Letter from Charles Wesley
to Samuel Walker, vicar of Truro,
August 21, 1756
After undergoing a powerful conversion experience in 1747, Rev. Samuel Walker (1714–1761) became a leader of the evangelical revival in Cornwall. In this letter Charles Wesley discusses his role in the Methodist movement, his working relationship with his brother, John Wesley, and a divisive issue of the day: lay preaching.
Dear Sir, Your last brings a blessing with it. I hope to consider it fully with my brother, who is expected every hour. I have not time to answer; only in few words. Lay-preaching, it must be allowed is a partial separation; and may, but need not, end in a total one. The probability of it has made me tremble for years past; and kept me from leaving the Methodists. I stay, not so much to do good, as to prevent evil. I stand in the way of my brother’s violent counselors, the object both of their fear and hate. The regulations you propose are the same in substance which I have been long contending for in vain. God incline my brother’s heart to admit of them! I know he will not hear of laying aside his lay-preachers in so many words. All I can desire of him to begin is 1. To cut off all their hopes of his ever leaving the Church of England. 2. To put a stop to any more new preachers, till he has entirely regulated, disciplined, and secured the old ones.
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