« Prev Wesley, John Next »

Wesley, John, is so well known as the founder of Methodism that we need give here only the leading dates and events in his life. He was born at the Epworth rectory June 28, 1703; went to Oxford University in 1720; was ordained deacon in 1725; was made Fellow of Lincoln College in 1726; was his father's curate, 1727-29; returned to Oxford in 1729, and became leader of the holy club, sneeringly called "Methodists," which had been organized during his absence by his brother Charles; went to Georgia as a missionary in 1735, and while here published his first hymn book (1736-37) at Charleston, S. C. He returned to England at the end of two years, saying: "I went to America to convert the Indians, but O who shall convert me? Who is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of unbelief?" He had been impressed by the piety and faith of the Moravians in a storm while crossing the ocean, and they now became his spiritual guides. While attending one of their prayer meetings on May 24, 1738, he obtained the conscious knowledge of sins forgiven and of his acceptance with God. From this time until his death, March 2, 1791, he was unremitting in his labors as a preacher of that religion which he had experienced and as an organizer of converted men for the work of evangelization. As a revivalist and Christian reformer his work is known and read of all men. Nearly all of the Wesleyan hymns, even those found in volumes issued jointly by the two brothers, are commonly accredited to Charles Wesley. As, however, John Wesley states that he and his brother agreed among themselves not to distinguish their hymns, it cannot be definitely known that John Wesley is not himself the author of some of the hymns accredited to Charles Wesley. He is known to be the author of numerous translations from the German, and these are among the most successful translations and finest hymns in the entire range of English hymnology, being marked by deep spirituality and lofty devotional thought. His translations were the result in part of a visit to the Moravian settlement at Herrnhut, in Germany. (See page 451 for a complete list of the poetical publications of John and Charles Wesley.) Of the following seventeen hymns, all but three are translations:

Come, Saviour, Jesus Bourignon 379
Commit thou all thy Gerhardt 435
Give to the winds thy Gerhardt 437
High on his everlast Spangenberg 221
How happy is the Original 624
I thank thee, uncreat Scheffler 367
I thirst, thou wounded Zinzendorf 335
Into thy gracious Dessler 305
Jesus, thy blood and Zinzendorf 148
Jesus, thy boundless Gerhardt 333
My soul before thee Richter 273
Now I have found the Rothe 302
O thou, to whose Zinzendorf 359
Shall I, for fear of Winkler 225
Thou hidden love of Tersteegen 345
To God, the Father Original 722
We lift our hearts to Original 45
« Prev Wesley, John Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection