Wesley Expectant.

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BY DANIEL STEELE, D. D., When John Wesley took for his motto, The world is my parish, he was impelled by the expectation that the whole world would be evangelized and Christ's kingdom would be completed before his coming to judge the whole human family.
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  WESLEY EXPECTANT. BY DANIEL STEELE, D. D.,When John Wesley took for his motto, The world is my parish, he was impelled by the expectation that the whole world would be evangelized and Christ's kingdom would be completed before his coming to judge the whole human family. But he is claimed by those who insist that Christ's second coming will be to begin his kingdom, and to complete it by his visible reign during a thousand years. This brings us to the question, Was Wesley a premillennialist ? We answer yes, and no. There is a great variety of chiliasts — a term preferable for brevity. Hardly any two agree in their speculations. But one question di-vides them all into two distinct and antagonistic groups: Is Christ's kingdom completed before his second ad-vent? The first group answers, Yes; the second says, ~No, the kingdom is set up after Christ's descent and is completed by the conversion of the Jews first and the ingathering of hosts of Gentiles through the preach-ing of Christian Jews. The present dispensation was not designed to disciple all nations, but to preach the 1  gospel for a witness, and to gather Christ's bride, an elect number who are to be associate judges and joint rulers with him a thousand years on the earth. The world is rapidly sinking into moral ruin which the church, even when filled with the Holy Spirit, is unable WESLEY EXPECTANT. 31 to save. The spectacular descent and coronation of Christ on David's throne in Jerusalem, a human form encompassed by the splendors of divine majesty, chain-ing and imprisoning Satan and awing wicked men, is the only hope of the church. The second group includes nearly all the modern chiliasts, who are further charac-terized by a denial of the simultaneous resurrection and the general judgment of mankind, the righteous and the wicked together. Our first group insists that the world is growing better under the spread of the gospel at home and in pagan lands, gradually leavening human society with the spirit of the pure, meek and holy Christ ; and is heroically planning for the conquest of the world through missionary agencies endowed with the Holy 2  Ghost. To which of these groups did Wesley belong? You can easily classify him by asking the following questions: Did he preach the gospel for a witness merely, or for the conversion of the world of lost sinners ? Did he believe in unconditional election, who spent his life on one long battle against the five points of Calvinism, and altered Bishop Ken's doxology and taught his people to sing: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, Praise him, all creatures here below, Who would not have one sinner lost ; Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost ? Was Wesley a pessimist? Did he despair of the present dispensation? Was Methodism born of pessimism? Did Wesley believe and teach that one sinner would be for-given after Jesus ceased his mediatorial intercessions and mounted the judgment throne at his second coming? 32 JESUS EXULTANT. 3  All persons who have any knowledge of the life and writings of John Wesley will say No to every one of these questions. Let us examine his Notes on the New Testament/' issued in 1754 and revised in 1787, four years before his death. Turn to his note on Acts iii. 21 — until the times of restitution of all things: 11 The apostle here comprises at once the whole course of the times of the New Testament between our Lord's ascension and his coming in glory. The most eminent of these are the apostolic age, and that of the spotless church, which will consist of all the Jews and Gentiles united, after all per-secutions and apostasies are at an end. Mark! This is before Christ's coming in glory. This is in exact accord with the exegesis of Meyer: Christ's reception into heaven continues until the moral corruption of the people of God is removed. There is no place for pes-simism here. If Wesley must be called a chiliast, as Tyerman, his biographer, says, he cannot be classed with the modern premillenarians who insist that the devil is engineering both the church and the world on the down grade with no brake on the wheel and an open draw- 4
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