Camden Theological Library

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Charles Wesley - On Display

Posted on 22 February 2010 wgleeson

Camden Theological Library in association with the Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT Archives are proud to present a display of items relating to the life, ministry and writing of Reverend Charles Wesley.

The items on display are from both the Camden Theological Library collections and also the Swynny Library Collection at Archives.  Rev. F. Reginald Swynny was a Methodist minister who collected a large number of early Methodist publications.  Swynny was also a driving force in the establishment of the Australasian Methodist Historical Society in 1933.  Swynny’s contribution was honoured by the naming of the Synod Archives Library in his memory.

The publication dates of the items on diplay range from 1739, with the edition of Hymns and Sacred Poems, the very first publication of Charles Wesley's verse, right through to 2007, with a number of books printed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Charles Wesley's birth.

Other significant publications include a first edition, 1762 copy of the first volume of Short Hymns on select passages of the Holy Scriptures, in addition to a 1796 edition of the second volume.  Charles Wesley's journal was first published in 1849, and we are lucky enough to have a copy of this edition on display.  This copy was originally part of Rev Swynny's private collection.

A PDF containing information on the earlier items on display can be downloaded here.  Please check back soon, as we will be adding more information and pictures to the site in the coming days.

Of the more recent material on display, some wonderful collections of Charles Wesley's writing are available to borrow:

Unpublished PoetryThree volumes of previously unpublished poetry were launched in 1988 to mark 200 years since the death of Charles Wesley.  The collection draws on hundreds of letters, journal entries and manuscripts.  Much of the collection was only uncovered in the 1970s, and has led to both this edition, the edition of Manuscript journals and a planned future release of manuscript letters.



Manuscript Journal  The Manuscript journals, published in 2007 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Charles Wesley's birth is a significant step forward for research into Charles Wesley.  Although the first edition of his journals was publishedin 1849, this edition is the first to include the significant amount of short-hand writing which featured throughout Charles Wesley's writing.  Unlike the original publications edited by Thomas Jackson, there is no editing of the content of these journals, therefore providing a very candid view into the mind of Charles Wesley.

Also featured are a number of theological and biographical texts looking into Charles Wesley.  Of particular note:

Struggle for Meth IdentityGareth Lloyd is an Archivist at the John Rylands University in Manchester, England, a significant location for Wesleyan and Methodist research.  Lloyd has provided possibly the most probing biography of Charles Wesley and his effects on the Church and people around him.  Lloyd re-evaluates Wesley’s contribution to the Anglican Church, the Methodist movement and the wider 18th century Evangelical Revival.  Lloyd makes use of both published and unpublished letters and journal entries, as well as recent studies in Wesley and Methodism.  He explores the place of Charles Wesley as a background figure in his brother, John's, reformation of the Church, strengthening his position as preacher and theologian, as well as poet and hynm-writer, and perhaps adding 'reformer' to the list.  This book looks at some of the personal relationships Wesley shared, particularly with his brother, and also at the reluctance he shared at breaking away from the Church of England, while struggling to stay within it.

Life, Literature and Legacy  Campbell and Newport have edited 28 essays into a comprehensive edition focusing on different aspects of Charles Wesley.  This is one collection which looks on a number of occasions at the health issues that Wesley suffered and how these may have influenced his outlook on life, his theology and his writing.  Chapters by Jeremy Gregory, Henry Rack and Robert Webster are of particular interest.  A chapter by Richard Heitzenrater is also useful as it reflects on debates over the policy of the Methodist societies between John and Charles.

More photographs and details will be added to the site over the next few days, so please check back.


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