They Went Before Us to Show Us the Way ~ John Wesley’s Bust


John Wesley’s Bust

Croly, the famous artist, was showing Lord Shelburne his collection of busts, and said to him: “My lord, perhaps you have heard of John Wesley?” “Oh, yes,” Lord Shelburne replied, “he – that race of fanatics!” Then Croly related how he had entreated Wesley in vain to permit a bust to be made of him, until one day he offered Wesley ten guineas for a ten-minute sitting. Wesley accepted, and taking off his coat, he lay on the sofa. In eight minutes Croly had “the most perfect bust I had ever taken,” and immediately paid Wesley the ten guineas. Wesley exclaimed: “I never till now earned money so speedily; but what shall I do with it?”

At once Wesley crossed over Westminster Bridge, where a woman and her three children were crying bitterly, because her husband was being dragged off to prison for a debt of eighteen shillings. Wesley’s gift of a guinea solved her problem and saved the family from misery. He then went to Giltspur Street Compter prison and asked the jailer to show him the most miserable person in his charge, who proved to be a famished man eating some potato skins. He had been there many months for the debt of a half guinea. Wesley’s second guinea liberated him, with an extra half guinea left for a new start.

Upstairs in the prison he found a man, starved almost to a skeleton. He was watching by his dead child and by his wife who was dying from consumption: she died a few hours later. Wesley secured the man’s release and provided food and medical care for him. The man, restored to health, became re-established in business and later started a fund for the relief of debtors.

From the book entitled “One Hundred and One Methodist Stories” by Carl F. Price and published by the Methodist Book Concern.

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