A Brief Biography and Quotes from John Wesley

John Wesley was born in 1703 in England, the fifteenth of nineteen children (although only 11 survived infancy). His grandfathers were both clergies in the Church of England and ejected in 1662 due to being Puritans (nonconformist). His parents did not follow their fathers, but stayed with the Church of England, though his mother still held to some of the Puritan lines of thought.  The children were brought up strictly, homeschooled, and expected to learn portions of the New Testament, Latin, and Greek.

Quotes from John Wesley

An event when he was five played a large part in his future. A fire broke out on the roof of the rectory and sparks began to fall on the beds of the children on the second floor. This and shouts of “fire” from the street awakened the family and all got out except John, who was stranded. He was unable to leave by the stairs, which were ablaze, but a parishioner standing on another’s shoulders was able to lift him out before the roof collapsed.

He stayed in England until 1735, when he sailed (with his brother Charles) to the American colony of Georgia. There, he evangelized the native Creek and Cherokee tribes, as well as Georgian colonists but he saw very little results, partly due to his tactlessness and strictness.

After a failed romance and a lawsuit that accused Wesley of defamation of character, he returned to England in December of 1737.  Five days after his return, he met Peter Boehler who questioned Wesley’s faith and received a reply of doubt. Boehler advised Wesley to “preach faith until you have it,” and the preaching of salvation by faith alone resulted in Wesley being banned from nine churches by May of 1738. Following this, on May 24, he reluctantly attended a Moravian meeting in Aldersgate Street, where he finally came to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Wesley is known as the founder of Methodism due to his preaching and teaching furthering the doctrine.


I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.

I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth.

Do you know why that cow looks over that wall? She looks over the wall because she cannot see through it, and that is what you must do with your troubles… Look over and above them.

Prayer is where the action is.

I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.

For as long as love takes up the whole heart, what room is there for sin therein?

Proceed with much prayer, and your way will be made plain.

By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin…by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin.

Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul.

Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own.

There is no love of God without patience, and no patience without lowliness and sweetness of spirit.

My one aim in life is to secure personal holiness, for without being holy myself I cannot promote real holiness in others.

Wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion.

Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.

Catch on fire and people will come for miles to see you burn.

Untold millions are still untold.

I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.

Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.

If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire.

Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.

I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!

If doing a good act in public will excite others to do more good, then ‘Let your light shine to all.’ Miss no opportunity to do good.

Oh that God would give me the thing which I long for! That before I go hence and am no more seen, I may see a people wholly devoted to God, crucified to the world, and the world crucified to them. A people truly given up to God in body, soul and substance! How cheerfully would I then say, ‘Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.’

When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!

God does not love men that are inconstant, nor good works that are intermitted. Nothing is pleasing to him but what has a resemblance of His own immutability.

As no good is done, or spoken, or thought by any man without the assistance of God, working in and with those that believe in Him, so there is no evil done, or spoken, or thought without the assistance of the devil, who worketh with strong though secret power in the children of unbelief. All the works of our evil nature are the work of the devil.

Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason.

Humility and patience are the surest proofs of the increase of love.

Tell me how it is that in this room there are three candles and but one light, and I will explain to you the mode of the divine existence.

The bottom of the soul may be in repose, even while we are in many outward troubles; just as the bottom of the sea is calm, while the surface is strongly agitated.

Even in the greatest afflictions, we ought to testify to God, that, in receiving them from His hand, we feel pleasure in the midst of the pain, from being afflicted by Him who loves us, and whom we love.

The best helps to growth in grace are the ill usage, the affronts, and the losses which befall us. We should receive them with all thankfulness, as preferable to all others, were it only on this account, — that our will has no part therein.

It is no marvel that the devil does not love field preaching! Neither do I; I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit. But where is my zeal if I do not trample all these underfoot in order to save one more soul?