John Wesley: A Gallery of Family, Friends and Foes
(1686–1761) spearheaded the Evangelical Revival with his Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life ( 1728). The most brilliant young men of the time sat at his feet and absorbed his every word—the Wesleys, George Whitefield, and a host of other evangelists were his legacy. What he taught was the way to live a practical holy life. As his thought developed in the 1730’s towards mysticism, his young students parted ways with him. This vigorous champion of spirituality took on all comers in defense of Christianity. He feared no opponent. His last twenty years were spent in tireless devotions, study, and charity.
Richard “Beau” Nash
(1674–1762) was a social celebrity and master of ceremonies at the fashionable resort of Bath. He lived high, gambled with great stakes, and had very bad luck confronting John Wesley. Nash told Wesley that he did not like Wesley’s preaching. Wesley asked whether Nash had heard any. Nash had not but knows of Wesley’s preaching through the reports of others. Wesley then asked whether he should judge Nash only by others’ reports of him. Nash was silenced by this rebuke, and one old woman rubbed salt in the wound by telling Nash to leave alone the man who could give them all God’s word. Nash’s view was typical among the upper crust, but few would have condescended to speak out loud about how they felt. Even Samuel Johnson, the composer of the great English Dictionary, seems to have disapproved of Wesley’s “enthusiasm,” even though he does seem to have liked Wesley the man and attended one of his sermons!
(1712–75) the Moravian missionary and bishop, gave John Wesley the strength to seek faith in his moment of doubt after his return from Georgia. Wesley’s journal records the warm and ...