152.). He describes Methodism as the 'old religion' (ibid.), the one that closest linked itself to the early Christian Church. The Holy Spirit infused tradition as it did the writers of the Scripture, and therefore, discovery of true understanding could of the work of the Holy Spirit could be reinforced by linking oneself to tradition, specifically to tradition that wound its way back to Christianity's earliest beginnings.
Reason was an integral component to Wesley's philosophy. It could expand religion and could convert man from robotic theological follower to enthusiastic and rational theological follower. Reason, however, had to be the handmaiden of religion (i.e. Of Scripture in this case). Again, true reason is that which is infused by and follows the Holy Spirit for guidance. The Holy Spirit, in other words (or the words of the Scripture that is infused with Holy Spirit) is supposed to ct as guide for Reason. Only then can Reason provide utmost benefit for developing the religious individual. Neither intuition nor inductive reason can lead the follower to God. It is the Holy Spirit that must be present and direct the believer in first a prevenient manner and then ontologically so that the believer accurately grasp and feel his Master.
Wesley saw Christian experience somewhat in the way that William James was to later see it as a mystical immediate experience / encounter with God (or a Godly presence). This is a synergism that involves feelings and intuition and again, as Wesley believed was peculiarly marked by its suffusion of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that awakens, purifies, stimulates, inspires, and reinforces man to follow His creator; it is, in other words, the primary agent in religious experience in general and Christian experience in particular.
Quoting Romans (8:16), Wesley empathized that it is the Spirit that tells us that we are children of God, and that serves to vivify the words of Scripture for us and confirm its teachings. Stated in other ways, the Spirit represents an experiential relationship where man through Jesus Christ or thoguh the Divine can enter into an immediate encounter with God and experience the Divine.
The four methods serve as one heuristic for obtaining holiness in spirit and mind. Each circle or orbit is infused with the Holy Spirit, but the sense of the Holy Spirit is strongest and most objective in its source, i.e. In the Scriptures, and it was, therefore, that Wesley recommended that individuals adopt that as their primary means of gaining comprehension of and closeness to God, and use the other three strategies as tools for reinforcing and vivifying that commitment. It is in this way, too, that Wesley refrained from offering a creed or catechism for he felt that practical relevant and applicable theology was more important (Thorsten, p. 16.).
Wesley's quadrilateral, when used within that understanding, leads to greater faithfulness to the Scriptures, greater mergence with the traditions of the early Church Fathers, and to a Christian experience that is infused by enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and responsible use of reason. When interpreted by Thorsen's understanding it gives a more ecumenical drift to the theological conversation joining liberal with evangelical perspectives in the argument that reason, experience, and tradition are not contradictory to one another but, rather, serve as assistance to scriptural understanding -- which is foremost - in explicating and endeavoring to understand the Word of God.
Thorsten, D. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience as a Model of…
Sources Used in Document:
Thorsten, D. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience as a Model of Evangelical Theology. Nappanee, IN: Francis Asbury Press, 1990.