Charles Wesley and the Struggle for Methodist Identity by Gareth Lloyd

By Gareth Lloyd

A major new research of the existence and ministry of the Anglican minister and Evangelical chief Charles Wesley (1707-88) which examines the often-neglected contribution made by means of John Wesley's more youthful brother to the early background of the Methodist circulation. Charles Wesley's value because the writer of vintage hymns like `Love Divine' and `O for one thousand Tongues to Sing' is widely known, yet his wider contribution to Methodism, the Church of britain and the Evangelical Revival has been missed. Gareth Lloyd offers a brand new appraisal of Charles Wesley in line with his personal papers and people of his neighbors and enemies. the image of the Revival that effects from a clean exam of 1 of Methodism's most important leaders deals a brand new point of view at the early life of a denomination that at the present time has an anticipated eighty million contributors around the world.

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For Charles’s importance on a personal level, one must turn to a letter written to another layman just over a year later in October 1749 in the immediate aftermath of the first serious storm in the brothers’ relationship: ‘To you, therefore, I can freely speak my mind, as knowing it will go no further. Since I was six years old I never met with such a severe trial as for some days past . .

73 Attacked by deists and Whig politicians,74 undermined by internal conflict and affected with such weaknesses as pluralism and 68 Richard Heitzenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodists (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995), 21–4. 69 Ibid. 22. 70 Jacob, Lay People and Religion, 78–9; Tyerman, Samuel Wesley, 216–17. 71 Jacob, Lay People and Religion, 81–2. 72 Heitzenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodists, 19–20. ’ Jacob, Lay People and Religion, p. ix. 74 For a discussion of the widespread anticlericalism of the era, see ibid.

Hampson, John Wesley, iii. 179. ’ Rack, Reasonable Enthusiast, 251. 81 42 The Shared Ministry of John and Charles was the Agrippa to John Wesley’s Augustus and for all John’s searching in his later years, he never found anyone who could quite fill the place that his brother had once occupied. ’84 In this concise testimonial, John summarized Charles’s outstanding contribution to the birth of Methodism and hinted at his own heartfelt appreciation of his brother’s support. It is a warmer eulogy than the one that he was to give on the occasion of Charles’s death forty years later, but it is noticeable that his praise is stated entirely with regard to ministerial value.

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