Skip to content

The mother of the Wesleys was herself the daughter of a prominent Dissenting minister. Brilliant, beautiful, and strong-willed, she had a profound influence on her children and thus on the Methodist movement. She was the devoted mother of at least nineteen children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. When the children were small, she developed a remarkable and effective method of education and spiritual nurture. As they grew older, she wrote manuals for them on such topics as the attributes of God, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Holy Spirit. John, Charles, and the other children relied on her wise counsel on matters spiritual, theological, and personal.

“As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children insures their after wretchedness and irreligion; whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety.”From a letter to her son John, July 24, 1732, describing her method of child-rearing

“A Christian ought, and in general does, converse with the world like a stranger in an inn; he will use what is necessary for him, and cheerfully enjoy what he innocently can; but at the same time he knows it is but an inn, and he will be but little concerned with what he meets with there, because he takes it not for his home.”From a letter to her son Samuel, around 1704

“In all things endeavor to act on principle, and do not live like the rest of mankind, who pass through the world like straws upon a river, which are carried which way the stream or wind drives them.”From a letter to her son Samuel, October 1709

“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”From a letter to her son John, June 1725

“For my own part, after many years’ search and inquiry, I still continue to pay my devotions to an Unknown God. I dare not say I love Him; only this, – I have chosen Him for my own Happiness, my All, my only Good; in a word, – for my God.” From a letter to her son John, January 1, 1733