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  Charles Wesley (1708-1788)Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024  

Charles Wesley (1708-1788) was the son of Samuel Wesley, a Rector, and Susannah, a daughter of the Rev. Samuel Annesley. His older brother was John Wesley. With eight other surviving siblings of a poor Rector, he grew up in a house of poverty, and piousness. The Church of England was their life. Talk of the Dissent or with dissenters was rare. Unlike Isaac Watts, Charles and John both were allowed entrance into Oxford. There despite his original challenge to John of "What? Would you have me to be a saint all at once?", he did indeed start his journey of discovery in religion. However, it was not until he was 30 that he experienced his 'conversion' after a severe illness.

His evangelical style was not received well in the in the church where he first preached, and he lasted there less than a year. He realized that his mission was one of the 'fields', to become an itinerate minister preaching to the masses. By the next year he was preaching to thousands at a time. For over ten years he traveled throughout England, wales, and Ireland preaching. He finally settled down and gave up his wondering ministry several years after he married but continued preaching in London churches until his death.

The conversion also turned his innate feeling for poetry into a proliferation of hymns and religious poems. By far, Charles Wesley penned the most hymns, over 4,000 published, and it is said another 3,000 unpublished. His mind seemed always on the next hymn. He carried cards with him and could be seen many Sundays sitting outside church after prayer writing his thoughts in hymn. Although Charles remained faithful to the Church of England, he penned many of his best known hymns for the Methodist Societies of his brother. Charles, the man many consider the first Methodist from his days at Oxford, and the brother of John Wesley, founder of Methodist Societies throughout the British Isles simply stated "I have lived, and I die, in the Communion of the Church of England, and I will be buried in the yard of my parish church."

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