This is the day that … John Wesley was born, in 1703. And during his remarkable ministry we know of two early Methodist preachers who were converted on this day.
John Nelson was a Yorkshire man who first heard Wesley preach at Moorfields (17 June, 1739). “As soon as he got on the stand, he stroked back his hair and turned his face to where I stood, and I thought, fixed his eyes upon me” (Early Methodist Preachers, page 2).
John Nelson continues, “This man can tell the secrets of my heart, but he hath not left me there; for he hath showed the remedy, even the blood of Jesus” (page 3).
In the years that followed John Nelson became one of Wesley’s loyal friends, preaching the old-time gospel.
Richard Rodda has also left his testimony for us in writing.
“On 17 June, 1758, God gave me a clear sense of His forgiving love,” he wrote to John Wesley (page 88).
Rodda was 15 years of age when his conversion took place, and by the age of 20 he was often found preaching three times a day in various places. At Worcestershire, “they brought gunpowder with them and almost filled the place with the smoke of it” (page 90). “Some of them pelted me with dirt and broken tiles.”
In Heresford, “a wicked man gathered dirt out of a kennel and threw it in my eyes and face … I could proceed no further.” In Cornwall, “the mob gathered and pelted me with rotten eggs” (page 92).
And so it goes.
Any “Christian” who is too lazy to get out of bed or turn off the TV to go to Church ought to read of the sufferings of Wesley and his early preachers, as they confronted the mobs with the claims of Christ!
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.