Charles preached this sermon at least three times in 1736 (18 April, 1 6 June, 2 10 October 3), again in 1737 (14 August) 4 and again on 28 August of an unspecified year. Those occasions are noted on the front cover of the MS. This is therefore a sermon that Charles preached both during his time in America and back in England.
There is no indication on the MS that this is anything other than Charles's composition, and positive evidence for its authenticity has been outlined in Chapter 4 . The conclusion reached there (which is in accordance with that of Heitzenrater) is that this sermon was by Charles and may therefore be taken as fully illustrative of his own views.
The MS is held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 5 and comprises 10 leaves, five folded sheets which have been stitch-bound to form a booklet. The leaves are mostly written recto only. However, leaves 8 and 10 have some material verso. The first of these is clearly an addition by Charles himself and the point at which he intended it to be inserted into the text is indicated. The second section of verso material is written in shorthand and comprises a prayer and a blessing with which the sermon ends. All else is written in longhand.
The sermon was published as sermon VII in the 1816 edition, where, as always, there are numerous changes. For example, on page 1 of the MS we read that sufferings are 'sent' to lead to a higher perfection; in the 1816 edition the sufferings are not 'sent' but 'permitted'. 6 On page 6 of the MS we read that 'God hath died'; Charles's editor, aware no doubt of the possible theological implications of this statement, omits it. 7 (Patripassianism, the view that the Father suffered on the cross, was early rejected by the Christian church.) Such examples could be multiplied easily, though to do so seems unnecessary. The front of the MS carries the normal 'Exd W.P.' together with the additional words also, it seems, in W.P.'s hand, 'an excellent discourse'.
The central thrust of this sermon is plain enough: the lot of the Christian is not a particularly happy one. The followers of Christ are the followers of 'him who was a man of sorrows' and like him will be called upon to suffer, perhaps to the end of life. However, though the present lot of the Christian is not happy, the reward will be great for those who stay the course. This, then, like Sermon 1 on Philippians 3: 13-14, though to a lesser extent,