Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Mentor of the Methodist Part 1

We all need mentors in life; John Wesley had such a teacher in a German Moravian Christian by the name of Peter Bohler.

It was Bohler who counseled and advised Wesley until our Methodist, so called, came to an understanding of the gospel.

There is a mystery of Providence that makes me wonder: if John Wesley never met Peter Bohler, would Wesley have become the powerful reformer during the Great Awakening that history records?

I'll let a string of entries from The Journal of John Wesley to speak for me. Read Wesley's steps to faith by the influence of Bohler.

February 7, 1738
(A day much to be remembered.) At the house of Mr. Weinantz, a Dutch merchant, I met Peter Bohler, Schulius Richter, and Wensel Neiser, just then landed from Germany. Finding they had no acquaintance in England, I offered to procure them a lodging and did so near Mr. Hutton's, where I then was. And from this time I did not willingly lose any opportunity of conversing with them while I stayed in London.
February 17-18, 1738
Friday, 17.—I set out for Oxford with Peter Bohler, where we were kindly received by Mr. Sarney, the only one now remaining here of many who, at our embarking for America, were used to 'take sweet counsel together' and rejoice in 'bearing the reproach of Christ.'
Saturday, 18.—We went to Stanton Harcourt. The next day I preached once more at the castle in Oxford, to a numerous and serious congregation.
All this time I conversed much with Peter Bohler, but I understood him not; and least of all when he said, 'My brother, my brother, that philosophy of yours must be purged away.'
March 4-6, 1738
I found my brother at Oxford, recovering from his pleurisy; and with him Peter Bohler; by whom, in the hand of the great God, I was, on Sunday, the fifth, clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved.

Immediately it struck into my mind, 'Leave off preaching. How can you preach to others, who have not faith yourself?' I asked Bohler whether he thought I should leave it off or not. He answered, 'By no means.' I asked, 'But what can I preach?' He said, 'Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.'

Accordingly, Monday, 6, I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person to whom I offered salvation by faith alone was a prisoner under sentence of death. His name was Clifford. Peter Bohler had many times desired me to speak to him before. But I could not prevail on myself so to do; being still, as I had been many years, a zealous asserter of the impossibility of a deathbed repentance.
I marvel at Bohler's advice to Wesley on February 18 as he exhorted, "My brother, my brother, that philosophy of yours must be purged away."

Wesley needed to grasp justification by faith. We will see this tomorrow.