The Holy Club
and John were both students at Oxford (at Christ Church), and in
1726 John was elected as Fellow of Lincoln College.
Charles, who had been a bit of a lad at the start
of his university career, became more serious about his faith, and
started a small group nicknamed 'the Holy Club', which met for
prayer and Bible study. Later, John became a leading light in the
group and in particular stressed the need for combining a deep
inward faith with practical service to those in need.
'Diligence led me into serious thinking. I went to the
weekly Sacrament and persuaded two
or three young scholars to accompany me, and to observe the method
of study prescribed by the Statutes of the University. This gained
me the harmless name of Methodist.'
Charles Wesley, letter written in later life.
The scholars used to go into the town and the
local prison to do charitable work and visit the sick. Other
students had a variety of mocking nicknames for the group,
including 'Bible Moths', 'Enthusiasts' and 'Supererogationists'
(because they did more than most people thought was necessary to be
a good Christian), but the one that stuck was 'Methodists.'
It was in the Holy Club that the Wesley brothers
met George Whitefield, who became an important part of the
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