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Priest decodes Wesley diary from 1700s
Al Webb, Religion News Service
August 28, 2008

Priest decodes Wesley diary from 1700s

Priest decodes Wesley diary from 1700s
Al Webb, Religion News Service
August 28, 2008

LONDON (RNS) A

secret, coded diary kept by one of Methodism’s founding fathers for 20 years

has been deciphered by an Anglican priest in Britain, illuminating historical

efforts to keep Methodists in the Church of England.

The task of

decoding Charles Wesley’s handwritten 1,000-page journal took the Rev. Kenneth

Newport of Liverpool Hope University nine years, he told journalists.

Wesley’s

brother, John, founded Methodism. Charles was a prolific hymn writer whose

works include “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

Newport said

Wesley’s complicated writing omitted vowels and abbreviated consonants in a

style ascribed typical of a gentleman and preacher of the 1700s.

Wesley’s

journal begins with his trip to America in 1736.

“Charles

Wesley has always inspired me, and when I started to study his manuscripts, I

kept coming across materials written in what looked like a code of some sort. I

was determined to unlock it,” Newport said.

The journal

offers an insight into Wesley’s determination to prevent the Methodist

Societies from breaking away from the Church of England, according to the Times

of London.

It also

detailed “disagreements with his more influential brother”

John over whether the movement should break with the

Church of England.

The two volumes

that Newport has translated make up what has been described as the first

complete transcription of the text.