The Wesley family was made famous by the two brothers, John and Charles, who worked together in the rise of Methodism in the British Isles during the 18th century. They were among the ten children surviving infancy born to Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), Anglican rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire, and Susanna Annesley Wesley, daughter of Samuel Annesley, a dissenting minister.
Born: December 28, 1707, Epworth, Lincolnshire, England.
Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns in his lifetime. In addition, he and his brother John founded the Methodist Church. To learn more about them, click here.
Died: March 29, 1788, London, England.
Buried: Marylebone Parish Church, London.
Charles Wesley, b. Dec. 18, 1707, d. Mar. 29, 1788, was perhaps England's greatest hymn writer. Educated at Oxford, he was ordained in 1735 and went to Georgia as Oglethorpe's secretary. He returned a year earlier than John. After a religious experience similar to John's, he continued for many years in close association with the Methodist movement. After 1756, however, he left the itinerant ministry and settled first in Bristol and later in London. He wrote more than 5,000 hymns, among them "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling."
John Wesley, b. June 28, 1703, d. Mar. 2, 1791, was the principal founder of the Methodist movement. His mother was important in his emotional and educational development. The rescue of little "Jackie" from the burning rectory ("a brand plucked from the burning") has become legendary. John's education continued at Charterhouse School and at Oxford, where he studied at Christ Church and was elected (1726) fellow of Lincoln College. He was ordained in 1728.
After a brief absence (1727-29) to help his father at Epworth, John returned to Oxford to discover that his brother Charles had founded a Holy Club composed of young men interested in spiritual growth. John quickly became a leading participant of this group, which was dubbed the Methodists. His Oxford days introduced him not only to the rich tradition of classical literature and philosophy but also to spiritual classics like Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, and William Law's Serious Call.
In 1735 both Wesleys accompanied James Oglethorpe to the new colony of Georgia, where John's attempts to apply his then high-church views aroused hostility. Discouraged, he returned (1737) to England; he was rescued from this discouragement by the influence of the Moravian preacher Peter Boehler. At a small religious meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, on May 24, 1738, John Wesley had an experience in which his "heart was strangely warmed."
After this spiritual conversion, which centered on the realization of salvation by faith in Christ alone, he devoted his life to evangelism. Beginning in 1739 he established Methodist societies throughout the country. He traveled and preached constantly, especially in the London-Bristol-Newcastle triangle, with frequent forays into Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. He encountered much opposition and persecution, which later subsided.
Late in life Wesley married Mary Vazeille, a widow. He continued throughout his life a regimen of personal discipline and ordered living. He died at 88, still preaching, still traveling, and still a clergyman of the Church of England. In 1784, however, he had given the Methodist societies a legal constitution, and in the same year he ordained Thomas Coke for ministry in the United States; this action signaled an independent course for Methodism.
Some of Charles Wesley's Hymns:
1.Ambassadors of God
2.And Are We Yet Alive?
3.And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
4.Arise, My Soul, Arise
5.Author of Faith, Eternal Word
6.Because Thou Hast Said
7.Blest Be the Dear Uniting Love
8.Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow
9.By Faith We Find the Place Above
10.Captain of Israel's Host
11.Celebrate Immanuel's Name
12.Charge to Keep I Have, A
13.Christ from Whom All Blessings Flow
14.Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
15.Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies
16.Come, and Let Us Sweetly Join
17.Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above
18.Come, Let Us Join with One Accord
19.Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine
20.Come, Let Us Who in Christ Believe
21.Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown
22.Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast
23.Come, Thou Almighty King
24.Come, Thou Conqueror of the Nations
25.Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
26.Come, Ye Weary Sinners, Come
27.Depth of Mercy
28.Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee
29.Father of Jesus Christ, My Lord
30.Forever Here My Rest Shall Be
31.Forth in Thy Name, O Lord
32.Give Me the Faith Which Can Remove
33.Great Archangel's Trump, The
34.Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise
35.Hark! A Voice Divides the Sky
36.Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
37.Hearken to the Solemn Voice
38.How Can We Sinners Know
39.How Happy Are the Little Flock
40.How Happy Every Child of Grace
41.I Know That My Redeemer Lives
42.I Want a Principle Within
43.Infinite God, to Thee We Raise
44.Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
45.Jesus, Faithful to His Word
46.Jesus, Lord, We Look to Thee
47.Jesus, Lover of My Soul
48.Jesus, My Strength, My Hope
49.Jesus, the Conqueror, Reigns
50.Jesus! the Name High over All
51.Jesus, the Sinner's Friend
52.Jesus, Thine All Victorious Love
53.Jesus, Thou All Redeeming Lord
54.Jesus, United by Thy Grace
55.Lamb of God, I Look to Thee
56.Let Earth and Heaven Combine
57.Let Us Plead for Faith Alone
58.Lift Your Heads
nds and Seas Obey
62.Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
63.Maker in Whom We Live
64.O Come and Dwell in Me
65.O for a Heart to Praise My God
66.O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
67.O Jesus, My Hope
68.O Love, Divine, How Sweet Thou Art
69.O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done
70.O Thou Who Camest from Above
71.O Thou, Whom All Thy Saints Adore
72.Our Earth We Now Lament to See
73.Our Lord Is Risen from the Dead
74.Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above
75.Prisoners of Hope, Arise
76.Rejoice, the Lord Is King
77.See How Great a Flame Aspires
78.See, Sinners, in the Gospel Glass
79.Sinners, Believe the Gospel Word
80.Sinners, Obey the Gospel Word
81.Sinners, Turn: Why Will You Die?
82.Soldiers of Christ, Arise
83.Spirit of Faith, Come Down
84.Talk with Us, Lord
85.Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose
86.This Is Thy Will, I Know
87.Thou Judge of Quick and Dead
88.Thousand Oracles Divine, A
89.'Tis Finished! The Messiah Dies
90.To Us a Child of Royal Birth
91.Weary of Wandering from My God
92.Weary Souls That Wander Wide
93.Where Shall My Wondering Soul Begin?
94.Ye Ransomed Sinners, Hear
95.Ye Servants of God
96.Ye Thirsty for God
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