A selected quoted portion from “The Imperfection of Human Knowledge” by John Wesley.

A selected quoted portion from “The Imperfection of Human Knowledge” by John Wesley.

Several valuable lessons we may learn from a deep consciousness of this our own ignorance. First, we may learn hence a lesson of humility; not “to think of  ourselves,” particularly with regard to our understanding, “more highly than we ought to think;” but “to think soberly;” being thoroughly convinced that we are not  sufficient of ourselves to think one good thought; that we should be liable to stumble at every step, to err every moment of our lives, were it not that we have “an  anointing from the Holy One,” which abideth “with us;” were it not that He who knoweth what is in man helpeth our infirmities; that “there is a spirit in man which  giveth wisdom,” and the inspiration of the Holy One which “giveth understanding.”

From hence we may learn, Secondly, a lesson of faith, of confidence in God. A full conviction of our own ignorance may teach us a full trust in His wisdom. It may  teach us (what is not always so easy as one would conceive it to be) to trust the invisible God farther than we can see Him! It may assist us in learning that difficult  lesson, to “cast down” our own “imaginations” (or reasonings rather, as the word properly signifies), to “cast down every high thing that exalteth itself against the  knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” There are at present two grand obstructions to our forming a right judgment of  the dealings of God with respect to men. The one is, there are innumerable facts relating to every man which we do not and cannot know. They are, at present, hid  from us, and covered from our search by impenetrable darkness. The other is, we cannot see the thoughts of men, even when we know their actions. Still we know not  their intentions; and without this we can but ill judge of their outward actions. Conscious of this, “judge nothing before the time” concerning his providential  dispensations; till He shall bring to light “the hidden things of darkness,” and manifest “the thoughts and intent of the heart.”

From a consciousness of our ignorance we may learn, Thirdly, a lesson of resignation. We may be instructed to say at all times and in all instances, “Father, not as I  will; but as Thou wilt.” This was the last lesson which our blessed Lord (as man) learnt while He was upon earth. He could go no higher than, “Not as I will, but as  Thou wilt,” till He bowed His head and gave up the ghost. Let us also herein be made conformable to His death, that we may know the full “power of His resurrection!”  

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