(Portrait by John Russell)
He married Sarah Gwynne and their happy union produced eight children, only three of whom survived infancy. These were Sarah, Charles Jr., and Samuel.
Charles and Samuel were musical prodigies. By age eight, Samuel was composing complex musical scores. He was even called the “English Mozart”
Charles showed them off on tours. He sent them to live with unbelievers and weak Christians to be trained, ignoring God’s warning in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” He also ignored his brother John’s warnings.
“John Wesley warned his brother of the potential dangers and especially of the pressure being placed upon Charles by prominent individuals to send his sons to Europe's finest music teachers. But these warnings went unheeded. During those days when a child prodigy was furthered in his education, he lived with the teacher for many months at a time, as Charles' sons did at a young age. Living with such teachers instilled not only their knowledge of music but also their daily manner of living and their religious philosophy” (H.T. Spence, Confronting Contemporary Christian Music, p. 145, Foundations Press).
By their late teens, the boys were rejecting the faith of their father. They did not seek God’s will or live for His glory, using their talents for their own pleasure and profit.
Charles never married and wrote music for Catholic masses.
Samuel committed fornication before marriage, then left his wife for a teenage servant girl and had four children with her, though never marrying. He converted to Roman Catholicism and wrote a mass dedicated to Pope Pius VI.
At the time, his father sorrowfully wrote that joining Rome was “to plunge into the dark abyss and cast his soul away.”
But the father had helped pave the way for this apostasy by capitulating to “the pride of life” in regard to his sons’ extraordinary abilities and by disregarding the Bible’s warnings about evil communications.
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