A Critical Edition, with Introduction and Notes: Volume 1 (1728-1756)
Author: Charles Wesley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Charles Wesley is widely known for his hymns. His hymns, however, were only a small percentage of what he wrote. This book provides the transcribed and annotated letters of Charles Wesley from 1728-1756 (a second volume will cover the period 1757-1788). The letters give a first-hand account of Charles' own experiences as, no less that his brother John, he travelled across England, Wales and, briefly, Ireland, preaching his gospel and establishing the earlyMethodist societies. The strength of this book is that it offers a 'warts and all' portrait of a man, and the world in which he lived. This is not a sanitised account written by later historians, but an 'over the shoulder' glimpse into a world now long gone. The letters are far from abstract: rather theydeal with the very real issues of Charles' struggles and triumphs and show something of his rather troubled personality.
A Critical Edition, with Introduction and Notes: Volume 2 (1757-1788)
Author: Kenneth G. C. Newport
The second of a two volume edition contains letters written between 1757 and 1788 by the famous hymn writer, poet and co-founder of Methodism, Charles Wesley (1707-1788). The edition includes several undated letters and some letters from before 1757 that were not included the first volume.
Charles Wesley, perhaps best known for his hymns, "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" and "Jesus Lover of My Soul," was the younger brother of John Wesley and the co-founder and poet-laureate of Methodism. Although he was an important figure in the history of Protestantism, Wesley's personal life was shrouded by a cloak of silence and much of his work went unpublished. In this illuminating reader, John Tyson has collected hymns, sermons, letters, and journal material--many rare and hitherto unknown--to chronicle the life and works of Wesley in his own words. Tyson provides an extensive biographical-theological introduction, and supplements Wesley's collected works with interpretative and introductory notes, creating a definitive account of Wesley's character and contribution to the Methodist heritage.
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the English hymn. The importance of Charles, however, extends well beyond his undoubted poetic abilities, for he is a figure of central importance in the context of the birth and early growth of Methodism, a movement which today has a worldwide presence. It was Charles and not John who first started the Oxford 'Holy Club' from which the ethos and structures of organised Methodism were eventually to emerge. It was Charles rather than John who first experienced the 'strange warming of the heart' that characterised the experience of many eighteenth-century evangelicals; and in the early years it was Charles no less than John who sought to spread, mainly through his preaching, the evangelical message across England, Wales, and Ireland. Eye witness testimony suggests that Charles was a powerful and effective preacher whose homiletic work and skill did much to establish and further the early Methodist cause. In this book this other side of Charles Wesley is brought clearly into focus through the publication, for the first time, of all of the known Charles Wesley sermon texts. In the four substantial introductory chapters a case is made for the inclusion of the 23 sermons here presented and there is discussion also of the significant text-critical problems that have been negotiated in the production of this volume. Other chapters present a summary of Charles's life and preaching career and seek to show by example how the sermons, no less than the hymns, are significant vehicles for the transmission of Charles's message. This book hence makes a plea for a reassessment of the place of Charles Wesley in English Church history and argues that he deserves to be recognised as more than just 'The Sweet Singer of Methodism'.
This is the first comprehensive treatment of Charles Wesley's sojourn in the American colonies from March to October 1736. He went to the Colony of Georgia as a missionary of the Church of England, as Colonel Oglethorpe's personal aid, and secretary of Indian Affairs. His stay in Georgia was filled with discord and conflict. This volume provides the first explanation of why Wesley remained silent in a dispute with two women who had accused him and Oglethorpe of moral impropriety. One of Wesley's shorthand passages deciphered here discloses the reason he refused to be publicly exonerated. The volume also provides a view of a newly ordained Anglican priest struggling with the responsibilities of his office. Yet one discovers why this very young priest was treated with such open arms by the Anglican clergy of Boston, even being invited to preach in one of the important New England Anglican churches immediately upon arrival. In some of Wesley's own poetry one encounters his strong negative attitudes toward the Revolutionary War, the colonies' desire to break its ties with England, and toward the British military leadership that lost the war. In Charles's stay in America, the seeds were sown for a lifetime of opposition to slavery. A rare letter exchange with two former slaves whom he befriended in Bristol provides fascinating insight into their eagerness to learn to read and write and about the Christian faith.
Sanctification is a central theme in the theology of both John and Charles Wesley. However, while John’s theology of sanctification has received much scholarly attention, significantly less has been paid to Charles’ views on the subject. This book redresses this imbalance by using Charles’ many poetic texts as a window into his rich theological thought on sanctification, particularly uncovering the role of resignation in the development of his views on this key doctrine. In this analysis of Charles’ theology of sanctification, the centrality he accorded to resignation is uncovered to show a positive attribute involving acts of intention, desire and offering to God. The book begins by putting Charles’ position in the context of contemporary theology, and then shows how he differed in attitude from his brother John. It then discusses in depth how his hymns use the concept of resignation, both in relation to Jesus Christ and the believer. It concludes this analysis by identifying the ways in which Charles understood the relationship between resignation and sanctification; namely, that resignation is a lens through which Charles views holiness. The final chapter considers the implications of these conclusions for a twenty-first century theological and spiritual context, and asks whether resignation is still a concept which can be used today. This book breaks new ground in the understanding of Charles Wesley’s personal theology. As such, it will be of significant interest to scholars of Methodism and the Wesleys as well as those working in theology, spirituality, and the history of religion.