William Law on Wesley’s “Reason”

Wesley quotes this section, and a rather large portion of it, of William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout Life. Here, I find some words that Wesley does not disagree with:

And as the only end of the physician is to restore nature to its own state, so the only end of education is to restore our rational nature to its proper state. Education therefore is to be considered as reason borrowed at second hand which is, as far as it can, to supply the loss of original perfection. And as physic may justly be called the art of restoring health, so education should be considered in no other light than as the art of recovering to man the use of his reason.

I like the fact it was published by Paulist Press. I also like the fact that I find so much non-juror presence in Wesley — so much so I continue to maintain we can and should read Fr. John’s theology in light of a defective Anglican episcopacy that is just now being reconstructed.

But what draws me is that Law considered education as “reason borrowed.” I believe the “Reason” of Outler’s quad is better understood as Education, as Scholarship. This doesn’t mean we dismiss the Great Tradition. Far from it. But it does require us to learn and then teach properly. Further, Wesley following Law would see the need to teach children a proper Christian education — which is not a particular view of science, but the way Christians think and formulate theology.

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