Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII

Author: John Wesley


Rev. and dear Sir, October, 1758.

I return you many thanks for the welcome letter from Mr. Adams, as well as for your own. I have answered his, (which is written in a truly Christian spirit,) and now proceed to consider yours. After having observed that two of our Preachers are gone from us, and none of these remaining (to my knowledge) have at present any desire or design of separating from the Church, yet I observe,

1. Those Ministers who truly feared God near a hundred years ago, had undoubtedly much the same objections to the Liturgy which some (who never read their Works) have now. And I myself so far allow the force of several of those objections, that I should not dare to declare my assent and consent to that book in the terms prescribed. Indeed, they are so strong, that I think they cannot safely be used with regard to any book but the Bible. Neither dare I confine myself wholly to forms of prayer not even in the church. I use, indeed, all the forms; but I frequently add extemporary prayer, either before or after sermon.

2. In behalf of many of the Canons, I can say little; of the Spiritual Courts, nothing at all. I dare not, therefore, allow the authority of the former, or the jurisdiction of the latter. But I am not yet required to do it. So that difficulty does not lie in my way yet.

3. "Whether it be lawful to attend the ministrations of one whom I know God has not sent to minister, seeing he expressly disclaims that call of God which is, at least, as necessary as the call of man," is really a question which (as I said before) I cannot answer to my own satisfaction. Neither can I tell,

4. How far that command of our Lord, "Beware of false prophets," obliges me to refrain from hearing such as put darkness for light, and light for darkness. I am still in doubt whether quietly attending them while they do this, be not, in effect, the bidding them God speed, the strengthening their hands in evil, and encouraging, others to hear them till they fall into hell together.

I am still desirous of knowing in what particular manner you think the present work of God could be carried on, without the assistance of lay Preachers. This I will fairly weigh, and give you my thoughts upon it.

Some little things occurred to me in reading over your Sermons, which I had a desire to communicate to you. In the great points I cannot observe any difference between us. We both contend for the inward kingdom, the mind that was in Christ Jesus, the image of God to be new stamped upon the heart. I am sometimes much discouraged at finding so little of this in myself. Assist, both with your advice and prayers,

Dear Sir,

Your very affectionate brother and servant,

John Wesley.


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Chicago: John Wesley, "Fourth Letter to the Reverend Mr. Walker.," Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII, ed. Thomas Jackson in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII (London: Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872), Original Sources, accessed February 3, 2023,

MLA: Wesley, John. "Fourth Letter to the Reverend Mr. Walker." Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII, edited by Thomas Jackson, in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII, London, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872, Original Sources. 3 Feb. 2023.

Harvard: Wesley, J, 'Fourth Letter to the Reverend Mr. Walker.' in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII, ed. . cited in 1872, Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIII, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, London. Original Sources, retrieved 3 February 2023, from