March 2, 1791: Methodist founder John Wesley dies in London at age 87. At his death, the Methodist movement had 294 preachers and 71,668 members in Britain, plus 198 preachers and 43,265 members in America. Today Methodists number about 30 million worldwide.
Among Mr. Wesley’s last words: “I’ll praise my maker” and “The best of all, God is with us.”
|Use the player below to listen to a 1950s-era radio dramatization of Mr. Wesley’s final moments, with actor Miron Canaday as John Wesley. (An mp3 CD of the 30-part radio series, “A Brand from the Burning: The Story of John Wesley,” is available from Moody Audio. Order here.)
March 9, 1831: Evangelist Charles Finney concludes a six-month series of meetings in Rochester, New York.
The meetings, often called “the world’s greatest single revival campaign,” led to the closing of the town’s theater and taverns, a two-thirds drop in crime, and a reported 100,000 conversions.
March 10, 1748: John Newton, captain of a slave ship, is converted to Christianity during a huge storm at sea. He eventually became an Anglican clergyman and the author of the famous hymn, Amazing Grace.
March 10, 1880: Commissioner George S. Railton and seven women arrive in New York City to establish the Salvation Army in the United States.
March 21, 1778: Charles Wesley, brother of John and author of 8,989 hymns (including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, and Christ the Lord Is Risen Today), dies at age 81.
March 31, 1816: Pioneer Methodist bishop Francis Asbury dies at age 71. During his 45-year ministry in America (he was sent here in 1771 by John Wesley), he traveled on horseback or in carriage an estimated 300,000 miles, delivering some 16,500 sermons.
A biography of Asbury was released in 2009, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press).
Adapted with permission from ChristianHistory.net.
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