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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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

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

Thomas Coke:- 1747 – 1814

Yesterday I went to the Gathering at Brecon Cathedral being held in memory of Thomas Coke who died  200 years ago  on May 3rd 1814.

He had set off, with six young colleagues, on a new mission to south-east Asia, dying en route and was buried at sea.

Those present were welcomed by the Dean of Brecon Cathedral, the Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall.

The main speaker this afternoon was the Reverend the Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port. He gave us an inspirational talk entitled: ‘Thomas Coke: Looking Back, Looking Forward’

Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port

Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port


I managed to have a few words with Lord Griffiths after the service and shared with him that I recently came across an article which he had written for the May 1985 issue of the ‘Epworth Review’ about Basil Willey.

I also mentioned to him that I had once lived in Burry Port (many years ago before the new marina had been built).

Before Lord Griffiths spoke, our Superintendent of the Gwent Hills and Vales Methodist Circuit, Rev Cathy Gale, talked about Coke’s Mission to the West Indies.

The Benediction was given by Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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Coke was born in Brecon, the son of a medical practitioner. He was educated at Brecon Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford, and was elected mayor of Brecon shortly after graduating in 1768.

Coke took Holy Orders in August 1772 but was ejected from his curacy in Somerset for trying to run the parish on Methodist principles. He moved to London and placed himself under the direction of John Wesley, swiftly reaching a position of prominence.

Coke has been described as being “in some respects the most important of John Wesley’s recruits to Methodism from the ranks of the Anglican clergy. He was certainly the most dedicated of Wesley’s clerical supporters.

His greatest achievement was in the field of foreign missions. He made a total of eighteen trans-atlantic trips, and is regarded as one of the founders of the Methodist Church in the United States and West Indies.

Coke also made repeated visits to Ireland and the Continent of Europe, and served as President of the British Conference in 1797 and 1805.

In December 1813 Coke set sail from England to establish a mission in India but died at sea on 3 May 1814.

 

Thomas Coke 1747-1814

Thomas Coke 1747-1814

 

The Grit in the Oyster – Easter Message from Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference

This is the Easter Message from Ruth Gee, the President of the Methodist Conference:-


•Listen to the message as a podcast – http://methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/podcasts/the-grit-in-the-oyster

In her Easter message, the President of the Methodist Conference has spoken of Mary Magdalene and the many misunderstandings about her story. Imagining what Mary Magdalene would say to us if she were alive today, the Revd Ruth Gee tells the story of Jesus’s crucifixion: “I have a name and a story, precious to me – and to him. But for many that is not enough, or unvarnished it is too much…I was with him – with him right to the end – the bitter end.”

At the end of her message, the Revd Ruth Gee challenges us to hear the good news of resurrection afresh this Easter. “Perhaps (Mary Magdalene) would challenge us to live as those who know that God’s love extends to all people,” Ruth says. “Perhaps she would ask us to listen the voices of those who struggle to be heard because others regard them as unworthy.” 

The full message follows: 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb…(John 20:1)

Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the empty tomb, the first to be commissioned by the risen Christ. What can we, today’s disciples, learn from Mary Magdalene? What would she say to us? Perhaps it would be something like this…

The grit in the oyster – that’s me.

I have a name and a story, precious to me – and to him. But for many that is not enough, or unvarnished it is too much.

So I, Mary of Magdala – Mary Magdalene – have become many things.

I have a name and I was with Jesus. He healed me, he restored me. Some talk of 7 demons – a good, complete, holy imperfect number. I was troubled – a great load was lifted from me and I followed him.

They have assumed many things about my demons and, wanting more than my name, more than my discipleship they have woven stories around me, wrapped me in their own ideas and fears and prejudice.

I became prostitute – a more comfortable image for them – dressed in scarlet, a modern-day Eve (she too was laden with assumptions and fears). The fallen woman – well, I was fallen like you but do not try to name my sins for your comfort.

To some I became weeper and foot-washer, disturber of the feast.

I would have washed his feet I would have let down my hair for his comfort but that was the service of another – I would not deprive her of it, that unnamed other Mary – she has her part too.

I became extravagant anointer of feet or head – reprimanded and remembered, surrounded by the sweet smell of abundant love. That was not my part – not then. Though I am myrrh-bearer my jar was unbroken.

Remove the layers, woven from the imagination and supposition of others, and what is left?

You are left with me, with Mary of Magdala

I was healed.

I was with him – with him right to the end – the bitter end.

I waited through the long hours leading to the cross.

I stayed at his feet as he died.

I followed him to the tomb and saw him laid there.

I prepared spices and ointments – finding my comfort in the certainty of the ritual. Anticipating the final service, the anointing.

I went to the tomb where certainty was stripped from me and the first glimmers of truth were revealed in the dawn.

I was commissioned.

I was not believed.

The simple truth: I was healed, accepted, with him to the end, myrrh-bearer, commissioned, apostle to the apostles.

But the plain truth is too much for some – the grit in the oyster.

Healed, accepted, commissioned.

That is the truth.

That is immeasurable – that is precious.

I will fight for it.


Perhaps this is what Mary would say. Perhaps she would challenge us to hear the good news of resurrection afresh this Easter. Perhaps she would challenge us to really live as those who know that God’s love extends to all people. Perhaps she would ask us to listen the voices of those who struggle to be heard because others regard them as unworthy.

Perhaps, Mary Magdalene would say these things. But most of all, most importantly and most urgently, I believe she would say, “Christ is risen!” She was healed, accepted and commissioned to share the good news – so am I – so are you.

Will you accept the commission? 

Come share our Easter joy
That death could not imprison,
Nor any power destroy,
Our Christ, who is arisen!
(Fred Pratt Green)

 

Yours, in Christ

Geoffrey