"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. ”
This is the fourth volume of Wesley's Journal to appear in the critical edition of The Works of John Wesley. Covering the decade from early 1755 to the middle of 1765, it contains four "Extracts" from Wesley's Journal (10-13) that document--in Wesley's own words--a significant period of consolidation in the Wesleyan revival. He describes in vivid detail the growth of the Methodist movement, especially in the central portions of northern England as well as the spread into Ireland and Scotland.
This period contains several interesting controversies that help define the shape of Methodism and the nature of its relationship to the Church of England. Differences of opinion over the questions of lay preaching, ordination, sacraments, and doctrinal standards arise within the Methodist societies and represent the issues at the heart of a maturing organization that is stretching the limits of its self-conscious role within the Established Church. The doctrine of Christian perfection also provides the focus of another challenge to unity within the people called Methodists and increases the strain upon their relationship with the Church. The nature and manner of John Wesley's authority and leadership within the movement continues to be a controversial issue as the annual conferences become an important feature within the movement.
Features footnotes to quotations, key themes, and background information.