200 Years of United Methodism
An Illustrated History

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Susanna Wesley (1669-1742). Engraving by W. H. Gibbs, ca. 1720.Back home in London in 1738 both John and Charles Wesley found the pietist type of personal faith. John wrote of his experience at a small religious meeting in Aldersgate Street that he felt his "heart strangely warmed," and continued, saying, "I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Charles Wesley (1707-1788). Engraving by A. H. Ritchie after the painting by William Gush, printed in New York by Nelson & Phillips (Methodist Publishing House) 1873.Having found courage of the heart, John Wesley began to preach in such a way that others experienced forgiveness of their sins, discipline for their living, and steadiness in face of death. These converts were brought together by Wesley into small groups that met regularly for Bible study, prayer, and intimate discussions of the state of their souls. Out of these groups came persons, a few of whom were women, who preached in their home communities.

John Wesley's diary for 1740. This small pocket diary in shorthand was a gift to Drew University in 1880 when the Osborn Collection of Wesleyana was purchased by trustee Anderson Fowler.These preachers were assembled by Wesley, not for the purpose of forming a new sect, but to discuss the best way "to reform the nation, particularly the Church, and to spread Scriptural holiness over the land." After these discussions, Wesley sent his preachers out to preach in places where the message of a personally passionate and socially sensitive Christian faith had not yet been heard. When these messengers gathered again for a conference with Wesley, the record of their conversations shows that Wesley knew precisely what he was about.

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