Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, the founder of the religious community of Herrnhut and the apostle of the United Brethren, was born in Dresden in1700. It is not often that noble blood and worldly wealth are allied with true piety and missionary zeal. Such, however, was the case with Count Zinzendorf. In 1731 Zinzendorf resigned from all public duties and devoted himself to missionary work.
Christopher Wordsworth was born in Lambeth, England in 1807. At Trinity College, Cambridge he won numerous university honors before graduating in 1830. In 1836 he became headmaster of Harrow School and was later appointed a canon of Westminster, in 1844.
Samuel Wolcott, a Congregational clergyman, was born in South Windsor, Connecticut in 1813. He graduated from Yale in 1833 and Andover Theological Seminary in 1837.
John Joseph Winckler, a German Pietist, was born in Saxony in 1670. He was at first a pastor at Magdeburg, then a chaplain in the Protestant army, accompanying the troops to Holland and Italy. He was known for his great courage and convictions. He died in 1722.
William Williams has been called “the Watts of Wales.” Born in 1717, his “awakening” was due to an open-air sermon by the famous Welsh preacher, Howell Harris. Williams received deacon’s orders in the Established Church but subsequently became a Calvinistic Methodist preacher. As an evangelistic preacher, he was popular and successful among the Welsh. He died in 1791.
John Greenleaf Whittier, commonly known as the “Quaker Poet,” was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1807. Beginning life as a farm boy and village shoemaker, and with only a limited education, he entered the profession of journalism in 1828.
Henry Kirke White, a gifted English poet who died early in life, was born in Nottingham, England in 1785. Very early he demonstrated a love for books and a talent for composition. But his parents were poor and he was apprenticed to a stocking weaver. He later left and began the study of law. His conversion from deism to Christianity brought him to St. John’s College, Cambridge to prepare for the ministry.
John Wesley was born at the Epworth rectory in 1703. He went to Oxford University in 1720 and was ordained deacon in 1725. He returned to Oxford in 1729 and became the leader of the “holy club” or Methodists which had been organized during his absence by his brother, Charles. He went to Georgia as a missionary in 1735 and while there published his first hymn book.
harles Wesley has been called “the poet of Methodism.” Born in Epworth, England in 1707 he was educated at Westminster School and Oxford University, where he took his degree in 1728. It was while a student at Christ Church College that Wesley and a few associates, by strict attention to duty and exemplary conduct, won for themselves the derisive epithet of “Methodists.”
Isaac Watts is considered the father of English hymnody. He was born in Southampton, England in 1674. He was a precocious child who learned to read almost as soon as he could speak and wrote verses while still a young boy. He was firmly attached to the principles of the Nonconformists, for which his father had suffered imprisonment, and was therefore compelled to decline the advantages of the great English universities, which at that time received only Church of England students.