We tend to think of Charles Wesley sitting in his study writing hymns while John Wesley traveled throughout
and even America
to establish small-group Methodist “Societies.” But this book by Frederick C. Gill opens our eyes to
the brothers’ teamwork. While John was a strong administrator, Charles was made
of the stuff of artists and mystics. Read some of the 8,000 hymns he composed to
sense his heart. John directed Charles as he placed committed Christians in
charge of the small groups. At times the brothers differed over how best to
Life was not easy. Audiences sometimes pelted Charles with eggs and rocks as he preached. The Wesleys refused to break with the Church of England. Their hope was to bring the church back to its roots of basic doctrine and to serve within the church. But by offering Christ to all, they offended both the established church and reformers.
Charles married Sally who bore him eight children; only three survived to adulthood. He struggled with supporting his family, poor health and constant travel. His foundation for faith was based on the church, the scriptures and personal and family piety. Sally graciously supported him.
The book is indexed with names and the page numbers on which they appear. It’s an old book but a great read for anyone who wants to better understand the reformation process and the development of the United Methodist denomination.
Reviewed by Shirley Brosius