from Seedbed by Andrew Dragos
John Wesley was born in 1703 at Epworth, England, to parents Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His father was rector in the Church of England and his mother a parent to John’s nine other siblings, including renown hymn writer and minister Charles. John Wesley lived during a century when Deism—the idea that God is far-removed from and uninvolved in his creation—was rising in the academy and the Church. It was in this climate that John Wesley’s call and ministry came to fruition, and in which the First Great Awakening answered many profound needs of the culture.
The shape of John Wesley’s call and ministry were profoundly impacted by his upbringing, including his mother’s rigid approach to raising her children. The spiritual heritage of Puritanism, with its emphasis on discipline and personal religious affections, and of Anglicanism, with its sacramental orientation, made its way to Wesley originally through his parents. One event in particular marked his sense of vocation—the saving of his life from a fire at the Epworth rectory in 1709. After this experience, he was regarded as providentially set apart for God, and he referred to himself as a “brand plucked from the fire.”