THE ORIGINAL CIRCUIT RIDNG PREACHER

CRLOGO-smallI just finished reading the biography of John Wesley, the great founder of Methodism. He never wanted to “start a new church” and died as a devout and faithful member of the Church of England.

Wesley was born in 1703 and lived to be 88 years old.  He was Oxford educated and hob-knobbed on a first name basis with the likes of King George I, Wilberforce, James Oglethorpe, Whitefield, Zinzendorf, Milton, Asbury and many other well-known men in the church and government.  But he never addressed any man or woman by their first name without “Brother” or “Sister” before it – even his own siblings.

Wesley crossed the Atlantic to the new colony of Georgia where he attempted to evangelize the Indians; he sailed to Ireland and back so many times he lost count but it is estimated that he spent as much as 5 years total ministering there; In Great Britain, he had a regular triangle circuit that took him from Scotland to Wales.

The last 40 years of his life John Wesley traveled over 250,000 miles, preached at least 40,000 sermons, knew 10 languages, translated the New Testament, produced over 400 books including those he wrote and the ones he translated from French, German, Spanish and Latin. His voice, speaking conversationally, could be heard 140 yards. He said he “was always in haste but never in a hurry.”

At age 71 he claimed his eyesight was better than 30 years previously and attributed his good health to the habits of 1) rising at 4 AM every day for over 40 years; 2) preaching at least once every day; and 3) never traveling less than 4,500 miles a year.

At age 75 he confessed to being “old and brittle” so reluctantly exchanged his saddle for a buggy; at age 81, to save the horse he sent the carriage on and walked 12 miles “thru heavy rain… but blessed be God, I was no more tired than when I set out…”

At age 86 he was ashamed that he could preach no more than twice a day and later complained that there was “an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning!”

On his death bed the fire still burned in his soul for the glory of God. He sang a song of praise and quoted Psalm 46.  Then with his last audible breath declared, “The best of all is, God is with us.”

Oh, God, how I earnestly desire the heart, the zeal and the fire of John Wesley!

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.    Psalm 90:12 

Read more about this amazing man at http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/

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