Susanna Wesley’s Home Teaching Methods

Susanna Wesley was the mother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

She gave birth to 19 children, 10 of which survived beyond childhood.

She taught all her children herself. As soon as they were all one year old (and some even younger), they were taught to fear the cane and only to cry softly.

Susanna believed that to create the right thinking minds in her children she first had to conquer their will, and make them obedient in all things.

She believed that if this did not occur then the children would become stubborn and full of obstinacy.

She often spoke of parents as being cruel if they allow their children to develop bad habits which they know must afterwards be broken if the child is to be able to lead a goodly life.

As soon as Susanna’s children had learnt to speak they were taught to say The Lord’s Prayer, which had to be said by them every day as soon as they awoke and at night before they went to bed.

As they grew older they were expected to say short prayers for their parents and recite some pieces of scripture.

Susanna taught them that if they cried they would receive nothing.

Her children were never allowed to talk loudly and were expected to study for six hours every day.

She wrote that it is almost incredible what a child may be taught in a quarter of a year, by vigorous application, if they have a tolerable capacity and good health.

In a letter to John Wesley dated 24th July 1732 Susanna Wesley wrote:-

There were several by-laws observed among us…..

  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, they should not be beaten. This rule prevented a great deal of lying.
  2. That no sinful action, as lying, pilfering, playing at church, or on the Lord’s day, disobedience, quarrelling, etc. should ever pass unpunished.
  3. That no child should ever be chid or beat twice for the same fault; and that, if they amended, they should never be upbraided with it afterwards.
  4. That every signal act of obedience, especially when it crossed upon their own inclinations, should always be 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…
  7. That promises be strictly observed; and a gift one 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…..
  8. That no girl be taught to work till she can read very well.

 

Where has today’s society gone wrong?

Nearly 283 years ago the methods adopted by Susanna Wesley when educating her children had many positive results. Her children, of course, included John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church and one of his brothers, Charles Wesley, who wrote more than 3,000 hymns.

Perhaps we should introduce Susanna Wesley’s teaching methods into the present educational curriculum!!!!

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Thomas Coke (1747-1814)

 

From Brecon to the World

Thomas Coke was one of the founders of Methodism and a major contributor to the globalisation of the movement. Born in Brecon, is travelled widely and initiated the sending of missions to many countries.

Brecon in the 18th Century

When Coke was born, Brecon was one of the most important towns in Wales. It was on the route to Ireland and the final stop for the first regular coach service into Wales from London.

It held one of the four Welsh Courts of Great Sessions of a prominent market town and administrative centre. It was also an important social centre for the local gentry and landowners who built many fine houses in the town.

Early Life

Born close to St Mary’s Church in Brecon, where he  was baptised, Coke was the son of a well-to-do apothecary (early pharmacist), Bartholomew Coke, and his wife, Anne. He was educated at Christ College in Brecon and at Jesus College, Oxford and he graduated from University in 1768.

In 1775 he became a doctor of Civil Law. In Brecon he was deeply involved in town life, serving first as a councillor and then as the Bailiff in 1770.

Early Methodism

The Methodist movement began in the 18th century with the teachings of John Wesley, who believed in bringing faith back into people’s everyday lives and that salvation was available to all. He was a charismatic speaker and often preached in the open air. Methodism became popular amongst the working class, although members of all social classes at the time became involved.

Early Ministry

In 1771 Coke was ordained as a priest and became curated in the parish of South Petherton, in Somerset. He first met John Wesley in 1776 and later became an important assistant to him, beginning his lifelong commitment to the newly developing Methodist Church. On Easter Sunday in 1777, to the sound of church bells, Coke was driven from his parish because the local Rector disapproved of his Methodist ways.

Profile and Personality

At only 5’1”, Coke was a short man but he had a youthful appearance that stayed with him throughout his life. He was described as volatile and impulsive but also quick to admit when he was at fault, warm-hearted and honest. John Wesley said of Coke in 1788: ’I creep like Laos and the ground I get I keep; but the doctor (Coke) leaps like a flea and is sometimes obliged to leap back again.’

In America

In 1784, Coke was ordained Superintendent and sailed for the newly formed United States with orders to organise an independent American Methodist Church. In Baltimore, Coke met with Methodist preachers and ordained their chosen leader, Francis Asbury, as a fellow Superintendent; though they were both later styled ‘Bishop’ by the Americans, much to John Wesley’s displeasure.

Coke made nine journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, meeting with the President, George Washington, speaking out against slavery and addressing the US Congress.

Father of the Methodist Missions

In 1786, Coke landed on Antigua in the Caribbean. Impressed by the devotion and quiet endurance of the slaves he found there, he was inspired to organise and encourage Methodist missions throughout the West Indies and elsewhere.

The costs were high and Coke often financed them from his own pocket. His marriages, late in life, to Penelope Goulding Smith, from Bradford-on-Avon, in 1805, and Anne Loxdale, of Liverpool, in 1811, she died less than a year later, helped fund his work: both women were strong supporters of their husband’s ideals, before their untimely deaths.

Death and Commemoration

Coke made his final voyage in 1814, at the age of 67, leading a team of missionaries to the Indian sub-continent. On Tuesday May 3rd, he was found dead in his cabin and was buried at sea.

His loss was greatly felt by the Methodist Church and many memorials were created to commemorate his life’s achievements. In Brecon, a memorial chapel was built in 1835, to which a school was later added. Churches bearing his name can be found in the United States, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and even South Petherton, his first parish.

Methodism in the World Today

Since Coke’s day, Methodism has continued to spread across the globe and today claims over 70 million members.

Modern day Methodists, such as the late Nelson Mandela, continue Coke’s legacy of ’a life of faith in God lived in service to others.’

In December 2013, the Methodist Church of South Africa said: ’Mandela’s life demonstrated the finest characteristics of the Methodist faith: integrity tempered with graciousness; a strong ethic of industriousness; and honesty with reconciliation.’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

PS For more information about Thomas Coke I would greatly recommend that you obtain a copy of the book by Cyril Davey entitled ‘Mad About Mission’

John Wesley’s Rule About Wealth

John Wesley’s rule about wealth which he gave to his followers was, “earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”

When he was at Oxford he had an income of £30 per year. He lived on £28 and gave the rest away, and so, too, when he received £90 and  £120.

The taxman became suspicious and asked for a statement of the silver plate he was sure that Wesley must possess. The preacher wrote to the tax office, “I have two silver spoons in Bristol and two in London; this is all the plate I have at present and I shall not buy any more while so many around me lack bread.”

The really happy people those who are more concerned with giving than with getting and having.

Wealth is not measured by its amount, but by the good it can do.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

My Heart Was Strangely Warmed

On May 24th 1738 John Wesley wrote in his journal:-

‘In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.

I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given to me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’

This experience was huge for Wesley and for the people called Methodists who follow in his footsteps. Prior to May 24, 1738, Wesley was a Christian, serving in Christian leadership. But after that fateful day, he was a new person!

When was the last time your heart was strangely warmed and your passion for God increased?

Jwesleysitting

 

John Wesley

Thomas Coke Lecture Given By Lord Leslie Griffiths

On Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, Lord Leslie Griffiths was the main speaker at Brecon Cathedral at the special celebrations commemorating the 200th Anniversary of Thomas Coke’s death,

If you were unable to go to Brecon Cathedral I have just uploaded a transcript of Lord Griffith’s lecture which you may view by going to:-

http://www.mywalkwithgod.net/ThomasCokeLecture.html

It was a very powerful lecture!
With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Thomas Coke: New Facebook Page

If you have a Facebook Page I would warmly invite you to become a member of our new Facebook Group about Thomas Coke.

May 3rd 2014 was the 200th Anniversary of the death of Thomas Coke, as many of you know.

Thomas Coke was born in Brecon and in 1776 he met John Wesley and became one of his Superintendents.

For more information about Thomas Coke and to become a member of the new Thomas Coke Facebook Group, please go to:-

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1420174768245580/
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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Charles Spurgeon: The Power of the Word

Charles Spurgeon called upon one of his congregation one Monday. He found her very busy washing wool in a sieve under a pump.

“Well, Mary,” said he, “How did you enjoy last Sabbath’s discourses?”

“Very much, sir; they did me much good.”

“Well, what was the text?”

“I’m sorry, I do not recollect.”

“Perhaps you remember the subject?”

“No,” said she, “it is quite gone from me.”

“Do you remember any of the remarks which I made?”

“No; they are all gone.”

“Well then, Mary,” said Charles Spurgeon, “it could not have done you much good.”

“Oh! But they did me a great deal of good.”

“How can that be?” he asked.

“I will tell you, sir, how it is; I put this wool in the sieve under the pump, I pump on it, and all the water runs through the sieve, but then it washes the wool.

So it is with your sermons; they come into my heart, and then they run right through my poor memory, which is like a sieve, but it washes me clean, sir.”

“You might talk for long while about the cleansing and sanctifying power of the Word,” said Mr Spurgeon, “and it will not make such an impression on your congregation as this simple story would.”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey