Wednesday, March 14, 2007

John Wesley's Ecumenical Letter to Catholics in Dublin

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John Wesley, the great English evangelist and founder of Methodism, wrote a remarkable open letter, dated July 18, 1749, which was published in Dublin, in the context of great inter-faith bitterness. His Letter to a Roman Catholic reads in part as follows:

    Brotherly love is utterly destroyed and each side, looking on the other as monsters, gives way to anger, hatred, malice, to every unkind affection . . . Can nothing be done, even allowing us on both sides to retain our own opinions, for the softening our hearts towards one another, the giving a check to this flood of unkindness? . . . Be our opinions right or be they wrong, these tempers are undeniably wrong . . .
     I think you deserve the tenderest regard I can show . . . How much more, if you are a person fearing God (as without question many of you are) . . .
     
    Let us resolve, first, not to hurt one another, to do nothing unkind or unfriendly to each other . . . Let us resolve, secondly, God being our helper, to speak nothing harsh or unkind of each other . . . to say all the good we can, both of and to one another . . . Let us, thirdly, resolve to harbour no unkind thought, no unfriendly temper towards each other . . . Let us, fourthly, endeavor to help each other on in whatever we are agreed leads to the Kingdom. So far as we can, let us always rejoice to strengthen each other's hands in God.


    Edited by Dave Armstrong in 1991.

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