Climbing to the Moon on a Rope of Sand!

20 Nov


Photo by mparkes on Morgue File.

I recently ran across two quotations that spoke to me. Actually, one of them I had highlighted in a book back in seminary; so, it was not new to me, only forgotten for a few years. One was from George Whitefield and the other from John Wesley.

These two men were associates. They lived in the 18th century and were a part of the spiritual awakenings taking place during that century. Their relationship was an interesting one. It is not my intention here to delve into the details of it all, but I do think we could learn a good deal from these two godly men.

(If you are interested in reading an article concerning their relationship, click HERE. If you want to peruse the funeral sermon Wesley preached at Whitefield’s passing, click HERE.)

The first quotation is from Whitefield. It is taken from the last sermon he would ever preach. The sermon lasted for some two hours and was preached on September 29, 1770 in Exeter, New Hampshire. He said,

“Works! Works! A man get to heaven by works! I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand!”

Thank God for his grace! If salvation was based on works, we would have as much chance attaining it as we would attempting to climb up to the moon on a rope of sand!

The second quotation comes from John Wesley. It is found in one of his sermons on the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). I took a Wesley and Weslyianism class in seminary as I was pursuing an MDiv. It was an interesting, thought-provoking class. I probably read more in that one class than I did in many others combined. Often the format was to consider a particular doctrine, let’s say election, and then we would read excerpts from three great Christian thinkers: Wesley, Luther and Calvin. Talk about a head full of learning!

While I lend more toward the latter two, I have a great appreciation for Wesley, his teaching and his ministry. Here is the quotation from Wesley,

Every command of Holy Writ is only a covered promise.

What I take from Wesley’s quotation, at least in part, is that every command God utters has with it at least one (but maybe more) promise appended to it. God is not a hard and cruel task-master. He is not a sadist. He longs for fellowship and the joy of communing with his sons and daughters. He delights in himself and invites us to do the same. We find that joy and delight as we are obedient to him, by his grace and love for us.

I am glad, though we are separated by over two centuries from these great men of God that they still speak to us today.


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