JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
On Oct. 14, 1735, John Wesley, his brother Charles, Benjamin Ingham, and Charles Delamotte gathered at Westminster in London and the banks of the Thames River. They boarded a small boat which took them to Gravesend, the port for London. There they went aboard “The Simmons” which would carry them to Georgia, but first sailed to the port in Cowes where they were to meet up with two other vessels which would join them on the voyage to the new world.
With them on the Simmons were 80 English travelers, 26 Moravian (German) travelers, and about 17 Salsburgers (Lutheran, German) travelers. The other ships were the “Hawk,” a military vessel, and the “London Merchant” bringing more Salburgers and supplies. The other ships were late in arriving. When they did arrive the weather was so bad they could not leave the port. They tried twice and were driven back.
Why did they leave London in October? They wanted to avoid the hurricane season in Georgia which is late summer. But, that plan did not work. They were delayed until December and when they finally left they hit three winter storms, each one worse than the one before…. On Sunday, January 25, the third storm struck in all its fury. The main sail was rent in to, water was pouring into the ship.
The sailors were pumping it out. The colonists were bailing it out. The English were screaming in terror. The one who was screaming as loud as anybody was John Wesley. He was staring death right in the face and he was unprepared.
John was ashamed and embarrassed that he, the pastor, was afraid to die. But while the storm raged, he looked in on the Moravians. These Germans had impressed him. He wrote in his diary, “There is something special about these Germans. They are always so happy! And, they do the menial jobs on this ship without protesting.”
That had impressed him. He was even more impressed when he looked in on them during the storm. They were singing.
Wesley was amazed and profoundly moved.