On their way to the English colony of Georgia in America in 1735, Charles and John Wesley were impressed by the fresh hymns sung by the 26 Moravian missionaries on board the ship. Charles was especially touched by the evangelistic tone of their hymns and the spiritual truths they conveyed. But shortly after Charles arrived in Georgia, he had to return to England due to illness. A few years later, during a nightly Bible study that he had organized for students at Oxford University, Charles came to know Christ as his personal Savior. Psalm 40 was the subject that night, and the verse above became his life verse because it spoke of his new birth and his deep interest in music.
God had indeed put a new song in his heart, and Charles expressed it best in the first hymn he wrote, “And Can It Be?” This hymn continues today to be a powerful statement of the freedom found in a saving relationship with Christ. It was the first of over 5,000 hymns Charles wrote during his lifetime. In it, he described his new life in Christ this way: “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed Thee.”
Along with his brother John, Charles helped spearhead a revival that some historians say was the high point of evangelical Christianity in England. His hymns played a significant part in that revival by presenting scriptural truth in a way that touched both the heart and mind of hearers – something he learned from the Moravian missionaries, and never forgot. His hymns continue to revive souls today.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org