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

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

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

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

Synopsis

'Kenneth Newport's first, and exemplary, critical edition of Charles's sermons is particularly welcome... although fuller reassessment of Charles's career and significance must await further work on the sources, this edition of the sermons and accompanying commentary is a significant step forward and sets a formidable standard for editions of his other writings.' -The Journal of Ecclesiastical History'This is a major contribution to Wesley studies by (for once) a British academic, demonstrating that an interest in such studies is alive and able to challenge and extend the findings of American scholars, such as Albin, Langford, and Tyson, who have worked in this field.' -Journal of Theological Studies'Dr Newport's work is the outcome of careful and scholarly research using all the critical textual apparatus available. This book will be a vital tool for all those who wishing to trace the development of the Methodist movement and the impact of its theological ideas.' -Journal of Theological Studies'Scholars of Methodist history and theology are greatly in debt to Dr Newport for the published outcome of his research project as are those who seek to assess the contribution of the Wesley brothers to the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century.' -Journal of Theological Studies'Painstakingly accurate textual analysis and comprehensive footnotes. The extensive introduction is deserving of particular praise as it constitutes one of the best critical evaluations of Charles Wesley's life and ministry written in recent years... this work is long overdue and has set a standard against which works on Charles Wesley should be judged.' -tbr (theological book review, Feed The Minds)'Scholars of Methodist history and theology are greatly in debt to Dr Newport for the published outcome of his research project... Dr Newport's work is the outcome of careful and scholarly research... This book will be a vital tool for all those wishing to trace the development of the Methodist movement and the impact of its theological ideas... this is a major contribution to Wesley studies.' -Wesley and Methodist Studies Centre NewsletterThis book brings to publication for the first time all of the famous hymn-writer Charles Wesley's sermon material. All but three of the twenty-three texts here presented have been reconstructed from manuscript sources. The book includes four substantial introductory chapters which place Charles Wesley's preaching in the context of early Methodism and the eighteenth century more generally. Annotations on the texts themselves are substantially text-critical and include discussion of Charles's use of Byrom's shorthand, the script in which a significant portion of the material is written. Other notes include an attempt to trace Charles's use of sources, specifically the Bible, the Homilies, and the Book of Common Prayer.

Excerpt

In the three previous chapters attention has been given to the style, extent, and theological content of Charles Wesley's preaching. It has been argued that he was an able preacher who did much to further the early Methodist cause and had an impact not only on the form, but also on the content of early Methodism. Most of the remainder of this book is taken up with a presentation of all of the relevant texts. However, before they can be presented, it is necessary to outline the reasons for their selection. This is particularly important in the context of the ongoing debate regarding which texts are in fact illustrative of Charles's own preaching style. Not all will agree, for example, with the decision made here to include in a volume of Charles's sermons material found in the 1816 edition. In the present chapter the case is argued that all of the sermons in that edition, with the exception of one, sermon XIII, which is clearly labelled as John's, do illustrate Charles's own preaching style, and are 'his', at least to the extent that he has edited them from his brother's MSS (although in three cases it seems probable that the sermons are in fact straightforwardly Charles's own compositions). All other possible MSS and early printed sermons are also examined in an attempt to draw up a definitive list of surviving texts. The result is that twenty-three sermons are identified as being Charles's; most were written by him, though some are the result of his copying and editing his brother's MSS (or in one case, it seems, someone else's). Details of the MS and recension history of those twenty-three now follow. They are grouped into sections for clarity of discussion—sermons published in Charles's lifetime (two); shorthand sermons (six); sermons printed in the 1816 edition (twelve, all but one of which exist in MS form also); and three sermons requiring individual comment.

Sermons by Charles Wesley Published During His Lifetime

Two sermons were published during Charles's lifetime, both of which eventually found their way into editions of John Wesley's works. No controversy surrounds their authorship since early editions of both carry the name of Charles as the author. The MS for neither has survived.

a. A Sermon Preach'd on Sunday April 4, 1742

The first of Charles's sermons to be published was that on Ephesians 5: 14, Sermon 8 in this volume, delivered before the University of Oxford on 4 April

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