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John Wesley (1703-1791) was an Anglican cleric and the founder of the Methodist Church. Educated at Christ Church college, Oxford, Wesley came to believe that salvation lay in obedience, and became an Anglican priest in 1728.
In 1735, Wesley traveled to the colony of Georgia at the behest of colony founder James Oglethorpe. On his voyage, he encountered members of the Moravian group, whose inner piety impressed him and served as many foundations for Methodism. After his return to England, Wesley became more connected to the Moravians. On 24 May 1738, Wesley had a religious awakening, called the “Aldersgate experience.” Soon afterwards, he began to preach of personal salvation through faith and God’s grace for all.
John Wesley the Preacher
John Wesley was denied the right to preach inside Anglican churches due to his new theology, and in April 1739 began preaching in the open air, reaching individuals who did not enter churches. For the next fifty years, Wesley preached wherever he could: indoors or out, often using his father’s tombstone as a pulpit.
Anglican officials harassed Wesley and his followers, and he broke from the Moravians, focusing on establishing his own houses of worship in Bristol and London. Later in his career, John Wesley became an advocate for abolition, preaching and writing against the slave trade.
The following are the Works of John Wesley:
- Primitive Physic, Or, An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases, London: 1744
- The Desideratum, or, Electricity Made Plain and Useful, London: Bailliere, Tindall, and Cox 1771
- Notes on the New Testament (1755)
- Works (32 vols., Bristol, 1771–74, frequently reprinted in editions varying greatly in the number of volumes)
- The Poetical Works of John and Charles, Ed. G. Osborn, 13 vols., London, 1868–72
- Journals (originally published in 20 parts, London, 1740–89; new Ed. by N. Curnock containing notes from unpublished diaries, 6 vols., vols. i.-ii., London and New York, 1909–11)
- The Doctrine of Original Sin (Bristol, 1757; in reply to Dr. John Taylor of Norwich)
- An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion (originally published in three parts; 2d Ed., Bristol, 1743)
- A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (1766)