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December 2, 2019 12:00 am
Have you ever read a book or evaluated someone's life and thought that if you did what that person did things would turn out great for you and your family.
Maybe if I use these 16 rules of conduct. I make sure my my kids are structured in in their bed by 8 PM and I have devotions under my apron. Maybe I'll have the kind of home Charles and Susanna had all my children will become participants in the coming great weight, my godly mother names Stephen Devi continues his series looking at the biographies of some Christian heroes who have gone before us, we come today to the biography of Susanna Wesley. We don't study her life so that we can learn to be just like her to potentially have children like hers we study her life so that we can be encouraged to be more like Jesus. This is wisdom for the heart and today Stephen continues through his series entitled legacies of light. Susanna Wesley considered her home to be a mission field, and will learn about that next you dig back into church history 300 years or so ago you find one particular woman worth getting to know she attempted to live up to this responsibility of Proverbs chapter 1 verses eight and nine responsibility to teach and instruct and counsel for children with biblical truth. Her name was Susanna Wesley. She was born in the pastor's family in the late 1600s not to give you sort of a setting of the stage so that we can better understand her and appreciate her. The 17th and 18th centuries were among the worst years in England's history. If you think our generation is morally bankrupt just go back in time to these years. One author wrote that England had degenerated into a moral cesspool Thomas Carlisle. The 19th century philosopher and by the way, the believer wrote that England had a stomach that was well alive, but it's sole was dead lawyer, William Blackstone visited the church of every major clergyman in London during the same period of time and later wrote that in most sermons. He wrote it was impossible to tell whether the preacher was a follower of Cicero Mohammed or Jesus Christ. Gambling was so extensive that another historian called England one vast casino. Newborns were left exposed to die in the streets.
Just as in late Roman days. Tickets to public executions were sold like theater tickets the slave trade. Further callused the nation's conscience the same author wrote historians now recognize that the nation of England changed course in the 18th century. Largely through the great awakening in the ministries of George Whitfield and John Wesley, among others, including his brother Charles. Most people know of these founders of Methodism John and Charles Wesley. Rather, few know much about the woman who served as the early teacher and mentor. This woman named Susanna by the way, I think you'll appreciate her as we go along. She she would not have been surprised at all with two of her sons would become the catalyst for great awakening.
She kind of expected that. I think two men whom God would use to literally reshape England's spiritually intellectually, morally, and for years to come. Only backup to the beginning. Susanna was born in the home of a London pastor and his wife. She was the youngest of 25 children.
25 you heard that right. Since this was before TV shows featured large families and these families had no royalties in the live off of. They suffered poverty as you can imagine Susanna's father passed down to his youngest daughter seem to be fairly close his own passionate personality was passionate for justice and the holiness of God and he kinda gave her.
I think his backbone of steel on one occasion Susanna's father, which I found myself, digging in his life had to stop because I really wasn't pursuing his story, but on occasion Susanna's father was invited to preach the parliament and he chose as his text. Job 27 five which reads far be it from me that I should declare any of you right wanted to ask.I will you do well in Washington either. By the way, and he was never invited back. Surprise, surprise. During his father's ministry. The church grew tremendously in the was involved in the seminary and young seminarians would often visit with them sometimes in his home on one occasion a young man named Samuel. Young seminarians came for a visit.
Susanna was 13 at the time and he was 19 and this is the part you might not want your daughters to hear okay but they immediately had an attraction for each other and if years later they married their first child will be born a year later. Although Samuel was an Oxford scholar, this young man she married.
He was placed by the Church of England in a small country parish hundred and 50 miles away from London population 206 and their parsonage was literally a mud hut with no glass in the windows just wooden shutters.
In fact, one author said that the house was perched on a rotted mud road surrounded by little farmsteads with scraggly pastor. To make matters worse, Samuel wasn't well-liked and it wasn't long before the parishioners responded with hostility's were difficult days. In fact, one of the forgotten aspects of ministry during these terrible days of spiritual darkness was the price paid by those who preached the gospel and they would be among them effect in my research I catalogued these following abuses by people living around them. People in their parish even attending church with them several to string together, they demonstrated their displeasure by mocking the children on a couple of occasions. They burned the family crops. They damaged the parsonage burning it to the ground. On one occasion they slipped the otter of the family cow so she couldn't give milk and the even killed the family dog. On one occasion when Samuel's political views defended the king villagers gathered around that parsonage one night not knowing by the way that Samuel was away on church business.
Susanna and her children were there alone, but they shouted through the entire night beating on drums and firing their weapons.
Susanna at that moment was just recovering from delivering her 16th child in the babies nurse was so exhausted after that night of commotion and childbirth that she lapsed into a deep sleep rolling over on the baby and crippling it for life. A few years later, in 1709, villagers torched the Wesley's home in the middle of the night. They all scramble out the safety, including Susanna, who at that time was expecting her 21st child. When I got outside, they did a headcount and found they were missing one of their children six-year-old Jackie was his nickname. He went by his real name was John. He awakened later but was unable to get upstairs because of the fire.
So we stood on the chest by the open window and was spotted by a neighbor down below and one neighbor picked up another neighbor on top of the shoulders and reached up and grabbed John a little Jackie literally snatched him moments before the roof fell in.
John would later go on in his ministry and take as his life motto, testifying that he was a quote brand snatched from the burning medic both physically and spiritually. That didn't other troubles. One parishioner demanded immediate payment of the debt that Sammy was unable to pay the others pastor thrown in debtors prison now after that little list you might wonder of God to call you something a little more safe. Frankly, we have no idea today of what it meant to preach the truth as a relates to the current issues of of the day.
In fact, if you do a little study on that brand plucked from the burning. John Wesley's ministries Chapel pulpit in London was designed so that it was entered down from the balcony. It could not be accessed from the floor and that was to protect John on one occasion he preached on the evil of slavery and the congregation rioted breaking apart the pews and he was able to escape up into the balcony and do offices that I've had the opportunity to tour there in the balcony area that stood in his pulpit and marveled that his courage he was well-prepared by the way, by watching his own parents suffer greatly. None of their ministry challenges would compare the pain of losing so many of your children in their first seven years of marriage. Susanna will deliver seven children, three would die included a set of twins.
They would end up having 21 children but only nine of them would survive childhood. Imagine burying 11 your children, including two sets of twins.
It would be these surviving children that mattered most to Susanna. She literally dedicated her life to them to live out Proverbs chapter 1 verse eight and nine to teach and the Council their minds and hearts to wrap around their hearts truth, like you'd wrap a scarf around your neck to keep you can imagine, with all the activity and challenges of this household is Susanna hardly had any time alone. One biographer wrote that she struggled to find a secret place to get away and she finally gave up telling her children that whenever they came in and saw her with her apron over her head. She was in prayer and could not be disturbed. Imagine the only way you get a lot. As for your apron over your head in there there's your quiet time so she found time not only for herself and her children, but as the age she actually began to give each child attention individually affect after her oldest moved away. She decided to intensify her personal counsel with her remaining eight children, so she devised a plan to spend one hour a week with each child in conversation we have her schedule on Monday. It was Molly on Tuesday. It was heavy. Wednesday was for Nancy Thursday held an hour for Jackie. Friday was Patty's day.
Saturday was little Charles day and Sunday two hours devoted individually to Amelia and Susanna nicknamed Suki dedicated to providing the Council of biblical truth, like other biographies in our our study in the series it's it's kind attempting to put it. Here and leave well enough alone. Most of what I knew about Susanna and Samuel Wesley ended with what I just delivered to you, other factors are worth noting. In fact and in order to have a realistic perspective on the home on raising children on ministry leaving certain realities hidden behind closed doors and appearing as if they didn't exist. I think there is a lot of damage. For one thing, especially in the church. We create heroes out of clay pots and were all clay pots. We assume also that if we do everything we see somebody else doing the least that which we visibly see that our lives will be as satisfied and fulfilling.
As we assume their lives are. Maybe if I use these 16 rules of conduct. I make sure my my kids are structured in and there in bed by 8 PM and I have devotions under my apron.
Maybe I'll have the kind of home Charles and Susanna had in all my children will become participants in the coming great awakening. We could be left to believe that that only works if you don't know much about their home or anyone else's home for that truth is, Samuel and Susanna struggled their entire marriage with inflexible personalities and stubborn will, in fact, on one occasion Samuel prayed at the dinner table for the king and at the end of the prayer. Everyone said amen except Susanna. He demanded to know why she simply told the king William of Orange was not the rightful king the King James II was the one should be on the throne and she would not say amen. Samuel stood to his feet in front of the children and demanded she repent and say amen.
She refused. He then said well we must part ways. For if there are two kings then we shall have to bed and he left the house in a fury.
Couple months later, he returned to see if she changed her mind. She hadn't, after which he told her that he would leave her and never see her or the children again. It wasn't the first time he left in a rage and it wouldn't be the last 1 Is Way out of town on a particular incident.
By the way Samuel met another clergyman persuaded him to persist in his marriage vows regardless of his wife's political views, so he relented and on his way back to the house. Samuel discovered that the parsonage was on fire.
More than likely by villagers once again. So he stayed rebuilt the parsonage reconciling with Susanna agreed to disagree about which king should be on the throne in their 15th child, John Wesley was born a year later. Other issues plague their home.
Samuel was not only a poor manager of money. He evidently didn't really care to repay his debts as he should. He would go to jail twice for failing to pay his bills and it would be the mercy of others to bail amount he had several failed attempts to make money beyond his ministry and frankly beyond his abilities friends since he was convinced of the church really needed was an exhaustive commentary on the book of Job in the Latin which the average person could not read one biographer wrote that Samuel use most of their meager funds for this publication which the never sold. He then tried publishing poetry, but it was an embarrassment on the joke and he seemed oblivious to it all. Perhaps you've seen that in others that lack of of self objectivity where someone is convinced that they are good at something and everybody just got a bite spherulitic around them.
Not willing to tell them the truth. This was the case here. As a result, the Wesley lived on the edge of destitution. They lived in perpetual debt owing to Samuel stubbornness affect his debts would never be repaid fully until after he died, and John his son paid them off whenever consistency in the home was due primarily to Susanna's efforts but trying to raise them alone, presented its own challenges.
While the world knows a lot about two of her 21 children the truth is she would be challenged and heartbroken over and over again with children who chose not to walk with Christ. Even after all of her efforts and this is worth saying as well because I fear especially the church, even to this day there is the belief that if you do a B and C outcomes. A spiritually minded child ladies and gentlemen, we can provide the truth God's spirit alone produces a spiritually minded child may give you some illustrations as unfortunate as they are. Their daughter Susanna the one nicknamed Suki chose to marry a nonbeliever who ended up physically abusing her. She nearly died in childbirth, and finally suffering from her husband's cruelty fled with her children. The London refused to ever reconcile their daughter Amelia also fell in love with an unbeliever, but ended the relationship after her brothers persuaded her, counseled her again. You, the absent person here is Samuel father and his counsel, but her brothers counselor and she listened.
Unfortunately, at the age of 44 million was so concerned that she would never marry that she married too quickly. A man without proof of his character. You soon took her life savings and left her with his debts and their dying baby another daughter they nicknamed heady ran off with a lawyer who promised her future home and marriage.
A few months later he changed his mind and she returned home pregnant and disgraced.
Unfortunately, her father, Samuel disowned her and then foolishly demanded that she marry a local plumber to rescue her reputation and she agreed and then endured an unhappy marriage.
Only after Samuel's death did she and her mother. Susanna reconciled and they enjoyed a rich, affectionate relationship. Finally, their daughter, Martha also married a man without genuine spiritual interest. He was often unfaithful to her. On two occasions he brought home illegitimate children fathered by himself, whom she chose to raise as if they were her own.
Her husband eventually left her for another woman and then died overseas. The wonder that Samuel's repeated abandonment of his family, his unwillingness to manage his household well is stubborn arrogance, the demanded applause for his minor achievements, all the while overlooking the needs of his wife and daughters. As you can imagine brought great difficulty and pain into Susanna's life and avoid into the lives of his daughters event. Susanna once wrote out a prayer while in the crucible of pain that sheds some light on her commitment to the sovereign purposes of God she prayed my quote all my sufferings by the admirable management of omnipotent goodness have concurred to promote my spiritual and eternal good. Glory be to the old Lord Susanna Wesley never preached a sermon she never published a book she never planted a church, but she became known as the mother of Methodism and that's because, while several of her children abandoned the faith.
She so persistently believed and taught two of her children. John and Charles would embrace it and would impact their world.
Charles would write more than 9000 him. John would preach to over a million people as the Methodist movement took England by storm.
A movement named after methodical, systematic methods of the gutter name, methods, systems, structure patterns, by the way, that ironically mirrored the structured upbringing under the tutelage and counsel of John and Charles mother to study all of unlike her husband, Susanna said late in life, and I quote, I am content to fill a little space. If God be glorified when his father, Samuel died. John Wesley moved his mother into their ministry headquarters that included church school clinic headquarters were a host of people and itinerant preachers lived as this movement grew and she kinda became a mother to the mall. She passed away on July 23, 1742 and most of her adult children gathered in those final days. Her last command to her children was recorded as this children as soon as I am released seeing a Psalm of praise to God.
Her son John bought the land where she was buried. He built another home nearby where he would live and he positioned his desk near a window facing that cemetery was sort of a way of being reminded of the verse that his mother had obviously attempted to live out, not perfectly, but passion here, my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head ornaments around neck. They will guide they will be like a beacon throughout. That's good wisdom for your hard today.
Stephen Davey is working his way through a series entitled legacies of light is examining the lives of some Christian heroes who provide a godly example to us today as we begin to approach the Christmas season. I want to make you aware of a couple resources that I think will interest you as you are considering gifts for your friends and loved ones. Stevens taken the content of this current series legacies of light and turned it into a beautifully bound hardback book. Each one of the biographies were studying is a chapter in the book. It's a wonderful resource to add to your library of Christian resources or to give to a friend. We also have a new book in our children's collection written by Stephen's son Seth.
It's called Marvel at the mystery and gives children an insightful look at the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Both of these resources. Legacies of light and marvel at the mystery are available today and we can give you information if you call us at 86 648 Bible.
That's 866-482-4253. You also find both of these resources on our website which is wisdom online.org while you're there, be sure and explore all of the other resources we have available wisdom for the heart is made possible by the generous support we receive from our listeners, and would be grateful if you can help us this month with a gift to the ministry. You can do that online or call us at 86 648 Bible.
I hope we hear from you. I also hope that you will join us tomorrow for our next lesson here on wisdom for the heart