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A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley
Published in 1872

The doctrine of entire sanctification (or perfection) has fallen into disrepute lately, largely due to a misunderstanding of what the doctrine actually is. John Wesley explained the doctrine fully during the years from 1725 through 1777. The answers he gave to the critics of his day will serve to clear up many of the modern misconceptions surrounding this important part of the Christian experience.

  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Importance of Complete Dedication
  3. Simplicity of Intention
  4. No Half Christians
  5. Conformity to the Master
  6. The Circumcision of the Heart — Cleansed from sin; love, the fulfillment of the law; God must reign without a rival.
  7. “Thy Pure Love Alone”
  8. The Full Assurance of Faith
  9. “My Sole Business Be Thy Praise”
  10. The Character of a Methodist — Loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; in everything gives thanks; heart lifted to God at all times; loves every man as his own soul; pure in heart; God reigns alone; keeps all the commandments; does all to the glory of God; adorns the doctrine of God in all things.
  11. The Opposition of Religious Leaders
  12. Views on Christian Perfection — In what sense Christians are not perfect; in what sense they are; a present cleansing.
  13. Two Works of Grace — Qualities of cleansed hearts; when a person becomes a child of God; remission and cleansing not received concurrently.
  14. The Rest That Remains — A high experience; receivable by mere faith; instantaneous; attainable now.
  15. Misunderstandings Concerning Perfection — No dispensation from religious exercises; no deliverance from human mistakes; sanctified throughout—in body, soul, and spirit; dominated by love to God and man; showing forth God’s praise in word, thought, and deed.
  16. Holiness Hymns
  17. Questions and Answers on the Doctrine of Sanctification — What is it? When is it received? The support of Scripture; the divine command; examples of Christian perfection.
  18. “Hymns and Sacred Poems” — Deliverance from all sin; received merely by faith; given instantaneously; to be expected at any moment.
  19. Thoughts on Christian Perfection — What it includes; what it does not include; general observations.
  20. The Danger of Fanaticism
  21. Responsibility to Live Above Reproach
  22. False Ideas on the Second Coming — A short description of an incident largely unrelated to Christian perfection.
  23. Questions to Those Who Deny That Christian Perfection Is Attainable in This Life
  24. The Testimony of Jane Cooper
  25. “Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection” — The law versus love; the fruits of love; what is meant by perfection; the nature of temptation; possibility of falling; differences between the justified and the sanctified; how to keep sanctified.
  26. Brief Summation of Wesley’s Views — A concise listing of the basic ideas comprising this doctrine.
  27. Plea for Impartial Judgment of His Teaching
  28. A Defense of the Doctrine