A 270-year-old diary, written in code, has been cracked for the first time to reveal a secret history of the Methodist church, it emerged today. Link: Mail Online
That’s the news coming from a UK site. The Rev Professor Kenneth Newport, Liverpool Hope University’s pro vice-chancellor for research and academic development was the one who ‘cracked’ the code. The article goes on to discuss some of his findings. None were particularly surprising really. Charles was horrified at the thought of leaving the Church of England. Charles didn’t approve of John’s marriage and there was a suspicion of lay preaching. All of this makes sense. Still, once published, this work will give more insight into some of the struggles of the Wesley brothers. Both with the movement called Methodism and with each other.
Rev. Newport also says he uncovered sermons and 9,000 hymns and poems. This could be the biggest contribution to Wesley studies, although, knowing some of the inner thoughts of Charles during the Methodist movement will be quite insightful too. According to Newport, Charles didn’t always agree with John (after all, they were brothers!). This may give us a different ‘flavor’ of the Methodist movement and some of the struggles involved.
I’m looking forward to this work being published. Sometimes when reading Wesley and his view of grace, going onto perfection, and Christian perfection, I forget that John too was human. He had his rough edges just the same as we do. Yet, God was able to use him mightily to transform both the Church and his culture in 18th Century England. Knowing that God uses servants that make mistakes, and have rough edges, gives me hope.