History of Children in Revival – John Wesley

John Wesley and his brother Charles were the founders of Methodism and preached during the first Great Awakening. He is also credited for later influencing the holiness movement and the Pentecostal movement. John was born in England in 1703. On May 24, 1738, on his way to preach in America, he met a Moravian missionary on the ship and experianced his evangelical conversion. Of that experiance, he said he felt, “his “heart strangely warmed”.

John Wesley had a powerful ministry to children. Here are a few of the quotes from his journals.

April 11, 1756. (Dublin) I met about a hundred children, who are catechized (instructed) publicly twice a week. Thomas Walsh began this some months ago, and the fruit of it appears already. What a pity, that all our preachers in every place, have not the zeal and wisdom to follow his example.

July 30, 1758. (Cork) I began meeting with the children in the afternoon, though with little hopes of doing them good; but I had not spoken long on our natural state before many of them were in tears, and five or six so affected, that they could not refrain from crying aloud to God. When I began praying, their cries increased, so that me voice was soon lost. I have seen no such work among children for eighteen or nineteen years.

January 17, 1772. (Hertford) I found the poor children whom Mr. A kept at school were increased to about thirty boys and girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher. But it was kept within bounds until I began to pray.

A cry then arose, which spread from one to another, till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted. But how the scene was changed when I went to the boys! They seemed as dead as stones, and scarce appeared to mind anything that was said, nay, some of them could hardly refrain from laughter.

However, I spoke on, and set before them the terrors of the Lord. Presently one was cut to the heart, soon after another, and another. In ten minutes the far greater part of them were affected as the girls had been. Except at Kingswood, I have seen not such work of God upon children for above thirty years.

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