The Journals & Notebook of
 Nathan Bangs 1805-1806, 1817


Contents    Introduction    Maps    Images    Chronology    Bibliography    Archival Resources

Editorial Annotations

Although the phrase "freedom and power," is not biblical in origin, in it one can detect a subtle rebuke of both Calvinism's denial of human freedom in the doctrine of unconditional election as well as the Antinomian view that obedience to a code of Christian conduct is superfluous to salvation.  Wesley's Arminian doctrine of "prevenient grace," in contrast to the Calvinists, held that God's grace permitted every person the freedom to reject sin and seek redemption in Christ. To a degree uncommon even among fellow Arminian evangelicals, however, Wesley also propounded a doctrine concerning "sanctification" that imputed to every Christian a duty (and by implication the power) to strive toward a life of perfect holiness. In defense of this doctrine Bangs published The Necessity, Nature, and Fruits, of Sanctification: in a series of letters to a friend in 1851. 

The phrase "freedom and power" is still in use by Methodists today. Recent editions of the United Methodist Book of Discipline require that membership candidates "accept the freedom and power God gives them to resist evil, injustice, and oppression." 


Monday 15 [July 1805]

My Ague having left me, I preached twice yesterday with freedom and power and some hearts were Melorated, thanks be unto God. I feel to devote my little all to God through Grace, but I find frequently powerful besetments, which makes one stager almost, but I hear a voice saying "All things shall work for good to them that love God;" [Rm 8.28] and I know that I love him. His service is delightsome to my soul and I find that I increase in Stability.

4 July 1805


17 July 1805

Primary Sources




grace: For Methodists and Arminians a God-given facility to accept divine love. Without grace human depravity would prevent any and all relationship with God. For Wesley (and Bangs) grace was also a quality that suffused the life of the Christian with peace, joy, and freedom from sin. 

melorated: An antiquated form of ameliorate meaning to improve. 

besetments: Physical difficulties to ministry such as illness as well as spiritual obstacles to progress such as pride and doubt. 


Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto