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John Wesley, 1779 age: 76

John Wesley

Biographical Sketch

June 17, 1703 — March 2, 1791

 

 

The 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.

For 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.

 

His Preaching

Mr. Wesley was styled “the mover of men's consciences.” His preaching was simple—a child could easily understand him. There were no far-fetched terms—no 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 fine coat.

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 hear.

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 Generosity

“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.”

His Appearance

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. ”

 

John Wesley's Labors

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.

His 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!

His Preaching was immense

John Wesley preached not less than fifteen sermons a week—frequently 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.

His 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 as well.

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 Magazine.

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.

His 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.

His 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.”

“The transactions 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.

John 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 Perfection.

Of Mr. Wesley, Mr. Alexander Knox says:

“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.'”

In Conclusion 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”

“After surviving 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.”

His Last Sermon

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

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.”

 

HIS FINAL WORDS

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,—

“Till 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 am,
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 us.”

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,—

“I'll praise 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 hopes rely
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—

“To 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 praise—I'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 was

“Farewell.”

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.

 

 


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