Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Hermeneutical Rule

     Every verse of Scripture could be interpreted according to the Analogy of Faith, in Wesley's opinion.  Dr. Maddox associates four doctrines with Wesley's interpretive key:  natural corruption, justification, regeneration, and sanctification.  I would extend this list by one more category-- Eternal Happiness.
     The themes of sin, sanctification, and heaven are evident in Wesley's commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, for example:
Notes, Mt 5:3-- The poor in spirit - They who are unfeignedly penitent, they who are truly convinced of sin; who see and feel the state they are in by nature, being deeply sensible of their sinfulness, guiltiness, helplessness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven - The present inward kingdom: righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, as well as the eternal kingdom, if they endure to the end.
The connection between justification and heaven is made in Wesley's note for John 10:26-28:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, &c. - Our Lord still alludes to the discourse he had before this festival. As if he had said, My sheep are they who, Hear my voice by faith; Are known (that is, approved) by me, as loving me; and Follow me, keep my commandments, with a believing, loving heart.
And to those who, Truly believe (observe three promises annexed to three conditions) I give eternal life. He does not say, I will, but I give. For he that believeth hath everlasting life. Those whom, I know truly to love me, shall never perish, provided they abide in my love. Those who follow me, neither men nor devils can pluck out of my hand. My Father who hath, by an unchangeable decree, given me all that believe, love, and obey, is greater than all in heaven or earth, and none is able to pluck them out of his hand.

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