Friday, August 10, 2007

Wesley Quote

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

This is usually attributed to John Wesley, however Wesley also writes this:
As to the nature of enthusiasm, it is ,undoubtedly a disorder of the mind; and such a disorder as greatly hinders the exercise of reason. Nay, sometimes it wholly sets it aside: it not only dims but shuts the eyes of the understanding. It may, therefore, well be accounted a species of madness; of madness rather than of folly: seeing a fool is properly one who draws wrong conclusions from right premisses; whereas a madman draws right conclusions, but from wrong premisses. And so does an enthusiast suppose his premisses true, and his conclusions would necessarily follow. But here lies his mistake: his premisses are false. He imagines himself to be what he is not: and therefore, setting out wrong, the farther he goes, the more he wanders out of the way.
Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast... Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love.
Sermon 37, The Nature of Enthusiasm, 1872

My guess is he never said that enthusiasm was anything worthy of the Christian. Preferring reason, truth and love to reconcile persons to God.

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