Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

The Wesleys and Their Times

  • About Charles Wesley - Some have described Charles Wesley as the "first Methodist." They point out that he was the one who first brought together a group of like-minded Christians to the "Holy Club" at Oxford.

  • Account of the Life of John Wesley - John Wesley was born on the seventeenth of June, 1703, in Epworth rectory, England, the fifteenth of nineteen children of Samuel and Susanna Wesley.

  • Advice to a People Called Methodist - By John Wesley: By Methodists I mean, a people who profess to pursue (in whatsoever measure they have attained) holiness of heart and life, inward and outward conformity in all things to the revealed will of God.

  • Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists - John Wesley's Collection of Hymns for the People called Methodists, from the text of the final hymnbook of that name published in 1876. The first 539 of these hymns are substantially in the form published by John Wesley in 1780.

  • Epitaph for Susanna Wesley - After Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742, she was buried at Bunhill Fields. John Wesley conducted the services. Charles Wesley wrote the epitaph for her tombstone. Later a new stone was set up, bearing a different inscription.

  • Glossary - Primitive Physick Glossary

  • Historia de la Vida de Juan Wesley - Juan Wesley nació el diecisiete de junio de 1703, en Epworth, Inglaterra, el decimoquinto de diecinueve hijos de Samuel y Susana Wesley.

  • How To Read Scripture - By John Wesley: Let there be no delay. Whatever you resolve, begin to execute the first moment you can. So shall you find this word to be indeed the power of God unto present and eternal salvation.

  • John Wesley and Religious Bigotry - John Wesley differentiated between essential beliefs and nonessential beliefs which he called "opinions." He believed that Christians should be unified in love but need not have identical beliefs or practice identical rituals.

  • John Wesley On Prayer - God's command to "pray without ceasing" is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.

  • Letter to William Wilberforce - The last letter that John Wesley wrote was to William Wilberforce, a man who had been converted under Wesley's ministry and who was a member of Parliament. The letter concerns his opposition to slavery and encouragement for Wilberforce to take action for change. Parliament finally outlawed England's participation in the slave trade in 1807.

  • Links to Other Sites - Links to materials "about/by the Wesleys," "Tercentennial Celebration Resources," "John Wesley," "Charles Wesley," and "Contemporaries of John Wesley."

  • Medicine and Health in Wesley's Day - Learn more about concepts of medicine, health, and the body in John Wesley's day.

  • Plain Account of Christian Perfection - By John Wesley: I purpose in the following papers is, to give a plain and distinct account of the steps by which I was led, during a course of many years, to embrace the doctrine of Christian perfection. This I owe to the serious part of mankind, those who desire to know all "the truth as it is in Jesus." And these only are concerned in questions of this kind.

  • Primitive Physick - John Wesley (1703-1791) was not only the founder of Methodism but also wrote widely in other areas of concern. Wesley realized that medicine in England was available just to the wealthy. His aim in Primitive Physick was to bring practical medical advice to workers and others who could not afford private doctors.

  • Quien es el Pueblo Llamado Metodista? - Las iglesias llamadas "Metodistas" deben su nombre a dos clérigos anglicanos de la Inglaterra del siglo XVIII: Juan (1703-1791) y Carlos Wesley (1707-1788). La Iglesia de Inglaterra se estableció como iglesia nacional durante el reinado de Enrique VIII tras su ruptura con la iglesia de Roma.

  • Short History of Methodism - By John Wesley: In November, 1729, four young gentlemen of Oxford, -- Mr. John Wesley, Fellow of Lincoln College; Mr. Charles Wesley, Student of Christ Church; Mr. Morgan, Commoner of Christ Church; and Mr. Kirkham, of Merton College, -- began to spend some evenings in a week together, in reading, chiefly, the Greek Testament.

  • Susanna Wesley, Unauthorized Meetings - by J. B. Wakeley: While her husband was absent in London in 1711, attending Convocation, Mrs. Wesley adopted the practice of reading in her family, and instructing them. One of the servants told his parents and they wished to come. These told others. . .

  • The Character of a Methodist - By John Wesley: The distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort. His assenting to this or that scheme of religion, his embracing any particular set of notions, his espousing the judgment of one man or of another, are all quite wide of the point.

  • Thoughts Upon Slavery - By John Wesley: By slavery, I mean domestic slavery, or that of a servant to a master. A late ingenious writer well observes, "The variety of forms in which slavery appears, makes it almost impossible to convey a just notion of it, by way of definition. There are, however, certain properties which have accompanied slavery in most places, whereby it is easily distinguished from that mild, domestic service which obtains in our country."

  • What Is an Arminian? - By John Wesley: To say, "This man is an Arminian," has the same effect on many hearers, as to say, "This is a mad dog." It puts them into a fright at once: They run away from him with all speed and diligence; and will hardly stop, unless it be to throw a stone at the dreadful and mischievous animal.

    Top Image: John Wesley often ministered to the sick during a life blessed by good health. Illustration courtesy of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.
    Bottom Image: Wesley preaches at Newgate Jail. This drawing was scanned by the General Board of Global Ministries from: A. H. Hyde, The Story of Methodism Throughout the World, from the Beginning to the Present Time (Springfield, MA: Willey & Co., 1889), p. 219.