|A Pragmatic Wesleyanism:
Peirce, Wesley, and a Nonfoundational Religious Epistemology
My aim in this essay is to establish a distinctly Wesleyan response to the problems
posed to Christian theology by postmodernity, particularly that of the postmodern critique
of epistemic foundationalism--perhaps the sine qua non of modern thought--which
is one of the chief reasons Christian theologians have faced difficulties dealing with the
problem of radical perspectivalism and the situation of pluralistic religious
truth-claims.(1) What I wish to show is that a Wesleyanism
informed by a dialogue with the pragmatism of Charles S. Peirce--a 'pragmatic
Wesleyanism'--provides the epistemological basis for a constructive theological response
to these issues that remains distinctly Wesleyan as a natural development of trajectories
already present in Wesley's thought. Of course, this immediately raises the question: why
would we want to engage Wesley with Peirce, founder of American pragmatism?(2)
An initial response is that Peirce's pragmatism provides a constructive way of addressing
the critique of foundationalism and the challenge of pluralism and perspectivalism in a
way that more self-consciously addresses the problems of modern foundationalism than we
find or could have been possible with Wesley. As we shall see, Peirce himself developed
his philosophy as a critique of Cartesian and Kantian foundationalism, entirely rejecting
an incorrigible transcendental a priori as the starting point for knowledge.(3) Because Peirce decisively sidesteps the modern problems
against which postmodernity is a reaction without falling back upon fideistic
fundamentalism or giving in to relativism or skepticism, there has been growing interest
in Peirce's thought within philosophical circles in recent decades.(4)
In addition to being an important philosophical figure for constructively addressing
postmodern issues, Peirce was also a devoted Christian who rejected the Unitarianism of
his father (a highly regarded Harvard mathematician) for lifelong membership in the
Episcopal Church.(5) Another reason for engaging Wesley and
Peirce is the striking similarities between them. This is important considering our
interest in developing a distinctly Wesleyan mode for addressing postmodernity as, I
believe and argue, Peirce's pragmatism offers a legitimate option for contemporary
Wesleyans seeking a constructive response to the challenges of postmodernity that is still
distinctly Wesleyan. This likely requires our being willing to move beyond Wesley, but
also requires drawing upon Wesley as much as possible, seeking to follow the trajectories
that are already set within his own thought.
Peirce's critique of modernity is found most concisely in "Questions Concerning
Certain Faculties Claimed for Man" and "Some Consequences of Four
Incapacities," published in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1868.
In the first essay, Peirce outlines his empiricism while taking aim at the Cartesian
method of universal doubt and its appeal to the individual human consciousness as the
ultimate test of certainty. First, we have no ". . . intuitive faculty for
distinguishing intuitive from mediate cognitions . . ." by which he means that we can
never say with certainty that we have arrived at an unmediated starting point for
knowledge, for our very attempt to do so presupposes previously mediated knowledge
(5:244).(6) Secondly, we can never identify a purely
internal, self-consciousness, for ". . .all knowledge of the internal world is
derived by hypothetical reasoning from our knowledge of external facts" (5:266). We
neither possess a pure intuition of self-consciousness, nor an intuitive power to
distinguish between ". . . the subjective elements of different kinds of
cognitions" (5:242); instead, our only way of probing cognition is by reference to
and inference from "external facts" (5:249). Third, all thinking takes place by
way of mediation or "signs;" that is, every cognition is a sign that stands for
its object in a certain respect.(7) Peirce then turns his
aim at Kant's claim that we cannot know a Ding an sich, to which he responds that
through ". . . universal and hypothetical propositions, the truth of a thing cannot
be cognized with absolute certainty, but it may be probably known by
induction" (5:258). Peirce's final point is that "no cognition not determined by
a previous cognition . . . can be known" (5:262), for all knowing is a seamless and
endless process continuous with previous knowledge.(8) Put
simply, Peirce holds a radical empiricism in which all knowledge comes to us originally
from without: there is no absolute cognitive ground innate to the mind.
However, Peirce is also optimistic about the knowledge we can gain of the world
empirically because of the triadic relation that exists between ourselves and the
world as mediated by signs. Although immediate or intuitive knowledge of things is not
possible, we can possess meaningful knowledge by valid inference from our experiences and
activity in the world. When our signs or ideas comply with our experience of the world, we
may at least provisionally conclude some sense of correctness to them. And there
is good reason to presume that we do a fair job of inferring correct cognitions of the
external world via our senses as evident in the many achievements of science and
technology, both based upon our ability to interpret our world with accurate signs. And,
as always occurs in attempts to advance science and technology, each time that we discover
that our signs or ideas are in error, we seek other signs and knowledge that will more
accurately guide our activities. This details a very important point in Peirce's
philosophy: all of our knowledge of particular things is fallible, thus subject
to possible correction: ". . . of all beliefs, none is more natural than the belief
that it is natural for man to err" (5:592). Thus, it is important to take seriously
the knowledge that we do possess, but to balance this with the kind of humility that
recognizes the fallibility and provisionality of all knowledge.
In his second essay Peirce further develops his pragmatic critique of the modern
project. First, it makes no sense to begin a search for truth or knowledge with complete
or universal doubt: "We must begin with all the prejudices which we actually have
when we enter upon the study of philosophy . . . [which cannot] be expelled by a maxim,
for there are things which it does not occur to us can be questioned. Hence this
initial skepticism will be mere self-deception, and not real doubt" (5:264), but
"paper" or "counterfeit" doubt (6:499). Real doubt only
arises when we experience something that surprises us or appears contrary to a belief that
we actually hold; otherwise, there is no reason to doubt our beliefs except in search of
an absolutely infallible foundation, already shown to be a dead end. Thus, there is no
real reason for doubting the whole of our admittedly provisional and fallible knowledge.
Secondly, to Descartes' assumption that ". . . the ultimate test of certainty is to
be found in the individual consciousness," Peirce counters that we can only ". .
. hope to attain the ultimate philosophy which we pursue [within] the community
of philosophers" (5:264). What community offers to the search for truth is the
diversity of perspectives and experiences that makes possible the correction of errors;
therefore a community of minds is more likely to possess true ideas than would a solitary
mind. Thirdly, Cartesian argumentation depends upon reasoning ". . . by a single
thread of inference depending often upon inconspicuous premises" (5:264). Rather, it
is better to imitate the methods of the empirical sciences under which concrete premises
are carefully scrutinized, and 'proven' by many different arguments. Says Peirce,
"Reasoning should not form a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a
cable whose fibers may be ever so slender, provided they are sufficiently numerous and
interconnected" (5:264). Finally, Cartesianism posits the will of God as an
explanation for any facts that seem inexplicable, while Peirce believes that we can never
allow such a supposition. Since, all judgments are hypothetical, ". . . the only
reason for asserting any hypothesis is that it explains its topic. Never is there a
reason, then, to affirm the hypothesis that something is inexplicable."(9) In this way, Peirce embraces Hume's critique of the
"God of the gaps" who keeps being pushed further and further into increasingly
small recesses where our scientific knowledge does not yet reach. In sum, Peirce uses his
empiricist epistemology as a direct critique of the modern 'project', boldly asserting
that an absolutely certain and indubitable foundation for knowledge is not only
impossible, but also unnecessary for practical knowing to occur. Peirce thus also
betrays a trust in the ability of the human mind to conform its ideas and symbols to
reality with a meaningful degree of accuracy. To better understand how this works, we now
turn to Peirce's method of inquiry, which explains the process of knowing.
Peirce develops his method of inquiry by first distinguishing between two different
states of mind: 'belief' and 'doubt'.(10)
Belief he pragmatically defines as the 'habit' which gives rise to and determines certain
'modes of action'; thus we betray our true beliefs much more through actions than through
our words. Now, we experience the state of belief with a sense of calm or satisfaction.
Real doubts, as we have seen, arise when we experience something that contradicts our
beliefs such that our calm and satisfaction is replaced by irritation or an ". . .
uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle to free ourselves and pass [back]
into a state of belief" (5:372). Peirce calls the method of this struggle 'inquiry',
the sole purpose of which is to return to a state of calm through the "settlement of
opinion" or "fixation of belief."
There are four methods by which to fix belief when doubt arises, which function much
like stages that one works through when involved in inquiry. The first Peirce calls tenacity,
which is the rigorous attempt to hold to one's belief despite the fact that it has been
called into question. Although tenacity can be like an ostrich burying its head in the
sand at the approach of danger, it is also admirable for its ". . . strength,
simplicity, and directness," not to mention that the tenaciously held belief may
prove in the long-run to be the correct belief (5:386). But this method finds the impulses
of community against it, for one ". . . who adopts it will find that others think
differently from him, and it will be apt to occur to him, in some saner moment, that their
opinions are quite as good as his own, and this will shake his confidence in his
belief" (5:378). This reasserts the importance of community in the pursuit of true
knowledge. When tenacity must be given up, one must resort to the second method of fixing
belief: authority. By authority, Peirce means allowing larger institutions (such as the
church or scripture) to have the authority to establish and fix our beliefs. History
reveals authority to be capable of great cruelties, but it is superior to tenacity because
it takes into account a wider community, and functions well in establishing ordered and
efficiently functioning societies. But Peirce offers as a counterbalance to this the
fallibility of knowledge, for ". . . no institution can undertake to regulate
opinions upon every subject," and individuals will always arise to question authority
The third stage of inquiry is the a priori method. This involves the
intentional gathering of individuals to develop new beliefs that are in harmony with what
they consider to be central propositions. These need not agree with experience, but must
fit with what the larger community is inclined to believe about the fundamental nature of
things. This method gains respectability through its openness to the use of reason and the
broad participation of community. However, this method also ". . . makes of inquiry
something similar to the development of taste; but taste, unfortunately, is always more or
less a matter of fashion" (5:383). What is ultimately necessary to satisfy our doubts
is a method that will open our inquiry to the test of external permanency, which Peirce
defines as science. Scientific inquiry presumes that there are ". . . Real
things, whose characters are entirely independent of our opinions about them, [that] by
taking advantage of the laws of perception, we can ascertain by reasoning how things
really and truly are" (5:384). Scientific inquiry is the highest form of belief
fixation for it avails itself to public and inter-subjective observation, and seeks to
base its results on concrete facts that are exterior to the mind.(11)
We also have, once again, the many triumphs and successes of the scientific method to
commend it to us for the fixation of our beliefs.
But does scientific inquiry offer access to knowledge of God? If so, it would be based
on the assumption that God is something that can be known like any other thing in this
world. In answering this, we have seen that Peirce believed it makes no sense to
hypothesize God simply because some things (e.g., miracles) evade present explanation. To
assume, then, that scientific inquiry can get us to true knowledge of God, would seem to
surrender to a kind of skepticism that shows our statements about God to be hypotheses of
increasingly less probability as the reach of scientific explanation expands and grows.
However, Peirce distinguishes between matters of scientific interest and those of
"vital concern," recognizing that matters of vital concern must be treated
differently.(12) In approaching questions of vital
concern, Peirce affirms that although our sentiments certainly are theoretically fallible,
they arise from "hereditary instincts," which are more trustworthy than the best
that scientific reasoning has to offer (1:661, 6:496).(13)
In other words, our natural attunement to the world through our senses and reasoning is
merely an extension of a more fundamental, instinctual synchronization of who we are to
the ultimate being of the universe, which is the ground of the nearly universal, religious
impulse in humans.(14) Thus, there is a kind of immediacy
to our knowledge of God, which we can access by radically opening ourselves to be led by
our heart instincts, which Peirce calls "musement."(15)
In his curiously titled article "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of
God," Peirce further details the importance of musement (6:452-493). The Neglected
Argument ("N.A.") is actually three arguments, the first of which he calls the
humble argument. Peirce begins by defining an Argument, as "any process of
thought reasonably tending to produce a definite belief . . ." (6:456) thus showing
his wish to demonstrate the reasonableness of the hypothesis of God's reality--rather than
to prove this existence--as arising from musement. As we have seen, musement
requires an attitude of pure receptivity.(16) Musement,
particularly upon the richness of the "Three Universes of Experience,"(17) ". . . will inevitably suggest the hypothesis of
God's Reality . . . [which] will sooner or later be found to be an attractive fancy . . .
for its beauty, for its supplying an ideal of life, and for its thoroughly satisfactory
explanation of the whole threefold environment" (6:465), which he surmises, has
". . . made more worshippers of God than any other" (6:486), for it bears the
most practical religious vitality of any other argument.(18)
The second (the N.A. proper) is not actually an argument, but more of an ". . .
apology--a vindicatory description--of the mental operations which the Humble Argument
actually and actively lives out," and therefore consists of ". . . showing that
the humble argument is the natural fruit of free meditation" (6:487). What this
establishes, Peirce believes, is that there is in ". . . human nature . . . a latent
tendency toward belief in God [that] is a fundamental ingredient of the soul"
(6:487). Since Peirce gives great credence to the human instinctual capacity in discerning
matters of vital importance, and musement--as the freeing up of instinctual knowing--bears
a high degree of plausibility. Thus, the N.A. is Peirce's apology for the natural
process that gives rise to the Humble Argument. What Peirce attempts to show in his third
argument is that he has developed the first two arguments in accordance with his method of
scientific inquiry, ". . . but an inquiry which produces, not merely scientific
belief, which is always provisional, but also a living, practical belief, logically
justified in crossing the Rubicon with all the freightage of eternity" (6:485). But
in the end, Peirce concedes that the "theistic hypothesis" is not like normal
scientific hypotheses. For example, the hypothesis of the Reality of God is in some sense
indubitable, but this is only because what Peirce means by such an hypothesis is so vague
that it is something to which the law of non-contradiction cannot apply (5:505).(19) What Peirce falls back on is that ". . . it is
better to depend on the vague deliverances of instinct where first principles are
concerned, since in the long run such ideas are more trustworthy than the established
results of science which presuppose them, although they cannot and should not be rendered
precise."(20) Furthermore, by being vague we permit
our ideas about God to really be about God, for vagueness is a form of indeterminateness,
and indeterminateness preserves the true sense in which God, as infinite being, simply
cannot be precisely classified as a part of a genus or class like other things
(8:262).(21) Peirce's attempt to follow his instincts to
knowledge of God finally leaves him wandering in a vague mist where each step is a
practical step of faith, but a faith both legitimate and reasonable.
Wesley's Transcendental Empiricism(22)
Turning to Wesley, we take a necessary but temporary step away from directly addressing
the issues of modernity. In many ways Wesley was a child of his era, and this was
especially the case with regard to his religious epistemology. Wesley's life spanned the
greater part of the 18th century, a period marked by the triumph of empiricism
in Britain, leaving its indelible trace on his thought. Although highly critical of David
Hume, Wesley generally looked favorably upon the empirical philosophy of John Locke, and
especially that of Peter Browne.(23) With reservations, he
favorably reviewed Locke's Essay on Human Understanding, claiming that it
contained ". . . many excellent truths, proposed in a clear and strong manner, by a
great master both of reasoning and language"(24)
Browne's Treatise on Human Understanding Wesley regarded as ". . . in most
points far clearer and more judicious than Mr. Locke's, as well as designed to advance a
better cause."(25) But Wesley also differed from the
major proponents of empiricism, most notably in his greater optimism about what can be
known about the world through the senses and what can be known directly of God. Wesleyan
scholars have variously accounted for these differences by noting such influences as that
of Cambridge Platonism (viz., that of John Norris of whom Wesley thought highly and with
whom Wesley bears important similarities) and the Aristotelian logic that Wesley learned
at Oxford, and which permeated his life's work.(26)
That Wesley was an empiricist we detect most obviously in his rejection of innate
knowledge, which he expressed in an oft quoted Latin phrase, "Nihil est in
intellectu quod non fuit prius in sensu," and which he translated, "There
is nothing in the understanding which was not first perceived by some of the senses."(27) Furthermore, although acknowledging that our senses can
make mistakes, he hesitated to admit that under normal circumstances they would, holding
to an optimistic view of the ability of our senses to give us correct information about
the world.(28) For this reason, Wesley was an ardent
proponent of the scientific enterprise, which he believed provided an effective process
for gaining accurate information about the natural world when exercised correctly. His Survey
of the Wisdom of God in Creation--an abridged reprint of Genevan Johann Franz
Buddeus' The Contemplation of Nature--was an extensive summary of the current
state of scientific knowledge (Wesley referred to such knowledge as "Natural
Philosophy") which he intended to make available to and for the benefit of common
Wesley also believed that inference from our knowledge of the natural world (when
combined with clear reason for which suitable logic is necessary!) offers a certain
measure of knowledge about God, though there appears to have been some development in
Wesley's view on this matter.(29) Prior to his mission to
Georgia, Wesley expected immediate acceptance of Christianity by the Native Americans on
the grounds that the gospel he proclaimed would fulfill their natural knowledge of divine
matters. Following his lack of success as a missionary, Wesley was left with a much more
pessimistic view of the powers of natural inference, though later in life he gradually
regained a sense of faith in our ability to infer knowledge of the Creator through the
study of creation. In the Survey, Wesley enunciates that it is possible to infer
the existence of God as the first cause of all things via the relatedness of all things,
and that we can infer "the goodness and justice of an All-perfect Being, the
necessity of future rewards and punishments, and consequently the immortality of human
Wesley balanced this optimism with what he believed was a realistic view of the
limitations of natural sensual knowledge and of human reason. As he states in his sermon
"The Imperfection of Human Knowledge," "Although our desire of knowledge
has no bounds, yet our knowledge itself has . . . very narrow bounds; abundantly narrower
than common people imagine, or men of learning are willing to acknowledge."(31) But the real problem is not the limits of our natural
knowledge, per se, but the kind of information to which we have access. Though we
can infer some knowledge of God, we can only do so in vague, negative or abstract ways
(e.g., God as "infinite" or "omnipresent"), which is to say nothing
more than that God is of a "different species" from the rest of reality.(32) From Wesley's perspective, this is as good as not having
any knowledge of God at all, for abstract knowledge is not the same thing as personal
knowledge of God--a higher form of knowledge and can only come through a personal
encounter with God.(33) And through merely natural,
sensory means we have absolutely no access to this kind of knowledge of God.(34) There are two main reasons for our inability to access
the true nature of God via natural philosophy. The first reason is that Wesley was
fundamentally a metaphysical dualist, distinguishing soul and body, mind and matter, God
and world in a way not unlike Descartes' res cogitans-res extensa split.(35) It is quite natural, then, that this metaphysical
dualism would affect his epistemology, such that our physical senses only have true access
to the physical or material world.(36) And because our
physical senses are not attuned to direct knowledge of God or spiritual matters, Wesley
maintains a consistent empiricism by claiming that we have "spiritual senses"
which allow us access to the deeper realms of reality. The fact that we do not normally
have active spiritual knowledge indicates that under normal conditions our spiritual
senses are inactive, which Wesley attributes to the abuse of human liberty and the
consequent effects of original sin. This, therefore, is the second reason for our
inability to directly perceive spiritual truth.(37)
Despite the limitations of our fallen condition, and quite in keeping with his views
about the nature of salvific grace, Wesley believed that true knowledge of God is
universally available in a limited fashion through prevenient grace: God's gracious
presence to sinful human beings, calling them and empowering them toward salvation. And it
is this grace that makes possible our reception of and free assent to the divine
self-revelation which is God's offer of salvation through Christ. Wesley taught that there
are both subjective and objective aspects of salvation. The objective is the classical
Protestant doctrine of justification, which entails a "relative" change that
transforms the nature of one's relation to God with subsequent "real" changes.
The subjectively real transformation is sanctification; the initiation of sanctification
is the new birth.(38)
In terms of Wesley's epistemology, it is the transforming grace of the new birth that,
by marking the decisive beginning point for the process of sanctification, triggers the
definitive transformation of spiritual, perceptual abilities. First, the new birth ".
. . quickens the natural senses," such that the soul, ". . . having an open
intercourse with the visible world, acquires more and more knowledge of sensible
things."(39) Secondly, the new birth enlivens the
spiritual senses, enabling them finally to discern what is spiritual good from evil.(40) Wesley likely drew his idea of spiritual senses from the
Cambridge Platonist John Norris,(41) though Wesley put his
own empiricist twist on the idea, comparing them roughly to the physical senses by
explaining that their transformation in the new birth is analogous to the quickening that
occurs in our physical senses at physical birth.(42) In
his sermon "The Great Privilege of those that Are Born of God" he even describes
the result of the new birth as enabling one to "hear" the voice of God and to
"see" the light of God, like "having a veil removed."(43)
In his sermon "On the Discoveries of Faith" Wesley further outlines the way
that spiritual and religious knowledge functions, describing two different levels of
spiritual sensation which he calls the "faith of a servant" and "the faith
of a son."(44) The faith of a servant is general
knowledge of God and spiritual matters, which enables believers to "see" the
reality and truth of the "invisible realm" of God and spirits, the "eternal
realm" of judgment and heaven, and the "spiritual realm" or true spiritual
condition of their own lives in terms of growth in salvation. This is important, but its
goal is an even deeper form of knowledge that is the "faith of a son," involving
a growing assurance that God loves us, which deepens until we receive the "full
assurance of faith" in which all "doubts and fears vanish away."(45) That Wesley depicts this type of faith as the pinnacle
of knowledge is very telling of the practical and experiential accent of his epistemology.
As Yoshio Noro aptly points out, the true aim of all inquiry and understanding is the
deepening of one's "existential relationship to the will of God revealed in
Christ."(46) For Wesley, the highest form of
knowledge is a profound and life-transforming faith.
Because of this emphasis, Wesley often found himself accused of being an enthusiast and
a mystic--neither of which someone like Wesley would want to be called, especially during
the height of the Enlightenment! In defense against these allegations, Wesley attempted to
articulate the importance both of reason and the objective grounds of faith, though not in
such a way that would elevate reason above faith, as was the tendency of rationalism. For
objective grounds of faith, Wesley primarily spoke of "testimony," of which
there are two kinds: "human testimony" and "divine testimony."(47) Human testimony arises as individuals attempt to express
their own subjective experience of God, often in terms of their "inner
feelings." We can see just how important inner feeling was as a litmus test for
Wesley just by looking at how seriously he took his own inner feelings as a measure for
evaluating the condition of his spiritual life. In a journal entry from January 8, 1738 he
refers to inward feeling as "the most infallible of proofs," and in commenting
on his famous Aldersgate experience some months later he exclaims, "I felt
my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for
salvation" [emphasis mine].(48) No wonder that
critics might have accused him of mysticism or enthusiasm!
Yet Wesley also sought to develop standards by which to objectively judge the verity of
inner feeling and experience, as well as testimony to such feeling and experience by
others, for which he offered three standards by which to judge their truth. First,
reason must judge the "intelligibility" of the testimony, or its ability to
make sense of experience or reality as we experience it in the larger sense.
Secondly, there can be no "contradiction" or "incoherence" in the
testimony. Third, we must judge the "ability and integrity" of the one giving
testimony.(49) In each of these measures, Wesley displays
a fundamental trust in the power of human reasoning to provide critical guidance for the
acceptance or rejection of the testimony of others. Inherent in this is Wesley's view that
true authentication of testimony occurs best within a sympathetic yet critical community
of persons, as we see in the importance that he gave to small-group participation for
spiritual guidance and to annual conferences in doctrinal matters.(50)
In this sense, experience and testimony can be broadened to include much of the tradition
of the church, for it is the church traditions that record the testimony of the church as
it developed through history.(51)
But for Wesley, the ultimate "objective" test for experience, feelings and
tradition is the testimony of scripture. Because of its divine origin, Wesley considered
scripture the ultimate objective standard or "touchstone" in all matters of
authority and faith.(52) However, despite the fact that
Wesley lived before the days of serious biblical criticism, his thought still bears the
recognition of its infancy and his awareness of the problems of affirming a literal
dictation theory, or in pushing scripture into uses for which he felt it was never
intended. So, he readily acknowledged discrepancies between "scriptural
expressions" and recent discoveries of science adding that the "scriptures were
never intended to instruct us in philosophy, or astronomy; and therefore on those
subjects, expressions are not always to be taken in the literal sense, but for the most
part, as accommodated to the general apprehension of mankind."(53)
But while essentially rejecting a "fundamentalist" view of scripture, Wesley
also rejected the skepticism of historians and philosophers like Lessing, maintaining that
there are objective principles by which one can judge the reliability of the
biblical witness, for although scripture reflects the mark of human mediation, its truth
as divine revelation is established by its "breadth, depth, antiquity, and
miracles."(54) In the end, however, Wesley believed
that these factors only showed the "mere probability" of scriptural truth, that
ultimately the truths of the Bible could not be established except from the perspective of
faith, ". . . for it is faith that enables one to 'judge truly' and 'reason
justly'"(55) (446). For Wesley, only someone who has
entered into the deeper life of faith can truly understand that faith's point of departure
is built on solid ground and not shifting sand.(56)
Obviously Wesley was working a complex dialectic in his search to find a via media
between rationalism and enthusiasm. In one sense he sought--through the divine testimony
of scripture, in corporate experience and testimony (including therein the traditions of
the church) and logical reasonableness--an objective basis for what Christians accepted as
authoritatively true. But in another sense, he affirmed that the truth of scripture can
only be seen through the eyes of faith (and by the "direct witness of the Holy
Spirit"), that one's "inner feelings" are always a voice of authority, and
that even our reasoning must be quickened by faith to function properly. Knowledge of the
natural world is both possible and important for our life within it, but the true
fulfillment of the human ability and desire to know can only occur at a supernatural level
through faith. With the activation of the spiritual senses in faith, believers are gifted
with a new way of seeing reality and an entirely new way of knowing truth.(57)
Making Connections: Toward a Pragmatic Wesleyanism
We began our investigation by noting that there are important similarities and
connections between Wesley and Peirce, and we now stand at a position from which we can
investigate them in a detailed fashion. First, we have seen that both are empiricists in
their fundamental epistemological convictions, and through their empirical orientations
essentially avoid the postmodern critique of epistemic foundationalism; that is, both
themselves are nonmodern nonfoundationalists. This is not to say that all empiricists are
nonfoundationalists, as it is certainly possible to consider our empirical knowing as
absolute and indubitable. Indeed, at times Wesley himself seems to betray such an
empirical foundationalism though his great optimism about what can be known about the
world through the senses, and even what can be known directly of God. Yet Wesley also
expressed deep reservations about what we can know empirically about God, highlighting the
vast limits of human knowledge, and at times even indicating that there is nothing that
can be known with certainty.(58) Peirce, as we have seen,
offers a more direct critique of the Cartesian and Kantian search for an indubitable
epistemic foundation in pure rationalism, and self-consciously avoids replacing this with
an empiricist foundationalism by rejecting all forms of certainty with his fallibilism and
provisionalism. Because of the general epistemological orientation that Wesley and Peirce
share in common, I consider it legitimate to follow the hints that Wesley offers, and to
stretch him in the direction of a Peircian nonfoundational empiricism.
Second, both Peirce and Wesley repudiate the modern proclivity to posit the individual
consciousness as the ultimate test of certainty. Instead, they contend that our best
chance at arriving at true ideas or knowledge is within the context of a community in
which differing perspectives and viewpoints serve as a corrective for the errors of each.
This is not to say, however, that individuals are subsumed by the corporate whole, for the
perspective and experience of each individual is of great value for the corporate inquiry.
Both affirm, therefore, that in the long run, it is the community of inquirers (Peirce) or
community of believers (Wesley) that bears the greatest chance of correctly discerning the
Third, both Wesley and Peirce also believed that there is a deeper reality that common
perception and reason cannot access, and that this deeper reality is, in fact, the realm
of greatest importance to human life. Therefore, they both affirm, a special kind of
sensitivity is required for us to achieve knowledge of the greater and deeper truths of
life. Wesley, of course, spoke of this in more traditional theological terms, and his
epistemological dualism betrays a metaphysical dualism that we do not find with Peirce.
Cartesian dualisms (often noted to include God/world, supernatural/natural, mind/body,
spirit/matter, etc.) have been one of the chief whipping boys of postmodernity, and not
without good reason considering the various forms of injustice to which they have been
related.(59) Because of this, and fundamental paradigm
shifts in the sciences, there has been an almost universal trend in theology over the past
two centuries to emphasize a greater, more holistic continuity between God and the world,
grace and nature, the mind and body, etc. Such a dualism does exist in Wesley's
epistemology, though I think those who accuse Wesley of affirming a "radical"
dualism (i.e., John Cobb) do not accurately account for the subtlety of Wesley's
understanding of God's immanence through his views of the Holy Spirit and prevenient
grace. But the fundamental point holds true: Wesley maintains a dualism that is no longer
tenable, and which requires Wesley as a consistent empiricist to affirm the reality of actual
spiritual senses, a notion that is entirely unconvincing to the contemporary mind.(60)
In this regard, Peirce offers a helpful mode of rethinking spiritual senses with a more
tenable vision of reality that makes possible a greater sense of continuity between
natural and supernatural knowledge. His distinction between the kind of knowledge
available to scientific inquiry and that concerning matters of vital concern is based on a
"difference of degree," for instinct--the deepest form of knowing and that best
attuned to "spiritual" matters--is merely a more natural and fundamental way of
knowing than is reasoning. Peirce's attempt to follow his instincts to the reality of God
via musement in the "Neglected Argument" reflects his ardent belief that God is
not some great other, but somehow deeply related to humanity, and can be known to us
through our utterly unrestrained openness to God and God's truth. From a Wesleyan
perspective, however, the problem with Peirce is that he does not appropriately account
for the problem of sin as a deterrent to human openness to God's self-revelation, though,
considering his fallibilism, Peirce likely would want to affirm this point. What Peirce's
ideas of musement and instinct show is that it is possible to conceive of a spiritual
sensitivity that exceeds normal, physical sensation--as both clearly do--without affirming
actual spiritual senses.
Fourth--and obviously related to this last point--both Wesley and Peirce affirm that
true religious knowledge is not knowledge about God or spiritual matters, but
deeply experiential knowledge of God and spiritual matters. In other words, both
were very pragmatic in their philosophical and theological orientation, believing
that ultimate truth is not primarily an abstract set of ideas, but a fundamental way of
being in the world with implications for the entirety of life.(61)
As we have seen, Wesley affirmed that the single highest form of knowledge is the personal
and experiential "faith of a son."(62) For
Peirce, this is best expressed in his belief that the true strength of the God hypothesis
is its sheer power to inspire wonder, and to shape persons' lives.
The fifth point of connection between Wesley and Peirce is their mutual affirmation
that faith is necessary for discerning the truth of theological and religious claims.
This, of course, relates directly to the two points we have just discussed as faith is
necessary because of the limitations of natural, sensory knowledge, and is itself a more
personal, experiential form of knowledge than cognitive forms. But my purpose in speaking
of faith separately from these two points is to more directly acknowledge that faith
itself provides a perspective from which religious truth can be seen and affirmed that is
otherwise unattainable. This is important to recognize because of the postmodern
contention that there is no objective standpoint--as modernism assumes--from which to
judge the verity of any affirmation. Wesley and Peirce essentially both accept this
critique, and then sidestep it by affirming that truth can only be seen through the eyes
of faith. In other words, both fully embrace that all ultimate truth-claims are
essentially statements of faith the truth of which cannot be discerned or proven aside
from the perspective of faith itself. Peirce takes this point even further, adding that
all knowledge--because of its fallibility and provisionality--is only the result of steps
of faith which he calls hypotheses. What this also means is that the life of faith--not
unlike a scientific hypothesis--is the actual proving ground of the truth of faith's
claims. In other words, faith itself is a kind of inquiry: religious truth cannot be
ascertained without a leap of faith, and faith becomes the way in which the religious
truth-claims are tested, which also means that the falsity of such claims can and should
be shown if they are false through faith. This last point is definitely more Peircian than
Wesleyan, as, for Wesley, the highest form of religious knowledge is the faith of a
"son." But it would be wrong to think that for Wesley this means that such faith
should be childlike in the sense of being naive or absolutely uncritical.(63) Wesley's high view of critical reason and the importance
he gave to the critical function of community mitigate against such a view. What both hold
in common, then, is that faith is the central means of discerning the truth of
Sixth, both Wesley and Peirce possess a striking openness to the perspectives of others
and a humble willingness to be corrected and to change. As I have already indicated,
finding a method for making one's ideas and beliefs vulnerable to correction is perhaps
the central theme of Peirce's pragmatism. For Peirce, this comes as a fundamental trust in
the organic attunement of the human mind and the world/reality, and a conviction that the
truth can practically make itself known to us through our openness to it.(64)
While a scientific provisionalism is not as central to Wesley's thought as it is to
Peirce's, clearly Wesley ascribes to a kind of fallibilism which he expressed in his claim
that ". . . it is the lot of humanity to be ignorant of many things, and liable to
err" ("humanum est errare et nescire"), and his willingness
"to give up every opinion" which he could not "by calm, clear reason
defend."(65) Even more importantly, Wesley
practically patterned this fallibilism in his own life through his continual willingness
to change his mind and convictions. In all, Wesley combined a tenacity for his beliefs
with a humble readiness to have his fallible mind changed and a willingness above all else
to offer others charity despite disagreement that clearly reflects the spirit of Peirce's
A final important point of connection between Peirce and Wesley concerns their dynamic
methods for discerning the truth. Peirce's method is one of explicit inquiry. It begins
not with doubt but with the actual, practical beliefs that an individual or community
holds. Only when a belief is seriously called into question by real doubt does true
inquiry begin, practically moving through a process (which includes tenacity, authority, a
priori, and science) of increased openness to exploring, affirming, and testing new
beliefs. What we identify as Wesley's methodology in the so-called Wesleyan quadrilateral
functions much like this. Despite the fact that Wesley regarded scripture as the standard
by which to measure all other forms of testimony, in practice he typically began by taking
for granted the testimony or beliefs given to him by his Anglican tradition, which he
seriously doubted only when his belief in it was called into question by some
contradictory experience or new understanding of scripture.(67)
Then, his method was to utilize scriptural authority in dynamic dialogue with tradition,
reason and experience for a new way to formulate his view of the matter, seeking to do so
in a way that would honor all of them.(68)
Of course, the methods of Wesley and Peirce are also decisively different, and where
this difference exists, I believe Wesleyans have much to gain from a serious consideration
of Peirce. The key difference is that Peirce was willing to go a step further than Wesley
in being open to correction, even at the risk of seriously rethinking authority--for
Wesley, the authority of scripture. In this regard, Peirce made reality itself his
ultimate authority, and his own thought can be seen as an elaborate program for
engendering an openness that would enhance his beliefs being corrected by reality as
it is. Thus, it would be quite natural for him to be willing to question the truth of
such an authority as scripture if called into question by some contradictory experience or
by an alternative belief that more convincingly explained reality. Before doing so, of
course, he would likely apply the a priori method to rethink the whole of
scripture around tenaciously held central propositions; but if this still proved
unsuccessful in fixing his beliefs, then he would likely consider seriously rethinking the
way that scripture might continue to be used as an authority. Considering the centrality
of scripture for Wesley as the touchstone and final authority in all matters pertaining to
religious testimony, it is difficult to imagine him ever abandoning the authority of the
Bible or even merely giving it a place of secondary importance in matters of doctrine and
faith. But if we also consider Wesley's openness to having his views informed by science
and personal experience, it is equally difficult to imagine him retreating to a
fundamentalist view of scripture. Considering Wesley's embrace of the fallibility of all
knowledge and the results of two centuries of biblical criticism, it is at least
conceivable that Wesley might be willing to give up his view of scripture as the final,
ultimate, and infallible authority in all matters, even those pertaining to faith. This
would not mean necessarily discounting the truth or authority of scripture, though this
might require--in terms of Wesley's quadrilateral--developing a hermeneutic in which the
claims of scripture are engaged with reason, tradition and experience (including both the
experience of the individual and the various communities of inquiry) in a dialogical
encounter that is equally true to all of the elements of the quadrilateral. Therefore, it
is not too great of a stretch to imagine Wesley being comfortably embracing Peirce's
method of inquiry as a mode for theological discourse in a postmodern era.
1. According to Richard Lints, "The
Postpositivist Choice: Tracy of Lindbeck?" Journal of the American Academy of
Religion 61:4 (Winter 1993), 655-77, the collapse of epistemic foundationalism and
the resulting confusion over the nature and criteria of truth is the main source of
consternation about postmodernity among theologians.
2. Although the founder of American Pragmatism, Peirce was
overshadowed by his lifelong friend William James and his student James Dewey who had much
more successful academic and publishing careers than Peirce. However, both looked to
Peirce as the originator of the ideas that they popularized.
3. See Robert Cummings Neville, The Highroad Around Modernism
(Albany: SUNY Press, 1992), 25-8.
4. See Sandra Rosenthal, "Pragmatism: What's in a Name," The
Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, vol. 8: Contemporary
Philosophy, ed. Daniel Dahlstrom, where she distinguishes pragmatism--given its
primary form by such classical pragmatists as Peirce, James, Dewey, etc.--from the
neo-pragmatism of such figures as Richard Rorty. According to Rosenthal the postmodern
alternatives of "correspondence or coherence, realism or idealism, empiricism or
rationalism, foundationalism or anti-foundationalism, realism or anti-realism,
subjectivism or objectivism, play or pure presence, conversation or mirror of nature all
are alternatives which grow out of reflective frameworks which ignore the fundamental,
creative, interactivity at the heart of lived experience which is central to the spirit of
5. See John E. Smith, "Religion and Theology in Peirce," Studies in the
Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1952),
251-270. As Smith points out, "It is striking indeed to find that one who, because of
his marked interest in the pure sciences and his belief in the centrality of mathematical
logic is often considered to be an 'emancipated' mind, not only took the religious concern
seriously but even upheld the indispensable character of the church." Peirce,
although largely avoiding theological speculation, outlines some details of his theism in
"Answers to Questions Concerning My Belief in God." All citations of Peirce are
from the Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, ed. by Charles Hartshorne
and Paul Weiss (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), and by
convention list volume and paragraph numbers.
6. All Peirce references are from the Collected Papers of
Charles Sanders Peirce, ed. by Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (Cambridge, Mass.:
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), 1960, and by convention list volume and
7. Neville, 26. For an extensive constructive utilization of
Peirce's theory of symbols, see Robert Cummings Neville, The Truth of Broken Symbols,
(Albany: SUNY Press, 1996).
8. See Philip Wiener's introduction to Charles S. Peirce:
Selected Writings: Values in a Universe of Chance (New York: Dover Publications,
Inc., 1966), vii-xxii.
9. Neville, 26.
10. Peirce's most concise explanation of his pragmatic theory of
knowing is "The Fixation of Belief" (5:358-87).
11. William Power, "Fixing Man's Beliefs About God," Perspectives
in Religious Studies 2:2 (Fall 1975), 146-159.
12. See John E. Smith "Religion and Theology in Peirce," Studies
in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
13. See also Roderick M. Chisolm, "Fallibilism and
Belief," Studies in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce, (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1952), 93-110.
14. As Peirce explains in "The Marriage of Religion and
Science": "And what is religion? In each individual it is a sort of sentiment,
or obscure perception, a deep recognition of a something in the circumambient All, which,
if he strives to express it, will clothe itself in forms more or less extravagant, more or
less accidental, but ever acknowledging the first and last, the (alpha) and (omega), as
well as a relation to that Absolute of the individual's self, as a relative being"
15. "As to God, open your eyes--and your heart, which is also
a perceptive organ--and you see him" (6:492-93).
16. John E. Smith compares musement to the "naiveté and faith
of children in the face of some awe inspiring wonder." Cf. Smith, 260.
17. These "universes" are the three fundamental
categories of his phenomenology and ontology: firstness (the immediacy of an
experience or thing), secondness (sheer otherness or difference), and thirdness
(the mediation of firstness and secondness as meaning or a sign). They are the three
aspects of the triadic nature of reality.
18. Says Peirce, "Any normal man who considers the three
Universes in the light of the hypothesis of God's Reality, and pursues that line of
reflection in scientific singleness of heart, will come to be stirred to the depths of his
nature by the beauty of the idea and by its august practicality, even to the point of
earnestly loving and adoring all things to shape the whole conduct of life and all the
springs of action into conformity with that hypothesis. Now to be deliberately and
thoroughly prepared to shape one's conduct into conformity with a proposition is neither
more or less than the state of mind called Believing . . ." (6:467).
19. Another example of an indubitable is that there is order in the
universe (6.496), for there is no practically valid reason to doubt something like this
(5.498). However, as one attempts to move away from vagueness and give specification to
the hypothesis (such as what the order of the universe is), then it becomes open to
criticism and therefore dubitable (Potter, 251).
20. Smith, 262.
21. Cf., Vincent G. Potter, S.J., "'Vaguely Like a Man': The
Theism of Charles S. Peirce," God Knowable and Unknowable, ed. by Robert J.
Roth, S.J., (New York: Fordham University Press, 1973), 249-53.
22. This phrase originated with George Cell, but is also used by
Rex Matthews who utilizes it to "indicate that Wesley's essentially empiricist
epistemology functions in the 'transcendent' realm of 'God and the things of God' through
the 'spiritual senses' of faith" My use of the phrase is meant to imply the same. Cf. George Cell, The Rediscovery of John Wesley, (New York: Henry Hold,
1935); and Rex Dale Matthews, "Religion and Reason Joined: A Study in the Theology of
John Wesley," (Th.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 1986), n. 289.
23. Wesley considered Hume, along with Rousseau and Voltaire, to be
worse than an atheist (Works 7:271).
24. Wesley, "Remarks upon Mr. Locke's 'Essay on Human
Understanding,'" Works, 13:464.
25. Wesley, Journal (6 December 1756), Works,
26. For Wesley's relation to Norris, see John C. English,
"John Wesley's Indebtedness to John Norris," Church History, 60 (March
1991), 55-69. Rex
Matthews provides the most comprehensive analysis of the various influences on Wesley, and
claims that Wesley's affinity with Locke, Browne and the Platonists is merely
coincidental, and that the central influence over Wesley's epistemology was Oxford
Aristotelianism. Cf. Matthews, op. cit., 143-157.
27. Wesley, "On the Discoveries of Faith," Works,
7:231; "The Difference Between Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith," Works,
7:259; et al.
28. As he states in A Survey of the Wisdom of God in the
Creation: A Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation: A Compendium of Natural
Philosophy, in 2 vols. (New York: N. Bangs and T. Mason, for the Methodist Episcopal
Church, 1823), 2:370: "The senses do not deceive us, for they are not judges
of the nature of things; but serve only to inform us of the connexion and relation between
the bodies surrounding us and our own, in subserviency to our happiness in this life . . .
the objects of our perception are those things which act upon our senses."
29. For a detailed analysis of Wesley's development in this regard,
see Randy L. Maddox, Responsible Grace: John Wesley's Practical Theology
(Nashville: Kingswood Books of Abingdon Press, 1994), 29-30.
30. Wesley, Survey, 2:440-1.
31. Wesley, "The Imperfection of Human Knowledge,"
32. Wesley, Survey, 2:433-4.
33. Wesley's view here echoes the famous words Blaise Pascal penned
on the night of his dramatic conversion: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,
not of the philosophers and scholars."
34. See Yoshio Noro, "Wesley's Theological Epistemology,"
trans. by John W. Krummel, in Iliff Review, 28:1 (Winter 1971), 59-76.
35. Wesley most coherently and explicitly expresses his dualistic
anthropology in his sermon "What is Man?" where he declares that
"Unquestionably I am something distinct from my body" and speaks of the human
body as the house for the soul (Works 7:228-9). Cf. Matthews, op. cit., 290.
36. See Mitsuo Shimizu, "Epistemology in the Thought of John
Wesley." (Ph.D. Dissertation, Drew University, 1980), 171. See also Matthews, op.
37. Wesley, Survey 2:367. There is some disagreement
concerning whether under natural conditions persons have latent spiritual senses (see
Albert C. Outler and Richard P. Heitzenrater's "Introductory Comment" to
Wesley's Sermon #130, "On Living Without God," in John Wesley's Sermons: An
Anthology, ed. by Outler and Heitzenrater, [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1991], 567) or
are in need of "new" spiritual senses, thereby emphasizing their
"supernatural origin" (Matthews, op. cit., 296). The
problem, it seems, lies with Wesley who talks both of the "transformation" of
the spiritual senses (as in his sermon "The New Birth" in Works, 6:69)
and of their imparted giftedness (cf. "On Conscience" in Works 7:187-8) Wesley's doctrine of prevenient grace, I believe, makes
this distinction a false one: we never reside simply under our natural, or fallen
conditions because God's grace is continually and universally available to us making
possible our knowledge of God, though also requiring our response. Randy Maddox develops this dialectic in the most
effective way that I have found through his concept of "responsible grace." Cf.
Maddox, op. cit.
38. Wesley, "The Great Privilege of those that Are Born of
God," Works, 5:223-33; "The New Birth," op. cit.
39. Wesley, "The Great Privilege," Works, 5:224.
40. Ibid., 225.
41. On the connections between Wesley and Norris see John C.
English "John Wesley's Indebtedness to John Norris," in Church History,
60 (March 1991), 55-69.
42. Wesley, "The New Birth," Works, 6:69-70.
43. Wesley, "The Great Privilege," Works,
44. Wesley, "On the Discoveries of Faith," Works
45. Ibid., 236-7. Wesley often associated this assurance with the testimony and work of the Holy
Spirit. Cf. "The Witness of the Holy Spirit: Discourse II," Works,
46. Noro, 60.
47. Wesley, Survey, 2:447. I frame my discussion here in
terms of "testimony" rather than the "Wesleyan Quadrilateral"
primarily because this is how Wesley explicitly frames the issue of authority.
48. Wesley, Journal (8 January 1738), Works,
1:72; Journal (19 May 1738), Works, 1:103.
49. Wesley, Survey, 2:447.
50. See Randy L. Maddox, "The Enriching Role of
Experience," Wesley and the Quadrilateral: Renewing the Conversation (ed. W.
Stephen Gunter with contributions by Maddox, Gunter, Scott J. Jones, Ted A. Campbell and
Rebekah L. Miles), (Nashville: Abingdon, 1997). The importance of conference is a point
made consistently by all of the contributors. Maddox's claim in particular is that
Wesley's "appeal to experience . . . was typically to an external, long-term,
communal reality" for in assessing religious experience he carefully observed and
studies not only his own life, but "the lives of his Methodist people, and human life
in general." Cf., Responsible Grace, 46. Yoshio Noro agrees, adding that for
Wesley, "experience is not individualistic but is understood as experience within the
fellowship of believers." Cf. op. cit., 60.
51. Wesley took church tradition very seriously, but he was not
uncritical of it. For him, the most authoritative tradition was the writing of the
Ante-Nicene Fathers, which he considered the purest expression of scriptural Christianity,
and the Anglican Articles of Faith which he considered the truest contemporary
rendering of the ancient faith. But even with these, he was never entirely uncritical,
responding to these traditional voices as he would to any other form of
52. See Wesley, Survey, 2:447.
53. Ibid., 2:139.
54. Ibid., 2:477-78.
55. Ibid., 2:446.
56. See Laurence W. Wood, "Wesley's Epistemology," Wesleyan
Theological Journal, 10 (Spring 1975), 48-59.
57. It is with good reason, then, that John B. Cobb discusses
Wesley's epistemology in his chapter on faith, and that Laurence Wood claims that faith is
the key to Wesley's epistemology. Cf. John B. Cobb, Grace and Responsibility: A
Wesleyan Theology for Today, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995), 68-76 and Wood, op.
58. See especially "The Imperfection of Human Knowledge,"
59. They also arise, claim many feminists critics, from a
particularly male experience of life.
60. Cf. Cobb, 72.
61. Cf. Laurence W. Wood, "Wesley's Epistemology," Wesleyan
Theological Journal 10 (Spring 1975), 48-59.
62. This is reflected in his belief that the most essential
doctrines are those practically and directly pertaining to salvation: original sin,
justification by faith, the new birth, and holiness of heart and life. Cf. Maddox,
"Opinion, Religion and 'Catholic Spirit': John Wesley on Theological Integrity,"
Asbury Theological Journal 47.1 (1992), 76-77.
63. For Wesley, the phrase "faith of a son" is meant to
imply that the such knowledge comes from a very personal relationship--as between loving
father and child--rather than the less personal, more duty-oriented and fear-based
"faith of a servant." Cf. Wesley, "The Discoveries of Faith," op. cit.
64. In his youth Peirce optimistically defined truth as that
destined to be believed by the community of inquiry in the long-run, though he gave nuance
to this later in life by pointing out that he meant an infinite, that is, that there is no
actual, finite time at which such a final belief could or will be held.
65. Wesley, "A Short Address to the Inhabitants of
Ireland," Works 9:176. For a thorough analysis of Wesley's fallibilism see
Maddox, "Opinion, Religion and 'Catholic Spirit,'" op. cit., 63-87.
66. This ideal is most clearly outlined in Wesley's sermon
"Catholic Spirit," Works 5:492-504.
67. Maddox, Responsible Grace, 47.
68. Maddox, Wesley and the Quadrilateral, 140.