John Wesley's Habits and Temperment

In his habits of order, account-keeping, and punctuality he was literally a "methodist." "Sammy," said he to his nephew, "be punctual. Whenever I am to go to a place the first thing I do is to get ready; then what time remains is all my own." In old age, as he stood waiting for his chaise at Haslingden, he remarked, "I have lost ten minutes, and they are lost forever."

Every minute had its value to him for work or rest. "Joshua, when I go to bed I go to bed to sleep, and not to talk," was his rebuke to a young preacher who once shared his room and wished to converse at sleeping time.

Dr. Johnson once said to Boswell: "John Wesley's conversation is good, but he is never at leisure. He is always obliged to go at a certain hour. This is very disagreeable to a man who loves to fold his legs and have his talk out, as I do. "On another occasion he said, "I hate to meet John Wesley; the dog enchants you with his conversation, and then breaks away to go and visit some old woman."

Yet Wesley was never hurried in mind or manner. "He had no time," says Henry Moore, "to mend anything that he either wrote or did. He therefore always did everything: not only with quietness, but with what might be thought slowness."

Wesley was a delightful companion, and his comrades on the road and friends in the home witness to his cheerfulness, courtesy, kindness, and wit, "Sour godliness is the devil's religion," was one of his sayings. He told Mr. Blackwell that he could not bear to have people about him who were in ill humor, and he did his best to cure them.

(From Chapter XX of "John Wesley the Methodist" by A Methodist Preacher, published by the Methodist Book Concern, New York, 1903.)

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