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After Aldersgate

February 01, 2016

Some modern Wesley scholars seem to downplay John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience. They point out that earlier in Wesley’s life he dedicated himself to seek and serve God with all his energy. He indicated that “leisure and I have parted company.” 

I believe that John Wesley was a young man on a quest during his time before Aldersgate. On May 24, 1738, at the German prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in London when his heart was strangely warmed and he trusted Christ and Christ alone for his salvation, John Wesley had a profound conversion experience. After this experience he sat down and wrote in his diary a review of his entire religious experience up until this point. It is true that he hardly ever spoke again about his Aldersgate Experience. Some Christians never tire of telling over and over about their conversion experience. John Wesley kept moving forward and rarely looked back. His experience with Christ continued to grow and build it did not end at Aldersgate. He wanted holiness of heart and life. He wanted joy, peace, and freedom from sin.

After the historic prayer meeting, John and some friends rushed to where Charles Wesley was staying. John burst into the room and exclaimed, “I believe! I believe!” Charles had a similar religious experience three days before. His response to his “strange palpitations of his heart” was to write a hymn – the first of more than 5,000 hymns that he wrote. It was like a fountain of praise had opened in his heart. They sang that hymn together in Charles’ room that night.

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