Author: Charles Wesley
Composer: Lewis Edson
Charles Wesley was born on Dec. 18, 1707, at Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Samuel was rector of the local church, so Charles and his brother, John, were reared under the strict religions convictions of the Church of England.
Samuel wanted the best of education for his two sons. John enrolled at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, followed by Charles two years later.
Charles and John were very close as brothers, but differed in their theology. Charles was more dedicated to following his father, as a minister in the Church of England, because he felt that this was his father’s wish. While attending college, Charles felt that God would have him to pray and commune each day on his own behalf, instead of having the priest pray for him. This was contrary to the teachings of The Church of England.
Charles was torn between the tradition of his church and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In 1727, he felt led to organize a prayer group among the students in his dormitory. In 1729, John became the leader of this group, called Oxford Methodist, and molded it into the organization that he envisioned, with freedom to worship God on a personal basis. He wanted everyone to accept Christ and praise him in testimony, scripture study and hymn singing.
John broke away immediately from the Church of England in 1729, but Charles was reluctant. Finally, Charles and his father, the vicar of the Church of England, joined the Methodist movement in 1735.
Charles and John were invited by Ga. Gov. James Oglethorpe to visit America for a mission trip to teach the settlers the Methodist movement. They stayed for one year and returned to England, where the Methodist movement was picking up followers, including the great evangelist, George Whitefield, and Howell Harris.
With the increased growth of Methodism, John and Charles set out on evangelistic…