Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Wesley founded the Methodist church and presaged the entire Evangelical movement which followed in England and America.
John Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, in the rustic Lincolnshire town of Epworth. His father, Samuel, was the Anglican minister of the surrounding rural parish. His mother, Susanna, was the daughter of a Dissenter minister. She was schooled in an independent manner at home and was taught to formulate her own answers to life’s questions. As a mother, she developed a stringent code of behavior for her children, for whom she provided an elementary education at home. She was a rigorous disciplinarian who required her children to cry softly and keep busy every waking hour. She succeeded in making an indelible mark on her children. Susanna is thus accorded much credit for the ultimate success of John and his younger brother, Charles. Indeed, Methodism’s emphasis on self-discipline and mutual improvement can be traced to John’s first eleven years of schooling at home.
Wesley’s secondary education at Charterhouse in London, beginning in 1714, was without incident except as a preparation for Oxford. He entered Christ Church College in 1720, and his brother Charles followed a few years later. The Oxford that John and Charles attended in the early 1720’s was a bastion of High Anglicanism whose faculty members were really clergymen intent upon imparting good...
(The entire section is 2780 words.)
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