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G. W. Wesley

Author of "Jesus calls today"

John Wesley

1703 - 1791 Translator of "Give to the winds thy fears" in Scripture Song Database John Wesley, the son of Samuel, and brother of Charles Wesley, was born at Epworth, June 17, 1703. He was educated at the Charterhouse, London, and at Christ Church, Oxford. He became a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, and graduated M.A. in 1726. At Oxford, he was one of the small band consisting of George Whitefield, Hames Hervey, Charles Wesley, and a few others, who were even then known for their piety; they were deridingly called "Methodists." After his ordination he went, in 1735, on a mission to Georgia. The mission was not successful, and he returned to England in 1738. From that time, his life was one of great labour, preaching the Gospel, and publishing his commentaries and other theological works. He died in London, in 1791, in his eighty-eighth year. His prose works are very numerous, but he did not write many useful hymns. It is to him, however, and not to his brother Charles, that we are indebted for the translations from the German. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872 ====================== John Wesley, M.A., was born at Epworth Rectory in 1703, and, like the rest of the family, received his early education from his mother. He narrowly escaped perishing in the fire which destroyed the rectory house in 1709, and his deliverance made a life-long impression upon him. In 1714 he was nominated on the foundation of Charterhouse by his father's patron, the Duke of Buckingham, and remained at that school until 1720, when he went up, with a scholarship, from Charterhouse to Christ Church, Oxford. Having taken his degree, he received Holy Orders from the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Potter) in 1725. In 1726 he was elected Fellow of Lincoln College, and remained at Oxford until 1727, when he returned into Lincolnshire to assist his father as curate at Epworth and Wroot. In 1729 he was summoned back to Oxford by his firm friend, Dr. Morley, Rector of Lincoln, to assist in the College tuition. There he found already established the little band of "Oxford Methodists" who immediately placed themselves under his direction. In 1735 he went, as a Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to Georgia, where a new colony had been founded under the governorship of General Oglethorpe. On his voyage out he was deeply impressed with the piety and Christian courage of some German fellow travellers, Moravians. During his short ministry in Georgia he met with many discouragements, and returned home saddened and dissatisfied both with himself and his work; but in London he again fell in with the Moravians, especially with Peter Bohler; and one memorable night (May 24, 1738) he went to a meeting in Aldersgate Street, where some one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. There, "About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. 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." From that moment his future course was sealed; and for more than half a century he laboured, through evil report and good report, to spread what he believed to be the everlasting Gospel, travelling more miles, preaching more sermons, publishing more books of a practical sort, and making more converts than any man of his day, or perhaps of any day, and dying at last, March 2, 1791, in harness, at the patriarchal age of 88. The popular conception of the division of labour between the two brothers in the Revival, is that John was the preacher, and Charles the hymnwriter. But this is not strictly accurate. On the one hand Charles was also a great preacher, second only to his brother and George Whitefield in the effects which he produced. On the other hand, John by no means relegated to Charles the exclusive task of supplying the people with their hymns. John Wesley was not the sort of man to depute any part of his work entirely to another: and this part was, in his opinion, one of vital importance. With that wonderful instinct for gauging the popular mind, which was one element in his success, he saw at once that hymns might be utilized, not only for raising the devotion, but also for instructing, and establishing the faith of his disciples. He intended the hymns to be not merely a constituent part of public worship, but also a kind of creed in verse. They were to be "a body of experimental and practical divinity." "In what other publication," he asks in his Preface to the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780 (Preface, Oct. 20,1779), "have you so distinct and full an account of Scriptural Christianity; such a declaration of the heights and depths of religion, speculative and practical; so strong cautions against the most plausible errors, particularly those now most prevalent; and so clear directions for making your calling and election sure; for perfecting holiness in the fear of God?" The part which he actually took in writing the hymns, it is not easy to ascertain; but it is certain that more than thirty translations from the German, French and Spanish (chiefly from the German) were exclusively his; and there are some original hymns, admittedly his composition, which are not unworthy to stand by the side of his brother's. His translations from the German especially have had a wide circulation. Although somewhat free as translations they embody the fire and energy of the originals. It has been the common practice, however for a hundred years or more to ascribe all translations from the German to John Wesley, as he only of the two brothers knew that language; and to assign to Charles Wesley all the original hymns except such as are traceable to John Wesley through his Journals and other works. The list of 482 original hymns by John and Charles Wesley listed in this Dictionary of Hymnology have formed an important part of Methodist hymnody and show the enormous influence of the Wesleys on the English hymnody of the nineteenth century. -- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907) =================== See also in: Hymn Writers of the Church

Samuel Wesley

1662 - 1735 Person Name: Samuel Wesley, 1662-1735 Author of "Behold the Savior of Mankind" in The United Methodist Hymnal Father of Samuel Wesley, John Wesley, and Charles Wesley. See also in: Hymn Writers of the Church ====================================================================================================== Samuel Wesley, M.A., the elder, was born in 1662 at Whitchurch in Dorsetshire, of which parish his father, John Wesley, was Vicar until the Act of Uniformity caused him to resign his living. He was educated at a Dissenting academy by a Mr. Morton, and was designed for the Nonconformist Ministry. But having been, on account of his talents, selected as a champion to defend the dissenters against some severe invectives, and having commenced a course of controversial reading for this purpose, he was led by his studies to embrace the opposite views, and became, and continued through life, a pronounced churchman. With the impetuosity which was a family trait, he set forth on foot to Oxford, and entered himself at Exeter College. In spite of his straitened means, he managed to keep his terms and take his degrees at the University. He then received Holy Orders and took a curacy of £28 a year. Having held this curacy for a year, he obtained a naval chaplaincy, and then took another curacy in London. About the year 1690 he married Susanna, daughter of Dr. Annesley, a famous Nonconformist minister, and a scion of the noble house of Anglesey. The wife, like the husband, had been brought up as a dissenter, but at the early age of 13 she had come over to the Church of England, and was afterwards a Jacobite in politics. In 1693 Mr. Wesley was presented to the living of South Ormsby in Lincolnshire. He was also chaplain to the Marquis of Normandy, afterwards Duke of Buckingham. In 1697 he was appointed by the Crown to the Rectory of Epworth, and there he spent the remainder of his life, nearly forty years. The first part of his residence at Epworth was marked by a series of troubles arising partly from his pecuniary embarrassments, which increased with his increasing family, partly from the animosity of his parishioners, who resented the part which he felt it his duty to take, as a staunch churchman, in politics, and partly from unfortunate accidents. These troubles reached their climax in 1705, when he was thrown into Lincoln gaol for debt. They are graphically described by his own pen. "I have been thrown behind," he writes to his good friends at Oxford, "by a series of misfortunes. My Parsonage Barn was blown down ere I had recovered the Taking my Living; My House great part of it burnt down about 2 years since. My Flax, great part of my Income now in my own Hands, I doubt wilfully fir'd and burnt in ye night, whilst I was last in London. My Income sunk about one half by the low price of Grain and my credit lost by the taking away my Regiment. I was brought to Lincoln Castle June 23rd last past. About 3 weeks since my very unkind People, thinking they had not yet done enough, have in ye night stabbed my 3 cows, wch were a great part of my poor Numerous Family's Subsistence.—For wch God forgive them." Some points in this letter require explanation. When he speaks of being in London, he means on Convocation business; for he was elected Proctor for the Diocese, and in one of his absences Mrs. Wesley instituted those religious meetings at the Rectory which are thought by some to have been the precursors of the Wesleyan Society Meetings. “His Regiment" was a Chaplaincy in the army which had been given him in reward for a poem in praise of the Duke of Marlborough. The last and worst of the many fires through which he suffered was in 1709, when the rectory was entirely burnt down, and the present house erected in its place. The latter part of his time at Epworth was more free from troubles. He met with many generous friends who enabled him to emerge from his pecuniary difficulties, the firmest and most constant of these friends being the admirable Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sharp; his sons grew up to be a comfort and a credit to him; his income was slightly increased by the addition of the neighbouring living of Wroot; and his parishioners gradually became more tractable. The annoyance caused by the famous Epworth Ghost can scarcely be reckoned among his serious troubles. In 1731 he met with an accident which probably hastened his end, and in 1735 he passed away and was buried in Epworth churchyard, leaving behind him the character of an excellent parish priest, a good husband and father, and a man of very considerable abilities and attainments. Mr. Wesley was a somewhat voluminous writer. His first publication was a volume of poems bearing the unpromising, not to say repulsive, title of Maggots. It appeared in 1685. In 1691 he became the clerical correspondent to the Athenian Gazette (afterwards Mercury) published by his brother-in-law, John Dunton. In 1693 appeared an Heroic Poem on the Life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This was dedicated to Queen Mary, and led to his appointment to the living of Epworth. In 1695 he published Elegies on Queen Mary and Archbishop Tillotson; and in 1698 A Sermon preached before the Society for the Reformation of Manners. The Elegies are rather fulsome and in bad taste according to the standard of the present day; but it should be remembered that high-flown panegyrics were the fashion of the age. The Sermon is a spirited and energetic defence of the "Societies," which were regarded with some suspicion by many high-churchmen, but of which Mr. Wesley, like his friend Robert Nelson, was a warm supporter. In 1700 he published The Pious Communicant rightly prepared; or a Discourse concerning the Blessed Sacrament, &c, With Prayers and Hymns suited to the several parts of that holy office. To which is added A short Discourse of Baptism. In this work appeared his version of the "Great Hallel" or "Paschal Hymn." In 1704 he published The History of the Old and New Testaments in Verse, in three volumes, which he dedicated to Queen Anne. This, like his Life of Christ, was illustrated with numerous and costly engravings. In 1705 he published a poem of nearly 600 lines on the "Battle of Blenheim," entitled Maryborough, or The Fate of Europe. For this he was rewarded with the Chaplaincy of Colonel Lepell's regiment; but his political enemies at Epworth soon succeeded in getting him deprived of this office. In 1707 appeared A Reply to Mr. Palmer's Vindication of the Learning, Loyalty, Morals, and most Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters towards the Church of England. This originated in the publication, without his consent or knowledge, of a Letter he wrote to a friend Concerning the Education of the Dissenters in their Private Academies. The letter was attacked anonymously and defended by Mr. Wesley in a pamphlet (1704). The pamphlet was answered by Mr. Palmer. After this, Mr. Wesley's pen seems to have rested for some time; but during the last ten years of his life he was engaged in his elaborate Dissertation on the Book of Job, his incessant labours upon which are said to have hastened his end. This work was dedicated to Queen Caroline, the wife of George II., and presented to her by John Wesley some months after the author's death. Perhaps if he had written less, and spent more time in elaborating what he did write, he might have been more successful; but, after all, the "Divine afflatus" must have been wanting; and the best service which he rendered to sacred poetry was in being father of his children. Two of his hymns are in common use:— 1. Behold the Saviour of mankind. 2. 0 Thou Who, when I did complain. -- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Samuel Wesley

1691 - 1739 Author of "The Crucifixion" Samuel Wesley, M.A., the younger, was the eldest child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born in or near London in 1691. He received his early education from his mother, who always took a special interest in him as her firstborn. In 1704 he went to Westminster School, where he was elected King's Scholar in 1707. Westminster had, under the mastership of Dr. Busby for 55 years, attained the highest reputation for scholarship, and Samuel Wesley, as a classical scholar, was not unworthy of his school. In 1709, Dr. Spratt, Bishop of Rochester, patronised the young scholar, and frequently invited him to Bromley. In 1711 he went with a Westminster studentship to Christ Church, Oxford, and having taken his degree, returned to Westminster as an Usher. He then received Holy Orders and became an intimate friend of Bishop Atterbury, who was then Dean of Westminster. His intimacy with this prelate was a bar to his advancement, and he was bitterly disappointed at not being appointed undermaster at Westminster when that post was vacant. But he was faithful to his friend in his adversity, and the banished prelate warmly appreciated his attachment. In 1732 he was invited, without solicitation, to accept the headmastership of the Free School at Tiverton, and here he spent the remainder of his life. He strongly disapproved of John and Charles Wesley's proceedings; but though the brothers expressed their opinions to one another with characteristic frankness, the disagreement did not cause any interruption in the friendly relations between them. Samuel Wesley was universally acknowledged to be an honest, conscientious and deeply religious man. He was a most uncompromising High Churchman both in the political and the theological sense of that term; and there is no doubt that he was the mainstay of the Wesley family at Epworth. His kindness to his father and mother was unbounded, and he acted like a father to his younger brothers and sisters. He also took a great interest in works of charity, and was one of the first promoters of the Westminster Infirmary. He died at Tiverton in the 49th year of his age, Nov. 6, 1739. His epitaph in Tiverton Churchyard does not exaggerate his merits, when it describes him as— "a man for his uncommon wit and learning, For the benevolence of his temper, and simplicity of manner, Deservedly loved and esteemed by all: An excellent Preacher; But whose best sermon Was the constant example of an edifying life: So continually and zealously employed In acts of beneficence and charity, That he truly followed His blessed Master's example In going about doing good; Of such scrupulous integrity, That he declined occasions of advancement in the world, Through fear of being involved in dangerous compliances; And avoided the usual ways to preferment As studiously as many others seek them." Samuel Wesley published in 1736 A Collection of Poems on several occasions, some of which are full of a rather coarse humour, but all of a good moral and religious tendency. This work was reprinted in 1743, and again by W. Nichols in 1862. Dr. Adam Clarke specifies eight hymns of S. Wesley's composition which were in use among the Methodists of that time (1823). The Wesleyan Hymn Book of the present day contains five, the best-known of which is "The Lord of Sabbath let us praise." Six of his hymns are in common use, and are annotated as follows:— 1. From whence these dire portents around. 2. Hail, Father, Whose creating call. 3. Hail, God the Son in glory crowned. 4. Hail, Holy Ghost, Jehovah, Third. 5. The Lord of Sabbath, let ns praise. 6. The morning flowers display their sweets. -- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Samuel Wesley

1766 - 1837 Person Name: Samuel Wesley, 1766-1837 Composer of "[My soul doth magnify the Lord]" in The Hymnal 1982 Samuel Wesley; b. Feb. 24, 1766, Bristol; d. Oct. 11, 1837, London; composer and organist. Son of Charles Wesley, grandson of Samuel Wesley, 1662-1735

Samuel Sebastian Wesley

1810 - 1876 Person Name: Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876 Author (st. 1) of "Lead Me, Lord, Lead Me in Thy Righteousness" in Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) Samuel Sebastian Wesley (b. London, England, 1810; d. Gloucester, England, 1876) was an English organist and composer. The grandson of Charles Wesley, he was born in London, and sang in the choir of the Chapel Royal as a boy. He learned composition and organ from his father, Samuel, completed a doctorate in music at Oxford, and composed for piano, organ, and choir. He was organist at Hereford Cathedral (1832-1835), Exeter Cathedral (1835-1842), Leeds Parish Church (1842­-1849), Winchester Cathedral (1849-1865), and Gloucester Cathedral (1865-1876). Wesley strove to improve the standards of church music and the status of church musicians; his observations and plans for reform were published as A Few Words on Cathedral Music and the Music System of the Church (1849). He was the musical editor of Charles Kemble's A Selection of Psalms and Hymns (1864) and of the Wellburn Appendix of Original Hymns and Tunes (1875) but is best known as the compiler of The European Psalmist (1872), in which some 130 of the 733 hymn tunes were written by him. Bert Polman

Winifred E. Wesley

Author of "Blessed Are the Pure in Heart"

Wesleyan Herald Office

Publisher of "" in The Joyful News Song Book; a Collection of Hymns for Evangelistic Services

Wesleyan Pub. Co.

Publisher of "" in Hymns for the Master


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