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June 21, 1720 - An Important Day in the Life of John Wesley

December 31, 2013


On June 21, 1720, John Wesley became a student at Christ Church College, one of the 40 Colleges that make up Oxford University. His father and both of his grandfathers had been students at Oxford. His older brother, Samuel, Jr., had graduated from Christ Church, and his younger brother, Charles, enrolled there four years later.

John’s father had made arrangements for John to visit Dr. Sacheverell, a prominent pastor in London who could help him get into Oxford. At the age of 16 John made his way across London the pastor’s home, rang the bell, and was ushered into the pastor’s study. Dr. Sachevell was tall and distinguished. John said he felt like David facing Goliath. Remember that John was very small.

The prominent doctor took one look at John and said, “You are too young to go to the University; you cannot know Greek and Latin yet. Go back to school.”

Wesley thought, “Indeed, if I don’t know more Latin and Greek that you, I ought to go back to school!”

John loved Oxford. He excelled in all his studies, especially languages. John Wesley spoke eight languages and wrote grammars in five of them. He played the flute in the band, played tennis and water sports. He loved to play cards and enjoyed leading games at parties.

While at Oxford he wrote his mother and asked her to pray with him at the same time each Thursday afternoon, the same time they spent together each week as he was growing up at Epworth.

He was described as “a very sensible and acute collegian, baffling every man by the subtleties of logic, and laughing at them for being so easily routed; a young man of the finest classical taste … He was gay and sprightly, with a turn for wit and humour.” 

John Wesley loved his years at Oxford.

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