Jun 27, 2023 | John W. Coleman

On June 28 we remember John Wesley’s birth 220 years ago in 1703. (His original birthdate was June 17, until England changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.) He died in 1791.

Wesley was an Anglican priest and theologian but also the founder of the Methodism sect. Along with his brother Charles, he was dissatisfied with the church of his time and was seeking a faith tradition that was more “ancient, biblical, and relevant to the lives of everyday people.” In 1738, Wesley had a mystical, lifechanging experience on Aldersgate Street in London where he felt his “heart strangely warmed.

“Love rather than dogma became the basis of Methodism. Preaching and teaching this new path required prodigious patience, courage, and energy.”*“The whole world is my parish,” Wesley told people, as he sought to preach Christ’s gospel of grace in every place, even outdoors.

He ignited the birth of Methodism in America; and he published more than 400 books and hymns, while his brother Charles Wesley composed more than 9,000 hymns and sacred poems. Together, “they taught and practiced a form of Christian discipleship that held together faith and works, personal and social holiness, physical and spiritual concerns, works of piety and works of mercy.”*

John Wesley wrote this in his journal:
Tue. 28 June 1775. This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering, How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than they were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

*Source: https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/naming-the-days/view/23140/john-wesleys-birthday.