Better to be terrified now

In his “Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion,” John Wesley replies to several objections raised by critics of the movement known as Methodism. One of the criticisms was that Wesley insisted on things that caused doubt and turmoil among those who had long considered themselves good Christians.

Wesley replies by defending Methodism as nothing more than Church of England Christianity lived out according to its own standards. To the charge that he has introduced new doctrines, he replies:

Do you say that any man can be a true Christian without loving God and his neighbour? Surely you have not learned so from Christ! It is your doctrine as well as mine and St. Paul’s: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels; though I have all knowledge and faith; though I give all my goods to feed the poor; yea, my body to be burned, and have not love, I am nothing.”

Whatever public worship, therefore, people may have attended, or whatever ministry they have lived under from their infancy, they must at all hazards be convinced of this, or they perish for ever; yea, though that conviction first unhinge them ever so much; though it should in a manner distract them for a season. For it is better they should be perplexed and terrified now, than that they should sleep on and awake in hell.