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John Wesley was born 28th June l703 in Epworth, England, to Samuel and Susanna Wesley, both devoted Anglican Christians.He was l5th out of l9 children born by his parents.

At the age of five, Wesley was rescued from a fire accident in his home.This made his mother refer to him as "a brand plucked from the burning".At age ll, Wesley started Charterhouse School in London.He later went to Christ Church, Oxford, where he received a bachelor's degree in l724 and masters degree in l727.

As a child, John Wesley worshipped at his father's Church, St Andrew's in Epworth.He was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in l725 and then ordained a priest in l728.During his early years, Wesley enjoyed a deep religious experience, helped by his devout parents.

Although loyal to the established Anglican church, Wesley promoted the doctrine of 'Christian Perfection', or holiness of heart and life.Because of his opinions, he was often barred from the pulpit.Taking a cue from his friend and fellow preacher,  George Whitefield, Wesley began to address the public in open areas, in what is known as Field preaching.

Wesley helped to organise small groups of Christians that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members.Thus he gradually began the 'Methodist Movement'.

Methodists became leaders in many social justice issues of the period, including prison reform, universal education and slavery prohibition.John Wesley was among the first to preach against slavery.

From l739, Wesley and the Methodists were strongly persecuted because the preached without being ordained by the Anglican Church.Wesley approved men and women who were not ordained by the Anglican Church to do pastoral work.This expansion of lay preachers was one of the keys of the growth of Methodism.

John Wesley lived wholly for God.He called himself "a man of one book" - meaning the Bible.His vision and evangelistic zeal knew no bounds, he said "I look upon the whole world as my parish".

He is said to have preached 40,000 sermons and travelled 250,000 miles.It is estimated that today, there are around 70 million Methodists world-wide.From small beginnings in Epworth, John Wesley's influence reached every corner of the earth.

Wesley rose at 4am, lived simply and methodically, and was never idle if he could help it.He administered aid charities, prescribed for the sick, superintended schools and orphanages; receivet at least £20,000 for his publications but used little of it for himself.He gave out what he had and died poor.

Wesley died Wednesday, March 2, l79l, aged 88.As he lay dying, he said repeatedly to those around him, "Farewell, farewell". At the end, summoning all his remaining strength, he cried out, 'The best of all his, God is with us'.It has been said that when John Wesley was carried to his grave, he left behind him a good library of books, and the Methodist Church.

What will you, also, leave behind?

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