John Wesley

John Wesley
BornTemplate:Birth date
DiedMarch 2, 1791(1791-03-02) (aged 87)
EducationCharterhouse School and Christ Church, Oxford
Spouse(s)Mary Wesley (née Vazeille)
Parent(s)Samuel & Susanna Wesley
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John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the founders of the Methodist church. He was an Anglican minister and Christian theologian who was an early leader in the Methodist movement. Methodism had three rises: the first at Oxford University with the founding of the "Holy Club" the second while Wesley was priest in Savannah, Georgia; and the third in London after Wesley's return to England.Throughout his life, Wesley remained within the Church of England, and insisted that his movement was well within yet bounds of the Anglican Church.[1]

Early life

John Wesley was born in Epworth, England 23 miles (37 km) north west of Lincoln, the son of Samuel Wesley, a graduate of Oxford, and minister of the Church of England. At the age of five, John was rescued from the burning rectory. This escape made deep impression on his mind, and he regarded himself as proventially set apart, as a "brand plucked from burning".[2] In 1669 Samuel married Susanna Annesley. Both Samuel and Susanna had been raised in Disseling.

In 1696 Samuel Welsey was appointed rector of Epworth, where John, the fifteenth child, was born. The Wesley children's early education was given by their parents in the Epworth rector. Each child, including the girls, was taught to read as they can could walk, and talk. John was admitted to Charterhouse School, London, when he lived the stations methodical and (for a while) religious life in which he had been trained at here. During his early youth, John Wesley had a deep religious experience. His biographer, Tyerman, says that he went to Charterhouse a saint, but he became negligent of religious duties and left a sinner.

Oxford and Georgia

In June 1720, Wesley entered Christ Church, Oxford, with an annual allowance of 40 pounds as Charterhouse scholar. His health was poor and he found it hard to keep out of debt. A scheme of study which he drew up for 1721 with a time-table for each day of the week is still to be seen in his earliest diary. This first diary was from April 15, 1725, to February 12, 1727.

Personality and activities

Wesley travelled constantly, usually on horseback.[3] He examined and sent out preachers, began aid charities, prescribed for the sick.[4]

Beginning of Revival

In 1738, he heard a reading of Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans, and penned the now famous lines: "I felt my heart strangely warmed". This revolutionized his ministry.[5] Wesley wrote many books about Scripture and the Christian life. John Wesley's brother Charles Wesley helped him with many hymns he wrote.


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  1. Wallace, Charles J. R. (1997) Susanna Wesley: the Complete Writings, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 67. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".
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  3. The Genesis of Methodism