John Wesley's father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9,
1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector's
enemies. Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the
building. Two neighbors rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One
neighbor stood on the other's shoulders and pulled young John through the window.
Wesley said, "Come, neighbors, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has
given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough." John Wesley
often referred to himself as a "brand plucked out of the fire" (Zech 3:2; Amos
4:11). In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for
His mercy. Samuel Wesley labored for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but
consider what his family accomplished!
W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and
Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 251.
The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn't know what to do. Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had
been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was
hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened
to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church.
The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our
Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the
matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend
us." The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the
sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the
town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.
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