In Fetter Lane's first of final two blog entries on reason/revelation, we will conclude our thoughts. Wesley warns those who would look with disdain at the use of reason, thinking it inferior to things directly communicated/received from God. We now continue with his Sermons, #70, "The Case of Reason Impartially Considered", and we see how proper use of reason can bridge the gap between what we know and what we need to know:
"Suffer me now to add a few plain words, first to you who under-value reason. Never more declaim in that wild, loose, ranting manner, against this precious gift of God. Acknowledge 'the candle of the Lord,' which he hath fixed in our souls for excellent purposes. You see how many admirable ends it answers, were it only in the things of this life: Of what unspeakable use is even a moderate share of reason in all our worldly employments, from the lowest and meanest offices of life, through all the intermediate branches of business; till we ascend to those that are of the highest importance and the greatest difficulty! When therefore you despise or depreciate reason, you must not imagine you are doing God service: Least of all, are you promoting the cause of God when you are endeavouring to exclude reason out of religion. Unless you wilfully shut your eyes, you cannot but see of what service it is both in laying the foundation of true religion, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and in raising the superstructure. You see it directs us in every point both of faith and practice: It guides us with regard to every branch both of inward and outward holiness. Do we not glory in this, that the whole of our religion is a 'reasonable service?' yea, and that every part of it, when it is duly performed, is the highest exercise of our understanding?"
We're just have to get used to the idea that God wants us to use our minds! Yes, his Holy Spirit illumines our minds as we study his word, but we must study his word before we can be enlightened.
Now, I believe Wesley to be a genius; few of us can be like the Oxford scholar. However, my Methodist hero, the Class Leader William Carvosso, proved that a regular guy can think thoughts worthy of a Christian.
So, what are you thinking about today? ;-)