Christmas Miracle

When Charles ws born, on December 18, 1707, his parents thought he was dead because he neither cried nor opened his eyes. He was several weeks premature, so they wrapped him in wool until the day he should have been delivered. He eventually came around and apparently had a healthy childhood. His parents lost eight or nine other children in infancy.

Books Are Made for Walking

The Wesley brothers never hitched a ride from college—they walked the 150 miles to Epworth instead. The journey was often marred by bad roads, inclement weather, and even highwaymen. To make matters worse, the brothers read books while they walked. The trip scared their father so badly that he once told them, "I should be so pleased to see ye here this spring, if it was not upon the hard conditions of your walking hither." John maintained that reading for 10 of his 25 daily miles never caused any harm.

Prickly Peer

The curmudgeonly Samuel Johnson (1709 -1784) had mixed feelings about the Wesleys. He knew John at Oxford, and said of him, "John Wesley's conversation is good, but he is never at leisure. He is always obliged to go at a certain hour. This is very disagreeable to a man who loves to fold his legs and have out his talk, as I do." Johnson later applauded Oxford's expulsion of six Methodist students (see page 22), which could hardly have endeared him to the movement's founding family. Yet at the end of his life, he wanted to invite John's brilliant but financially restricted sister Martha to live at his house. Unfortunately, Johnson died before his wish could be carried out.

"An Odd Way of Thinking"

Susanna Wesley was not quite sure what to make of her sons' heart-warming conversion experiences. She wrote to Charles, "I think you ...

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