Wesley and Sanctification

By Harald Lindström


Problems and Previous Interpretations

John Wesley, it is claimed, "has had a wider constructive influence in the sphere of practical religion than any other man who has appeared since the sixteenth century."1 Naturally, the books about him are legion. The vast majority, however, treat him historically, or from the point of view of religious psychology; comparatively few have subjected his theological position to close scrutiny.

This fact reflects the usual conception of Wesley. He was the inaugurator and leader of the Methodist revival, and it is the practical, not the theological, aspect of his contribution to religion that looms largest in the popular consciousness. And this is obviously in accord with the facts. Even his thinking is practical in its aims. The principal stress falls not on opinions and doctrines, but on cast of mind and way of life.

Yet these considerations must not lead us to overlook the importance of the theoretical foundation of Wesley's message, which unites a strongly didactic with a prophetic element. Moreover, several of his publications are devoted exclusively to the treatment of problems of central importance in theology.

Increasing attention has been paid to the theoretical element in Wesley. Stephen found him almost entirely practical.2 And just as Wesley himself was not considered a speculative thinker, the movement emanating from him was thought untheoretical.3 A more theoretical evaluation will be found in Eayrs, who uses the religio-philosophical approach, presenting Wesley's thought as a system based on experience.4 By making everything turn on Christian experience, Wesley was able to pass beyond the proofs of the truth of religion advanced by such contemporary philosophers as Berkeley, Clarke and Butler. And Eayrs came to the conclusion that Wesley "made a notable contribution to thought in his century and for all time."5 Further, in Wesley's "theological empiricism," Cell saw the fruits of constructive theological thinking.6

In its general structure Wesley's view of Christianity has usually been described as a theology of experience. His affirmation of Christian experience is considered his main characteristic. Against the background of Deism and rationalism, Wesley and the Evangelical movement in England are seen as reactionary phenomena: an emotional reaction against an earlier intellectualism.7 Rationalism had to give way to faith and feeling.8 At the same time the reaction marks a transition from natural to supernatural religion.9 Wesley emphasized the necessity of God's self-revelation10; although, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, man is able to enter into immediate communion with God11.

Wesley's insistence on Christian experience means that he both supersedes and conforms to the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment led to the scepticism of Hume, but it was surmounted in Wesley by means of an irrationalism which naturally looked like enthusiasm to Locke and Butler and Hume.12 Whereas to Butler faith was a matter of intellectual conviction, to Wesley, in the words of Mossner, it was "an inward sentiment of instinctive feeling."13 Cell maintains that Wesley's contribution did not lie merely in superseding the narrow rationalism of the age by attributing prime importance in religious experience to feeling and will, but also -- and indeed chiefly -- in his strong reaction against the prevalent humanist Christianity and in going "clean over to a theocentric doctrine of Christian experience."14 At the same time, Cell points out, he upheld the empirical principles of the Enlightenment in his appeal to experience and in his construction of an experiential theology.15 With his experiential thinking, his way of regarding the Christian faith in the light of experience, Wesley built a bridge from the old to the new Protestantism.16

Bett, taking a strictly empirical view of Wesley, maintains that he founded religion and theology in the fact of experience.17 Experience, if it is genuine, must concur with Scripture, but the former is regarded as the final authority. In this Bett sees the main contribution of Methodism to modern theological thought and method.18 It anticipated Schleiermacher19, and at the same time, through the primary emphasis it gave to religious experience, it brought "the work of the Reformation to its legitimate and logical conclusion20." Earlier Workman on much the same lines as Bett but with even greater consistency, had insisted that the central fact about Wesley was his appeal to experience and particularly his doctrine of Assurance. This idea Workman calls "a lasting contribution to the life and thought of the universal Church."21 He sees it as the fundamental principle of Methodism and the explanation of its widespread influence; also as "the complete expression of that individualism the desire for which ... lay at the root of the Reformation."22 It was from this appeal to experience, moreover, that Wesley's doctrine of perfection sprang; the latter is regarded as a corollary of the former. The possibility of assurance of acceptance, Workman thinks, brought in its train the further possibility that "that consciousness shall be complete, 'without a cloud between'."23 Even Wesley's Arminianism., his belief in God's universal will of salvation, is to Workman a necessary corollary in his doctrine of assurance, which was based upon his appeal to experience.24

It is clear that such an approach might easily lead to an oblique and a too one-sided and subjective view of Wesley. Yet the adducing of additional factors and a shift of emphasis would undoubtedly make it more complete and nearer the truth. Thus Cell, who insisted on Wesley's theocentricity, shifted the emphasis from subjectivity towards objectivity. Lee and Frost also helped to correct the earlier one-sided view. Thus Lee maintains that it is only half true to say that Wesley revolted against the eighteenth-century idea of religion as purely doctrine and outward respectability, substituting the faith and feeling of the individual.25 Lee points out that in Wesley inward, individual experience is subject to the regulative control of the Bible, particularly as interpreted by the primitive Fathers, and reason.26 Contending that the experiential element in Wesley has been exaggerated, Lee also adduces other factors in his theology, ethical, rational and institutional. The typical thing about Wesley, the idea that has given him his place in the history of Christianity, Lee finds, is his "combination of mystical experience with the ethical, the rational, and the institutional elements in religion."27 The objective alignment of Wesley's thought is also brought out by Frost, who has made a special study of his attitude to authority. Experience is an important element and considered an authority, but the final authority is the Bible.28 Wesley himself was fully alive to the danger of making too much of individual experience: if man is not to go astray it must be checked by the Bible.29 And here a final reference might be made to Schmidt. In a study of Wesley's religious evolution up to 1738 he calls attention to the objective leaning of Wesley's conception of faith. There is a conflict, he says, between two concepts of faith, on the one hand that which centres on facts (justification, sin, judgment) and on the other that which centres on psychical attributes (inner peace and joy); but the former takes precedence. In other words Schmidt maintains that the Reformed conception of faith won ascendancy over the Pietist30, although in this respect psychical factors played a more important part for Wesley than for Luther31. From the objective point of view Wesley occupies a position midway between Luther and Pietism .32

Undoubtedly the one-sided and thus fallacious expositions of the experiential element in Wesley have required rectification, but the fact remains that Christian experience played a most important rôle in his theology. Scripture was the obvious foundation to which he always referred, but it was interpreted in the light of experience.33 Further, this experience was not simply his own personal experience but that of the Christian fellowship.34 At the same time positive value was ascribed to reason.

If we look further and try to determine the real tenor of Wesley's outlook, we are confronted by substantial problems. It is easy enough to indicate different features: High Church Anglicanism, with its roots in the traditions of the Early Church and its Arminianism. and practical mysticism; Calvinistic and Lutheran trends, the Lutheran view especially in the form of Pietism and Moravianism. But what is the dominant tendency: is there a single focal point? Or must we be content to identify the heterogeneous elements of a loose, ununified conglomeration?

In older studies prominence is frequently given to the Reformed trend, chiefly the Calvinistic, even when the complexity of Methodism is realized. We find Schneckenburger, for instance, describing it as "eine eigenthümliche Gestaltung des Protestantismus, und zwar eine dem arminianischen Wesen theils verwandte, theils entgegengesetzte Modification des reformierten Protestantismus..., welche aber bereits, durch die Brüdergemeinde vermittelt, lutherische Einwirkungen erfahren hat." It is described as a further phase in English Calvinism.35 Loofs regards Wesley and Methodism as essentially a manifestation of "universalistisch gerichteten reformierten Protestantismus."36 Both Wesley's own and the modern Methodist theologians' view of the relation between justification and sanctification is said to be "völlig korrekt." Yet certain "Eigenthümlichkeiten" are observable. For instance, the notion that entire sanctification can be attained in this life is found to be peculiar to Wesley.37 McGiffert sees Wesley primarily as an exponent of English Evangelicalism in reaction against rationalism. The experience of 1738 is called the birth of English evangelicalism .38 As a result of their antagonism to rationalism, the Evangelicals gave special prominence to doctrines which were repudiated or depreciated by it. Thus they emphasized human depravity and the necessity of redemption. Accordingly the doctrines of the deity and atonement of Christ are restored and the doctrine of regeneration becomes of primary importance.39 Wesley follows Luther in his view of salvation as a present reality and in the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. In another respect, in his chiefly ethical view of salvation and in his doctrine of perfection, he agrees with German Pietism.40 McGiffert also thinks that in the stress he lays on the Fall, Wesley is closer to historical Calvinism than to the High Church Arminianism. of the time. McGiffert does not deny the influence of the latter on Wesley, but maintains that his Arminianism., according to which man has some share in the work of his own salvation, is no more rationalistic than Calvinism. It is compatible with, or capable of subordination to, the main Evangelical element. It is true that Wesley and Whitefield represent disparate types of Evangelicalism, the former Arminian, the latter Calvinistic; but McGiffert finds the underlying interest identical in essence in both.41

In modern Wesley scholarship the great problem has been to reconcile the Reformed and the Arminian element. Interpretations fall into two main categories. On the one hand prominence has been given to the Reformed element; it is this that looms largest even when an attempt is made to do justice to other features. Alternatively, Arminianism. is given pride of place, with similar consequences. The Reformed interpretation accentuates Wesley's view of justification, the Arminian his conception of sanctification. In the latter case it is held that Wesley combines a Reformed doctrine of justification with a near-Catholic view of sanctification.

This difference in judgement is again seen in the answers given by modern Wesley scholarship to the problem of what really happened in 1738. Did Wesley's great experience that year constitute a decisive step towards the Reformed outlook, or was no real change of direction involved? Ought we not perhaps to make 1725 the really important turning point, when, at Oxford, under the influence of practical mysticism, Wesley was first inspired by his ideal of sanctification?

If we do this, 1738 becomes only the culmination of a process dating from 1725. This is the argument advanced by Leger.42 Later Piette also places the great turning point in 1725 instead of 1738. The experience of 1738 is described as "la conversion évangélique" or more precisely as "sa conversion à l'amour de Dieu."43 What happened, Piette thinks, was not that Wesley was converted to the Lutheran doctrine of justification through the mediation of Peter Böhler, the Moravian. Böhler's influence was different. It was he who made Wesley realize the fundamental importance of the love of God in the Christian life. As a result of his experience the feeling of intimate fellowship with God definitely became the dynamic force in his inward life and the source of his strength.44

On the whole Rattenbury follows Piette, but puts greater weight on Wesley's evangelical experience, which links him up with St. Paul and Luther45; though the danger of Antinomianism, present in Lutheranism, is absent in Wesley. In Wesley the acceptance of the Pauline doctrine of justification cannot result in a solifidianism that neglects the means of grace and ignores the consequences of faith in life.46 Rattenbury does not minimize the significance of Wesley's conversion in 1738. He says it meant a rediscovery of God47 and was the foundation-stone of "the permanent historical values of the Evangelical Revival.48 " But at the same time he is at pains to insist that in some respects Wesley remained a High Churchman even after 1738. In spite of his Evangelicalism, his sacramental teaching was largely High Church.49 Like Piette, Rattenbury indicates traits in Wesley which he considers imply a Catholic reaction in the Protestant development. Thus he finds the individualism and intellectualism of Protestantism balanced in Methodism as in Catholicism by Wesley's affirmation of the institutional and social, as well as the emotional, aspects of religion.50 The placing of the emphasis in the Christian life on love rather than on faith is another of Rattenbury's reasons for classifying Methodism with Catholic rather than Protestant devotion.51

Laura Petri and Lee also follow Piette's interpretation. Like Piette, Petri sees Wesley mainly as a mediator between Protestantism and Catholicism.52 Petri gives prominence to the idea of sanctity, which she makes the most characteristic feature in his portrait. Consequently she has to locate the real climax in Wesley's religious development in 1725, not in the so-called evangelical conversion of thirteen years later.53 Lee, stressing the Reformed side even less than Petri, asserts that the experience of 1738 was "not an evangelical but a mystical conversion -- that is, the conversion of a religious man to a higher state of religious devotion."54 The background necessary to an understanding of Wesley's mature position, Lee thinks, is neither German Pietism nor English Dissent, but seventeenth and eighteenth-century Anglicanism.55 In contradistinction to the Calvinist interpretation, Wesley's affinity with prevailing High Church Anglicanism is affirmed. Lee sees this reflected in Wesley's attitude to man as well. Thus he finds the idea of prevenient grace, in which Wesley is said to evince a Catholic view56, consonant with High Church Anglicanism.

The main lines of this interpretation will be found in Knox, who knew Wesley personally. According to Knox the essential characteristic of Wesley's attitude was his consistent ethical leaning.57 Böhler's influence, which led him to embrace the Reformed doctrine of justification, is also seen primarily from this angle.58 And the moral principle retained its supremacy.59 In his attitude to justification60 and faith61 it is again the ethical aspect that meant most to Wesley. Knox calls attention to the Early Church, Anglican element and the parallels with mysticism.62 The Lutheran influence on his conception of faith is pushed into the background: explained away as transient or modified with time.63 In short, Knox focuses all his attention on Wesley's general definition of faith as belief in the invisible world in accordance with Hebrews xi. 1. This means that he entirely underrates Wesley's view of faith in the sense of saving faith, faith in the atonement of Christ.64 The Arminian interpretation of Wesley can be further exemplified by another modern work. In a comprehensive study, Impeta maintains that in his process of salvation Wesley follows two main lines: one Calvinistic and the other Arminian.65 They run parallel, but the latter gradually grows in strength and finally dominates altogether.66 Wesley's "Calvinism" is regarded as a mere passing phase in his soteriological thinking.67

Cell is emphatically opposed to the strictly anti-Calvinist and Arminian interpretation which in Wesley sees a restorer of the Catholic tradition in English Christianity. He holds that the key to the understanding of Wesley lies in his radical criticism of the humanism which pervaded the Arminianism of the time.68 Reacting against this humanistic Arminianism he "went clean over to a theocentric doctrine of Christian experience."69 He returned to Luther's and Calvin's idea of a God-given faith.70 Thus for Cell the turning point in Wesley's religious and theological development is the experience in London in the spring of 1738. Then Wesley "crossed his religious Rubicon."71 In his attitude to the doctrine of salvation by faith he followed in the footsteps of Luther and Calvin. It was this that gave the revival its religious force.72 On the other side Wesley did not permit his reaction against humanism to turn him into an ultra-Calvinist. His opposition, however, to ultra-Calvinism was subordinate to his evangelical reaction against humanism.

This is Cell's main point. Keeping it in mind he goes on to try to do justice to Wesley's Arminianism. Wesley, he thinks, combined with his Calvinism valuable elements in humanism, as represented in Arminianism and Anglican theology.73 The doctrines of justification and sanctification are fused in a synthesis peculiar to Wesley, an amalgam of both Protestant and Catholic devotion. In this synthesis the doctrine of justification fulfilled the special needs of Protestant devotion and that of Christian perfection those of Catholic. Wesley joined these two ideas in his doctrine of Christian experience.74 Cell particularly emphasizes the agreement between Wesley's doctrine of justification and the theocentric outlook of Luther and Calvin. At the same time he is also anxious to point out that in this synthesis of justification and sanctification, God's work for us through Christ and His work in us through the Holy Spirit, Wesley "has transcended the principles of the Reformers, at any rate, has corrected a recognized limitation." He did this by combining the Reformed view of God's sovereign grace with the idea of saving faith as an active principle of holiness in the heart and life of man.75 He combined the Reformed doctrine of man's total sinfulness and entire dependence on grace with the Arminian doctrine of a freedom in man which makes him an acting subject with moral obligations. It is true that logically these two principles are contradicted but in experience, Cell maintains, freedom and dependence are joined.76

Of those who lay stress on the Reformed element in Wesley von Eicken, Scott, Schmidt, Lerch, and Lang may also be mentioned. Both von Eicken and Scott consider that Wesley upholds the Reformation view of justification.77 A departure, however, is seen in his idea of sanctification. The deviation here in relation to Luther is attributed by von Eicken in the main to the difference of period.78 Scott maintains that the place given to the doctrine of love by Wesley corresponds to that held by faith in Luther.79 The difference between Wesley and Lutheranism emerges most clearly of all in their ideas of the conditions of the Christian life.80 Whereas the conflict between the old and the new life is an essential feature in Lutheranism81, Wesley affirms the assurance of acceptance and the growth and victory of the Christian life.82

In describing Wesley's religious development up to his conversion in 1738, Schmidt too thinks that he can prove the affinity with Luther in the doctrine of justification.83 In the idea of the supremacy of faith over sin, however, he finds that Wesley deviates from Luther's conception of man as simul justus et peccator. In Wesley this idea is the first step in a perfectionist line of thought.84 The difference from Luther is found to lie particularly in the problem of the law.85 Whereas in Luther the conception of God discloses intense oppositions between Deus absconditus and Deus revelatus, between opus proprium and opus alienum Dei, in Wesley it is fundamentally homogeneous.86 Wesley's closeness to the Reformation, despite points of deviation, is also one of Lerch's contentions. This writer treats the experience of 1738 as a profound crisis affecting the relation between justification and sanctification.87 Wesley shares the Reformed principles of sola scriptura and sola gratia. In his strictly personal idea of faith he also agrees with the Reformers.88 The difference, Lerch finds, lies in his Arminianism and in his conception of sanctification. Wesley had greater faith in the possibility of deliverance from the power of sin and of man's experience of it.89 According to Lang, Wesley is "der gesegnete Herold der im Deismus weithin vergessenen reformatorischen Lehre von der Rechtfertigung aus Gnaden und Glauben allein."90 He restored the evangelical interpretation of the Scriptures and salvation to English Protestantism.91 Methodism is primarily Calvinistic, not Lutheran. Lerch defines it as a new form of puritanical Pietism.92 Its marked tendency towards ethical activism is ascribed chiefly to Law's influence.93 Wesley departed from puritanical Pietism in his view of predestination, and this had important results.94 On the one hand it meant that he drew close to Lutheran Pietism, on the other that he found himself attuned to modern times. Nevertheless, the foundations remained Reformed. In essentials his type of devotion remained the puritanical, in Pietistic form.95

These are the two main trends in the interpretation of Wesley, but there is also a third line of approach, which sees in Methodism the source of the so-called sanctification movements in the Protestant Churches. These are thought to derive from Wesley's doctrine of perfection.96 As in the Arminian interpretation the emphasis falls here on sanctification, but on its experiential aspect -- rather one-sidedly -- instead of on its real ethical import. Attention is concentrated on entire sanctification, conceived as a stage in the Christian life analogous to justification.97

The attention that has been paid to justification and sanctification in Wesley is natural. They are indeed of central importance in his preaching and thinking. His view of Christianity is dominated by a few central doctrines, which are reflected in Christian experience. First and foremost is salvation, its conditions and nature, and here Wesley is primarily concerned with justification and sanctification as the two fundamental doctrines.98 Of these it is undoubtedly sanctification that receives major attention.

We have seen that the idea of sanctification has given rise to difficulties of interpretation. It has proved difficult to place in Wesley's view of salvation and to show its inner organic structure. Particularly the relation to justification has proved a stumbling block in attempts to place sanctification in its right perspective. On the one hand the doctrine of justification easily acquires such prominence that full justice cannot be done to that of sanctification. On the other hand, the reverse error is made equally easily. Further, with regard to the relation between the two, the dual function of justification -- both present and final justification -- is not sufficiently regarded. Thus, even when the relation between sanctification and present justification has been correctly determined, it does not follow that the same has been done with the relation between sanctification and final justification. Under these circumstances it is clear that the significance of sanctification cannot be fully appreciated.

Sanctification itself is rarely presented in its full range. The conception is normally restricted. Sometimes it connotes Christian perfection only, no regard being had to the gradual development of sanctification from its commencement in the New Birth. Sometimes, it is true, the latter is included, but then entire sanctification is minimized. In neither alternative, moreover, has the significance, for Wesley's total view of salvation, of the principle of entire sanctification, been clearly expounded.

A general defect in many expositions of Wesley's view of sanctification and of his theology in general, is the complete or partial neglect of the internal links.99 In particular a more thorough analysis of his conceptions of sin, atonement, and the process of salvation, are necessary if we are to arrive at a more exact determination of the significance and place of sanctification in his view of salvation.

The aim of this study is to provide such a systematic-theological analysis of the function and significance of sanctification in Wesley's conception of salvation. Thus we shall try to see sanctification in its full scope and in its due relation to the conception of salvation as a whole. We shall try to elucidate the connection between sanctification and justification, with regard to final as well as present salvation. Only when this has been done will it be possible to understand the significance and place of the idea of perfection in his conception of salvation. Further, an understanding of the character of sanctification will call especially for a detailed examination of the idea of love, since love was regarded by Wesley as the very essence of sanctification. A study of Christian love should also throw light on his attitude to Christianity as a whole.

In the present study we must also allow for development in Wesley's views. After 1738 they underwent certain alterations and these will be pointed out. But there was no real change of direction. It is true that the years 1741 and 1770 have been indicated as particularly significant in the development of his outlook. But on careful consideration it will be seen that neither of these years can be said to mark the commencement of new periods: in both cases any new emphasis does not really depart from earlier principles. Laying the main stress therefore on the year 1738 we shall consider the differences and resemblances in his views before and after that date. In order to present his opinions with greater clarity and at the same time to recall the historical context, we shall compare his views on essential points with the basic outlook of the Reformation and subsequent Orthodoxy. We shall pay especial attention to practical mysticism, by which he was influenced. The most important name here is that of William Law, a contemporary who represented Arminian and High Church Anglicanism. Further, we shall deal with some of the fundamental characteristics of the Church of England, and of Moravianism, which exercised considerable influence on Wesley during his religious crisis in 1738.

Our task is assisted by ample records, primarily Wesley's own books, letters, and journals. Although he never wrote a systematic exposition of his views, a great deal of what he did write is doctrinal in character. There are, for instance, his Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament and his so-called Standard Sermons. The Methodists regard these sermons as the depository of his essential doctrines and the standard for their teachings. Wesley says that in his Explanatory Notes his chief guide was Johann Albrekt Bengel's Gnomon Novi Testamenti; his own work was a translation and abridgment of this. But he also used two commentaries by English Dissenters, The Family Expositor by Dr. Philip Doddridge and A Practical Exposition of the New Testament by Dr. John Guyse. To a lesser degree he also made use of another contemporary English book, a commentary by Dr. John Heylyn, a High Churchman, entitled Theological Lectures at Westminster Abbey with an Interpretation of the Four Gospels.100 As Lerch has shown, however, Wesley employed his sources with such independence that the result is a reflection of his own beliefs. He also provided his own textual interpretations and we are justified in regarding Explanatory Notes, like the sermons, as a reliable source of evidence on his outlook.101 It is true, of course, that these pronouncements, usually very brief, cannot tell us as much as the longer and continuous expositions in the sermons and elsewhere.

It was long believed that the standard sermons consisted of the fifty-three sermons in the first four volumes of Wesley's collected works, which were published in 1771. Actually, however, the originally specified standard sermons were those contained in the first four volumes of his Sermons. These were published between 1787 and 1788 and were only forty-four in number. With the exception of one additional sermon the contents were identical with the four volumes first published: in 1746, 1748, 1750, and 1760.102 To obtain as complete a picture as possible of his later years as well we shall also draw on other sermons. In these as well a doctrinal trend will usually be found side by side with practical aims.

Another obvious source for the present investigation is Wesley's abridgement of the Thirty-nine Articles, which became the doctrinal basis of American Methodism. We shall also make use of the minutes of the conferences at which problems of doctrine were discussed, as well as Wesley's major theological writings. Equivalent value will also be ascribed to his shorter dissertations and those of his tracts which are mainly didactic in character. On the other hand the purely edifying tracts, although they often throw light on Wesley's general attitude, will be treated as of secondary importance. A third category is made up of such tracts and treatises as consist of extracts selected by Wesley from other authorities approved by him. These will not be accepted as independent evidence, but only as corroborating conclusions already substantiated. The Prefaces to Hymns and Sacred Poems add to our knowledge of his early Evangelical outlook.

The exceptionally copious collection of letters, covering the seventy years from 1721 to 1791, is extremely valuable, for they are full of pronouncements on the Christian belief and its implications, and thus serve as additional data in the elucidation of his theology. The Journal also serves our purpose. It does not illuminate his religious development only but also -- and in no slight degree -- his theological position. This famous work, which covers the period 1735 -1790 and is perhaps unique of its kind, is an extremely detailed document, but is, of course, like his private Diary, chiefly of interest from the point of view of religious psychology and history.

References are to, and quotations from, Jackson's edition of Wesley's Works, with the following exceptions: for the Standard Sermons, Sugden's edition has normally been used; for the Letters, Telford's edition; for the Journal, Curnock's edition. For Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament, which is not included in Jackson's edition, the second edition of 1757 has been used. Two tracts not included in Wesley's collected works are cited in the original editions.

The dates given are Sugden's for the Standard Sermons, otherwise Jackson's. For this purpose I have found Green's Bibliography extremely valuable. The dates are those of publication, unless otherwise stated, except in the case of the Minutes, which are under the years when the conferences were held.



1 LECKY, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, II, p. 631. On his social importance, see SOMMER, John Wesley und die soziale Frage; BREADY, England: Before and after Wesley.

2 STEPHEN, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, II, pp. 409, 419. Cf. LECKY, op. cit., p. 629.

3 lb., p. 424.

4 "Anselm found in ontological reasoning support for his faith; Wesley argued from the facts of Christian experience. As a philosopher, he analysed and synthesized the contents of his consciousness and that of Christian persons, together with its results in character and conduct." EAYRS, John Wesley. Christian Philosopher and Church Founder, p. 131.

5 EAYRS, op. cit., p. 138. Cf. p. 17, 51, 58, 180.

6 CELL, The Rediscovery of John Wesley, p. 5, 7 ff. Cf. BETT, The Spirit of Methodism, p. 129 f. "There is no intention," LEE says, "to claim great theological originality for Wesley, but it is argued here that Wesley's position, theologically as well as otherwise, gives him importance for modern religion. It is necessary, therefore to turn to a consideration of his thought" John Wesley and Modern Religion, p. 110. MCCONNELL is more cautious. He does not maintain that Wesley contributed at all substantially to theological thought, but holds that he "pushed into the foreground some considerations of which religious teachers must take account" John Wesley, p. 144.

7 STEPHEN, op. cit., p. 434; OVERTON-RELTON, The English Church from the Accession of George 1. to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1714-1800), p. 72 f.

8 McGiFFERT, The Rise of Modem Religious Ideas, p. 189. Cf. the same writer's Protestant Thought before Kant, p. 170.

9 See STEPHEN, Op. Cit., p. 432; MCGIFFERT, Protestant Thought before Kant, p. 175. Cf. MCCONNELL, John Wesley, p. 199 f.

10 FROST, Die Autoritätslehre in den Werken John Wesleys, p. 89.

11 Cf. MCGIFFERT, Protestant Thought before Kant, p. 169, 171 f.

12 MOSSNER, Bishop Butler and the Age of Reason, p. 166.

13 Ib., p. 166.

14 CELL, OP. cit., P. 15.

15 Ib., pp. 4 f., 7, 11 ff., 14 f.

16 Ib, p. 5. Cf. PIETTE, La réaction wesléyenne dans I'évolution protestante, p. 596: "L'expérience triomphante dans lea sciences naturelles, Wesley est amené à la transporter dans le domains religieux, dam la vie surnaturelle. Autour de ses expériences personnelles et do celles qu'il provoque dans ses disciples, tous ses écrits théologiques se polarisent. L'expérience religieuse est le pivot sur lequel reposent en dernière analyse ses publications doctrinales et ses sermons est le mouvement de ferveur qu'il déclancha." EAYRS (Op. cit., p. 58), like PETRI (John Wesley, p. 268) and BETT (Op. cit., p. 142 f.) later, says that Wesley turned to experience and applied Bacon's inductive methods to religion. Cf. also RATTENBURY, Wesley's Legacy to the World, p. 58: "Christianity at its centre is life. Wesley knew this, and discovered that Christianity could only be understood by experiment."

17 BETT, op. cit., p. 131.

18 Ib., pp. 131, 135 f.

19 1b., p. 131. EAYRS, op. cit., pp. 181 ff., 186 f. mentions William James too but points also to differences.

20 BETT, op. cit., p. 144.

21 WORKMAN, The Place of Methodism in the Life and Thought of the Christian Church (Introduction to TOWNSEND and others, A New History of Methodism), p. 27. Cf. DIMOND, The Psychology of the Methodist Revival, p. 231; FINDLAY, article on Methodism, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 8, p. 610.

22 Ib., p. 27.

23 Ib., p. 31 f. DIMOND (Op. cit., p. 244 f.) follows Workman.

24 Ib., p. 34 ff.

25 LEE, op. cit., p. 136.

26 Ib., p. 139. Cf. p. 143: "In common with the historic Church, he recognized the Bible as the one rule of faith and practise; but he supplemented this by an acknowledgment of the priority of the primitive Fathers as interpreters, and by a recognition of the place of reason; and to this he added the authority of experience, the religious experience of man in its broadest sense, but particularly the testimony of the 'adult children of God'."

27 Ib., p. 321.

28 See FROST, Op. cit., p. 88 f.

29 Ib., p. 89.

30 SCHMIDT, Die Bedeutung Luthers für John Wesleys Bekehrung, Luther Jahrbuch 1938, p. 154 f. Cf. the same writer's John Wesleys Bekehrung, p. 75.

31 Ib., p. 157 f. See also p. 153 f.

32 Ib., p. 154.

33 Cf. Wesley's preface to the standard sermons: "I have endeavoured to describe the true, the scriptural, experimental religion, so as to omit nothing which is a real part thereof, and to add nothing thereto which is not." The Standard Sermons of John Wesley, 1, p. 32. SUGDEN observes that Wesley "first worked out his theology by strict logical deduction from the Scriptures; and then he corrected his conclusions by the test of actual experience." "His class-meetings were," he adds, "a laboratory in which he verified or modified his hypotheses," The Standard Sermons of John Wesley, 1, p. 196, note. Cf. von EICKEN (Recbtfertigung und Heiligung, p. 68) who holds that Scripture corrected experience.

34 Cf. EAYRS, Op. Cit., pp. 61, 63, 70, 73. Wesley "constantly corrected his understanding and interpretation of divine truth by comparison with that given to others." Ib., p. 18. DIMOND (Op. cit., p. 234) points out that Methodism escaped the danger pertaining to a system of thought built upon the experience of the individual by its appeal to collective experience as the final authority. Of this brake on individualism he says further: "And beyond the same corrective of the corporate judgment within the Methodist organization, Wesley taught men who were individualists in the originating centre of their thinking, to look beyond their own faith and fear to the one great witness of the universal Church in all ages." Cf. RATTENBURY, op. cit., p. 78; EDWARDS, Methodism and England, p. 85 ff.

35 SCHNECKENBURGER, Vorlesungen, p. 149 f.

36 Loops, article on Methodismus, Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche. 3. Aufl., XII, p. 798: "Eigentliche Lehrdifferenzen hat der Methodismus im Vergleich mit universalistisch gerichtetem reformiertern Protestantismus nicht."

37 Ib., p. 799. Cf. GENNRICH, Die Lehre von der Wiedergeburt, p. 195 ff.

38 McGIFFERT, Protestant Thought before Kant, p. 163.

39 Ib., p. 164 ff.

40 Ib., p. 166 f. Cf. BÖHMER (Pietismus und Methodismus, Neue Kirchliche Zietschrift 1895), who tries to establish affinities and differences between Pietism as a Lutheran and German, and Methodism as a Calvinist and English, movement. See ib., p. 669 ff. But Böhmer finds unLutheran elements in Pietism too. This applies particularly to Francke. Böhmer holds that Methodism has something in common with Francke's doctrine of perfection (p. 682). He finds that Hallean Pietism is very close to Methodism in the order of salvation (p. 689).

41 McGIFFERT, op. Cit., p. 174 f. WAKEMANN (An Introduction to the History of the Church of England, p. 442) also detects some divergence between Wesley and the prevailing Anglican view. The doctrines Wesley "added to the creed were practically two -- that of the new birth and that of Christian perfection." But Wakeman does not consider these very important differences.

42 LEGER, La jeunesse do Wesley, p. 365 f.

43 PIETTE, La réaction wesléyenne dans l'évolution protestante, p. 443.

44 Ib., P. 445: "Tout bien considéré, Is rôle que l'on doit reconnaître à l'intervention. do Böhler n'est pas d'avoir initié John Wesley au dogme luthérien de la foi sans les œuvres, mais de lui avoir fait voir la place capitale que doit occuper dans la vie chrétienne l'amour do Dieu. N'est-ce pas l'élément qui manquait le plus dans la synthèse du fellow?" It is not that "I'amour de Dieu" was previously absent in him, but, Piette says, "il est, croyons-nous, parfaitement légitime de dire que dès l'heure de son expérience préparée par Böhler le vrai ressort de sa vie intérieure sera définitivement un sentiment d'union intime avec Dieu. Et se sentiment conscient, vivement perçu, expérimenté, va faire sa force."

45 RATTENBURY, Wesley's Legacy to the World, p. 165 f.

46 Ib., p. 166 f.

47 Ib., p. 67 f.

48 Ib., p. 70.

49 Ib., p. 174 ff., 178 ff. "The Methodist Movement was not only a missionary appeal to outsiders, but a revival of devotional, and especially of sacramental, practice in the Church of England. The Wesleys, with all their fervid evangelicalism, never ceased to be sacramentalists, and there is no antithesis more false than the common one of sacrament and gospel." Ib., p. 174. Cf. WATKIN-JONES, Two Oxford Movements: Wesley and Newman, The Hibbert Journal, October 1932, p. 86 f.; TAYLOR, Methodism and Politics 1791-1851, p. 32.

50 Ib., p. 167, 169 ff.

51 Ib., p. 167 ff.

52 PETRI, John Wesley, p. 271.

53 Ib., p. 259.

54 LEE, John Wesley and Modern Religion, p. 103.

55 Ib., p. 110.

56 Ib., p. 126.

57 KNOX, Remarks (supplement to SOUTHEY, Life of Wesley, II), pp. 419-422.

58 Ib., p. 419 f.

59 Ib., p. 420 f.

60 Ib., p. 420.

61 Ib., p. 496 ff.

62 See ib., pp. 445, 448, 455--462, 500 ff.

63 Ib., p. 484 ff.

64 See ib., pp. 484 f., 495 f.

65 IMPETA, Do Leer der Heiliging en Volmaking bij Wesley on Fletcher, p. 111 ff.

66 Ib., p. 117.

67 Ib., p. 118. Criticizing Wesley from a Calvinistic angle, Impeta holds that like Fletcher he did not pay sufficient attention to the theocentric aspect of salvation (ib., p. 398). The central error, Impeta thinks, lay in the synergism in evidence here; the Reformed view of the relation between justification and sanctification could not, de facto, be reconciled with Wesley's attitude. "De groote fout van het Methodisme, hiertegenover, is zijn leer van de vrijheid van den menschlijken wil, die medewerkt met de goddelijke genade" Ib., p. 399.

"De stellung dat geen heiligmaking aan do rechtvaardigmaking voorafgaat is op Wesleyaansch-Methodistisch standpunt niet to handhaven.

Afgezien nu van het feit dat later nog weer totale afval en een hernieuwd bekeeringsproces, zelfs meermalen, mogelijk is -- wordt, ook met het oog op wat aan haar voorafgaat, de wedergeboorte niet absoluut gesteld. Dit grondprincipe van het Calvinisme wordt door Wesley als hij nit het reformatorisch-calvinistisch standpunt, soms door hem ingenomen, redeneert, beleden, maar overal waar hij de mogehjkheid en (facultatieve) noodzakelijkheid aarmeemt van worken ter rechtvaardigmaking (en wedergeboorte) to doen, de facto verworpen" Ib., p. 406.

68 CELL, The Rediscovery of John Wesley, p. 24. Cf., p. 15.

69 Ib., p. 15.

70 1b., p. 25. The issue between Wesley and Arminian Anglicanism was, we are told, "the idea of a God-given faith in Christ or the work and witness of the Holy Spirit as the first principle of all Christian experience" Ib., p. 18.

71 Ib., p. 28.

72 Ib., p. 272: "The spring of religious energy in the Revival lay in Wesley's essential concurrence with the Luther-Calvin doctrine of salvation by faith; it lay in the Luther-Calvin doctrine how that faith is given and on the Luther-Calvin thesis that a God-given faith is the sole and abiding principle of all Christian experience; it is witnessed in the revolution wrought in Wesley's preaching by his abandonment of the libertarian theology and his adoption of the Luther-Calvin position."

73 Ib., p. 265 ff.

74 Ib., p. 362.

75 Ib., p. 341.

76 Ib., p. 308 f.

77 v. EICKEN, Rechtfertigung und Heiligung bei Wesley, p. 28; SCOTT, John Wesleys Lehre von der Heiligung, p. 6.

78 v. EICKEN, op. cit., pp. 49, 67.

79 SCOTT, Op. Cit., P. 15 f.

80 See ib., pp. 29 f., 37, 80 f.

81 Ib., p. 80; 85 ff.

82 See ib., pp. 84-87.

83 See SCHMIDT, Die Bedeutung Luthers für John Wesleys Bekehrung, Luther Jahrbuch 1938, pp. 143 ff., 154 ff.; John Wesleys Bekehrung, p. 69 ff. Cf. LOCKYER (Paul: Luther: Wesley, p. 217 f.), who sees Wesley as a follower of St. Paul and Luther. He thinks that in essentials Wesley's religious experience of 1738 was parallel to spiritual crises of St. Paul and Luther. Cf. also WATKIN-JONES, Methodist Thought in Contact with Modern History, The Hibbert Journal, October 1937, p. 61 f.

84 SCHMIDT, Op. cit., p. 154.

85 Ib., p. 158.

86 Ib., p. 158 f.

87 LERCH, Heil und Heiligung bei John Wesley, p. 150 ff.

88 Ib., p. 153.

89 Ib., p. 154.

90 LANG, Puritanismus und Pietismus, p. 333.

91 Ib., p. 341: "J. Wesley bleibt daher ungeschmälert das grosse, providentielle Verdienst, den englischen Protestantismus nach den VerwiIstungen des Deismus zu dem Kernpunkt des evangelischen Verständnisses der Heiligen Schrift und der reformatorischen Heilserkenntnis zurückgeführt zu haben."

92 See ib., pp. 324-332, 349.

93 lb., p. 339.

94 See ib., p. 342-345.

95 Ib., p. 349.

96 FLEISCH, Zur Geschichte der Heiligungsbewegung, I, p. 7.

97 Ib., p. 42 f. Cf. the same writer's articles on Methodisten (Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3, col. 2160 f.), and Heiligungsbewegung (Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 2, col. 1751 f.); KÖBERLE (Rechtfertigung und Heiligung, p. 126 f.), whose remarks on Wesley have been criticized by SCOTT (John Wesleys Lehre von der Heiligung, pp. 87-92). Cf. also v. EICKEN, op. cit., p. 67 f.

98 See Wesley's A Farther Appeal, 1745, The Works of John Wesley, VIII, p. 46; Notes, 1755, Rom. xii. 6; Sermon on The New Birth, 1760, The Works of John Wesley, VI, p. 65; A Short History of Methodism, 1765, The Works of John Wesley, VIII, p. 349; sermon On God's Vineyard, 1788, The Works of John Wesley, VII, p. 205.

99 In the book cited above Lerch throws light on the inner links, but the material on which he bases his arguments is exiguous. Further, entire sanctification does not here appear in its real importance.

100 Notes, Preface, p. iv f.; LERCH, Heil und Heiligung bei John Wesley, pp. 8-12. Among other authorities whose books Wesley used, Lerch mentions John Goodwin, the Arminian theologian of the previous century. See HUNT, Religious Thought in England, I, p. 295 ff.; The Enclyclopaedia Britannica, 12, p. 239.

101 LERCH, op. cit., pp. 22, 24. See also Lerch's textual commentary on Notes and collation with Standard Sermons, ib., pp. 8-24.

102 SUGDEN'S Introduction to The Standard Sermons of John Wesley, I, pp. 13-16. See also The Standard Sermons of John Wesley, 11, pp. 331-340.