"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
A critical presentation of the writings of John Wesley has long been needed, especially in view of the quickened interest in him and his ecumenical churchmanship. This edition is planned to consist of thirty-four volumes including all of Wesley's original or mainly original prose works--his letters, sermons, journals and diaries as well as his specifically doctrinal writings. The final volumes will contain a bibliography of the works of John and Charles Wesley and a General Index. The text for this edition represents Wesley's thought in its fullest and most deliberate expression. All substantive variant readings are noted in appendixes, and introductions and footnotes elucidate the text.
This volume, containing The Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion, is the first to be published. The aim of Wesley's Appeals was to correct current misconceptions of his movement. In the course of refuting attacks upon himself, Wesley also presented a positive statement of his theological and ecclesiastical position. Yet the attacks continued. This volume contains also his open letters replying to Edmund Gibson, Bishop of Exeter, and to William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester.