Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

Susanna Wesley- Pastor’s Wife 4 (conclusion)

A Character story about faithfulness.

Susanna Wesley- Pastor's Wife 4 (conclusion)

The fire of 1709 had spared the family, but had consumed everything else. Samuel and Susanna had no choice but to farm out their children to various relatives while a new home was being built. In less than a year a new brick parsonage was complete, and the family was reassembled. But Susanna noticed that the children's character had weakened during their absence. She immediately began what she called 'strict reform'. This involved assembling the children at 5am for Bible study and prayer! They read in groups of two, the eldest child with the youngest who could read, the next child with the next younger, etc. They would read from the Psalms and a chapter of the Old Testament. Prayer and breakfast followed.

Then it was time for school. This centered around language arts, always with the Bible as their primary textbook. Mrs. Wesley herself wrote a few of the other textbooks they used along side the Bible. After six hours of study, the family finished the day by singing the Psalms. At 5pm the children assembled again to read the Psalms and a chapter of the New Testament. Each evening Mrs. Wesley met with one of her children privately for an hour or two. This was a special time to each child when he could share questions, problems, or joys in his life. Susanna once said, "There is nothing I now desire to live for, but to do some small service to my children."

Since Kezia was her 19th and last child, Samuel and Susanna agreed to adopt a young man named John Whitelamb. Susanna taught him as her own child. They were later able to send him to Oxford where her son John tutored him without charge. Later still, John Whitelamb was ordained and returned to marry Susanna's daughter Mary, and to help Samuel in the church. Samuel was getting quite old now, and a stroke had left him partially paralysed. As he was less and less able to handle the church matters, Mr. Whitelamb and others took more responsibility.

Finally in April of 1735, Susanna called her children together to the bedside of their dying father. As his son John asked him of his assurance of heaven, Samuel gave a clear testimony that he was trusting alone in Jesus Christ for salvation. "The inward witness; that is the proof, the strongest proof of Christianity," he said. By this he meant that the Lord confirms our faith in Him through the inner assurance from His Spirit. On April 25th, he died, "full of faith and peace."

Where would a Pastor's wife live when her husband had died? Someone else would soon move into the parsonage. Susanna was now 66 years old and most of her money was needed to pay off debts. Often such poor widows became a burden to the Church or government. But because Susanna had been faithful in training her children, they nearly fought over the privilege of having her in their home! While Susanna was in the home of Samuel, Jr. Charles wrote to him, "She must be still, in some degree burdensome to you, as she calls it. How do I envy you that glorious burden and wish I could share it with you!"

During the next four years she spent a year each in the homes of four of her children. She taught her grandchildren during this time, just as she had done with her own. One of Charles' sons later said of his grandmother, "She had the happy talent of imbuing (filling) a child's mind with every kind of useful knowledge in such a way as to stamp it indelibly (permanently) on the memory." After this she moved into the home of John Wesley, where she stayed until her death at the age of 73. Neither did she 'take it easy' during those last few years. She continued as she had since she was 30 spending an hour each morning and each evening in a personal time of prayer and Bible study. John later noted how his mother was growing spiritually during her stay with him. Once Susanna wrote, "Though the education of many children must create abundance of trouble, and will perpetually keep the mind employed as well as the body; yet consider 'tis no small honour to be entrusted with the care of so many souls. And if that trust be but managed with prudence and integrity, the harvest will abundantly recompense the toil of the seed time; and it will be certainly no little accession to the future glory to stand forth at the last day and say, 'Lord, here are the children which Thou hast given me, of whom I have lost none by my ill example, nor by neglecting to instil into their minds, in their early years, the principles of Thy true religion and virtue.'!" How wonderful it would be if every mom and dad would be able to say that!

The last years of Susanna's life were not without troubles. She witnessed the death of her firstborn (age 49) and her youngest (age 30) before she died. She outlived only 5 of her 19 children.

On July 23rd, Susanna spoke her last words on earth: "Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God!" The amazing testimony of her life was that, though afflicted in many ways, yet she was able to accomplish God's purposes for her life. As far as we can tell, all of her children accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. Her husband Samuel was gone from his family much of the time, working to stop the corruption which he saw in the established Church. Meanwhile Susanna was working to train her children in the ways of God. They, in turn, changed the Church, and the country, and the world! For while France was in the midst of a revolution, England was turning back to God through the ministry of two of Susanna's sons, John and Charles. Even today, the witness of the Methodist church, and the hymns of Charles Wesley continue to bless many people. Of Susanna it could truly be said, 'The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.'