Charles Wesley (1708-1788)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Methodist (Anglican)
Hymns #13, 38, 46, 53, 130, 165, 170 (verses 1, 4 and 6), 171, 220, 268, 272, 284, 296, 300, 315, Appendix 25 (16 hymns).
Charles Wesley was the youngest of three sons of Samuel Wesley, the elder, being born at Epworth Rectory December 18, 1708 (or 1707). He was the brother of Samuel (the younger) and John Wesley. This family was remarkable from the standpoint of hymn-writing. The elder Samuel and all three sons wrote hymns for public worship, although Charles exceeds them all, having written seven thousand of them!
The three sons were brought up by a godly mother. One time she wrote to Charles about the Savior: “O my dear Charles, when I consider the dignity of His person, the perfectness of His purity, the greatness of His sufferings, but above all His boundless love, I am astonished and utterly confounded. I am lost in thought. I fall into nothing before Him.”
A wealthy man in Ireland wanted to adopt Charles and make him his heir; but he declined this. The person who accepted it became great in this world and was made an earl. Also he was the grandfather of the Duke of Wellington. What a better portion was Wesley’s in Christ! In 1737 he was brought into contact with Count Zinzendorf who led him towards Christ as his Savior. Actually a Moravian woman named Mrs. Turner brought him to rest upon Christ after a night of soul agony. She said to him, “In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise, and believe.” He responded, “I believe, I believe!” and then wrote:
“O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!”
Later he and another preacher were assailed by a mob throwing stones at them and causing them to flee for shelter. Charles then composed the hymn,
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past.
Leave, O leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.”
On April 8, 1749 he married Miss Sarah Gwynne who happily accompanied him on his evangelistic tours. Actually he never left the Church of England and when he passed home to Christ on March 29, 1788 he was buried as requested by him in Marylebone churchyard. He is now more fully in the good of hymn #38:
“How happy the man whose heart is set free,
The people that can be joyful in Thee!
Their joy is to walk in the light of Thy face,
And still they are talking of Jesus’s grace.”
(as originally written.)