John Wesley

Do all the good you can.  By all the means you can.  In all the ways you can.  In all the places you can.  At all the times you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as ever you can.

John Wesley (June 17, 1703 - March 2, 1791).  After being educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, Wesley was ordained in 1725. Upon finishing his studies, Wesley remained at Oxford for a time to teach. At the University John became a member of a small group which had gathered round his brother Charles Wesley.  The group of Christians, which included George Whitefield and James Hervey, became known as the "Holy Club" or the "Oxford Methodists."

These earnest young men caused a sensation at Oxford by frequently meeting together for Bible study, communion, and prayer.  They were derisively referred to as the Holy Club, Sacramentarians, Bible moths (feeding on the Bible as moths on cloth), Bible bigots, and Methodists. John was called the curator or father of the Holy Club.

In 1735, following the death of his father, John Wesley and his brother Charles spent a short time as missionaries in America.  During their absence, the Holy Club began to dissolve.

Upon Wesley's return to England, he joined George Whitefield in Bristol.  Wesley's passionate sermons upset the local Anglican clergy and he found their pulpits closed to him. Encouraged by an account of the Great Awakening in New England by Jonathan Edwards and by George Whitefield's successes at outdoor preaching, Wesley swept away his ecclesiastical and High Church views and began preaching in fields at Bristol (1739).

Wesley was a member of the Church of England until his death and would not schedule Methodist meetings to conflict with Anglican services.  However, during the following fifty years John Wesley reportedly rode 250,000 miles on the roads of England, Scotland, and Ireland preaching 42,000 sermons.  Besides this, he published 233 books.  His tireless and incessant activity changed the face of British society and the nature of its religion forever.

Wesley received over £30,000 in royalties from his writings, which was primarily used for charitable work including the foundation of Kingswood School in Bristol.  Wesley and his followers became known as Methodists.  By the time John Wesley died in 1791, the Methodist movement had over 76,000 members.

John Wesley Quotes:

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can

Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn. 

Works by John Wesley:

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

Timeless Faith: A John Wesley for the 21st Century

A Longing for Holiness: Selected Writings of John Wesley

Renew My Heart: 365 Readings

Renew My Heart - Daily Wisdom from the Writings of John Wesley

The Holy Spirit and Power

Originally published January 31, 2007.

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