Charles Wesley Family Materials

Engraving of Charles Wesley

This undated engraving of Charles Wesley presents him holding a Bible and dressed in clerical robes. Though remembered mostly for his hymn writing today, during his life Charles Wesley was also a respected preacher.

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Unpublished hymn by Charles Wesley:
"Father of light, and God of grace"

This manuscript hymn text bears the dedication “For One Seeking the Truth”

Father of light, and God of grace,
Who woudst that all our ruin’d race
Should know the truth and live
A fallen child of Adam I
To Thee for saving knowledge cry
Which Thou alone canst give.

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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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Letter from Sarah Wesley
to Brian Bury Collins,
May 17, 1793

In this letter, Sarah Wesley (1758–1828) introduces herself to the Rev. Brian Bury Collins (1754–1807?) by sharing her spiritual biography. Sarah Wesley was the daughter of Charles and Sarah Gwynne Wesley. Collins was a close associate of the Wesleys who strove to unite the Arminian and Calvinist branches of the Methodist movement.

It may be necessary to give some general account of myself: educated in a family distinguished for their piety, I had daily opportunities of beholding its happy effects. I honored the faith which produced them, but my situation in other points was exposed and my connections chiefly in the world. I can however retrace early impressions of divine grace operating on my mind, and some remarkable providences led me to devote myself in the first stages of youth to the God of my fathers. I thought it was sincerely. Alas! it was not steadily. The recollection of my ingratitude and backslidings which have been poignantly brought to my heart, fills it with confusion and sorrow. When I look up to the Almighty as the best of fathers, the tenderest of friends, the dying Saviour: when I recall my vows, my encouragements, and my transgressions, the bitterness of the review overwhelms me.

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Anthem by Samuel Sebastian Wesley:
"Let us now praise famous men," 1874

This music score is the second of two anthems that Dr. Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876), grandson of Charles Wesley, wrote as settings for Ecclesiasticus 44:1–15. Ecclesiasticus, also known as Sirach (in Greek) and Sira (in Hebrew) is the longest book in the Apocrypha and the final book of the Apocrypha. The author of Ecclesiasticus, Jesus Ben Sira, was a religious teacher and scribe who lived in Jerusalem during the second century B.C.E.

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