Why Francis Asbury Never Married

Francis Asbury was a circuit rider turned superintendent of American Methodism of the late 18th and early 19th century.  He was appointed to the office of superintendent by John Wesley himself.  He endured great things for the Lord and won many souls to Christ.  Here is his account, from his journal, of why he never married:

If I should die in celibacy, which I think quite probable, I give the following reasons for what can scarcely be called my choice: I was called in my fourteenth year.  I began my public exercises between sixteen and seventeen; at twenty-one I traveled [i.e., became a circuit riding preacher]; at twenty-six I came to America: thus far I had reasons enough for a single life.  It had been my intention of returning to Europe at thirty years of age, but the war continued, and it was ten years before we had a settled, lasting peace.  This was not time to marry or be given in marriage.  At forty-nine I was ordained superintendent bishop in America.  Among the duties imposed upon me by my office was that of traveling extensively, and I could hardly expect to find a woman with grace enough to enable her to live but one week out of fifty-two with her husband.  Besides, what right has any man to take advantage of the affections of a woman, make her his wife, and by a voluntary absence subvert the whole order and economy of the marriage state, by separating those whom neither God, nature, nor the requirements of civil society permit to be put asunder?  It is neither just nor generous.  I may add to this, that I had little money, and with this little administered to the necessities of a beloved mother until I was fifty-seven.  If I have done wrong, I hope God and the sex will forgive me.  It is my duty now to bestow the pittance I may have to spare upon the widows and fatherless girls, and poor married men. (January 27, 1804)


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