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Christian History Home > 1983 > Issue 2 > John Wesley and the Eighteenth Century World: Christian History Timeline

John Wesley and the Eighteenth Century World: Christian History Timeline
One hundred years of turmoil, change, and innovation that laid a foundation for our own day.
posted 1/01/1983 12:00AM

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The word that best characterizes John Wesley’s life is faith, which became the means to almost superhuman efforts in evangelizing, in promoting good works of every kind, and in organizing men and women for a life of fulfillment through Jesus Christ. Indefatigable energy and boundless hope led him through a time of persecution to a time of nation-wide recognition. Through it all he remained humble and wholly dedicated to God’s work through men.

All of Europe legislated or fought wars to clarify lines of monarchial succession as either Protestant (as England) or Catholic (as Austria). The English government added a Prime Minister to guarantee the people’s rights under the Hanoverian Succession. Everywhere serfdom was being abolished and slavery coming under attack. England came to dominate the seas and pave the way for Empire. America was the first of two great late-century revolutionary centers; the other was France.

Inventions and advances in all the sciences thrust the world into a new age. Discovery was still advancing too with the voyages of Cook. The evangelism of Whitefield and Wesley struggled against Deism and atheism. Where the century led France to divisive revolution, it led England to a new appreciation of the universe in Romanticism.

John Wesley

1703 John Wesley born

1707 Charles Wesley born

1709 Rescued from a fire at Epworth Rectory “a brand plucked from the burning”

1714 Admitted to Charterhouse School

1720 John Wesley to Oxford

1725 Ordained deacon and friendship with “Veranese”

1726 Elected fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford

1727 Takes up assistant pastorale of Wroote, Lines

1729 Returns to Oxford, takes over leadership of Holy Club

1735 Death of father Samuel. John and Charles leave for Georgia

1737 Friendship with Sophy Hopkey. John departs from America

1738 John Wesley’s “conversion” Wednesday, May 24

1739 Wesley’s first open-air sermon modeled after the style of George Whitefield

1740 Separates from Moravians

1741 Preaches in South Wales for first time

1742 Preaches in the north of England for the first time with Charles. They establish an orphanage and Sunday School

1744 First Methodist Conference at the Foundry, division of the country into Methodist districts

1746 Wesley founds a dispensary for the poor

1747 Preaches in Ireland for first time (first of 42 trips). Publishes Primitive Physic

1749 Officiates at wedding of Charles Wesley and Sarah Gwynne. His friendship with Grace Murray

1751 John marries Mrs. Vazeille. Preaches in Scotland for first time (first of 22 trips)

1755 Separation of John Wesley from his wife

1768 Opening of Methodist Chapel in New York Founding of Lady Huntington’s College of Trevecca.

1771 Francis Asbury, later known as the “Wesley of America” sails across the Atlantic for America

1775 John Wesley publishes A Calm Address to Our American Colonies, urging obedience to Britain

1778 Opening of City Road Chapel, London

1781 Death of Wesley’s wife

1783 John Wesley visits Holland

1784 John Wesley ordains Thomas Coke and others for work in America which eventually and unintentionally leads to break with the Anglican Church: “ordination is separation”

1787 Richard Allen forms African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia

1788 March 29, Charles Wesley dies

1791 March 2, John Wesley dies

World Events

1698 Jeremy Collier successfully attacks immorality and profaneness on the English stage

1699 Captain Kidd buries treasure near New York

1701 Act of Settlement establishes Protestant Hanoverian succession in Britain

1702 Anne Queen of England (to 1714)

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