Wesleys in America: What Went Wrong?
After spending just one day in America, John Wesley already had grave concerns about the new colonies. He wrote in his journal on February 19, 1736, "Beware America, be not as England!"
Just over a year earlier, John and Charles Wesley had stood at their father's bedside as he died. John was asked to accept the Epworth parish, but he declined because he needed the spiritual rigors of the Oxford Holy Club.
Three months later one of the trustees of the Georgia colony challenged John and the Holy Club to go to America and minister to the Indians and colonists.
John worried about leaving his mother, but she spiritedly responded, "Had I twenty sons, I should rejoice that they were all so employed, though I should never see them more." Instead, only two sons boarded the America-bound Simmonds, and she saw them both again within two years.
On February 4, 1736, the Simmonds came within view of the shoreline of Georgia. John read in his Bible, "A great door and effectual is opened," and he added this prayer, "Oh let no one shut it!"
Although the Wesleys came to Georgia to preach to the Indians, they soon discovered that the leaders of the colony needed them for other duties. Charles became personal secretary to the colony's governor, Colonel James Oglethorpe, and John served as parish minister to the colonists in Savannah.
Almost immediately, Oglethorpe turned against Charles. The colonel forced Charles to sleep on the floor of a hut, and when this arrangement made him desperately ill, Oglethorpe denied his request for a bed. Bewildered, Charles finally discovered that two women had been spreading vicious rumors about him.
Oglethorpe apologized for his behavior and reinstated Charles's privileges, but Charles remained unwell and discouraged. ...