“After the sermon John Taylor stood in the Churchyard, and gave notice as the people were coming out, ‘Mr. Wesley, not being permitted to preach in the church, designs to preach here at six o’clock.’ Accordingly at six I came and found such a congregation as I believe Epworth never saw before. I stood near the east end of the church, upon my father’s tombstone, and cried, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ ”

So we are introduced to the famous scene of Wesley’s week of “Tombstone Sermons.” It is worth considering what he was standing on, for his father’s epitaph runs as follows:

As he liv’d, so he died

In the true Catholic Faith

Of the Holy Trinity in Unity,

And that Jesus Christ is God incarnate,

And the only Saviour of Mankind.

When we ask whether Wesley has anything to say to those who seek a revival of the true power of the Christian faith in the world today, we have found a place to begin. The prophet of revival stood with his feet planted upon the scriptural, orthodox, and traditional doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, and universal free Grace.

Despite the great economic and social differences between eighteenth century England and the world of today, there is a striking intellectual similarity. In reaction against the religious strife of the previous century, and under the influence of the first movements of modern science, the educated classes were seeking “a reasonable religion.” The England in which Wesley’s father lived witnessed a decline of spirituality and of religious conviction, and a growth of unorthodoxy. Associated with this there was, on the credit side, a gradual ebb of ancient superstition, brutality, and intolerance. It was ...

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