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Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

The General Deliverance
By John Wesley

By Frank L. and Mary T. Hoffman

The General Deliverance was originally a sermon delivered by John Wesley.  Rather than listing it as a sermon, we chose to publish it in our Articles Archive under the heading of Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion because many of the things that John Wesley addresses appear to be lost from the tradition of the United Methodist Church, and because this writing represents the philosophy and religion of John Wesley.

John Wesley struggled greatly with the attitudes and lifestyles of many of his fellow human beings and always sought to lift them above their earthly conditions so that they might mature in the perfection of God's love.  People wanted to accept God's grace, but they didn't fully want to go forth and sin no more.  They wanted to cheapen God's grace by denying Jesus' call to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

In this paper, John Wesley addresses how the Fall of this world and of human beings has affected the animals.  In his words we can sense Wesley's own struggle with using animals as workers for the benefit of himself and others.  He concludes that our just God must make amends for the animals' pain and suffering in this lifetime by delivering them from their bondage of corruption and giving them "ample amends".  It becomes obvious that this can only occur in a heavenly abode.

Unlike Wesley's time when much work was done using animals, today machines have replaced animal power in most of the world, taking away our excuses for using animals.  Therefore, we encourage readers of The General Deliverance to keep this fact in mind, for it is only from the hardness of the unregenerate human heart that  pain and suffering continues to be inflicted on the animals.  Millions of vegans (people who avoid all animal products, as far as possible) attest to the fact that we no longer are dependent on the exploitation of animals for any reason: for food, clothing, entertainment, etc. 

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