A name given (1729) by a student of Christ Church to the brothers Wesley and their friends, who used to assemble on given evenings for religious conversation.
This word was in use many centuries before the birth of Wesley and of Whitfield. Gale (1678) speaks of a religious sect called “the New Methodists” (Court of the Gentiles. John Spencer uses the word as one familiarly known in Cromwell's time. Even before the birth of Christ, Celsus tells us that those physicians were called “Methodists” (methodici who followed medical rules rather than experience. Modern Methodism dates no farther back than 1729.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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