…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.@2 Timothy 3:5
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George A. Löhr (1821–1897)

Charles Wes­ley, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems 1740, alt.

St. Fran­ces George A. Löhr, 1861 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Written during the dis­putes be­tween the Wes­leys and the Mo­ra­vi­ans con­cern­ing An­ti­mon­i­an­ism and Per­fec­tion­ism. Dr. Jack­son sums up the con­tro­ver­sy in his Memo­irs of C. Wes­ley (abridged ed., 1848, p. 98) thus:—

Molther was the most ac­tive and stren­u­ous in prop­a­gat­ing the er­rors by which ma­ny were mis­led. He con­tend­ed that there are no de­grees in faith; so that those who have not the full and un­cloud­ed as­sur­ance of the di­vine fa­vour, what­ev­er they may pos­sess be­sides, have no faith at all.

Another te­net which he avowed and de­fend­ed was, that till men have faith, they are not to use any of the means of grace, such as the read­ing of the Scrip­tures, at­tend­ing the min­is­try of the Gos­pel, and re­ceiv­ing the Ho­ly Com­mun­ion; these or­din­anc­es be­ing ra­ther in­jur­ious than ben­e­fi­cial, till men have a true and vi­tal faith…The fine hymn on Christian or­din­anc­es…was wri­tten by Mr. C. Wes­ley at this per­i­od [1739–40], as an an­ti­dote to the mis­chie­vous er­rors which were pre­va­lent.

Julian, p. 684

Long have I seemed to serve Thee, Lord,
With unavailing pain:
I fasted, prayed, and read Thy Word,
And heard it preached in vain.

Oft did I with th’assembly join,
And near Thine altar drew;
A form of godliness was mine,
The power I never knew.

I rested in the outward law;
Nor knew its deep design:
The length and breadth I never saw,
The height of love divine.

To please Thee thus, at length I see,
I vainly hoped and strove:
For what are outward things to Thee,
Unless they spring from love?

I see the perfect law requires
Truth in the inward parts:
Our full consent, our whole desires,
Our undivided hearts.

But I of means have made my boast,
Of means an idol made;
The spirit in the letter lost,
The substance in the shade.

Where am I now, or what my hope?
What can my weakness do?
Jesus! to Thee my soul looks up:
’Tis Thou must make it new.