Assist Me to Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley
John R. Tyson
Charles Wesley (1707–1788) was the cofounder of Methodism and the author of more than 9,000 hymns and sacred poems, including such favorites as “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” John Tyson here traces the remarkable life of this influential man from cradle to grave, using rare — including previously unpublished — hymns, letters, and journal materials.
“This book will be an indispensable addition to the library of any serious student of the Wesleys.” —Thomas C. Oden
As the younger brother of John Wesley, Charles was a vital partner in the Methodist revival. While often standing in the shadow of his more famous brother, Charles Wesley was arguably the founder of the Oxford Holy Club, and he actually experienced evangelical conversion three days prior to John. In Assist Me to Proclaim Tyson explores, among other things, behind-the-scenes questions about the brothers’ sometimes-stormy relationship.
Notwithstanding all his accomplishments as an evangelist and itinerant preacher, Charles is chiefly remembered for his startling facility at writing hymns that show God at work in almost every instance of life. His remarkable legacy endures around the world, as hundreds of Charles Wesley hymns are still sung in churches everywhere today.
Assist Me to Proclaim draws a picture of a man whose fidelity to both the Church of England and the original vision of Methodism energized his remarkable abilities as a revivalist and hymn writer. Readers also get a glimpse into Wesley’s heart and mind through the window of his hymn texts. This is a biography that any student of church history or hymnody will welcome.
Read the excerpt here.
John R. Tyson is professor of church history and director of United Methodist Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York.