Wesley, John - Sermon 79 - 02 On Dissipation
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Extract from The Sermons of John Wesley - Sermon 79
"This I speak -- that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." 1 Cor. 7:35.
…..a thousand things which daily occur are apt to dissipate our thoughts, and distract us from attending to His voice who is continually speaking to our hearts: I mean, to all that listen to his voice. We are encompassed on all sides with persons and things that tend to draw us from our centre. Indeed, every creature, if we are not continually on our guard, will draw us from our Creator. The whole visible world, all we see, hear, or touch, all the objects either of our senses or understanding, have a tendency to dissipate our thoughts from the invisible world; and to distract our minds from attending to Him who is both the Author and End of our being……………….
The original word properly signifies to disperse, or scatter. So the sun dissipates, that is, scatters, the clouds; the wind dissipates, or scatters, the dust; and, by an easy metaphor, our thoughts are said to be dissipated, when they are irregularly scattered up and down. In like manner, our desires are dissipated, when they are unhinged from God, their proper centre, and scattered to and fro among the poor, perishing, unsatisfying things of the world. And, indeed, it may be said of every man that is a stranger to the grace of God, that all his passions are dissipated, --
Scatter'd o'er all the earth abroad, Immeasurably far from GOD.
11. Distraction, in St. Paul's sense, is nearly allied to, or rather the same with, dissipation: Consequently, to attend upon the Lord without distraction, is the same as to attend upon the Lord without dissipation. But whenever the mind is unhinged from God, it is so far dissipated or distracted. Dissipation then, in general, may be defined, "the uncentring the soul from God." And whatever uncentres the mind from God does properly dissipate us.
12. Hence we may easily learn what is the proper, direct meaning of that common expression, -- a dissipated man. He is a man that is separated from God; that is disunited from his centre, whether this be occasioned by hurry of business, by seeking honour or preferment, or by fondness for diversions, for silly pleasures, so called, or for any trifle under the sun. The vulgar, it is true, commonly confine this character to those who are violently attached to women, gaming, drinking; to dancing, balls, races, or the poor, childish diversion of "running foxes and hares out of breath." But it equally belongs to the serious fool who forgets God by a close attention to any worldly employment, suppose it were of the most elegant or the most important kind. A man may be as much dissipated from God by the study of the mathematics or astronomy, as by fondness for cards or hounds. Whoever is habitually inattentive to the presence and will of his Creator, he is a dissipated man. …..
13. Hence we may likewise learn that a dissipated life is not barely that of a powdered beau, of a petit-maitre, a gamester, a woman-hunter, a playhouse-hunter, a fox-hunter, or a shatter-brain of any kind; but the life of an honourable statesman, a gentleman, or a merchant, that is "without God in the world." Agreeably to this, a dissipated age (such as is the present, perhaps beyond all that ever were, at least, that are recorded in history) is an age wherein God is generally forgotten. And a dissipated nation (such as England is at present in a superlative degree) is a nation, a vast majority of which have not God "in all their thoughts."
14. A plain consequence of these observations is, (what some may esteem a paradox,) that dissipation, in the full, general meaning of the word, is the very same thing with ungodliness. The name is new; but the thing is, undoubtedly almost as old as the creation. And this is, at present, the peculiar glory of England, wherein it is not equalled by any nation under heaven. We therefore speak an unquestionable truth when we say, there is not on the face of the earth another nation (at least, that we ever heard of) so perfectly dissipated and ungodly; not only so totally "without God in the world," but so openly setting him at defiance. There never was an age that we read of in history, since Julius Caesar, since Noah, since Adam, wherein dissipation or ungodliness did so generally prevail, both among high and low, rich and poor.
The source of the experienceWesley, John
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Squash the big I am
Suppression of learning