The Enlightenment and Self-Expression

I enjoyed reading John Wesley’s “The Case of Reason Impartially Considered” this week with my BIC students. I’m including a passage where he shares some of his personal experience regarding faith and reason because I think it demonstrates how Wesley uses enlightened rhetoric to examine the effects of the Enlightenment on Christianity.

It [reason] may present us with fair ideas; it can draw a fine picture of love: But this is only a painted fire. And farther than this reason cannot go. I made the trial for many years. I collected the finest hymns, prayers, and meditations which I could find in any language; and I said, sung, or read them over and over, with all possible seriousness and attention. But still I was like the bones in Ezekiel’s vision: “The skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them.”


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