Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most widely known for writing 8,989 hymns, 10 times the volume composed by the only other candidate (Isaac Watts) who could conceivably claim to be the world's greatest hymn writer. He composed some of the most memorable and lasting hymns of the church: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "And Can It Be," "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," "Soldiers of Christ, Arise," and "Rejoice! the Lord Is King!"
Wesley was educated at Oxford where his brothers had also studied, and he formed the "Holy Club" among his fellow students in 1729. John Wesley later joined this group, as did George Whitefield. Charles followed his father and brother into the church in 1735, and he travelled with John to Georgia in America, returning a year later.
Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you who can be against you?
Come, O thou all-victorious Lord! Thy power to us make known; Strike with the hammer of thy word, And break these hearts of stone. O that we all might now begin, Our foolishness to mourn; And turn at once from every sin, And to our Savior turn! Give us ourselves and thee to know, In this our gracious day; Repentance unto life bestow, And take our sins away.
God did in Christ himself reveal, To chase our darkness by his light, Our sin and ignorance dispel, Direct our wandering feet aright, And bring our souls, with pardon blest, To realms of everlasting rest.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound by sin and nature’s night,
Thine eye dispersed a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my spirit free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries it shall be done.
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art, dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end;
by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.