal kingdom?" "Yes, I have no hope but in him."
"Then, sir, with your leave, I will put up my dagger again, for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance. It is in substance all that I hold and as I hold it, and, therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree."