Charles's sermon on Romans 3: 23-4 carries three notes regarding the date and location of its delivery. These are 21 January 1739 at Islington, 25 February 1739 at Bexley, and 11 March 1739 at St Catherine's. All three dates can be confirmed from the journal and all are according to the 'new style'. The response to the sermon on these occasions appears to have been mixed. At Bexley some twenty of the congregation left the church. 1 In all three places Charles refers to this sermon as being on 'justification' (or 'justification by faith' in the case of Islington and Bexley). In this context it is worth noting that he records in his journal that he discoursed on this topic on several other occasions during that year, though it is not clear whether he made use of this sermon text. 2 (The 'sermon on justification' which Charles preached before the University (of Oxford) on 1 July 1739 is Sermon 7, the longer sermon on Romans 3: 23-5.) No dispute surrounds the authenticity of this sermon. There is nothing on the MS suggesting anything other than its composition by Charles.
The MS is held in the MARC. 3 It comprises eighteen leaves formed from nine folded sheets which have been stitch-bound into a booklet. Leaves 2-15 are written recto only and leaves 16-17 are entirely blank. Leaf 1, which, together with leaf 18, forms the front and back cover, is written verso only and contains a sermon register (three entries) and a section of shorthand at the bottom which is upside-down (see text for details). The final leaf is also written verso only; here we find a few notes, unrelated it seems to the sermon, on the formation of shorthand signs. 4 The handwriting appears to be that of Charles.
The sermon was first published in 1987 by Albin and Beckerlegge in their edition of the shorthand sermons and that transcription has proven invaluable in the preparation of this edition. However, on a number of points the text as printed here differs from that in Albin and Beckerlegge and the more significant of those differences have been indicated in the notes. Similarly, though in many places the reading given by Albin and Beckerlegge seems to be the most likely, there are occasions when it is perhaps less certain than they indicate. Again, such instances are indicated in the notes and a literal, unexpanded transcription of the shorthand is provided for the reader's further consideration.
This is one sermon where Charles draws fairly extensively on sources other than the Bible. The most important and obvious of these are the Articles of the Faith and the Homilies, particularly the homilies 'Of The Misery of Man' and 'Of the Salvation of all