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

        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.

    8/28/2008 1:13:00 AM by Al Webb, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

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