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

The Story of Susanna Wesley- Pastor’s Wife (3)

A Character story about patience.

Susanna Wesley- Pastor's Wife (3)

In 1697 the Wesleys moved to Epworth and Samuel headed St. Andrew's parish. "This will surely help our money problems," he said to his wife. "Instead of 50 pounds of year, I will be making 200! Now we can borrow some money to consolidate our debts."

"Are you sure this is wise?" Susanna asked. But Samuel was determined to go ahead.

However, the bright prospects of this new opportunity were clouded with other problems. Through a conflict with government rules regarding land, the people of Epworth were very hostile toward 'outsiders.' Though Mr. Wesley did not try to take their land, he did preach hard sermons, wanting to make the people submit to God. This made enemies.

In the mean time, Susanna worked to make her five children at home submit to God's authority. No child was ever given what he cried for and every disobedience was punished. She said, "When a child is corrected, he must be conquered, and this will be no hard matter to do, if he be not grown headstrong by too much indulgence. And when the will of a child is totally subdued, and he is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies and inadvertences may be passed by. Some should be overlooked and taken no notice of, and others mildly reproved; but no wilful transgression ought ever to be forgiven children without chastisement less or more, and as the nature and circumstances of the case may require."

Of course, Susanna had to be a good example before her children in submitting to the head of her home. Though she often disagreed with her husband, she still recognized him as the one God had made responsible for the decisions. She once told her children, "Your father and I seldom think alike, and rarely agree on a particular matter."

The years from 1699 to 1701 were again difficult ones. Susanna's 9th child was born, then a son John, and a year later Benjamin. Each child only lived a short time. Then twins were born and they too died soon after. Also during this time their home caught fire and two-thirds burned down. Samuel spent much time away from home and Susanna was often sick in bed. Then in the summer of 1701, Samuel and Susanna had a disagreement concerning who had the right to the throne of England. In a rage, Samuel vowed, "This time I'm leaving for good," and he moved to London, leaving his five children, and Susanna who was expecting her 14th child! Though Samuel was obviously not easy to live with, Susanna once wrote to her brother, "For better or for worse, I'll take my residence with him. Where he lives, I will live; and where he dies, I will die; and there will be buried. God do so unto me, and more also, if ought but death part him and me."

A few months later the king died, Anne became queen, and, since both Wesleys agreed she rightfully deserved the throne, Samuel moved back home. There he was introduced to his own Anne, his new daughter.

On June 17, 1703 Susanna gave birth to another son, her 15th child, but only the second son to survive. They named him John Benjamin (after two sons who had died earlier). Near John's 2nd birthday, another boy was also born.

Again Samuel Wesley became involved in a political struggle and this enraged some in Epworth. During the vote, people stood outside their window "drumming, shouting, and firing off pistols and guns." Susanna was so exhausted that she gave the baby to the nurse and went to bed. When the noise quieted, the nurse put the baby in bed with her but accidentally rolled onto him and killed him in her sleep.

Then Samuel found that his chief creditor was a relative of the man he campaigned against, and this creditor had Samuel thrown into debtor's prison. Though the Archbishop soon arranged for payment of the 300 pound debt, troubles from outsiders did not cease.

After the birth of another girl, Martha, Susanna bore Charles, the son who would eventually become one of the most respected hymn writers of all time. Do you know any songs Charles Wesley wrote?

One winter morning when John was 6, the Wesleys were awakened by a strange light in the house. Soon they realized the roof was on fire! (Some think angry neighbors started it.) Samuel began to gather his 8 children and his wife, who was 8 months pregnant. Little Charles was taken from the nursery and each of the others ushered out into the cold morning air. But as the roof blazed, little John stuck his head out of the 2nd floor window. Samuel tried in vain to re-enter the house. Just as he was about to give up, a strong neighbor braced himself against the wall while another climbed on his shoulders and rescued John, just seconds before the entire roof collapsed! He was indeed, as John referred to himself later, "A brand plucked out of the fire." (Zechariah 3:2)

Samuel gathered his family together and cried, "Come, neighbors, let us kneel down; let us give thanks to God! he has given me all my eight children. Let the house go: I am rich enough!" From this experience, Susanna recognized the special protection of God on the life of her son John. She told God that she purposed "to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child, that Thou hast so mercifully provided for, than ever I have been, that I may do my endeavor to instill into his mind the principles of Thy true religion and virtue." John later became Susanna's most famous son, for with George Whitfield, he founded the Methodist Church and brought revival to England!