JOHN WESLEY’S TWELVE RULES FOR PREACHERS AND WHAT THEY MIGHT MEAN FOR US TODAY!!!
JOHN WESLEY: Be diligent. Never be unemployed a moment. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time; neither spend any more time at any place than is strictly necessary. FOR US TODAY: Prepare well. Work hard. Don’t be lazy. Get the job done, i.e. stand up, speak up, shut up!
JOHN WESLEY: Be serious. Let your motto be, “Holiness to the Lord.” Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking. FOR US TODAY: No funnies in the sermon, in fact perhaps no sermon at all for some of us fools?
JOHN WESLEY: Converse sparingly and cautiously with women; particularly, with young women. FOR US TODAY: Don’t lead or get led astray!
JOHN WESLEY: Take no step toward marriage, without first consulting with your brethren. FOR US TODAY: Celibacy is to be preferred, so join the Catholics!
JOHN WESLEY: Believe evil of no one; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything. You know the Judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side. FOR US TODAY: If you cannot love everyone, at least try and respect and tolerate them.
JOHN WESLEY: Speak evil of no one; else your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast, till you come to the person concerned. FOR US TODAY: Can I leave now?
JOHN WESLEY: Tell everyone what you think wrong in him, and that plainly, as soon as may be; else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom. FOR US TODAY: In case of emergency, dial 999
JOHN WESLEY: Do not affect the gentleman. You have no more to do with this character that with that of a dancing-master. A Preacher of the gospel is the servant of all. FOR US TODAY: The first part – I don’t quite get the bit between Dear Sir and Yours Sincerely. The last sentence – how very true!
JOHN WESLEY: Be ashamed of nothing but sin: Not of fetching wood (if time permits) or drawing water; not of cleaning your own shoes, or your neighbours. FOR US TODAY: Forget about College but get a proper job as a woodcutter or a shoemaker instead.
JOHN WESLEY: Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And in general, do not mend our Rules, but keep them; not for wrath, but for conscience’s sake. FOR US TODAY: Keep the engine running in case you have to make a quick retreat.
JOHN WESLEY: You have nothing to do but save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those that want you, but to those that want you most. FOR US TODAY: How very true, all of it. Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty. And JOHN WESLEY continues: Observe that it is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in that holiness without which they cannot see the Lord. And remember: A Methodist Preacher is to mind every point, great and small, in the Methodist discipline! Therefore you will need all the sense you have, and to have all your wits about you! FOR US TODAY: There is nothing one can add to any of this.
JOHN WESLEY: Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel. As such, it is your part to employ your time in the manner which we direct; partly, in preaching and visiting from house to house; partly, in reading, meditation, and prayer. Above all, if you labour with us in our Lord’s vineyard, it is needful that you should do that part of the work which we advise, at those times and places which we judge most for his glory. FOR US TODAY: That final sentence should give the Plan-making Committee a lot of hope and joy – send the preachers where we want them to be, not where they think they ought to go!