John Wesley Assignment.docx - SUBMITTED BY Name Francis...

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SUBMITTED BY, Name: Francis Daniel Bala. SUBMITTED TO, Rev.Naveen Kumar Topic: Biography of John Wesley. Date: 15/4/2019. John Wesley (1703-1791): An Introduction Table of Contents 1. Background 2. Works (Selected List) 3. Themes 1. Background John Wesley was born in the rectory of Epworth, Lincolnshire to Samuel and Susannah Annesley Wesley on June 17, 1703. Several sources overwhelmingly indicate him as being the 15th child out of the total 19 conceived from this union. (Green; Heitzenrater; Tuttle; Tyerman; Edwards; Cell; Doughty). However, two sources suggest that he was the “13th or 14th child and the second of only three sons to reach maturity of the Reverend Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), rector of Epworth, Humberside, and his wife Susannah.” (Cross and Livingstone; Rack). Both of the grandfathers of Wesley were clergymen, but distinguished themselves as Puritan nonconformists having been ejected from their pulpits in 1662. Conversely, his father became a Tory in politics and a high-church Anglican. Wesleys mother also provided him with instruction and spiritual guidance in the Epworth refectory, followed by her letters and constant advice, making her a formidable influence in his formative and subsequent years. At six years old, he was saved when angry parishioners set fire to the rectory. This is the most famous incident of his childhood, and one which was seen as having a decisive impact on what would become his life-long career (Heitzenrater, 38-43). Years later (specifically by 1737), he adapted the biblical phrase “a brand plucked from the burning”, and the phrase for him indicated not only “his providential deliverance from the fire but also a divine dispensation pointing to some extraordinary mission for him”. In 1714, he entered Charterhouse School in London, and in June 1720, Christ College. While attending the latter, 1
he received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in 1724 and 1727, respectively. He did not decide “to make religion the business of his life until 1725”, the year that he was ordained a deacon (Tuttle, 13). In 1726, he was elected a Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford and a priest in 1728. During these years, he maintained constant correspondence with his parents who urged him “to study the language which would give him mastery of the original text of the Bible, and Susannah advised him to read “practical divinity”. Hence, Wesley began to read Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis and Holy Living and Dying by Jeremy Taylor. These texts were major factors which shaped his theological views and he became convinced of the inwardness of true religion and of the need to be wholly devoted to God. Moreover, he was led to read other mystical writers and to follow their counsel in cultivating a spiritual inner life. Of special importance were William Laws Christian Perfection and Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.

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