England Before and After Wesley
By David Shin
Sometime ago I perused the book “England Before and After Wesley” – an analysis of 18th century Christianity. England was depraved, morose, and entrenched in depravity. Slave trade was rampant. Kidnapping. Prostitution. Government corruption. The rich were exploiting the poor and the prisons were exploding. Berkely in his discourse to the magistrates and men in authority wrote that “Britain had collapsed to a degree that has never been known in any Christian country.”
One man – John Wesley – stood in the breach. Through his life and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the numb conscience of a nation was awakened and a nation found it’s soul. England was revived. Prisons reformed. Slavery abolished. Educational systems rehabilitated. Christian ethics were reinserted into society and industrial England was emancipated. It seems that there wasn’t a segment of society that was not touched by the influence of Wesley.
Somehow, this book resonated with something deep within me – a clarion call to a life of radical commitment. Wesley wore plain clothes. Preached 40,000 sermons during his lifetime. Traveled 250,000 miles on horseback preaching. (It’s no wonder he married at 48.) Worked with 15 different languages. At the age of 83, he was angry because his doctor wouldn’t let him preach more than 14 times a week. At the age of 86 written in his journal are these words, “laziness is slowly creeping in; there is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 5:30 in the morning….”
The entire country of England was reformed through the influence of one.
“There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.”
Never underestimate what God can do through you. God used Wesley and He wants to use you – to change the world.