Essay / Theology

Inexhaustible and Incessant (Coleridge on Wesley)

John Wesley wrote, “Holiness is the life of God in the soul; the image of God fresh stamped on the heart, an entire renewal of the mind in every temper and thought, after the likeness of Him that created it.”

Robert Southey, poet laureate of England, quoted that saying in his Life of Wesley.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote this in the margin of his well-used copy of Southey’s Life of Wesley:

This is both sound, and in the present day especially necessary. Doctrinal holiness is no aggregate. The mechanico-corpuscular naturalist may suppose the sun to consist of the rays; but Christians must suppose the rays to consist of the spiritual sun. There are fountains that are always full and never overflow. Holiness is both a fountain and a source, but the streams (doing good, outward actions, &c) do not constitute its worth; but prove and demonstrate the excellency of its worth, and that the spring at the bottom is inexhaustible and incessant.

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