``My theme is seduction, resistance, and the cultural consequences of both,'' says the author (history, Wesleyan Univ.) in the preface to this eminently readable account of Methodist social history. His particular thrust is to detail John Wesley's immediate and cumulative influence on his Methodist followers and to show what it meant in both personal and sociohistorical terms. To devote more space to chronicling the fascinating effect of Wesley on his flock, Abelove presupposes a working knowledge of Methodist history. But though the book is academic in tone, its pace and scope never fail to engage. Highly recommended for seminary and religion collections. (Pictures not seen).-- Sandra Collins, Trinity Sch. for Ministry, Ambridge, Pa.