Hester Ann Rogers was born on January 31, 1756, in Cheshire, England.
Her father was a Church of England clergyman who died when she was nine years of age.
Confirmed – but not converted – four years later, young Hester continued in spiritual rebellion until Mr Simpson, the new curate, appeared at their local church. He was – horrors! – a ‘Methodist’! And when he preached on John 6:44 Hester “wept aloud … ran home … went upstairs” and there, upon her knees, commenced her pilgrimage to the cross. She attended Methodist meetings – much to her mother’s disgust – and was soon truly converted.
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On 19 August, 1784, she married James Rogers – a Methodist preacher – and became a class-leader and personal worker herself. James was Wesley’s resident assistant and Hester was Wesley’s housekeeper toward the end of his life.
Her Memoirs and Letters became ‘best sellers’ in early Methodist circles. Her emphasis on ‘entire sanctification’ did much to popularise that particular doctrine. The Methodist notion of holiness involved an experience, subsequent to conversion, where a person’s commitment to holy living is accentuated by a touch from God. Hester claimed this experience and called it the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”. The term did not have any of the Pentecostal connotations which would become prevalent a century later, but spoke of a cleansing of thought and deed, leading to ‘full salvation’.
Because of the influence of her writings, Hester is counted as one of the leading women of the early Methodist movement.
When John Wesley died, Hester and James were at his bedside. “We have come to rejoice with you,” she – or her husband – said, “you are going to receive your crown.”
Three years later – on 10 October, 1794, aged 39 – shortly after giving birth to a son, she too, went to receive her Heavenly reward.
Hester’s testimony was widely circulated and impacted many women in the following century, who were inspired by her devotion to the Lord and depth of personal encounter with Him.
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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com
Tags: hester ann rogers, john wesley, methodist, sanctification
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