Back outside of Wesley’s Chapel and around the back lies John Wesley himself. He died in the house (next door to the chapel) and was buried in the tomb you see in the photo. The epitaph reads (I have changed the f’s to s’s!):
To the Memory of
THE VENERABLE JOHN WESLEY. A.M.
Late Fellow of Lincoln College. Oxford.
This GREAT LIGHT arose
(By the singular Providence of GOD)
To enlighten THESE NATIONS,
And to revive, enforce, and defend,
The Pure Apostolic DOCTRINES and PRACTICES of
THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH:
Which he continued to do, both by his WRITINGS and his LABOURS
For more than HALF A CENTURY:
And to his inexpressible Joy,
Not only, beheld their INFLUENCE extending,
And their EFFICACY witness’d
In the Hearts and Lives of MANY THOUSANDS,
As well in THE WESTERN WORLD as in THESE KINGDOMS:
But also, far above all human Power of Expectation,
Liv’d to see PROVISION made by the singular Grace of GOD,
For their CONTINUANCE and ESTABLISHMENT,
TO THE JOY OF FUTURE GENERATIONS
READER if thou art contrain’d to bless the INSTRUMENT,
GIVE GOD THE GLORY.
After having languished a few Days, He at length finished his COURSE
and his LIFE together. Gloriously triumphing over DEATH March 2nd
An. Dom. 1791 in the Eighty eighth Year of his Age.
I quite like that part about giving God the glory if one is not able to bless the instrument. That would be the way Wesley wanted it.
One funny story: my friend Jen asked the steward why Wesley’s last words were not etched on the tomb. He looked at Jen puzzled, asking what she meant. She went on to explain that as significant as what he said, she thought they would put in on the epitaph. He asked what words she was talking about. Horrified that he didn’t know she said, ‘Best of all, God is with us.’ He then laughed and said, ‘Oh, that. Well, at that time when someone important died the people around him or her will often make something up for their last words to make the last moments significant. It’s likely Wesley couldn’t utter anything, much less be understood.’ I still remember the look on Jen’s face! I think all of us were a little horrified that what we had been taught could be made up! Ah, well… maybe he’s wrong. It’s good last words.