Steve Perisho, Theology and Philosophy Librarian, and curator of the Library’s Emmanuel Room, talks about a rare find in the Wesleyan, Wesleyan Holiness, and Free Methodist Collection and recounts the history surrounding this unique item. Lee Staman did the initial research into the Senkler family.
When the thirty-five-year-old Anglican priest John Wesley, six months or so after having felt his heart “strangely warmed”,[ref]John Wesley, ed. Albert C. Outler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980 ), 66.[/ref] “began more narrowly to inquire into . . . the doctrine of the Church of England”[ref]Journal II, 101, as quoted in John Wesley, ed. Outler, 121.[/ref], he turned to the Edwardian Book of homilies, and before the year was out had published a twelve-page condensation of three of them entitled The doctrine of salvation, faith, and good works (1738)[ref]13th ed., 1797: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000069/00001.[/ref]. This “went through [twenty] editions in his lifetime and was a staple . . . [of] Methodist instruction.”[ref]John Wesley, ed. Outler, 66, as corrected in Doctrinal and controversial treatises I, ed. Randy L. Maddox, vol. 12 of The works of John Wesley =The bicentennial edition of the works of John Wesley, ed. Randy L. Maddox (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2012), 29.[/ref] “The book which, next to the Holy Scripture, was of the greatest use to [the earliest ‘Methodists’] in settling their judgment as to the grand point of justification by faith,” he noted (looking back almost fifty years later in 1787), “was the Book of Homilies.”[ref]Sermon 107, “On God’s vineyard.” Sermons III, 71-114, ed. Albert C. Outler, vol. 3 of The works of John Wesley =The bicentennial edition of the works of John Wesley, ed. Albert C. Outler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 505. See also Michael Pasquarello, “Evangelizing England: the importance of the Book of homilies for the popular preaching of Hugh Latimer & John Wesley,” Asbury theological journal 59, nos. 1-2 (Spring/Fall 2004): 151-159.[/ref]