It is not altogether clear that Charles's composition on Acts 20: 7 is truly a sermon, a fact reflected in the catalogue entries relative to this text where it is described as a 'treatise' as well as a 'sermon'. This general issue has been discussed already in Chapter 4 and need not be entered into again here. The text is important in that it is perhaps the best example in this volume of Charles working systematically at a theological question. In the course of this engagement he refers to a number of early Church sources, which he quotes extensively in Greek. He also subjects a number of individual words and phrases from the Greek New Testament to careful analysis. Here, then, is a good example of his arguing a case on the basis of reason, historical evidence, and careful linguistic exegesis of the relevant biblical and extra-canonical early Christian texts. It is a work of the head not of the heart.
There is no evidence to suggest that this is anything other than an authentic Charles Wesley composition. The MS is clearly in his own hand and the general content, as well as the fairly frequent use of the first person, all suggest its origin with Charles himself. Similarly, though there are several quotations from other writers, there is nothing to suggest that the work as a whole is an abstract. 1 There is no indication on the MS of when or where Charles might have preached this sermon (if it is indeed a sermon) and neither the journal nor the letters are able to break the silence of the MS on this point.
The MS is held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. 2 It has been well preserved. It comprises eight leaves which have been separated and bound between hard covers. The date of the binding is unclear, but it appears to be nineteenth-century. Leaves 2-7 are written recto and verso; leaves 1 and 8 are written recto only. The number '12' appears on the MS in a hand which seems not to be Charles's, and the words 'on a weekly sacrament' and 'unfinished' appear on the recto of leaf 1 (the previous front cover) in what is unquestionably the hand of 'W.P.', though the initials 'W.P.' do not themselves appear. In another hand are written the words 'Thos. Marriott' and '2 March 1849'. The same Thomas Marriott (of City Road Chapel) 3 also seems to have been the one responsible for writing 'see C.W. journal Sep 18 1748' on the recto of leaf 1, words which have