I think most people are familiar with the saying, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” In the case of Samuel and Susanna Wesley almost the opposite is true: Susanna excelled as a godly mother despite the obstinacy and shortcomings of her husband Samuel. Arnold A. Dallimore delivers a fair overview of their lives in his biography of Susanna Wesley.
Rev. Dallimore does an admirable job of telling Susanna’s story through the first person accounts of almost all of the Wesley family members. He has culled through the historical records, reading the letters of Samuel, Susanna, their children, and their relatives to give us a fairly unbiased look at this notable family. The subtitle of the book is, “The mother of John and Charles Wesley,” which is no small gift to the world! The preaching and song-writing ministries of these two brothers has had a huge impact on both the secular and church worlds, which is still being felt today.
Samuel Wesley at times was distant from his family, to the extent of even abandoning them for a period of time, and was a very poor provider for his family. They were constantly in debt and struggling for the basic necessities. But despite these obstacles, Susanna created her own curriculum to instruct her children, and continued to correspond with them into their adulthood to give them her motherly wisdom.
What a debt of gratitude we owe to this godly woman for not only persevering but thriving in the face of challenges that would have thwarted most people. And we also should be grateful to Arnold Dallimore for his well-researched biography of this amazing woman.
(I previously reviewed Rev. Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield.)
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