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    John Wesley sends advice on interacting with potential converts

    John Wesley Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 6.25" x 8.25" mounted on an 8.75" x 10" backing; "near Manchester" [England]; April 3, 1782. Letter from Wesley to a correspondent named "Tommy" in which he gives advice concerning missionary work and interacting with potential converts: "Be of good courage! You have had a token for good at Lynn, where it was supposed the case was desperate. And I do not doubt, but you will see good days in & about Fakanham, tho the people as yet do not know much of Discipline. And no wonder, if they have never yet had ye Rules of our Societies. First, explain then at large, and afterwards inforce them very mildly & very steddily [sic]. Molly Franklin and Sister Proudfoot are very good Women. Deal very gently with them. And lovingly labour to convince those whom it concerns, of the evil of buying or selling on the Lord's Day... J. Wesley."

    John Wesley (1703-1791), an 18th century Anglican clergyman and Christian theologian, is known today as one of the founders of Methodism. Educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, Wesley was ordained in 1725. Upon finishing his studies, Wesley remained at Oxford for a time to teach and, during this time, became a member of a small group which had gathered round his brother Charles, which included George Whitefield, which became known as the "Holy Club" or the "Oxford Methodists." In the 1730s Wesley and his brother Charles spent a short time as missionaries in America. Wesley returned to England, where his sermons upset the local Anglican clergy and he found their pulpits closed to him. Influenced by the Great Awakening in New England, Wesley turned away from his ecclesiastical and High Church views and began preaching outdoors. Wesley continued as a member of the Church of England until his death and would not schedule Methodist meetings to conflict with Anglican services. However, over five decades John Wesley reportedly rode 250,000 miles on the roads of England, Scotland, and Ireland preaching 42,000 sermons. Besides this he published 233 books. His tireless and incessant activity changed the face of British society and the nature of its religion forever. Wesley and his followers became known as Methodists. By the time John Wesley died in 1791, the Methodist movement had over 76,000 members.

    Condition: The letter is affixed to heavy stock and has horizontal and vertical folds. A few small tears along margins, and light soiling.

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    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
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