Covenant: Crown or curse?

Have you ever read the full statement from which the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition is adapted?

Directions for Renewing Our Covenant with God

In the second section of the pamphlet, Wesley lays out the choice in clear terms:

Turn either to the right-hand or the left; lay both parts before you, with every link of each; Christ with his yoke, this cross and his crown; or the Devil with his wealth, his pleasure and curse: and then put yourselves to thus: “Soul, thou sees what is before thee, what wilt thou do? Which will thou have, either the crown or the curse? If thou chose the crown, remember that the day  thou take this, thou must be content to submit to the cross and yoke, the service and sufferings of Christ, which are linked to it. What sayest thou? Hadst thou rather take the gains and pleasures of sin, and venture on the curse? Or will thou yield thyself a servant to Christ, and so make sure the crown?

Suffice it to say, Wesley was not schooled in seeker sensitive ministry.

Read the entire pamphlet for the full scope of the meaning of covenant in the Wesleyan tradition that is suggested and hinted at in the prayer from the United Methodist Hymnal.

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6 thoughts on “Covenant: Crown or curse?

  1. John, do you believe Wesley “waits” for the literal answer to these questions? Does he get the answers before the end of the campmeeting? Or does Wesley asks these questions as a rhetorical summons to his soul (or our souls)? I don’t discern a lot of “waiting upon God” among Methodists these days…but my sense of slowness has been recently sharpened by taking a steamboat voyage down the Ohio on the American Queen with a cracked paddle wheel shaft…thus at imperceptible speed, exactly right for losing correlations of time and place (if getting lost is what you want to do).

    1. My take — if I understand your question, Gary — is that Wesley was both persistent and patient. He told people that if they sought faith they would find it, but he also knew that it did not always come immediately.

      So, the questions here are posed as matters to contemplate.

  2. John – Thank you for the link to the entire text. I did not know that this was the source for the covenant prayer. I have found it refreshing and convicting to read Wesley recently.

    1. I had always known the prayer was taken from or boiled down from somewhere else, but did not know where until I read this pamphlet. Many of the words of the prayer in our hymnal are right out of this.

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