In Honor of John Wesley's 309th Birthday

By Steve Manskar

Wesleyan leadership aldersgate day 247x300
John Wesley

Tue. 28 June 1775. This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering, How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than they were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

A Birthday Hymn:

God of my life, to thee
My cheerful soul I raise;
Thy goodness bade me be
And still prolongs my days;
I see my natal hour return,
And bless the day that I was born.

A clod of living earth,
I glorify thy name,
From whom alone my birth,
And all my blessings came:
Creating and preserving grace
Let all that is within me praise.

Long as I live beneath,
To thee O let me live!
To thee my every breath
In thanks and praises give!
Whate'er I have, whate'er I am,
Shall magnify my Maker's name.

My soul, and all its powers,
Thine, wholly thine shall be;
All, all my happy hours
I consecrate to thee;
Me to thine image now restore,
And I shall praise thee evermore.

I wait thy will to do,
As angels do in heaven;
In Christ a creature new,
Eternally forgiven:
I wait thy perfect will to prove,
All sanctified by sinless love.

Then, when the work is done,
The work of faith with power,
Receive thy favoured son
In death's triumphant hour;
Like Moses to thyself convey,
And kiss my raptured soul away.

Today is John Wesley's 309th birthday. I pray that the peopled called United Methodists will take to heart the spirit of the concern he expressed in the opening paragraph of "Thoughts Upon Methodism:"

I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.