following brief Biographical Sketch of John Wesley is taken from the
following sources:John Wesley and His Doctrine by
W. MacDonald; Life of the Rev. John Wesley by Joseph Benson;
and Life of John Wesley by John Telford.
a real appreciation of his life I heartily recommend you read his
Journal which is found in The Works of John Wesley. In John
Wesley's Journal you have the opportunity to see the thoughts, actions
and events of this holy man. Here you can behold the day by day, practical
working of God's Perfecting Grace. Here you will find the embodiment
of Christian Perfection. To get The Works of John Wesley on CD-ROM
see the link at the bottom of this page.
Mr. Wesley was styled
the mover of men's consciences. His preaching was simplea
child could easily understand him. There were no far-fetched termsno
soaring among the clouds. All was simple, artless and clear. He declares
that he would no sooner preach a fine sermon than he would wear a
George Whitefield was
regarded as the prince of modern eloquence. Dr. Franklin, no mean
judge, accorded him this rank. Charles Wesley was but little inferior
to Whitefield as a pulpit orator; while Fletcher was not inferior
to either; Mr. Wesley regarded him as superior to Whitefield. John
Fletcher had, says Wesley, a more striking person,
equally good breeding and winning address; together with a rich flow
of fancy, a strong understanding, and a far greater treasure of learning,
both in language, philosophy, philology and divinity, and above all
(which I can speak with fuller assurance, because I had a thorough
knowledge both of one and the other), a more deep and constant communion
with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
These were mighty men.
The multitudes which listened to them were swayed by their eloquence
and power as the forest is by a rushing mighty wind. Their earnest
appeals drew floods of tears from eyes unaccustomed to weep. We are
not informed that Mr. Wesley often wept while preaching, and yet no
such effects were produced by Whitefield's preaching as were witnessed
under John Wesley's. Mr. Southey admits that the sermons of Wesley
were attended with greater and more lasting effect than were the sermons
of Whitefield. Men fell under his word like men in battle. While he
was calm, collected, deliberate and logical, he was more powerful
in moving the sensibilities as well as the understanding of his hearers,
than any other man in England. Marvelous where the physical effects
produced by his preaching.
We are told that his
attitude in the pulpit was graceful and easy; his action, calm and
natural, yet pleasing and expressive; his voice not loud, but clear,
agreeable and masculine; his style, neat and perspicuous. His
command over an audience was very remarkable. He always faced the
mob, and was generally victorious at such times. In the midst of a
mob he says, I called for a chair; the winds were hushed, and
all was calm and still; my heart was filled with love, my eyes with
tears, and my mouth with arguments. They were amazed, they were ashamed,
they were melted down, they devoured every word. There must
have been, in such preaching, that which seldom falls to our lot to
Dr. Whitehead noted: In
social life, Mr. Wesley was lively and conversational. He had the
talent of making himself exceedingly agreeable in company; and having
been much accustomed to society, the rules of good breeding were habitual
to him. The abstraction of a scholar did not appear in his behavior;
but he was attentive and polite. He spoke a good deal where he saw
it was expected, which was almost always the case wherever he visited.
Having seen much of the world in his travels, and read more, his mind
was stored with an infinite number of anecdotes and observations;
and the manner in which he related them was no inconsiderable addition
to the entertainment and instruction they afforded. It was impossible
to be long in his company, either in public or private, without partaking
of his placid cheerfulness, which was not abated by the infirmities
of age, or the approach of death; but was as conspicuous at fourscore
and seven, as at one and twenty.
A remarkable feature
in Mr. Wesley's character, was his placability. Having an active,
penetrating mind, his temper was naturally quick, and even tending
to sharpness. The influence of religion, and the constant habit of
patient thinking, had in a great measure, corrected this disposition.
In general he preserved an air of sedateness and tranquility, which
formed a striking contrast to the liveliness conspicuous in all his
actions. Persecution, abuse, and injury, he bore from strangers, not
only without anger, but without any apparent emotion; and what he
said of himself was strictly true, that he had a great facility in
forgiving injuries. No man was ever more free from jealousy or suspicion
that Mr. Wesley, or laid himself more open to the impositions of others.
Though his confidence was often abused, and circumstances sometimes
took place which would have made almost any other man suspicious,
yet he suspected no one; nor was it easy to convince him that any
one had intentionally deceived him; and when facts had demonstrated
that this was actually the case, he would allow no more than that
it was so in that single instance. If the person acknowledged his
fault, he believed him sincere, and would trust him again.
His liberality to
the poor, knew no bounds but an empty pocket. He gave away, not merely
a certain part of his income, but all that he had: his own want provided
for, he devoted all the rest to the necessities of others. He entered
upon this good work at a very early period. We are told, that, 'when
he had thirty pounds a year, he lived on twenty-eight, and gave away
forty shillings. The next year, receiving sixty pounds, he still lived
on twenty-eight, and gave away two and thirty. The third year he received
ninety pounds, and gave away sixty-two. The fourth year he received
on hundred and twenty pounds. Still he lived on twenty-eight, and
gave to the poor ninety-two.' In this ratio he proceeded during the
rest of his life; and, in the course of fifty years, it has been supposed,
he gave away between twenty and thirty thousand pounds.
In the distribution
of his money, Mr. Wesley was as disinterested as he was charitable.
He had no regard to family connections, nor even to the wants of the
preachers who labored with him, in preference to strangers. He knew
that these had some friends; and he thought that the poor destitute
stranger might have none, and therefore had the first claim on his
liberality. When a trifling legacy has been paid him, he has been
known to dispose of it in some charitable way before he slept, that
it might not remain his own property for one night. He often declared
that his own hands should be his executors; and though he gained all
he could by publications, and saved all he could, not wasting so much
as a sheet of paper; yet, by giving all he could, he was preserved
from laying up treasures upon earth. He has said in print, that, if
he died worth more than ten pounds, independent of his books, and
the arrears of his fellowship, which he then held, he would give the
world leave to call him 'a thief and a robber.' His chaise and horses,
his clothes and a few trifles of that kind, were all, his books excepted,
that he left at his death.
Joseph Benson writes:
The figure of Mr. Wesley was remarkable. His stature was low;
his habit of body, in every period of life, the reverse of corpulent,
and expressive of strict temperance and continual exercise; and, notwithstanding
his small size, his step was firm, his appearance, till within a few
years of his death, vigorous and muscular. His face, for an old man,
was one of the finest we have seen. A clear, smooth, forehead; and
aquiline nose; an eye, the brightest and most piercing that can be
conceived; and a freshness of complexion, scarcely ever to be found
at his years; and, impressive of the most perfect health, conspired
to render him a venerable and interesting figure. Few have seen him
without being struck with his appearance: and many, who had been greatly
prejudiced against him, have been known to change their opinion the
moment they were introduced into his presence. In his countenance
and demeanor; there was a cheerfulness mingled with gravity; a sprightliness,
which was the natural result of an unusual flow of spirits, and yet
was accompanied with every mark of the most serene tranquillity.
In dress, he was
a pattern of neatness and simplicity; a narrow plaited stock; a coat,
with a small upright collar; no buckles at his knees; no silk or velvet
in any part of his apparel; and a head as white as snow, gave an idea
of something primitive and apostolic; while an air of neatness and
cleanliness was diffused over his whole person.
No sooner had Mr. Wesley
experienced the transforming power of grace than he hastened to declare
it to all, taking the world for his parish.
After confessing to those
immediately about him what God had done for his soul, he flew with
all possible speed to declare it to the miners in their darkness,
to the Newgate felons in their cells, to the wealthy and refined worshippers
at St. John's and St. Ives; offering, in burning words, a common salvation
alike to Newgate felon and to the St. John's and St. Ives aristocracy.
Mr. Wesley was a most
pertinacious adherent of the English establishment, and never dreamed
of attempting the salvation of souls by preaching the gospel outside
her church walls, until he was ruthlessly expelled from all her pulpits.
But he had firmly resolved that neither bishops, nor curates, nor
church wardens should stand between him and duty. But what to do and
where to go he did not know. In his extremity he took counsel of George
Whitefield resulting in a firm purpose to do the work to which Providence
seemed to have clearly called them. Churches were closed, to be sure,
but the unsaved and perishing were everywhere except in the churches,
and to reach and save them they betook themselves to the wide, wide
world. They were now seen in hospitals, administering spiritual comfort
to the sick; in prisons, offering eternal life to condemned felons;
at Kingswood, calling the dark colliers to a knowledge of the truth.
In these places, unfrequented by sacerdotal robes, the gospel of the
grace of God was carried by these unhonored servants of Jesus. But
soon prisons and hospitals were denied them, and then they took to
the fields and to the streets of the cities, choosing for their pulpits
the market-house steps, a horse block, a coal heap, a table, a stone
wall, a mountain side, a horse's back, etc.
The colliers [coal miners]
of Kingswood had no church, no Sabbath, no gospel. They were the most
corrupt, degraded, blasphemous class to be found in England. Southey
describes them as lawless, brutal and worse than heathen.
They seemed to have been forsaken of God and man. This was a fit place
to test the power of the gospel of the grace of God. The
intrepid Whitefield was the first to break the ice. Pulpits
are denied, he says, and the poor colliers are ready to
perish. So he unfurled the banner, With a mountain for
his pulpit, he says, and the broad heavens for a sounding-board.
The Wesley's are lifting
up their voices like trumpets in all parts of the kingdom. They are
threading their way along the mountains of Wales, where the people
knew as little of Christianity as ...the wild Indians of our western
forests and plains. Then they are seen in Ireland, in all her towns
and cities, calling her sons to a knowledge of Jesus. Again their
voices are heard amid the hills and vales of Scotland, urging her
stern clans to accept Jesus by faith alone. Then they are surrounded
by tens of thousands of besmeared miners, who are weeping for sin
and rejoicing in God. In order that the reader may get, in the briefest
possible compass, some idea of the immense amount of labor performed
by John Wesley, we will reduce it to a few points.
Travel was immense
John Wesley averaged,
during a period of fifty-four years, about five thousand miles a year,
making in all some two hundred and ninety thousand miles, a distance
equal to circumnavigating the globe about twelve times. It must not
be forgotten that most of this travel was on horseback. Think of riding
around the globe on horseback twelve times!
Preaching was immense
John Wesley preached not
less than fifteen sermons a weekfrequently many more. These
sermons were delivered mostly in the open air [outdoors], and under
circumstances such as to test the nerve of the most vigorous frame.
He did, in the matter of preaching, what no other man ever did. He
preached, on average, for a period of fifty-four years, fifteen sermons
a week,, making in all forty-two thousand four hundred, besides numberless
exhortations and addresses on a great variety of occasions.
A minister in these times
does well to preach one hundred sermons a year. At this rate, to preach
as many sermons as Wesley did, such a minister must live four hundred
and twenty-four years. Think of a minister preaching two sermons each
weekday, and three each Sabbath, for fifty-four years, and some idea
can be formed of John Wesley's labors in this department.
Literary Labors were immense
While traveling five thousand
miles a year, or about fourteen miles a day, and preaching two sermons,
and frequently five each day, he read extensively. He read not less
than one thousand two hundred volumes, on all subjects, many of the
volumes folios, after the old English style. His journals show
that he read not only to understand, but to severely critic his authors
He wrote grammars
of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and English languages.
He was for many years
editor of a monthly periodical of fifty-six pages, known as the Arminian
He rewrote, abridged,
revised and published a library of fifty volumes; and afterwards reread,
revised and republished the whole work in thirty volumes.
He wrote and published
a commentary on the whole Bible, in four large volumes; but the portion
on the Old Testament was rendered almost worthless by the abridgment
of the notes by the printer, in order to get them within a given compass.
He compiled a complete
dictionary of the English language, much used in its day.
He wrote and published
a work on Natural Philosophy in five volumes, which for may years
was a textbook among ministers.
He compiled a work on
Ecclesiastical History in four volumes.
He wrote and published
comprehensive histories of England and Rome.
He wrote a good-sized
work on electricity.
He prepared and published
three medical works for the common people.
He compiled and published
six volumes of church music.
His poetical works, in
connection with those of his brother Charles, are said to have amounted
to not less than forty volumes. Charles composed the larger part,
but they passed under the revision of John, without which we doubt
if Charles Wesley's hymns would have been what they are, the most
beautiful and soul-inspiring in the English language.
In addition to all this,
there are seven large octavo volumes of sermons, letter, controversial
papers, journals, etc. It is said that Mr. Wesley's works including
abridgments and translations, amounted to some two hundred volumes.
Pastoral Labors were immense
It is doubtful if any
pastor in these times does more pastoral work than did John Wesley.
He speaks frequently of these labors. In London he visits all the
members, and from house to house exhorts and comforts them. For some
time he visited all the Bands and the Select Societies,
appointing all the class and band leaders. He had under his special
care tens of thousands of souls.
To these multiplied labors
he added the establishment of schools, building of chapels, raising
of funds to carry on the work, and a special care over the whole movement.
It may be affirmed that neither in his travels, his literary labors,
his preaching, nor in his pastoral supervision of the flock of Christ,
has he often, if ever, been surpassed. Few men could have traveled
as much as he, had they omitted all else. Few could have preached
as much without either travel or study; and few could have written
and published as much had they avoided both travel and preaching.
It is not too much to say that among uninspired men, one of more extraordinary
character than John Wesley never lived.
Diligent Use of Time
It may be asked, how was
he able to accomplish so much? He improved every moment of every day
to the very best advantage.
John Fletcher, who for
some time was his traveling companion, says: His diligence is
matchless. Though oppressed with the weight of seventy years, and
care of more than thirty thousand souls, he shames still, by his unabated
zeal and immense labors, all young ministers of England, perhaps Christendom.
He has generally blown the gospel trumpet and rode twenty miles before
most of the professors, who despise his labors, have left their downy
pillows. As he begins the day, the week, the year, so he concludes
them, still intent upon extensive services for the glory of the Redeemer
and the good of souls.
In order to save time
he, in the first place, ascertained how much sleep he needed; and
when once settled, he never varied from it to the end of life. He
arose at four o'clock in the morning, and retired at ten in the evening,
never losing at any time, he says, ten minutes by wakefulness. The
first hour of each day was devoted to private devotions; then every
succeeding hour and moment were employed in earnest labor. His motto
was, Always in haste, but never in a hurry. I have,
he says, no time to be in a hurry. Leisure and I have taken
leave of each other.
He makes the remarkable
statement that ten thousand cares were no more weight to his
mind than ten thousand hairs to his head. I am never tired
with writing, preaching, or traveling.
Dr Whitehead observed:
It had been impossible for him to accomplish this almost incredible
degree of exertion, without great punctuality and care in the management
of his time. He had stated hours for every purpose: and his only relaxation
was a change of employment. His rules were like the laws of the Medes
and Persians, absolute and irrevocable. He had a peculiar pleasure
in reading and study, and every literary man knows how apt this passion
is to make him encroach on the time which ought to be employed in
other duties: he had a high relish for conversation, especially with
pious, learned, and sensible men: but whenever the hour came when
he was to set out on a journey, he instantly quitted the company with
which he might be engaged, without any apparent reluctance.
of his life could never have been performed, without the utmost exertion
of two qualities, which depended, not upon his capacity, but on the
uniform steadfastness of his resolution. These were inflexible temperance,
and unexampled economy of time. In these he was a pattern to the age
he lived in; and an example, to what a surprising extent a man may
render himself useful in his generation, by temperance and punctuality.
With all his travel, labor,
and care, he declares that he enjoyed more hours of private
retirement than any man in England. When it is remembered that
all this labor was performed amid the most unrelenting persecution
that ever fell to the lot of man in modern times, it must be confessed
that John Wesley has had no superior among uninspired men.
Wesley's Life was a Beautiful Illustration of Christian Perfection
John Telford in his Life
of John Wesley comments: John Fletcher's seraphic piety
has sometimes overshadowed Wesley's calm devotion. A lady in Dublin
once asked Adam Clarke, Was not Mr. Fletcher, doctor, a holier
man than Mr. Wesley? Dr. Clarke lifted his hand and replied,
No, no; there was no man like John Wesley. There was no man
whom God could trust with the work He had to do but John Wesley. There
were prejudices here and prejudices there; but his prejudices always
gave way to the force of truth. The personal religion sufficient for
Mr. Fletcher, in his limited sphere, was far beneath that deep intimacy
with God necessary for Mr. Wesley in the amazing labor he had to undergo,
the calumnies he had to endure, his fightings without, the opposition
arising from members of Society within, and his care of all his churches.
Clarke's verdict will
commend itself to all students of the Evangelical Revival. Wesley's
course was a beautiful illustration of his own doctrine of Christian
Of Mr. Wesley, Mr. Alexander
Very lately, I had
an opportunity, for some days together, of observing Mr. Wesley with
attention. I endeavored to consider him, not so much with an eye of
a friend, as with the impartiality of a philosopher; and I must declare,
every hour I spent in his company, afforded me fresh reasons for esteem
and veneration. So fine an old man I never saw. The happiness of his
mind beamed forth in his countenance. Every look showed how fully
he enjoyed 'the gay remembrance of a life well spent;' and wherever
he went, he diffused a portion of his own felicity. Easy and affable
in his demeanor, he accommodated himself to every sort of company,
and showed how happily the most finished courtesy may be blended with
the most perfect piety.
In his conversation,
we might be at a loss whether to admire most his fine classical taste,
his extensive knowledge of men and things, or his overflowing goodness
of heart. While the grave and serious were charmed with his wisdom,
his sportive sallies of innocent mirth delighted even the young and
thoughtless; and both saw, in his uninterrupted cheerfulness, the
excellency of true religion. No cynical remarks on the levity of youth
embittered his discourse; no applausive retrospect to past times marked
his present discontent. In him, even old age appeared delightful,
like an evening without a cloud; and it was impossible to observe
him without wishing fervently, 'May my latter end be like his!'
For my own part, I never was so happy as while with him, and scarcely
ever felt more poignant regret at parting with him; for well I knew
'I never should look upon his like again.'
Joseph Benson quotes from Woodfall's Diary
His zeal was not
a transient blaze, but a steady and constant flame. The ardor of his
spirit was neither damped by difficulty, nor subdued by age. This
was ascribed by himself to the power of Divine grace....He had a vigor
and elevation of mind, which nothing but the belief of the Divine
favor and presence could inspire. This threw a luster round his infirmities,
changed his bed of sickness into a triumphal car, and made his exit
resemble an apotheosis rather than a dissolution.
To gain the admiration
of an ignorant and superstitious age, requires only a little artifice
and address; to stand the test of these times, when all pretensions
to sanctity are stigmatized as hypocrisy, is a proof of genuine piety
and real usefulness
almost all his adversaries, and acquiring respect among those who
were the most distant from his principles, he lived to see the plant
he had reared, spreading its branches far and wide, and inviting not
only these kingdoms, but the Western world, to repose under its shade.
No sect, since the first ages of Christianity, could boast a founder
of such extensive talents and endowments. If he had been a candidate
for literary fame, he might have succeeded to his utmost wishes; but
he sought not the praise of man; he regarded learning only as the
instrument of usefulness. The great purpose of his life was doing
good. For this he relinquished all honor and preferment; to this he
dedicated all his powers of body and mind; at all times and in all
places, in season and out of season, by gentleness, by terror, by
argument, by persuasion, by reason, by interest, by every motive and
every inducement, he strove, with unwearied assiduity, to turn men
from the error of their ways, and to awaken them to virtue and religion.
To the bed of sickness,
or the couch of prosperity; in the prison, the hospital, the house
of mourning, or the house of feasting, wherever there was a friend
to serve, or a soul to save, he readily repaired; to administer assistance
or advice, reproof or consolation. He thought no office too humiliating,
no condescension too low, no undertaking too arduous, to reclaim the
meanest of God's offspring. The souls of all men were equally precious
in his sight, and the value of an immortal creature beyond all estimation.
He penetrated the abodes of wretchedness and ignorance, to rescue
the profligate from perdition;and he communicated the light of life
to those in darkness and the shadow of death. He changed the outcasts
of society into useful members; civilized even savages, and filled
those lips with prayer and praise that had been accustomed only to
oaths and imprecations.
But as the strongest
religious impressions are apt to become languid, without discipline
and practice, he divided his people into classes and bands according
to their attainments. He appointed frequent meetings for prayer and
conversation, where they gave an account of their experience, their
hopes and fears, their joys and troubles; by which means they were
united to each other, and to their common profession. They became
sentinels upon each other's conduct, and securities for each other's
character. Thus the seeds he sowed sprang up and flourished, bearing
the rich fruits of every grace and virtue. Thus he governed and preserved
his numerous societies, watching their improvement with a paternal
care, and encouraging them to be faithful to the end.
John Wesley preached his
last Sermon the Wednesday before he died on Seek ye the Lord
while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near.
His last letter was written
the Thursday before he died to William Wilberforce who as a young
man was stepping out for his life-long struggle against slavery.
My Dear Sir,Unless
the Divine Power has raised you up to be as Athanasious, contra
mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise
in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion,
of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for
this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and
devils; but if God be for you, who can be against you? Are
all of them together stronger than God? Oh, 'be not weary in
well-doing.' Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His
might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the
sun, shall vanish away before it.
Reading this morning
a tract, wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that
circumstance that a man who has a black skin, being wronged or outraged
by a white man, can have no redress; it being a law in our
colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for
nothing. What villany is this!
That He who has
guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in
this and all things is the prayer of, dear sir, your affectionate
servant, John Wesley.
The following account
of John Wesley's Final words before he died are taken from The
Life of John Wesley by John Telford.
As he sat in a chair he
looked quite cheerful, and repeated the lines,
glad I lay this body down,
Thy servant, Lord, attend;
And, oh! my life of mercies crown
With a triumphant end!
Speaking of a lady whom
he had only lately known, he said he believed
she had real
religion. How necessary for everyone to be on the right foundation!
I the chief of sinners
But Jesus died for me.
We must be justified
by faith, and then go on to sanctification.
Next day he slept much.
Once, in a low, but very distinct, manner, he said, There
is no way into the holiest but by the blood of Jesus. After
a very restless night he began to sing,
All glory to
God in the sky,
And peace upon earth be restored!
O Jesus, exalted on high,
Appear, our omnipotent Lord!
Who, meanly in Bethlehem born,
Didst stoop to redeem a lost race,
Once more to Thy people return,
And reign in Thy kingdom of grace.
Oh, wouldst Thou again be made known,
Again in the Spirit descend;
And set up in each of Thy own
A kingdom that never shall end!
Thou only art able to bless,
And make the glad nations obey,
And bid the dire enmity cease,
And bow the whole world to Thy sway.
He lay still a while,
then asked for pen and ink. When they were brought, he was too weak
to use them. Some time after he said, I want to write.
The pen was put into his hand, and the paper held before him. I
cannot, he said. Miss Ritchie, one of the company, answered,
Let me write for you, sir; tell me what you would say.
Nothing, he replied, but that God is with
In the afternoon he wished
to get up. While his clothes were being brought, he broke out singing
with such vigor that all his friends were astonished,
my Maker while I've breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne'er by past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.
Happy the man whose
On Israel's God: He made the sky
And earth and seas, and all their train;
His truth for ever stands secure,
He saves the oppressed, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promise vain.
When helped into his chair,
Wesley seemed the change for death. With a weak voice, he said, Lord,
Thou givest strength to those that can speak and to those that cannot.
Speak, Lord, to all our hearts, and let them know that Thou loosest
tongues. He then sang
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Who sweetly all agree.
Here his voice failed,and
he gasped for breath. His mind seemed to wander. Now we have
done, he said. Let us all go. He was
laid on the bed from which he rose no more, and after sleeping a little,
begged those around him to pray and praise. The
friends who were downstairs were called up. Wesley's fervor of spirit
and his loud Amen to the petition that God would
continue and increase His blessing upon His servants' work showed
how fully he joined in these devotions. After they rose from prayer
he took Mr. Broadbent's hand, drew him near, and with the utmost placidness
saluted him, and said, Farewell, farewell. He thus
took leave of all who were in the room. When some one entered, he
strove to speak. Finding that his friends could not understand what
he said, he paused, and with all his remaining strength, cried out,
The best of all is, God is with us.
Then, lifting up his dying
arm in token of victory, and raising his feeble voice with a holy
triumph not to be expressed, he again repeated the heart-reviving
words, The best of all is, God is with us.
When Mrs. Charles Wesley
came to see him, he thanked her as she pressed his hand, and endeavored
to kiss her. His lips were moistened; then he broke out in the words
of grace he used after meals, We thank Thee, O Lord, for
these and all Thy mercies. Bless the Church and King, and grant us
truth and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, for ever and ever.
Other words fell from his lips; then he called those who were in his
room to join in prayer. His fervor was remarkable, though his bodily
strength was fast ebbing away. During the night he often
attempted to repeat the forty-sixth Psalm, but he was too feeble.
He was heard, however, to say, I'll praiseI'll praise.
Twenty minutes before ten o'clock the next morning, Wesley found the
long-sought rest. Joseph Bradford was praying. His niece, Sarah Wesley,
and a few friends, knelt around his bed. The last word they caught
Wesley died on Wednesday,
March 2nd, 1791, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. The day before
the funeral his body was laid in City Road Chapel, near the entrance.
A heavenly smile lingered
on his face.