A Short View of the Difference
Because Thou Hast Said - This song of praise arose from a theological controversy. It was published in a pamphlet entitled A Short View of the Difference between the Moravian Brethren, Lately in England, and the Reverend Mr John and Charles Wesley (year 1745), comprising of 14 pages of John Wesley’s prose, with 6 metrical contributions from Charles Wesley appended. Any of these are better illustrated as polemical verses than as hymns. The controversy centered on the doctrine of quietism, which several Moravians had adopted, and which asserted that those who sought ‘justifying faith’ must wait upon God in stillness, not praying, or receiving the Holy Communion.
Charles Wesley, M.A. was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, possibly, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the outstanding hymn-writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and the eighteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory on Dec. 18, 1707. In the year 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until the year 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such got his board and education free. In the year 1726 Charles Wesley was appointed to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he got his degree in the year 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much strengthened, and he became one of the 1st band of "Oxford Methodists."
In the year 1735 he went with his brother John to Georgia, as secretary to General Oglethorpe, having before he set out got Deacon's and Priest's Orders on 2 consecutive Sundays. He stayed in Georgia, but was very short; he came back to England in the year 1736, and in 1737 came under the influence of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, especially of that outstanding man who had so large a share in molding John Wesley's career, Peter Bonier, and also of a Mr. Bray, a brazier in Little Britain. On Whitsunday, in the year 1737, he "found rest to his soul," and in 1738 he became curate to his friend, Mr. Stonehouse, Vicar of Islington, but the disapproval of the churchwardens was so extraordinary that the Vicar consented that he "should preach in his church no more." Hence his work was recognized with that of his brother John, and he became an industrious itinerant and field preacher. On April 8, 1749, he got married to Miss Sarah Gwynne. His marriage, not like that of his brother John, was a most happy one; his wife, Miss Sarah was accommodated to accompany him on his evangelistic journeys, which were as recurrent as ever until the year 1756," when he stopped to be an itinerant, and mainly dedicated himself to the supervision of the Societies in London and Bristol. Bristol was his headquarters until the year 1771, when he separated with his family to London, and, besides attending to the Societies, dedicated himself much, as he had done in his youth, to the religious protection of prisoners in Newgate. He had long been worried regarding the connections of Methodism to the Lord's house of England, and strongly rejected of his brother John's "ordinations." Wesley-like, he expressed his rejections in the most outspoken fashion, but, as in the case of Samuel at an earlier period, the dissimilarities between the brothers never led to a break of friendship. He passed away in London on March 29, 1788, and was buried in Marylebone churchyard. His brother John was strongly grieved because he would not approve to be interred in the burial-ground of the City Road Chapel, where he had provided a grave for himself, but Charles pronounced, "I have remained alive, and I perish, in the Communion of the Parish Church of England, and I will be buried in the backyard of my church." The 8 churchmen drill his funeral cloth. He had a vast family, 4 of whom survived him; 3 sons, who all became well-known in the musical world, and 1 daughter, who succeeded to some of her father's poetical genius. The widow and orphans were managed with the greatest thoughtfulness and generosity by John Wesley.
As a hymn-writer Charles was distinctive. He is said to have written no less than 6,500 songs of praises, and however, of course, in so huge a number a few are of not equal merit, it is perfectly astounding how many there are which rise to the highest degree of greatness. His feelings on every occasion of significance, whether private or public, found their best expression in a song of praise. Charles own reformation, his own wedding, the tremor panic, the rumors of a disruption from France, the downfall of Prince Charles Edward at Culloden, the Gordon riots, each Festival of the Christian Church, each doctrine of the Christian Faith, noticeable scenes in Scripture history, noticeable scenes which came within his own view, the demise of friends as they passed away, one by one, before him, all provided occasions for the exercise of his divine present. Nor must we forget his songs of praises for little children, a branch of blessed poetry in which the mantle of Doctor Watts seems to have fallen upon him. It would simply not be possible within our space to identify even those of the songs of praises which have become really traditional. The saying that a really good song of praise is as rare appearance as that of a comet is disproved by the work of Charles Wesley; for hymns, which are really good in every respect, moved from his pen in quick progression, and demise alone ceased the course of the perennial stream.
It has been the usual practice, though for a hundred years or more to attribute all translations from the German to John Wesley, as he only of the 2 brothers understood that language; and to entrust to Charles Wesley all the original songs of praises except such as are identifiable to John Wesley through his Journals and other works.
The list of 482 (four hundred eighty-two) original songs of praises by John and Charles Wesley listed in this Dictionary of Hymnology have formed a significant part of Methodist hymnody and show the immeasurable influence of the Wesleys on the English hymnody of the 19th century.