|Artist Birtday :||18/12/1707 (Age 81)|
|Born In :||Epworth, Lincolnshire|
Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most widely known for writing about 6,500 hymns.
Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, the son of Anglican cleric and poet Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna. He was a younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley and Anglican cleric Samuel Wesley the Younger, and he became the father of musician Samuel Wesley and grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Wesley was educated at Oxford where his brothers had also studied, and he formed the “Holy Club” among his fellow students in 1729. John Wesley later joined this group, as did George Whitefield. Charles followed his father and brother into the church in 1735, and he travelled with John to Georgia in America, returning a year later. In 1749, he married Sarah Gwynne, daughter of a Welsh gentleman who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. She accompanied the brothers on their evangelistic journeys throughout Britain until Charles ceased to travel in 1765.
Despite their closeness, Charles and John did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs. In particular, Charles was strongly opposed to the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had been ordained.
In April 1749, he married the much younger Sarah Gwynne (1726–1822), also known as Sally. She was the daughter of Marmaduke Gwynne, a wealthy Welsh magistrate who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. They moved into a house in Bristol in September 1749. Sarah accompanied the brothers on their evangelistic journeys throughout Britain, until at least 1753. After 1756 Charles made no more journeys to distant parts of the country, mainly just moving between Bristol and London.
In 1771, Charles obtained another house, in London, and moved into it that year with his elder son. By 1778 the whole family had transferred from Bristol to the London house, at 1 Chesterfield Street (now Wheatley Street), Marylebone, where they remained until Charles’ death and on into the 19th century. The house in Bristol still stands and has been restored, however the London house was demolished in the mid 19th century.
Only three of the couple’s children survived infancy: Charles Wesley junior (1757–1834), Sarah Wesley (1759–1828), who like her mother was also known as Sally, and Samuel Wesley (1766–1837) Their other children, John, Martha Maria, Susannah, Selina and John James are all buried in Bristol, having died between 1753 and 1768. (See monument in garden on north side of junction of Lewis Mead and The Haymarket, Bristol.) Both Samuel and Charles junior were musical child prodigies and, like their father, became organists and composers. Charles junior spent most of his career as the personal organist of the Royal Family, and Samuel became one of the most accomplished musicians in the world and is often called “the English Mozart”. Samuel Wesley’s son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, was one of the foremost British composers of the 19th century.
Wesley’s conversion had a clear impact on his doctrine, especially the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The change in doctrine can be seen in his sermons after 1738, but is most notable in his hymns written after 1738.
From Charles’ published work “Hymns and Prayers to the Trinity” and in Hymn number 62 he writes “The Holy Ghost in part we know, For with us He resides, Our whole of good to Him we owe, Whom by His grace he guides, He doth our virtuous thoughts inspire, The evil he averts, And every seed of good desire, He planted in our hearts.”
Charles communicates several doctrines: the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, the depravity of mankind, and humanity’s personal accountability to God. His hymns have had a significant influence not only on Methodism, but on modern theology as a whole.