Move Closer to Him
The "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" music is a 1744 Advent and Christmas song popular in Protestant songbooks. The text was composed by Charles Wesley. It is played with one of several tunes, including "Stuttgart" and "Hyfrydol." It is a song of praise number 66 in the Episcopal Church songbook; songs of praise number 196 in the United Methodist Hymnal; hymns 1 and 2 in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal; and hymn 254 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, among others. The song of praise is considered an enduring classic in Christian hymnology.
Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707. He passed away on March 29, 1788 was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most generally known for writing about 6,500 songs of praise.
Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, the male child of an Anglican cleric and verse writer Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna. He was a younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley and Anglican cleric Samuel Wesley the Younger, and he began to be the father of composer Samuel Wesley and grandfather of composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Wesley was schooled in Oxford where his brothers had also studied, and he established the "Holy Club" among his fellow students in the year 1729. John Wesley later united with this group, as did George Whitefield. Charles joined his father and brother in the church in the year 1735, and he journeyed with John to Georgia in America, returning a year later. In the year 1749, he got married to Sarah Gwynne, daughter of a Welsh gentleman who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. She joined the brothers on their evangelistic journeys throughout Britain until Charles stopped to travel in the year 1765.
In spite of their closeness, Charles and John did not always accept on questions relating to their faith. Specifically, Charles was strongly contradicted the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had been ordained.
Charles was the 18th child of Susanna Wesley and Samuel Wesley. He was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, where his father was a minister. He was schooled at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he was ordained. In Oxford, Charles established a prayer group among his fellow students in the year 1727; his elder brother, John, joined in the year 1729, soon beginning to be its leader and molding it in line with his own opinions. They focused on learning the Bible and living a sacred life. George Whitefield united with the group. After finishing college with a master's degree in classical languages and literature, Charles joined his father and brother into Anglican orders in the year 1735.
On October 14, 1735, Charles and his brother John sailed on The Simmonds from Gravesend, Kent for Savannah in Georgia Colony in British America at the appeal of the governor, James Oglethorpe. Charles was designated Secretary of Indian Affairs and while John stayed in Savannah, Charles went as chaplain to the garrison and colony at nearby Fort Frederica, St. Simon's Island, arriving there on Tuesday, 9 March 1736 as stated by to his journal entry. The issues did not turn out well, and he was largely declined by the settlers.
In the year July 1736, Charles was authorized to England as the bearer of dispatches to the trustees of the colony. On August 16, 1736, he sailed from Charleston, South Carolina, never to go back to the Georgia colony.
Charles Wesley experienced a conversion on May 21, 1738 — John Wesley had the same experience in Aldersgate Street just three days later. A City of London blue plaque at 13, Little Britain, close the church of St Botolph's-without-Alders, off St. Martin's Le Grand, marks the site of the previous home of John Bray, reported to be the scene of Charles' evangelical conversion on May 21, 1738.
Monument in Saint Mary Le Bone Old Churchyard at the position of Charles Wesley's original grave Wesley felt renewed toughness to spread the Gospel to ordinary individuals and it was around then that he started to write the poetic songs of praise for which he would begin to be known. It was not until the year 1739 that the brothers took to field preaching, under the power of George Whitefield, whose open-air proclaiming was already reaching greater numbers of Bristol colliers.
After stopping field proclaiming and frequent journey due to sickness in the year 1765, Wesley settled and worked in the area around St Marylebone Parish Church. On his deathbed he sent for the church's minister, John Harley, and told him, "Sir, whatever the universe may say about me, I have remained alive, and I pass away, a member of the Church of England. I pray you to bury me in your graveyard." Upon his demise, his body was carried to the church by six (6) clergymen of the Church of England. A memorial stone to him stands in the gardens on Marylebone High Street, near to his place of interment. One of his sons, Samuel, began to be the organist at the church.
In the year April 1749, he got married to the much younger Sarah Gwynne (1726–1822), also known as Sally. She was the daughter of Marmaduke Gwynne, a rich Welsh magistrate who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. They transferred into a house in Bristol in the year September 1749. Sarah joined the brothers on their evangelistic travels throughout Britain, until at least the year 1753. After 1756 Charles made no more travels to far parts of the country, mostly just moving between Bristol and London.
In the year 1771, Charles acquired another home, in London, and transferred into it that year with his elder son. By the year 1778 the whole family had moved from Bristol to the London house, at 1 Chesterfield Street (now Wheatley Street), Marylebone, where they stayed until Charles' demise and on into the 19th century. The home in Bristol still stands and has been refurbished, however the London house was destroyed in the mid-19th century.
Only three (3) of the couple's children remained alive infancy: Charles Wesley junior (year 1757 to 1834), Sarah Wesley (year 1759 to 1828), who like her mother was well-known as Sally, and Samuel Wesley (year 1766 to 1837). Their other children, John, Martha Maria, Susannah, Selina and John James are all buried in Bristol, having passed away between 1753 and 1768. Both Samuel and Charles junior were musical child prodigies and, like their father, began to be the organists and composers. Charles junior spent most of his career as the personal organist of the Royal Family, and Samuel began to be one of the most accomplished composers in the world and is often called "the English Mozart". Samuel Wesley's son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, was one of the outstanding British composers of the nineteenth century.