Heroes of the FAITH – JOHN WESLEY
Preacher and founder of the Methodist Church.
I thought it would be prudent now and again to share a few thoughts of a different nature. Something a little off the track from a daily blog, but important. I want to share a couple of facts regarding tremendously important heroes of the faith. Point out how they are still an incredible influence today. It is impossible to do a biography and cover his life, but these are just a few excerpts of things to inspire and encourage.
He was the 11th of 19 children and born on the 17th of June 1703. He was taught by his mother and could read and write in Greek by the age of ten. His father was the local rector in Epworth but it was his mother who taught him regularly about the love of God. At the age of 5, the house where they lived was attacked by arson and john was the only one not to escape.
The people made a human ladder and John was rescued just before the roof caved in! Samuel his father cried out with the neighbours who had witnessed the fire, “Come let us kneel down and give thanks to God, for He has given me my children. Let the house go, I am rich enough” Susannah his mother cried out “Is this, not a brand plucked out from the burning.”
The Early Years – John Wesley
John enrolled at Christ Church College Oxford in1720. He was ordained Deacon in 1725 and priest in 1727. They had formed a club in 1729 called ‘The Holy Club’. There were several notable members like his brother Charles Wesley and George Whitfield. They would meet, study and discuss the Bible. They aspired to follow a Christian life by doing charitable works. Visiting prisoners, helping the poor and running a school. John quantified his time and accounted for every minute so none was wasted.
In 1735, John accepted an invitation to go to Georgia as pastor and set sail on the 14th October. On board was a party of Moravians, a religious sect from Germany. John soon saw many differences between them and the English Christians. The Moravians being humble and grateful in the lowest of tasks that the English deemed below them.
During the crossing, a great storm came upon them that broke the mainsail in two as huge waves crashed into and over the ship. The English Christians fearing they would be drowned or swept overboard screamed and wailed. The Moravians, however, continued singing the psalms and praising God for His goodness!
Witnessing this had an immense effect on john and Charles. It was February 1736 when they docked in the US and the Moravian preacher, Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg asked John, “Do you know Jesus Christ?”
“I know He is the Saviour of the world” John replied.
“True, but do you know He has saved you?”
John continued preaching and ministering the word of God in America until he had to escape back to England in 1738. George Whitfield had just set sail the other way. There was some lack of faith inside of John. Another of the Moravian preachers, Peter Boehler, had told John “Preach faith until you have it, and then when you have it… you will preach faith!”
John Wesley Returned to England
He began to preach in the churches of London in May 1738 with a message of “The Love of God to All”. It was more than unpopular and he was told, “Sir, you must preach here no more”. On the 24th of May, John read from his Bible “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God,” Gospel of Mark 12:34. Later that day, he attended a meeting at Aldersgate Street. At a quarter to nine, his heart felt strangely warmed, whereupon he knew that he did trust Christ, Christ alone for his salvation.
But it was after his ‘conversion’ that amazed me too. In June he set off with Benjamin Ingham to go to visit the Moravians whom had a settlement in Germany near Dresden. They walked the majority of the way from Rotterdam! They would regularly walk 25 miles per day whilst reading the Bible and discussing its contents.
While he was there he saw what he had seen before. The joy of the Lord in their hearts! He remarked that he would have gladly spent the whole of his days there. He felt though that God was calling him back to England to preach the Gospel there and preach he did.
It is estimated that John preached over 42,000 sermons over a span of 54 years. Covering a distance on horseback and walking of 250,000 miles in the UK. In his 87th year, John preached in 87 places. from Aberdeen to Portsmouth, from Yarmouth to Pembroke. Phenomenal!
John Wesley went to the Lord in 1791.
These are a mere fraction of a glimpse into this incredible man. He searched and searched for the Lord, then after receiving, gave, gave and gave!