The Age of Enlightenment (1700s) centered on reason as the primary source of knowledge, breaking from the institutional church and absolute monarchy. It was a time of invention and innovation - understanding electricity, chemical composition of materials, and the steam engine. It was a time of personal liberty, toleration, free speech, and religious tolerance. The Constitution of the USA is an embodiment of many Enlightenment ideals such as the separation of church and state and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Founders of Methodism John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother Charles Wesley (1707-1788) were clergy in the Church of England and were a product of the times. Charles said, "Unite the pair so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety: learning and holiness combined." Methodists have always been friendly towards science and use Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience to discern moral issues.
Methodism, a revival movement, found followers in the cities of England as many were displaced from their rural towns to work in the new factories. Subsequently, as many moved to the American colonies, the revival movement became a church in 1784 as many Church of England clergy were recalled by the king from his rebellious colonies.
Collage image credits:
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Compass Rose By Brosen~commonswiki - Own work, under CC BY-SA 3.0
Electrical Machine designed by John Wesley for the treatment of melancholia by Wellcome Collection under CC BY 4.0
All other images in the public domain