Notes for Sermon by Thomas Coke


Original: This is the Preservatrix Virtutum of every other grace.
This text: This is the preserving power and guard of every other grace.

Quote from hymn: Flow back the rivers to the sea, and let my all be lost in Thee.

Full text of the Wesley hymn (find the quotation at the end of verse five):

  1. Master, I own thy lawful claim, Thine, wholly thine, I long to be! Thou seest, at last, I willing am, where’er thou go’st, to follow thee.Myself in all things to deny. Thine, wholly thine, to live and die.
  2. Whate’er my sinful flesh requires, for thee I cheerfully forego. My covetous and vain desires, my hopes of happiness below. My senses’ and my passions’ food, and all my thirst for creature-good.
  3. Pleasure, and wealth, and praise no more shall lead my captive soul astray: my fond pursuits I all give o’er, thee, only thee, resolved to obey. My own in all things to resign, and know no other will but thine.
  4. All power is thine in earth and heaven. All fullness dwells in thee alone. Whate’er I have was freely given. Nothing but sin I call my own. Other propriety disclaim.
    Thou only art the great I AM.
  5. Wherefore to thee I all resign. Being thou art, and Love, and Power.
    Thy only will be done, not mine! Thee, Lord, let heaven and earth adore! Flow back the rivers to the sea, And let our all be lost in thee!

he still retains his gracious temper or state of mind.

How [insinuating] invitational is all his language, while the hearer hangs upon his tongue!


Original from sermon text: Pain, want defies; enjoys disgrace; Glories at dissolution near.
Original from Wesley hymn: Want, pain defy,—enjoy disgrace, glory in dissolution near.

Text of hymn from which quote is taken (at the end of verse six):

  1. Come, Holy Ghost, all quickening fire! Come, and my hallowed heart inspire, Sprinkled with the atoning blood; Now to my soul thyself reveal, Thy mighty working let me feel, And know that I am born of God.
  2. Thy witness with my spirit bear, That God, my God, inhabits there; Thou, with the Father, and the Son, Eternal light’s coeval (of the same age) beam; Be Christ in me, and I in him, Till perfect we are made in one.
  3. When wilt thou my whole heart subdue Come, Lord, and form my soul anew, Emptied of pride, and wrath, and hell: Less than the least of all thy store Of mercies, I myself abhor; All, all my vileness may I feel.
  4. Humble, and teachable, and mild, O may I, as a little child, My lowly Master’s steps pursue! Be anger to my soul unknown, Hate, envy, jealousy, be gone; In love create thou all things new.
  5. Let earth no more my heart divide, With Christ may I be crucified, To thee with my whole soul aspire; Dead to the world and all its toys, Its idle pomp, and fading joys, Be thou alone my one desire!
  6. Be thou my joy, be thou my dread; In battle cover thou my head, Nor earth nor hell I then shall fear; I then shall turn my steady face, Want, pain defy, enjoy disgrace, Glory in dissolution near.
  7. My will be swallowed up in thee; Light in thy light still may I see, Beholding thee with open face; Called the full power of faith to prove, Let all my hallowed heart be love, And all my spotless life be praise.
  8. Come, Holy Ghost, all quickening fire! My consecrated heart inspire, Sprinkled with the atoning blood; Still to my soul thyself reveal, Thy mighty working may I feel, And know that I am one with God.

Original: He has a quick discernment of men and manners, but he “lays hands suddenly on no man.”

Bishop Coke is quoting directly from the King James Version of 1 Timothy 5:22. The New Living Translation translates this verse as: “Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader.” The NIV translates this: “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands,” and NRSV says: “Do not ordain anyone hastily,”.

Original: No lightness of spirit is observable in him; all is dignity as well as love.
“Lightness of spirit” usage meaning “lack of seriousness leading to a casual approach to ministry.”


Please Note:

  1. This is not the text of the entire sermon. Bishop Coke begins with an explanation and defense of the Methodist Episcopal Church and its leadership and with a study of Revelation 3:7-11. Then he says: “Having touched on the general character of this amiable Bishop of the Church of Philadelphia, as displayed in my Text, which, had it been the Will of God, we could wish to have seen at fuller length, I proceed to consider the grand characteristics of a Christian Bishop.” This is where this presentation of his sermon begins below.
  2. The language has been updated and some sentence structure has been changed to reflect current usage. Spelling has been changed to standard U.S. English. Some cultural references used by Bishop Coke might have lost their meaning to readers today and subsequently have been explained in the text.
  3. Headings have been added to increase ease of reading and referencing the text as well as the addition of Scripture references and paragraph breaks.
  4. More Scripture and hymn texts appear at the conclusion of the sermon as a way of looking more deeply into the texts Bishop Coke employs in the sermon.
  5. This sermon was directed to Francis Asbury so the usage of masculine pronouns as referenced to Asbury have been preserved.
  6. Also, please note this is not a scholarly presentation of this sermon. It is simply a fresh look for us as Wesleyans today to see what was important to the leaders of our church at its beginning. Please do not take offense if we have missed a Scripture reference or cultural reference.