Where the gospel is neither loved nor preached

In his 85th year, John Wesley reflected on his grief over the split between the Methodists and the Church of England. It was a common problem that Methodists would refuse to go to their parish church when the ministers there preached against the Methodists. Wesley exhorted Methodists to always attend Sunday services and take communion frequently, but the often would not listen to him.

In his journal, Wesley recounts his observations after attending a lightly attended Sunday service in his hometown of Epworth.

I fain would prevent the members here from leaving the church; but I cannot do it. As Mr. G. is not a pious man, but rather an enemy to piety, who frequently preaches against the truth, and those that hold and love it, I cannot with all my influence persuade them either to hear him, or to attend the sacrament administered by him. If I cannot carry this point even while I live, who then can do it when I die? And the case of Epworth is the case of every church, where the Minister neither loves nor preaches the Gospel. The Methodists will not attend his ministrations. What then is to be done?

 

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