Perhaps no one was better suited to provide a written history of the Methodist Episcopal
Church than Nathan Bangs. The brilliant, self-educated theologian had not only served
as president of Wesleyan University, but he had also volunteered himself as an itinerant
preacher in Canada during the War of 1812. Later, he founded the Methodist Missionary
Society. Volume One of Bangs’ four-volume history serves as a preface of sorts for
his more detailed survey of 18th and 19th century Methodism in North America. He
documents the life of John Wesley, whose lifetime overlapped with his own, then traces
the spread and development of Methodism in Canada and the United States.