The Sermons of Charles Wesley: A Critical Edition, with Introduction and Notes

By Charles Wesley; Kenneth G. C. Newport | Go to book overview

Sermon 9 Psalm 46: 8

Introductory Comment

This sermon was written in response to the several earthquakes that hit London in February and March 1750. The most significant appears to have been that on 8 March. 1 There is no entry in Charles's journal for this day, but the entry for 10 March records how he preached on Isaiah 24 'a chapter I had not taken much notice of, till this awful providence explained it'. Quite what the content of that sermon was is unknown, but a reading of the chapter clearly suggests what Charles might have said given the 'awful providence' he had just experienced. 2 By 4 April, 1750 he had constructed a written text of a sermon on the subject of earthquakes. His journal entry for that day reads

Fear filled our chapel, occasioned by a prophecy of the earthquake's return this night. I preached my written sermon on the subject, with great effect, and gave out several suitable hymns. It was a glorious night for the disciples of Jesus. 3

It must be a very real probability that the 'written sermon' here referred to is the Cause and Cure of Earthquakes published the same year. Charles's specific reference to his 'written' sermon may suggest that by this date he was no longer in the regular habit of committing his sermons to paper. This is conjecture, but in the light of the evidence presented in Chapter 2 , not at all unreasonable. In any case, this sermon is the latest for which any literary evidence has survived. The 'suitable hymns' referred to in the journal entry may have been taken from those which he composed specifically to mark these startling events, later published by him under the title Hymns Occasioned by the Earthquake March 8, 1750. 4

There is no dispute concerning the authenticity of this sermon, though it was printed in the major 1872 edition of the works of John Wesley without any qualifying note. 5 This has led to some confusion. However, the second edition (1756) clearly gives the name of Charles Wesley as the author. No MS has survived. The text reproduced below is that which has been reconstructed from the first edition, a copy of which is held in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. 6

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The Sermons of Charles Wesley: A Critical Edition, with Introduction and Notes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Sermons of Charles Wesley iii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Part I Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 Charles Wesley and Early Methodism 3
  • Chapter 2 Charles Wesley, Preacher 28
  • Chapter 3 Theological Characteristics and Use of Sources 48
  • Chapter 4 Charles Wesley's Sermon Corpus 71
  • Part II the Sermons 91
  • Sermon 1 Philippians 3: 13-14 93
  • Sermon 2 1 Kings 18: 21 107
  • Sermon 3 Psalm 126: 7 123
  • Sermon 4 1 John 3: 14 130
  • Sermon 5 Titus 3: 8 152
  • Sermon 6 Romans 3: 23-4 167
  • Sermon 7 Romans 3: 23-5 183
  • Sermon 8 Ephesians 5: 14 211
  • Sermon 9 Psalm 46: 8 225
  • Sermon 10 John 8: 1-11 238
  • Sermon 11 John 4: 41 259
  • Sermon 12 Luke 18: 9-14 268
  • Sermon 13 Acts 20: 7 277
  • Sermon 14 Luke 16: 10 287
  • Sermon 15 Matthew 5: 20 298
  • Sermon 16 Matthew 6: 22-3 306
  • Sermon 17 Luke 16: 8 314
  • Sermon 18 John 13: 7 325
  • Sermon 19 Exodus 20: 8 335
  • Sermon 20 Mark 12: 30 346
  • Sermon 21 Luke 10: 42 360
  • Sermon 22 Proverbs 11: 30 369
  • Sermon 23 Psalm 91: 11 380
  • Bibliography 391
  • Scriptural Index 397
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