In June 1720, Wesley entered Christ Church, Oxford. In 1724, Wesley graduated as a Bachelor of Arts and decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree. He was ordained a deaconon 25 September 1725, holy orders being a necessary step toward becoming a fellow and tutor at the university.
In the year of his ordination he read Thomas a Kempis and Jeremy Taylor, and began to seek the religious truths which underlay the great revival of the 18th century. The reading of Law’s Christian Perfection and A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life gave him, he said, a sublimer view of the law of God; and he resolved to keep it, inwardly and outwardly, as sacredly as possible, believing that in obedience he would find salvation. He pursued a rigidly methodical and abstemious life, studied the Scriptures, and performed his religious duties diligently, depriving himself so that he would have alms to give. He began to seek after holiness of heart and life.
In March 1726, Wesley was unanimously elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. This carried with it the right to a room at the college and regular salary. While continuing his studies, Wesley taught Greek, lectured on the New Testament and moderated daily disputations at the university. However, a call to ministry intruded upon his academic career. In August 1727, after taking his master’s degree, Wesley returned to Epworth. His father had requested his assistance in serving the neighbouring cure of Wroote. Ordained a priest on 22 September 1728, Wesley served as a parish curate for two years. He returned to Oxford in November 1729 at the request of the Rector of Lincoln College and to maintain his status as junior Fellow.
In the 18th century, Lincoln became the cradle of Methodism when John Wesley, a fellow there from 1726, held religious meetings with his brother Charles and the rest of Wesley’s ‘Holy Club’, whom the rest of the university took to calling ‘Bible-moths’. His appearances at College became less frequent after he departed for Georgia as a missionary chaplain in 1735. Indeed, he took to signing his publications as “John Wesley, Sometime Fellow of Lincoln College”.
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