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John Wesley

Data di nascita: 17. Giugno 1703
Data di morte: 2. Marzo 1791
Altri nomi: 約翰衛斯理

John Wesley è stato un teologo inglese che ha fondato il movimento protestante del metodismo.

È commemorato dalla Chiesa anglicana il 3 marzo.

Il metodismo ha avuto tre tappe fondamentali: la prima all'Università di Oxford con la fondazione del cosiddetto Holy Club , la seconda mentre Wesley era curato nella città statunitense di Savannah, in Georgia, e la terza a Londra dopo il ritorno di Wesley in Inghilterra. Il movimento ha preso forma dopo la terza tappa, intorno al 1740 con Wesley, insieme ad altri, istituendo predicatori locali e le società religiose per la formazione dei fedeli. Questo è stato il primo grande movimento evangelicale della Gran Bretagna. L'organizzazione metodista di Wesley includeva società in Inghilterra, Scozia, Galles e Irlanda prima di diffondersi negli altri paesi anglofoni e non solo. Wesley ha diviso le sue società religiose in classi e gruppi per garantire istruzione religiosa e assistenza capillare a tutti, in special modo alle classi povere.

I metodisti, sotto la direzione di Wesley, sono diventati promotori di molte iniziative volte a garantire giustizia sociale, incluso la riforma della legge penale e movimenti abolizionistici. Wesley incentrò le sue riflessioni teologiche e spirituali su quella che chiamò perfezione cristiana, o santità del cuore e della vita. Wesley insisteva sul fatto che in questa vita ogni cristiano può giungere a uno stato dell'anima dove l'amore di Dio, o amore perfetto, regna supremo nel cuore di ogni persona. Insisteva continuamente sull'usare i mezzi di grazia quali preghiera, meditazione delle Scritture, Santa Cena, ecc. come mezzi tramite i quali Dio trasforma i credenti. Wesley a un certo punto della sua vita si staccò dalla chiesa anglicana e riteneva che anche il suo movimento avrebbe dovuto farlo. Wikipedia

Foto: George Romney / Public domain
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„Io credo nel mio cuore che la fede in Gesù Cristo può e vuole condurci al di là di un interesse esclusivo per il benessere degli altri esseri umani, verso una preoccupazione più generale per il benessere degli uccelli nei nostri cortili, dei pesci nei nostri fiumi, e di ogni creatura che vive sulla faccia della Terra.“

—  John Wesley

Origine: I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to a broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth. (citato in J. R. Hyland, God's Covenant with Animals, Lantern Books, 2004, p. XII http://books.google.it/books?id=nRMxniy-eKoC&pg=PR12. ISBN 1-930051-15-8)

„Fate tutto il bene che potete | con tutti i mezzi che potete, | in tutti i modi che potete, | in tutti i luoghi che potete, | tutte le volte che potete, | a tutti quelli che potete, | sempre, finché potrete.“

—  John Wesley

Origine: Citato in Amadeus Voldben, La potenza del credere e la gioia d'amare, Edizioni Mediterranee, Roma, 1992, p. 194 http://books.google.it/books?id=0ckzXVBcNs0C&pg=PA194. ISBN 88-272-0040-1

„L'umiltà vera è una specie di auto-annullamento; e questo è il centro di tutte le virtù.“

—  John Wesley

Origine: Citato in Paul Clavier, Edmondo Coccia, Lessico dei valori morali, Armando Editore, Roma, 2008, p. 321 http://books.google.it/books?id=XV4QPeqDgcUC&pg=PA321. ISBN 978-88-6081-294-0

„Sia ringraziato Dio: da quando ho abbandonato la carne e il vino, sono stato liberato da ogni infermità del corpo.“

—  John Wesley

Origine: Citato in Steven Rosen, Il vegetarianesimo e le religioni del mondo, traduzione di Giulia Amici, Gruppo Futura – Jackson Libri, Bresso, 1995, p. 128. ISBN 88-256-0826-8

„Non ho tempo per avere fretta.“

—  John Wesley

Origine: Citato in Gianluca Gambirasio, Mille aforismi e citazioni ad uso aziendale e non solo, Olympos, 2009, § 646 http://books.google.it/books?id=Bzrg4bmGxIQC&pg=PA66. ISBN 978-88-904685-0-6

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„Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think.“

—  John Wesley

Sermon 37 "The Nature of Enthusiasm"
Sermons on Several Occasions (1771)
Contesto: Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast. Do not imagine that God has called you (just contrary to the spirit of Him you style your Master) to destroy men’s lives, and not to save them. Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love.

„If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission.“

—  John Wesley

Sermon 38 "A Caution against Bigotry http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/sermons.v.xxxviii.html
Sermons on Several Occasions (1771)
Contesto: In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest manner. What, if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of bigotry. Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid him either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a bigot still.
O stand clear of this! But be not content with not forbidding any that casts out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission. Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him.
I need add but one caution: Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do. You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text. The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves. But beware of retorting. It is not your part to return evil for evil. Another’s not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect it. Nay, but let him have all the bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him. Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him.

„Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.“

—  John Wesley

Variant Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.
In the sermon titled "The Use of Money" Wesley said, "Employ whatever God has entrusted you with in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree . . . to all men." This sermon is in the collection titled "Wesley's Standard Sermons." They are called "standard" because all Methodist preachers were instructed to read them and use them in interpreting the Christian faith.
Disputed
Variante: Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.
Origine: According to Richard Heitzenrater, Professor of Church History and Wesleyan Studies at Duke Divinity School, there is no evidence that John Wesley ever wrote the rule that is attributed to him.

„Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own.“

—  John Wesley

Sermon 38 "A Caution against Bigotry http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/sermons.v.xxxviii.html
Sermons on Several Occasions (1771)
Contesto: In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest manner. What, if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of bigotry. Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid him either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a bigot still.
O stand clear of this! But be not content with not forbidding any that casts out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission. Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him.
I need add but one caution: Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do. You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text. The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves. But beware of retorting. It is not your part to return evil for evil. Another’s not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect it. Nay, but let him have all the bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him. Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him.

„Beware, lastly, of imagining you shall obtain the end without using the means conducive to it.“

—  John Wesley

Sermon 37 "The Nature of Enthusiasm"
Sermons on Several Occasions (1771)
Contesto: Beware, lastly, of imagining you shall obtain the end without using the means conducive to it. God can give the end without any means at all; but you have no reason to think He will. Therefore constantly and carefully use all those means which He has appointed to be the ordinary channels of His grace. Use every means which either reason or Scripture recommends, as conducive (through the free love of God in Christ) either to the obtaining or increasing any of the gifts of God. Thus expect a daily growth in that pure and holy religion which the world always did, and always will, call “enthusiasm;” but which, to all who are saved from real enthusiasm, from merely nominal Christianity, is “the wisdom of God, and the power of God;” the glorious image of the Most High; “righteousness and peace;” a “fountain of living water, springing up into everlasting life!”

„Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart.“

—  John Wesley

Thoughts Upon Slavery (1774)
Contesto: Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart. But have you indeed? What is your heart made of? Is there no such principle as Compassion there? Do you never feel another's pain? Have you no Sympathy? No sense of human woe? No pity for the miserable? When you saw the flowing eyes, the heaving breasts, or the bleeding sides and tortured limbs of your fellow-creatures, was you a stone, or a brute? Did you look upon them with the eyes of a tiger? When you squeezed the agonizing creatures down in the ship, or when you threw their poor mangled remains into the sea, had you no relenting? Did not one tear drop from your eye, one sigh escape from your breast? Do you feel no relenting now? If you do not, you must go on, till the measure of your iniquities is full. Then will the Great GOD deal with You, as you have dealt with them, and require all their blood at your hands.

„I deny that villany is ever necessary. It is impossible that it should ever be necessary for any reasonable creature to violate all the laws of justice, mercy, and truth. No circumstances can make it necessary for a man to burst in sunder all the ties of humanity.“

—  John Wesley

Thoughts Upon Slavery (1774)
Contesto: I deny that villany is ever necessary. It is impossible that it should ever be necessary for any reasonable creature to violate all the laws of justice, mercy, and truth. No circumstances can make it necessary for a man to burst in sunder all the ties of humanity. It can never be necessary for a rational being to sink himself below a brute. A man can be under no necessity of degrading himself into a wolf. The absurdity of the supposition is so glaring, that one would wonder any one can help seeing it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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