They Went Before Us to Show Us the Way ~ Money and the Heart


Wesley and Money

Miss Margaret Lewen, of Leytonshire, a devout woman, was rich in property, but poor in health. Her father told John Wesley that his visits to her had done more good than those of all her physicians. Conscious of her great spiritual debt to Wesley, when she heard that he had fallen from his horse in December, 1765, he was then in his sixties, she presented him with a chaise and a team of horses.

Some years later she died, and it transpired that Wesley received a grateful legacy from her of a thousand pounds. Of her death he wrote in his journal in November, 1776: “I found it needful to hasten to Leytonshire, but I came too late. Miss Lewen died the day before, witnessing that good confession,

Nature’s last agony is o’er,
And cruel sin subsists no more.

So died Margaret Lewen, a pattern to all young women of fortune in England, a real Bible Christian. She rests from her labors and her works do follow her.”

The next year Wesley received the proceeds of this legacy and began at once to give it all away to the poor. Thomas Olivers said of this: “Hundreds and thousands are forever draining Mr. Wesley’s pocket to the last shilling, as those about him are eyewitnesses, those in particular who a few years ago saw and experienced his generosity in giving away by fifties and by hundreds the thousand pounds left him by Miss Lewen.” To Mrs. Hall, his sister, Wesley once wrote: “You do not consider money never stays with me; it would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible lest it should find a way into my heart.”

This article is from the book “One Hundred and One Methodist Stories” by Carl F. Price and published by the Methodist Book Concern.

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