John Wesley


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John Wesley Preaching

John Wesley Preaching

John WesleyWesley, JOHN, founder of the Methodist Church; born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, June 17, 1703; was educated at Oxford University, and ordained deacon in 1725. In 1730 he and his brother Charles, with a few other students, formed a society on principles of greater austerity and methodical religious life than then prevailed in the university. They obtained the name of Methodists, and Wesley became the leader of the association. In 1735 the celebrated Whitefield joined the society, and he and Wesley accompanied Oglethorpe to Georgia to preach the Gospel to the Indians in 1736. Through the arts and falsehoods of two women Charles fell into temporary disgrace. Oglethorpe, satisfied with his explanation, sent him to England as bearer of dispatches to the trustees. John remained and became pastor of the church at Savannah. He was a strict constructionist of the rubrics of the prayer book, for he had not then begun his labors as the founder of a new sect. His zeal and exactions at length gave offence, and he soon got into other trouble by becoming the lover of a young woman, who, as he suggests in his journal, made pretensions to great piety to entrap him. By the advice of friends he broke the engagement. She immediately married another. Becoming less attentive to her religious duties, Wesley, according to the strict rule he had laid down, after several public reproofs, which she resented, refused to admit her to the Lord's Supper. Her husband, regarding this as an attack upon her religious character, claimed damages to the amount of $5,000. The grand jury found two bills against Wesley, charging him with this and eight other abuses of his ecclesiastical authority, and also of speaking and writing to the woman without her husband's consent. The quarrel grew hot, and finally, by advice of the Moravians, he gave notice of his intention to go to England and lay the matter before the trustees. The magistrates demanded a bond for his appearance to answer to the suit against him. He refused to give it, and they forbade his departure. As soon as evening prayer was over he fled to Charleston, whence he returned to England, and never went back to Georgia. He had stayed six months there, and on his return to England he began itinerant preaching, often in the open air, and attracted many followers. The churches of the Establishment were closed against him, and he had large chapels built in London, Bristol, and other places; and he and Whitefield labored in unison in building up Methodism. Differences in doctrine finally separated them, and they labored separately for the same great end. Wesley traveled almost continually over the United Kingdom in promoting his mission, and was the most successful preacher of these times. He died in London, March 2, 1791.

Death of John Wesley

Death of John Wesley



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