"The Works of John Wesley" (Providence House; $149.95, compact disk). Reviewed by Mark Galli, editor of "Christian History" magazine.

In libraries I usually walk right past the 14-volume Jackson edition of "The Works of John Wesley," which contains Wesley's journals, letters, sermons, and comments. I am too lazy to wade through so much material to find Wesley's views on this or that subject.

Apparently, compact-disk technology has been designed for sloths like me. I've just spent an hour with "The Works" on CD-and I'm ready to become a devout Methodist who devours Wesley!

This disk is not designed for entertainment but for the reader who wants information, and wants it with ease. I'd heard that Wesley opposed the American Revolution and that, to put it nicely, he didn't have a high view of the revolutionaries. I put americans in the query box and immediately found 68 references, the most significant being Wesley's pamphlet "A Calm Address to the American Colonies." To find out what he really thought, I continued the search through his journals and letters, looking for less guarded comments, like one he made in a letter to his brother Charles in October 1775: "I find a danger now of a new kind: A danger of losing my love for the Americans: I mean, for their miserable leaders." In ten minutes, then, I was able to skim through a major public address and find a juicy remark or two to include in this review.

One can search by word, journal date, or biblical allusion. The reader can quickly make a personal copy of the entire contents and mark it up with notes and by highlighting passages in an astounding variety of colors. You can copy any passage to another document--a sermon or article in progress, for instance--or you can simply print out the desired passage.

The learning curve here is a tad steeper than for general reference CDs but hardly enough to discourage use. Simply put: this is a tremendous research tool for pastors, teachers, scholars, Wesley fans--and future Methodists.

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