I began to read John R. Tyson’s new biography of Charles Wesley last night. It is excellent! The title, Assist Me to Proclaim, is a line from Wesley’s great hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing“. In addition to this famous hymn, Charles Wesley also authored “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”, “Christ the Lord has Risen Today”, “And Can It Be” and over 6,000 others. Last year marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of this great hymnwriter, evangelist, and theologian. I am currently on a journey of reading through several 18th century Evangelical biographies, a journey which will also include Jonathan Aitken’s new biography on John Newton, and Timothy George’s on William Carey. The study of these men’s lives is rich in both historical and devotional content.
Interestingly, Southern Seminary hosted “A Symposium Celebrating the Theology and Hymns of Charles Wesley” on Monday and Tuesday of this week. I sincerely hope that the audio of the lectures from this conference will be made available online soon. Already, an MP3 of the audio from a special chapel service dedicated to singing the hymns of Wesley is available. Each hymn is given a historical and theological introduction by a faculty member of Southern Seminary. This service is not only a great tribute to Wesley and his hymns, but an excellent opportunity to worship the God whom Wesley desired all creation to join him in praising.