1720-?

October 28, 1720, Burford, Oxfordshire, England.

London, England.

Moravian Cemetery, Chelsea, England.

Joseph was the son of Asher Humphreys, Rector of Barton, Hertfordshire, and subsequently Burford, Oxfordshire. At age 10, Joseph was sent to a grammar school at Fairfield, Gloucestershire. His father died in 1732, and Joseph was sent, at age 12, to a theological school in London. In 1738, having been converted to the doctrines of the Wesleys, he began to preach at the Foundry, London, in Bristol, and elsewhere. He attached himself particularly to John Cennick, and accompanied him frequently on his evangelistic tours. Hatfield reports, For his irregularities in these respects, he was expelled, December 25, 1739, from the school.

Following Cennick’s example, Humphreys separated from the Wesleys in April 1741 and became associated with Whitefield. The same year, he preached for the Moravians at Deptford, West Greenwich. He was also one of the four principal contributors to The Weekly History, just then established, in the interest of the new religious movement. Several of his Letters to John Wesley, opposing his views, appeared in this journal.

Humphreys frequently preached at the Bowling Green, Bristol, and the Tabernacle, London. In January 1743, he united with several clergymen and lay preachers in organizing, near Cardiff, Wales, the first Calvinistic Methodist Society. In 1790, according to John Wesley’s journal, Humphreys left Whitefield and was ordained a Presbyterian minister. He later received an Episcopal ordination.

Humphreys’ works include:

  1. Blessèd Are the Sons of God
  2. Come, Guilty Souls, and Flee Away
  3. Cradled in Manger
  4. Great God! The Nations of the Earth
  5. To You It Is Spoken, Ye Virgins