John Wesley: A brand plucked from the burning

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H. P. Parker's painting of Wesley's rescue was a way of supporting a dissenting faction of the church. Image courtesy
by Joe Iovino

A servant named Betty went to the nursery to get the youngest children. Picking up the little ones, including Charles who was barely a year old, she called to 5-year-old Jacky (young John Wesley) and told him to follow her to safety. When she arrived in the garden, however, Jacky was missing.
Susanna explains that Betty “left Jacky to follow her, but he, going to the door and seeing all on fire, ran back again.”
Samuel attempted to get to his son several times, only to be beaten back by the flames that now consumed the staircase. Defeated, he returned to the garden convinced Jacky would not be saved. The family knelt and “prayed God to receive his soul,” he later wrote.

Plucked from the burning

“I believe it was just at that time I waked,” John Wesley would write many years later.
Remembering it “as though it were but yesterday,” Wesley recalls yelling for help and going to the door. Finally, he went to the window where “one in the yard saw me.”
With no time to find a ladder, a couple of quick-thinking neighbors did the next best thing. One stood on the other’s shoulders and pulled Jacky through the window “just as the roof fell into the chamber [his room],” Susanna reports.