The Wesley Family, Samuel, Samuel, John and Charles

The Wesley Family, Samuel, Samuel, John and Charles
   • Samuel, 1662-1735
   Born at Winterborn-Whitchurch, Dorset, the son of the vicar, he was educated at Newington Green, a private school where he was a friend of Daniel Defoe. He graduated B.A. from Exeter College, Oxford, in 1688, and was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1694. While at Oxford he published a volume of verse, Maggots: or, Poems on Several Subjects (1685). Ordained as an Anglican priest, from 1695 until he died he was rector of Epworth in Lincolnshire. Most of his poetry and hymns were lost in a fire at the rectory in 1702. One hymn that survived, "Behold the Savior of Mankind," was set to music by Henry Purcell. He was buried in the churchyard at Epworth. Some of his poetry publications: The Life of Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: An Heroic Poem, 1693 (ten books). Elegies, 1695 (on the death of Mary Queen of England, and John Tillotson, late Archbishop of Canterbury). An Epistle to a Friend Concerning Poetry, 1700. The History of the Old and New Testament, Attempted in Verse, 1704. Marlborough, or the Fate of Europe, 1705. Eupolis's Hymn to the Creator, 1788.
   • Samuel the younger, 1691-1739
   Born at Spitalfields, London, he was educated at Westminster school and graduated M.A. from Christ Church, Oxford, in 1718. He was a teacher at Westminster school, then master of Tiverton grammar school, Devonshire. He suffered from ill health, died suddenly at Tiverton and was buried in the churchyard. His Poems on Several Occasions (1736, enlarged edition, 1743, and reprinted 1808 and 1862) besides humorous pieces, contains several hymns of great beauty. His other publications: The Song of the Three Children, 1724. The Battle of the Sexes, 1724. The Parish Priest, 1732. The Christian Poet, 1735. The Pig, and the Mastiff. 1735. Some of his poems: "A Pindaricque on the Grunting of a Hog," "Epigram on Miltonicks," "From a Hint in the Minor Poets," "Hymn to God the Father," "On Two Soldiers Killing One Another for a Groat," "The Monument."
   • John, 1703-1791
   He was born in Epworth Rectory, 1703, and was rescued from a fire there in 1709. He was admitted to Charterhouse School in London in 1714. He graduated B.A. from Christ Church, Oxford, in 1724 and M.A. in 1727; he was ordained a deacon in 1725 and elected fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, 1726. He did missionary work with Samuel and Charles in Georgia 1735-1737. After a religious conversion at a Moravian meeting at Aldersgate Street, London, in 1738, he began outdoor preaching in 1739. The First Methodist Conference was held in 1744. He married Mary Vazeille in 1751 and they were separated in 1755. John traveled thousands of miles around Britain on horseback and by carriage, wrote or edited some 400 publications, and left behind a movement of about 70,000 members. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Giles, Camberwell, and a tablet in the Nave of Westminster Abbey commemorates John and Charles Wesley. He published 32 volumes of prose works; seven volumes of the Methodist Book Concern; 13 volumes of The Poetical Works of John and Charles (1868-1872); Sermons and Notes (in 20 parts) 1740-1789, and adapted the Book of Common Prayer for use by American Methodists. In his Watch Night service, he made use of a devotional prayer now generally known as the Wesley Covenant Prayer, perhaps his most famous contribution to Christian liturgy. He also translated many hymns from the German. Some of his original hymns/poems: "A Rule," "Courage," "Eternal Son, Eternal Love," "Father of All, Whose Powerful Voice," "How Happy is the Pilgrim's Lot!" "Servant of God, Well Done!" "The Acts of the Apostles," "The Comforter."
   • Charles 1707-1788
   Born at Epworth, he was educated at Westminster school and Christ Church, Oxford, where he was one of the "Methodist" group of students. He graduated B.A. in 1730, M.A. in 1733, and was ordained in 1775 just before leaving with his brothers for Georgia. Like John, he experienced a profound religious conversion at the same Aldersgate meeting place, and like John, he traveled many miles on horseback, preaching the gospel. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Marylebone, London. Charles wrote more than 6000 hymns, of which 157 are included in the current Methodist Hymns and Psalms. His poetical works, including many not before published, are contained in 13 volumes, Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, edited by George Osborn (1868-1872). Some of his hymns/poems: "A Charge to Keep I Have," "Ah! Lovely Appearance of Death!" "Come, Thou Almighty King," "Easter Hymn," "For the Anniversary Day of One's Conversion," "Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," "The Horrible Decree."
   Sources: A Sacrifice of Praise: An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century. James H. Trott, ed. Cumberland House Publishing, 1999. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. ChadwyckHealey Ltd., 1995 ( Freedom's Lyre: or Psalms, Hymns, and Sacred Songs, for the Slave and His Friends. Edwin F. Hatfield, ed. S.W. Benedict, 1840. Hymns and Psalms: A Methodist and Ecumenical Hymn Book. London: Methodist Publishing House, 1983. John Wesley's 300th Anniversary. Key Dates ( Methodist Archives and Research Centre: Samuel Wesley, Father of the Wesleys ( Microsoft Encarta 2006 (DVD). Microsoft Corporation, 2006. Poems One Line and Longer. William Cole, ed. Grossman, 1973. Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources ( The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 ( The Cyber Hymnal ( The Home Book of Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1953. The Homes, Haunts and Friends of John Wesley. The Centenary Number of the Methodist Recorder. London: Charles H Kelly, 1891. The National Portrait Gallery ( The New Oxford Book of Christian Verse. Donald Davie, ed. Oxford University Press, 1981. The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse. Roger Lonsdale, ed. Oxford University Press, 1984. The Oxford Book of Children's Verse. Iona Opie and Peter Opie, eds. Oxford University Press, 1973. The Oxford Book of Christian Verse. Lord David Cecil, ed. Oxford University Press, 1940. The Oxford Book of Short Poems. P.J. Kavanagh and James Michie, eds. Oxford University Press, 1985. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley (12 volumes). G. Osborn, ed. Wesleyan-Methodist Conference, 1871. The World's Great Religious Poetry. Caroline Miles Hill, ed. Macmillan 1954. Unity Hymns and Chorals. William Channing Gannett, ed. Unity Publishing Company, 1911. Very Bad Poetry. Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras, ed. Vintage Books, 1997. Wesley Centre Online, John Wesley's Christian Library. Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, Idaho, USA ( Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia ( (See links at ( American Hymns Old and New. Vols. 1-2. Albert Christ-Janer and Charles W. Hughes, eds. Columbia University Press, 1980. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. "What's Left of Wesley's London." Methodist Recorder (pp. 9-12). Methodist Newspaper Co. Ltd., 122 Golden Lane, London, EC1Y 0TL. January 5, 2006.

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