“To no other man does American civilization owe so much as to Bishop Asbury. He is worthy of a place among the heroes of ’76.”
On March 31, 1816, Francis Asbury died. Days before, he preached his last sermon in Richmond, Va. With his frail body of 70 full years, Asbury was determined to make it to Baltimore, Md. He was placed by his assistant in a makeshift carriage pulled by their horse. The journey required a stop at his friend’s home, George Arnold, in Spotsylvania, Va.
The next step Asbury took was into eternity to be face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This prophet of the long road spent 45 years in America traversing over 250,000 miles on horseback. This man sent by John Wesley to America preached the gospel over 15,000 sermons. His influence shifted the fledging Methodist church into a formidable force of fiery circuit riders blazing with holy zeal to make Christ known.
It was not a call for the faint of heart. It was known that most of the young men who responded to the call as a circuit rider would not live beyond their thirties due to the dangers they encountered on the circuit. Yet, Asbury lived until he was 70 in spite of the harsh rigors of his life’s work.
His legacy continues on with an emerging generation of circuit riders arising to preach the simple gospel with conviction and clarity. They seek to know Christ and to make Him known.
To fully appreciate and grasp Asbury’s legacy, these words penned in a previous generation by one well versed in the life of The Father of American Methodism, wrote:
Though the full breadth of his legacy may be unseen by the modern historian, Asbury’s life certainly left an imprint on the lives of his contemporaries seen as the heroes of ’76; notwithstanding the lack of historical prominence, his influence continues on today through his example of full consecration to God, complete obedience to Christ in all matters, and total reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit to be a witness. Those were the hallmarks of a circuit rider epitomized to the end by Asbury himself.
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