Born in England, Asbury sailed to America in 1771 in response to John Wesley's call for missionaries. He spent the rest of his life traveling thousands of miles on horseback, spreading Methodism from cities to remote frontier settlements. He was elected a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church at its organization in 1784, and in many ways was the architect of the American Methodist movement. The source for these quotations is the 1958 edition of Asbury's Journal and Letters (London, Epworth Press; Nashville, Abingdon Press).
"I will set down a few things that lie on my mind. Whither am I going? To the New World. What to do? To gain honour? No, if I know my own heart. To get money? No: I am going to live to God, and to bring others so to do."Journal, Thursday, September 12, 1771
"Although my body is weak, my soul is strong in the grace of God. May my heart, my lips, my hands, my life, my strength, my all, be constantly devoted to God!"Journal, Monday, May 17, 1773
"I was under some heaviness of mind. But it was no wonder: three thousand miles from home - my friends have left me - I am considered by some as an enemy of the country - every day liable to be seized by violence, and abused. However, all this is but a trifle to suffer for Christ, and the salvation of souls. Lord, stand by me!"Journal, Friday, March 13, 1778
"I was led to wonder at myself when I considered the fatigue I went through; travelling in the rain; sleeping without beds, etc., and in the midst of all I am kept in health: this confirms me in the persuasion that I am about the work I am called to, and the Lord gives me strength according to my day. So let thy work spread, blessed Jesus, and let not thy servants labour in vain!"Journal, Monday, June 18, 1781
"I go on, sick or well, lame or blind, sometimes not able to mount or remount, without help in my rheumatic complaints. But we must be at home everywhere, it if be under a tree, and prepared to meet death at any place with pleasure, thro' grace. I thought once, should I live to see preaching established in all the states, and one hundred in society in each of them, I should be satisfied. Now, I want millions where millions are." Letter to Thomas Coke, July 28, 1803