Christian History Timeline: The Wesleys

1703 John Wesley born

1707 Charles Wesley born

1709 John rescued from fire at Epworth rectory

1714 John admitted to Charterhouse School

1720 John begins studies at Christ Church College, Oxford

1725 John ordained a deacon

1726 Charles enters Christ Church; John elected a fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford

1729 Charles founds Holy Club

1735 Samuel Wesley dies; John and Charles leave for Georgia

1736 Charles returns to England

1737 John flees America after relationship with Sophy Hopkey fails

1738 May 21: Charles finds himself “at peace with God”

May 24: John feels his heart “strangely warmed”

1739 Following Whitefield’s example, John preaches outdoors

1742 Brothers establish orphanage and Sunday school

1747 Charles meets Sally Gwynne; John publishes Primitive Physick

1749 Charles breaks up John’s relationship with Grace Murray; John officiates at Charles’s wedding

1751 John marries Mary Vazeille

1755 John and Mary separate

1756 Charles’s last nationwide preaching tour

1757 The first of Charles’s three surviving children, Charles, Jr., born

1765 Charles stops regularly attending Methodist annual conferences

1775 John publishes A Calm Address to Our American Colonies

1780 John publishes the Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists

1788 Charles dies

1791 John dies

The Methodist Movement

1714 George Whitefield born

1730 Holy Club member William Morgan urges visitation ministry to ill and imprisoned

1732 Whitefield enrolls at Oxford; Holy Club blamed for Morgan’s death, attacked in Fog’s Weekly Journal

1733 Whitefield joins Holy Club

1735 Whitefield becomes first Methodist to experience “full assurance of faith”

1736 Whitefield leads Holy Club

1738 John Wesley visits Herrnhut

1739 Whitefield begins preaching outdoors, makes first trip to America

1740 Methodists break with Moravians in London, begin meeting at the Foundery

1741 Calvinist/Arminian debate between Whitefield and John Wesley; Thomas Maxfield, a layman, begins preaching without permission

1743 John Wesley issues An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, an apologetic for Methodism

1744 First Methodist annual conference

1749 John Wesley publishes A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists

1753 Whitefield publishes hymnal

1763 Maxfield joins enthusiast sect, claims “angelic” perfection

1766 John Wesley offers A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

1768 Oxford administration expels six Methodist students; Methodist chapel opens in New York

1769 Whitefield makes seventh and final trip to American colonies

1770 Whitefield dies

1771 Francis Asbury sails to America

1776 Methodists in America number 4,921

1778 The Arminian Magazine debuts

1784 John Wesley names Asbury and Thomas Coke “superintendents” of work in America, issues prayer book, The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America

1787 Richard Allen starts the Free African Society, precursor to the African Methodist Episcopal Church

1788 John Wesley rebukes Asbury and Coke for calling themselves “bishops”

Culture, Religion, and Politics

1703 Jonathan Edwards born

1707 Isaac Watts’ Hymns and Spiritual Songs published; J. S. Bach’s first work published; Act of Union unites England and Scotland as Great Britain

1714 Hanoverian George I becomes king of England

1715 First Jacobite uprising in Scotland seeks to restore Catholicism in Britain

1722 Herrnhut, a Moravian settlement in Saxony, founded by Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf

1728 William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life published

1732 George Washington born

1733 Colonel James Oglethorpe founds Savannah, Georgia

1740–41 Great Awakening peaks

1741 Jonathan Edwards preaches “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

1742 First performance of G. F. Handel’s Messiah

1756 Amadeus Mozart born

1760 George III becomes king of England

1770 Ludwig von Beethoven born

1775 American Revolution begins

1787 William Wilberforce begins crusade against slave trade in Britain

1789 French Revolution 

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #69 in 2001]

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