A mother to emulate – Susanna Wesley

Susanna Wesley (20 January 1669 – 23 July 1742), born Susanna Annesley, was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Annesley and Mary White, and the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

“…although she never preached a sermon or published a book or founded a church, (she) is known as the Mother of Methodism. Why? Because two of her sons, John Wesley and Charles Wesley, as children consciously or unconsciously will, applied the example and teachings and circumstances of their home life.”

Family

Susanna Wesley was the 25th of 25 children. Her father, Dr. Samuel Annesley, was a dissenter of the established church of England. At the age of 13, Susanna stopped attending her father’s church and joined the official Church of England.

She and Samuel Wesley were married on 11 November 1688. Samuel was 26 and Susanna was 19.

Susanna and Samuel Wesley had 19 children. Nine of her children died as infants. Four of the children who died were twins. A maid accidentally smothered one child. At her death, only eight of her children were still alive.

Personal life notes

Susanna experienced many hardships throughout her life. Her husband left her and the children for over a year because of a minor dispute.

To her absent husband, Susannah Wesley wrote:

I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles.

Samuel Wesley spent time in jail twice due to his poor financial abilities, and the lack of money was a continual struggle for Susanna. Their house was burned down twice; during one of the fires, her son, John, nearly died and had to be rescued from the second storey window. She was the primary source of her children’s education.

After the second fire, Susanna was forced to place her children into different homes for nearly two years while the rectory was rebuilt. During this time, the Wesley children lived under the rules of the homes they lived in. Susanna was mortified that her children began to use improper speech and play more than study.

“Under no circumstances were the children permitted to have any lessons until they had reached their fifth year, but the day after their fifth birthday their formal education began. They attended classes for six hours and on the very first day they were supposed to learn the whole of the alphabet. All her children except two managed this feat, and these seemed to Susanna to be very backward.”[3] “The children got a good education. Daughters included, they all learnt Latin and Greek and were well tutored in the classical studies that were traditional in England at that time.”

During a time when her husband was in London, defending a friend against charges of heresy, he had appointed a locum to bring the message. The man’s sermons revolved solely around repaying debts. The lack of diverse spiritual teaching caused Susanna to assemble her children Sunday afternoon for family services. They would sing a psalm and then Susanna would read a sermon from either her husband’s or father’s sermon file followed by another psalm. The local people began to ask if they could attend. At one point there were over two hundred people who would attend Susanna’s Sunday afternoon service while the Sunday morning service dwindled to nearly nothing.

Wesley practised daily devotions throughout her life, but, shortly before her death, she wrote to her son Charles, admitting that she had struggled with doubt throughout her life and only now had finally found peace in her faith.

Her husband Samuel spent his whole life and all of the family’s finances on his exegetical work of the Book of Job. However, his work was not remembered and had little impact on his family other than as a hardship. In contrast Susanna wrote several pieces that would be fundamental in the education of their children. “In addition to letters, Susanna Wesley wrote meditations and scriptural commentaries for her own use. She wrote extended commentaries on the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments. Alas many of these were lost in the rectory fire, but many survive. The most accessible means to her writings is Charles Wallace’s excellent and important Susanna Wesley, Her Collected Writings.”

Susanna was buried at Bunhill Fields in London.

An interesting fact about the strength and faith of Susanna from Beverly Whitaker. „Viewpoint: Susanna Wesley.” Kansas City, Missouri, 1998 as summarized on Internet web page: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gentutor/susanna.html quoted from this book: Dallimore, Arnold A. Susanna Wesley. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993.

Apparently, Susanna’s husband left her because she did not say Amen to one of his prayers for the reigning monarch at the time- King William. Since many clergymen were expelled for their lack of support for the King, her husband Samuel possibly „found” Susanna’s opinion (through her refusal to say Amen at the end of the prayer) a „possible threat to his own position” as clergy. The hardest part to understand is that her husband Samuel left her at a time when she was pregnant and therefore he was not there for the birth of his 14th daughter, Anne. Samuel did return after the death of King William. By this time 6 months had passed. (The source used for this information is [Source: a letter from Susanna to the Lady Yarlborough, March 7, 1701-2, as quoted by Arnold A. Dallimore: Susanna Wesley. You can learn/read more about Susanna Wesley  at the following link  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gentutor/susanna.html 

You can read an account of John Wesley, Susanna’s 15th of 19 children here – http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/Global-Worship-and-Spiritual-Growth/The-Wesleys-and-Their-Times/Account-of-the-Life-of-John-Wesley


The Diary of John Wesley Chapter 4 b – The Mother of the Wesleys

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Born 20 January 1669
Died 23 July 1742
London, England
Occupation „Mother of Methodism
Religion Church of England
Spouse(s) Samuel Wesley
Children Samuel Wesley (the Younger),
John Wesley,
Charles Wesley
Emilia, Susanna, Mary, Mehetabel, Anne, Martha, Kezia

Read

  1. Introduction and Chapter 1 here- Wesley travels to Georgia,U.S.A. on mission to Evangelize the American Indians and to Pastor a church.
  2. Chapter 2 here – Return to England; George Bohler
  3. Chapter 3 here– Field-Preaching; “All the World my Parish”; Whitefield; Wales; Experience with Demons
  4. Chapter 4a here- Preaching Incidents; Dispute with Whitefield

Death of Wesley’s Mother

I left Bristol in the evening of Sunday, July 18, and on Tuesday came to London. I found my mother on the borders of eternity. But she had no doubt or fear nor any desire but (as soon as God should call) “to depart and be with Christ.”
Friday, 23.—About three in the afternoon I went to my mother and found her change was near. I sat down on the bedside. She was in her last conflict, unable to speak but I believe quite sensible. Her look was calm and serene, and her eyes fixed upward while we commended her soul to God. From three to four the silver cord was loosing, and the wheel breaking at the cistern; and then without any struggle, or sign, or groan, the soul was set at liberty. We stood round the bed and fulfilled her last request, uttered a little before she lost her speech: “Children, as soon as I amreleased, sing a psalm of praise to God.”

Sunday, August 1.—almost an innumerable company of people being gathered together, about five in the afternoon, I committed to the earth the body of my mother, to sleep with her fathers.
The portion of Scripture from which I afterward spoke was: “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” [Rev. 20:11, 12]. It was one of the most solemn assemblies I ever saw or expect to see on this side eternity. We set up a plain stone at the head of her grave, inscribed with the following words:

Here lies the Body
of
MRS. SUSANNAH WESLEY,
the youngest and last surviving daughter of
dr. samuel annesley.
_______

In sure and steadfast hope to rise,
And claim her mansion in the skies,
A Christian here her flesh laid down,
The cross exchanging for a crown.
True daughter of affliction, she,
Inured to pain and misery,
Mourn’d a long night of griefs and fears,
A legal night of seventy years.
The Father then reveal’d His Son,
Him in the broken bread made known;
She knew and felt her sins forgiven,
And found the earnest of her heaven.
Meet for the fellowship above,
She heard the call, “Arise, my love!’
“I come,” her dying looks replied,
And lamblike, as her Lord, she died.

Mrs. Wesley as Preacher
I cannot but further observe that even she (as well as her father, and grandfather, her husband, and her three sons) had been, in her measure and degree, a preacher of righteousness. This I learned from a letter, written long since to my father, part of which I have here subjoined:
February 6, 1711-12
“___As I am a woman, so I am also mistress of a large family. and though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you; yet, in your absence, I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as a talent committed to me under a trust by the great Lord of all the families both of heaven and earth. And if I am unfaithful to Him or you in neglecting to improve these talents, how shall I answer unto Him, when He shall command me to render an account of my stewardship?
“As these, and other such like thoughts, made me at first take a more than ordinary care of the souls of my children and servants, so—knowing our religion requires a strict observation of the Lord’s day, and not thinking that we fully answered the end of the institution by going to church unless we filled up the intermediate spaces of time by other acts of piety and devotion—I thought it my duty to spend some part of the day in reading to and instructing my family: and such time I esteemed spent in a way more acceptable to God than if I had retired to my own private devotions.
“This was the beginning of my present practice. Other people’s coming and joining with us was merely accidental. Our style=”#_ftn9″ name=”_ftnref9″>[1] lad told his parents: they first desired to be admitted; then others that heard of it begged leave also: so our company increased to about thirty, and it seldom exceeded forty last winter.

“But soon after you went to London last, I lit on the account of the Danish missionaries. I was, I think, never more affected with anything; I could not forbear spending [1] good part of that evening in praising and adoring the divine goodness for inspiring them with such ardent zeal for His glory. For several days I could think or speak of little else. At last it came into my mind, Though I am not a man nor a minister, yet if my heart were sincerely devoted to God and I was inspired with a true zeal for his glory, I might do somewhat more than I do. I thought I might pray more for them and might speak to those with whom I converse with more warmth of affection. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each
child apart. On Monday, I talk with Molly; on Tuesday, with Hetty; Wednesday, with Nancy; Thursday, with Jacky; Friday, with Patty; Saturday, with Charles; and with Emily and Suky together on Sunday.

She Speaks to Two Hundred

“With those few neighbors that then came to me, I discoursed more freely and affectionately. I chose the best and most awakening sermons we have. And I spent somewhat more time with them in such exercises, without being careful about the success of my undertaking. Since this, our company increased every night; for I dare deny none that ask admittance.

“Last Sunday I believe we had above two hundred. And yet many went away for want of room to stand.
“We banish all temporal concerns from our society. None is suffered to mingle any discourse about them with our reading or singing. We keep close to the business of the day; and when it is over, all go home.
“I cannot conceive, why any should reflect upon you because your wife endeavors to draw people to church and to restrain them from profaning the Lord’s day by reading to them, and other persuasions. For my part, I value no censure upon this account. I have long since shaken hands with the world. And I heartily wish I had never given them more reason to speak against me. “As to its looking particular, I grant it does. And so does almost anything that is serious, or that may any way advance the glory of God or the salvation of souls.

“As for your proposal of letting some other person read: alas! you do not consider what a people these are. I do not think one man among them could read a sermon, without spelling a good part of it. Nor has any of our family a voice strong enough to be heard by such a number of people. “But there is one thing about which I am much dissatisfied; that is, their being present at family prayers. I do not speak of any concern I am under, barely because so many are present; for those who have the honor of speaking to the Great and Holy God need not be ashamed to speak before the whole world; but because of my sex. I doubt if it is proper for me to present the prayers of the people to God. Last Sunday I would fain have dismissed them before prayers; but they begged so earnestly to stay, I durst not deny them.

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How the Wesleys Were Brought up

For the benefit of those who are entrusted, as she was, with the care of a numerous family, I cannot but add one letter more, which I received many years ago:
July 24, 1732
“To the Rev. Mr. Wesley,
“In St. Margaret’s Churchyard, Westminster.”
“Dear Son,
“According to your desire, I have collected the principal rules I observed in educating my family; which I now send you as they occurred to my mind, and you may (if you think they can be of use to any) dispose of them in what order you please. “The children were always put into a regular method of living, in such things as they were capable of, from their birth; as in dressing, undressing, changing their linen, and so on. The first quarter commonly passes in sleep. After that, they were, if possible laid into their cradles awake and rocked to sleep; and so they were kept rocking till it was time for them to awake. This was
done to bring them to a regular course of sleeping, which at first was three hours in the morning and three in the afternoon; afterward two hours, till they needed none at all. “When turned a year old (and some before), they were taught to fear the rod and to cry softly; by which means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have had; and that most odious noise of the crying of children was rarely heard in the house, but the family usually lived in as much quietness as if there had not been a child among them.

“As soon as they were grown pretty strong, they were confined to three meals a day. At dinner their little table and chairs were set by ours, where they could be observed; and they were suffered to eat and drink as much as they would but not to call for anything. If they wanted aught, they used to whisper to the maid which attended them, who came and spoke to me; and as soon as they could handle a knife and fork, they were set to our table. They were never suffered to choose their meat, but always made to eat such things as were provided for the family.
“Mornings they had always spoon-meat; sometimes at nights. But whatever they had, they were never permitted to eat, at those meals, of more than one thing; and of that sparingly enough. Drinking or eating between meals was never allowed, unless in case of sickness, which seldom happened. Nor were they suffered to go into the kitchen to ask anything of the servants, when they were at meat: if it was known they did, they were certainly beaten, and the servants severely reprimanded.
“At six, as soon as family prayers were over, they had their supper; at seven, the maid washed them; and, beginning at the youngest, she undressed and got them all to bed by eight, at which time she left them in their several rooms awake; for there was no such thing allowed of in our house as sitting by a child till it fell asleep.
“They were so constantly used to eat and drink what was given them that when any of them was ill there was no difficulty in making them take the most unpleasant medicine: for they durst not refuse it, though some of them would presently throw it up. This I mention to show that a person may be taught to take anything, though it be never so much against his stomach.

“Conquer the Child’s Will”
“In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will and bring them to an obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time and must with children proceed by slow degrees as they are able to bear it: but the subjecting the will is a thing which must be done at once; and the sooner the better. For by neglecting timely correction, they will contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which is hardly ever after conquered; and never, without using such severity as would be as painful to me as to the child. In the esteem of the world they pass for kind and indulgent, whom I call cruel, parents, who permit their children to get habits which they know must be afterward broken. Nay, some are so stupidly fond as in sport to teach their children to do things which, in a while after, they have severely beaten them for doing.

“Whenever a child is corrected, it must be conquered; and this will be nor hard matter to do if it be not grown headstrong by too much indulgence. And when the will of a child is totally subdued and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies and inadvertences [1] may be passed by. Some should be overlooked and taken no notice of, and others mildly reproved; but no willful transgression ought ever to be forgiven children without chastisement, less or more, as the nature and circumstances of the offense require.
“I insist upon conquering the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education; without which both precept and example will be ineffectual. But when this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by the reason and piety of its parents, till its own understanding comes to maturity and the principles of religion have taken root in the mind.
“I cannot yet dismiss this subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children insures their after-wretchedness and irreligion; whatever checks and mortifies it promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident if we further consider that religion is nothing else than the doing the will of God and not our own: that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, no indulgencies of it can be trivial, no denial unprofitable. Heaven or hell depends on this alone. So that the parent who studies to subdue it in his child works together with God in the renewing and saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil’s work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable; and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever.

They Had Nothing They Cried For

“The children of this family were taught, as soon as they could speak, the Lord’s Prayer, which they were made to say at rising and bedtime constantly; to which, as they grew bigger, were added a short prayer for their parents and some collects; a short catechism and some portion of Scripture, as their memories could bear.
“They were very early made to distinguish the Sabbath from other days, before they could well speak or go. They were as soon taught to be still at family prayers and to ask a blessing immediately after, which they used to do by signs, before they could kneel or speak. “They were quickly made to understand they might have nothing they cried for and instructed to speak handsomely for what they wanted. They were not suffered to ask even the lowest servant for aught without saying, ‘Pray give me such a thing’; and the servant was chid 7 if she ever let them omit that word. Taking God’s name in vain, cursing and swearing, profaneness, obscenity, rude, ill-bred names were never heard among them. Nor were they ever permitted to call each other by their proper names without the addition of brother or sister.
“None of them were taught to read till five years old, except Kezzy, in whose case I was overruled; and she was more years learning than any of the rest had been months. The way of teaching was this: The day before a child began to learn, the house was set in order, everyone’s work appointed them, and a charge given that none should come into the room from nine till twelve, or from two till five; which, you know, were our school hours. One day was allowed the child wherein to learn its letters; and each of them did in that time know all its letters, great and small, except Molly and Nancy, who were a day and a half before they knew them perfectly; for which I then thought them very dull; but since I have observed how long many children are learning the hornbook, I have changed my opinion.

“But the reason why I thought them so then was because the rest learned so readily; and your brother Samuel, who was the first child I ever taught, learned the alphabet in a few hours. He was five years old on February 10; the next day he began to learn, and as soon as he knew the letters, began at the first chapter of Genesis. He was taught to spell the first verse, then to read it over and over, till he could read it offhand without any hesitation, so on to the second, and so on, till he took ten verses for a lesson, which he quickly did. Easter fell low that year, and by Whitsuntide he could read a chapter very well; for he read continually and had such a prodigious memory that I cannot remember ever to have told him the same word twice.

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Keeping the Wesley Children in Order

“What was yet stranger, any word he had learned in his lesson he knew wherever he saw it, either in his Bible or any other book; by which means he learned very soon to read an English author well.
“The same method was observed with them all. As soon as they knew the letters, they were put first to spell, and read one line, then a verse; never leaving till perfect in their lesson, were it shorter or longer. So one or other continued reading at schooltime, without any intermission; and before we left school, each child read what he had learned that morning; and ere we parted in the afternoon, what they had learned that day.
“There was no such thing as loud talking or playing allowed of; but everyone was kept close to his business for the six hours of school: and it is almost incredible what a child may be taught in a quarter of a year by a vigorous application, if it have but a tolerable capacity and good health. Every one of these, Kezzy excepted, could read better in that time than the most of women can do as long as they live.
“Rising out of their places or going out of the room was not permitted, unless for good cause; and running into the yard, garden, or street without leave was always esteemed a capital offense. “For some years we went on very well. Never were children in better order. Never were children better disposed to piety or in more subjection to their parents till that fatal dispersion of them, after the fire, into several families. In those days they were left at full liberty to converse with servants, which before they had always been restrained from; and to run abroad and play with any children, good or bad. They soon learned to neglect a strict observation of the Sabbath and got knowledge of several songs and bad things, which before they had no notion of. The civil behavior which made them admired when at home by all which saw them, was, in great measure, lost; and a clownish accent and many rude ways were learned which were not reformed without some difficulty.

“When the house was rebuilt, and the children all brought home, we entered upon a strict reform; and then was begun the custom of singing Psalms at beginning and leaving school, morning and evening. Then also that of a general retirement at five o’clock was entered upon; when the oldest took the youngest that could speak, and the second the next, to whom they read the Psalms for the day and a chapter in the New Testament; as, in the morning, they were directed to read the Psalms and a chapter in the Old: after which they went to their private prayers, before they got their breakfast, or came into the family. And, I thank God, the custom is still preserved among us.

Susanna Wesley’s “By-laws”

“There were several by-laws observed among us, which slipped my memory, or else they had been inserted in their proper place; but I mention them here because I think them useful.“1. It had been observed that cowardice and fear of punishment often led children into lying till they get a custom of it which they cannot leave. To prevent this, a law was made that whoever was charged with a fault of which they were guilty, if they would ingenuously confess it and promise to amend, should not be beaten. This rule prevented a great deal of lying and would have done more if one in the family would have observed it. But he could not be prevailed on and therefore was often imposed on by false colors and equivocations; which none would have used (except one), had they been kindly dealt with. And some, in spite of all, would always speak truth plainly.
“2. That no sinful action, as lying, pilfering, playing at church, or on the Lord’s day, disobedience, quarreling, and so forth, should ever pass unpunished.
“3. That no child should ever be chid or beaten twice for the same fault; and that if they amended, they should never be upbraided with it afterwards.
“4. That ever signal act of obedience, especially when it crossed upon their own inclinations, should be always commended and frequently rewarded according to the merits of the cause.
“5. That if ever any child performed an act of obedience or did anything with an intention to please, though the performance was not well, yet the obedience and intention should be kindly accepted; and the child with sweetness directed how to do better for the future.
“6. That propriety be inviolably preserved and none suffered to invade the property of another in the smallest matter, though it were but of the value of a farthing or a pin; which they might not take from the owner without, much less against, his consent. This rule can never be too much inculcated on the minds of children; and from the want of parents or governors doing it as they ought proceeds that shameful neglect of justice which we may observe in the world.
“7. That promises be strictly observed; and a gift once bestowed, and so the right passed away from the donor, be not resumed but left to the disposal of him to whom it was given; unless it were conditional and the condition of the obligation not performed.
“8. That no girl be taught to work till she can read very well; and then that she be kept to her work with the same application, and for the same time, that she was held to in reading. This rule also is much to be observed; for the putting children to learn sewing before they can read perfectly is the very reason why so few women can read fit to be heard and never to be well understood.”

Wednesday, December 1 (Newcastle).—We had several places offered on which to build a room for the society; but none was such as we wanted. And perhaps there was a providence in our not finding any as yet; for by this means I was kept at Newcastle, whether I would or no.
Saturday, 4.—I was both surprised and grieved at a genuine instance of enthusiasm. J– B–, of Tunfield Leigh, who had received a sense of the love of God a few days before, came riding through the town, hallooing and shouting and driving all the people before him; telling them God had told him he should be a king and should tread all his enemies under his feet. I sent him home immediately to his work and advised him to cry day and night to God that he might be lowly in heart, lest Satan should again get an advantage over him.

Mr. Stephenson and Wesley

Today a gentleman called and offered me a piece of ground. On Monday an article was drawn wherein he agreed to put me into possession on Thursday, upon payment of thirty pounds.
Tuesday, 7.—I was so ill in the morning that I was obliged to send Mr. Williams to the room.
He afterward went to Mr. Stephenson, a merchant in the town, who had a passage through the ground we intended to buy. I was willing to purchase it. Mr. Stephenson told him, “Sir, I do not want money; but if Mr. Wesley wants ground, he may have a piece of my garden, adjoining to the place you mention. I am at a word. For forty pounds he shall have sixteen yards in breadth, and thirty in length.
Wednesday, 8.—Mr. Stephenson and I signed an article, and I took possession of the ground.
But I could not fairly go back from my agreement with Mr. Riddel: so I entered on his ground at the same time. The whole is about forty yards in length; in the middle of which we determined to build the house, leaving room for a small courtyard before, and a little garden behind, the building.
Monday, 13.—I removed into a lodging adjoining to the ground where we were preparing to build; but the violent frost obliged us to delay the work. I never felt so intense cold before. In a room where a constant fire was kept, though my desk was fixed within a yard of the chimney, I could not write for a quarter of an hour together without my hands being quite benumbed.

Newcastle’s First Methodist Room

Monday, 20.—We laid the first stone of the house. Many were gathered from all parts to see it; but none scoffed or interrupted while we praised God and prayed that He would prosper the work of our hands upon us. Three or four times in the evening, I was forced to break off preaching that we might pray and give thanks to God.
Thursday, 23.—It being computed that such a house as was proposed could not be finished under f 700, many were positive it would never be finished at all; others, that I should not live to see it covered. I was of another mind; nothing doubting but, as it was begun for God’s sake, He would provide what was needful for the finishing it.

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Susanna Wesley, mamă a 19 copii – Fereşte-mă de rugăciuni nechibzuite şi pripite

Susanna Wesley a fost al 25 -lea copil la parintii ei si ea insusi a nascut 19 copii, dintre care doar 10 au supravietuit, doi dintre ei fiind fondatorii Metodismului si copozitori de imnuri – John si Charles Wesley.

„Fă-mă în stare, Doamne, să îmi adun Şi să îmi ordonez gândurile înainte să mă apropiu de Tine în rugăciune. Tu eşti prea măreţ pentru a putea fi luat în râs, prea înţelept pentru a fi tras pe sfoară de o închinare batjocoritoare şi deteşti o jertfă nesinceră. Ajută-mă să păstrez mereu vie amintirea desăvârşirii Tale, ca un nepreţuit sprijin împotriva purtărilor formaliste şi reci. Fereşte-mă de rugăciuni nechibzuite şi pripite şi de momente în care să mă refugiez în propriile preocupări sau plăceri, ca şi când niciodată n-aş fi cunoscut rugăciunea.” (Susanna Wesley, mama lui John & Charles Wesley)

Susanna Wesley este una dintre cele mai remarcabile figuri din galeria femeilor credinței. S-a născut în ianuarie 1669, fiind ultima din cei 25 de copii ai dr. Samuel Annesley. Tatăl ei, provenind dintr-o familie puritană, a absolvit Universitatea Oxford și a fost hirotonit ca păstor. El a învățat-o să citească și să gândească pentru ea însăși. Amintind-și de perioadă din copilărie, Susanna Wesley scria: „Am fost înconjurată de cărți bune și am învățat să am propria judecată„. Nu a mers la Universitate și nu a avut nici o educație formală; în secolul XVll acest lucru nu era posibil pentru o femeie. Susanna mărturisea: ”Daca Universitatea ar fi admis femei m-aș fi regăsit printre studenți, inclusiv printre dezbaterile teologice și tipăriturile școlii.” Soțul ei, Samuel, a absolvit Universitatea Oxford în 1688 și în noiembrie, același an, s-au căsătorit. Au avut 19 copii pe care Susanna i-a iubit foarte mult. La rândul lor, aceștia au iubit-o cu aceeași măsură. John mărturisea că atunci când avea 6-7 ani gândea că niciodată nu se va căsători “pentru că nu voi putea găsi o soție așa cum are tatăl meu”.

Și-a ținut casa cu foarte multă strictețe: dietă simplă, devoțiune în fiecare dimineață și seară, pedeapsă strictă dacă era cazul, supraveghere atentă a educației copiilor. Susana a fost perseverență în a-i învață pe copii Biblia, Latină, Greaca, anatomie, teologie, poezie. Valorile învățate în cămin au fost: toleranță și acceptarea celorlalți, compasiune față de săraci, iubire față de lume, generozitate, ospitalitate, prietenie, fidelitatea. SURSA (Citatul via Tim D)

The Diary of John Wesley – Chapter 3 – Field-Preaching; „All the World my Parish”; Whitefield; Wales; Experience with Demons

Wesley preaches in open air. Click photo for source

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The events of Chapter 3 take place between March 15and October 28 of the year 1739. It starts out with Wesley reluctantly leaving London for Bristol to meet with George Whitefield where he reconciles himself to the „strange way of preaching in fields”.  After preaching in the open air in Bath, he is summoned before Beau Nash and charged with acting against Parliament and of his preaching he is charged with „frightening people out of their wits”.

After  recording in his journal some sermons to thousands, the chapter concludes with Wesley praying over a demon possessed woman.

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