24 May 1738: John Wesley’s conversion, while reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans was a foretaste of religious revivals at Vewa, Ono, Lakemba and Mbua Bay 100 years later

24 May 1738 was day and hour of John Wesley’s conversion, while reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  “It came, somewhat unexpectedly it would appear, at 8.45 on the evening of 24 May 1738 at a meeting in London of which he has left a definite record in his Journal: In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a Society in Aldersgate where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.
I felt my heart strangely warmed: About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change that God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all what I now first felt in my heart.
This was the day and hour of John Wesley’s conversion: Those who have made a study of his life and watched the development of his religious thought and feeling up to this time will not, perhaps, be able to see so much of the cataclysmic in this supernatural illumination as he and his followers did. The light which shone so brightly and warmly in his soul at that meeting had been smouldering for years, and was ready to burst into a blaze as soon as. the truth which he had been half blindly seeking was revealed to him through the words of Luther. He saw because, by that time, he was ready to see.
Sudden conversion a pattern of the culture: His experience at that little meeting was as much the final stage in a process of progressive illumination as it was a sudden revelation. But on the other hand it would, be a mistake to underrate the importance , of the crisis. It made a profound impression on his followers. They, like him, were accustomed to look back to a definite day on which their souls  found rest in the consciousness of a, change of heart. About the period of spiritual preparation when their souls were in labour for the coming of the great event they say comparatively little. It was the day and hour of.conversion or new birth on which they placed nearly all the emphasis.
Religious revivals in England under the preaching of Wesley: The accounts of the religious revivals in England under the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield must be read in the light that is thrown upon them by a study of the Romantic Revival. There were some strange happenings at these meetings, especially among the poor and uneducated violent emotions and brain storms j and it is clear from what he wrote at various places in his Journal that Wesley expected and welcomed these outward manifestations of inward conflict. Just as the missionaries looked for them in the religious revivals at Vewa, Ono, Lakemba and Mbua Bay. The more wicked the conscience-stricken one, the more violent did they expect the disturbance to be before a genuine conversion could be effected. Did he turn red or black in the face, bellow and roll upon the floor in agony, so much the better: sore travail of the soul was the prelude to spiritual newbirth. The result was a sharp cleavage in the ranks of the Church of England. Wesley saw this, but held on his course, passing from one innovation to another without any serious thought of severing his connexion with the Established Church”.
The Journal Of Thomas Williams, Missionary In Fiji, 1840-1853 By G. C. Henderson, M.a. (Oxon.) Emeritus Professor Of History, Adelaide University Author Of Sir George Grey : Founder Of Empire In Southern Lands, Fiji And The Fijians 18s5-1856 In Two Volumes Vol. I Australia Angus & Robertson Ltd,1931.  The manuscript is in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, in two folios, containing 874 pages and about 250,000 words.


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