A Tribute to Susanna Wesley
It has been written that Susanna Wesley is "the mother of Methodism" even though it was her sons John and Charles Wesley who started it. Methodism was an offshoot of a club that the brothers oversaw called "The Holy Club." The men in this club adopted rules for right living. In a book titled Wesley Gold. Pure. Refined, Ray Comfort compiled information about the Wesleys and the way they lived. He says this about the people who belonged to The Holy Club. "They divided their time into exact hours for study and for religious duties. They allotted as little time as possible to sleeping and eating, and as much as possible to holy devotions. They fasted until 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, received Holy Communion once each week, studied and discussed the Greek New Testament and the Classics each evening in a member's room, and methodically brought all their lives under strict examination by each other. Because of this, it wasn’t long before they were being called The Holy Club by other students to mock their emphasis on devotion and righteous living. The precision with which they regulated their lives caused one young man to say, 'A new set of Methodists have sprung up.'...John Wesley, in his English Dictionary, defines a Methodist as 'one that lives according to the method laid down in the Bible.'"
When we investigate the details of the way of life established for the men of The Holy Club, we can trace their beginnings to the way Susanna Wesley raised her children. She was definitely a woman of influence where her boys were concerned. As a woman with strong devotion to her faith and family, and with a passionate love of the Lord, she taught her children disciplines that would stay with them for their entire lives.
It was at his mother's funeral in 1742 that John shared her advice on how to raise children. Here is some of what he shared:
I thought it fitting that we give tribute to this godly woman on Mother's Day. She was known as a woman of prayer whose petitions to the Lord had their intended result and a woman of uncompromising devotion to the Lord. Her strong faith and the impact it had on her children and others should be an inspiration. Susanna's life is a perfect example of a Proverbs 31 woman. "A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30) One day all of us will appear before the Lord. We cannot stand before Him empty-handed. Let her life be like a pattern for all of us to follow.
Joan E. Mathias