John Wesley (1703-1791) was the founder of Methodism, which brought religious revival to the people of England. Since many Anglican churches were closed to him, Wesley preached to the masses on open fields, in halls, or cottages. He constantly traveled spreading this new religion; his religion appealed mostly to the lower classes and some people of the middle class. Methodists stressed the importance of hard work and spiritual contentment rather than demands for political equality.
The oil painting above was painted by William Hamilton, in 1788. The painting shows great simplicity yet clearly portrays the message of the enlightenment at that time. With his hand placed on the book, a representation of knowledge and it’s spreading in that particular era, and the pensive expression in John Wesley’s face, we can reflect on the purpose and role of philosophers and enlightenment thinkers.