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John Wesley
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Religious Figure
    (June 28, 1703-March 2, 1791)
    Born in Epworth, England, United Kingdom
    Founder of the Methodist Church
    Despite founding a breakaway church, he considered himself a loyal Anglican until his death.
    An early mission to Georgia ended disastrously when he was accused of disgracing a married woman's honor.
    William Hogarth attacked Wesley and the Methodists as full of 'credulity, superstition and fanatacism.'
    He called the clergy 'the pests of the Christian world, the grand nuisance of mankind, a stink in the nostrils of God.'
    At 63, he wrote to his brother, 'I never believed, in the Christian sense of the world. Therefore I am only a honest heathen.'
    Over 50 years, he traveled 250,000 miles on foot and horseback, and delivered some 50,000 sermons.
    He continued preaching despite being pelted with stink bombs and rocks.
    He advocated abolition of slavery and reforms in education, prisons and working conditions.
    Woodrow Wilson wrote, 'The Church was dead and Wesley awakened it. The Gospel was shrunken into formulas and Wesley flung it fresh upon the air in the speech of common men.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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