A few lines from Iain Murray’s biography of John Wesley. Here he writes about a man who followed in Wesley’s footsteps, the celebrated Methodist preacher William Bramwell.
To a James Drake he wrote: ‘… Dwell much on the love of Jesus.’
… His personal life was conformed to this same spirit. To keep oneself in the love of God was for him the mainspring of the Christian’s life. It was a privilege requiring constant watchfulness for ‘Satan will use a thousand means to damp our love’. ‘To be clear in pardon of all our sins, to be pure in heart, to live in love — this is heaven on earth. What is all the world compared with this! To live in profession is so far well; but to enjoy the kingdom, to live in God, to have union with him, to bear his image, to glorify our God, and finish the work, — this is our grand business on earth.’
… to understand the man aright we have to go to what he saw as the whole purpose of the Christian revelation: The gospel is to bring men into the presence of God. Its objective is not forgiveness, nor even holiness (in itself); it is union with God and all other blessings are related to that end. In Paul’s words, the end is “that you might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19). This is the belief that leads to the wonder expressed by Charles Wesley,
And will this sovereign King
Of glory condescend?
And will He write His name
My Father and my Friend?
For Bramwell, the first need of the Christian is ‘to live in the closest fellowship with God’. ‘To retain a constant sense of the presence of God is our glory in this world.’ And he was sure that ‘to live in God’ is the only source of the believer’s usefulness. This is the repeated note in his letters. Christians are to ‘do all in God'” ‘We may do all things in him. You may see, talk, walk, and suffer in the Lord.’ Giving his own testimony, he writes: ‘I view him [Christ] in all my acts, take hold of him as the instrument by which I do all my work, and feel that nothing is done without him.’ This is how he understood the command ‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’ (Eph. 6:10).