Charles preached his sermon on Ephesians 5:14 before the University of Oxford on Sunday 4 April 1742, which was not the first time that he had addressed that congregation. 1 This date falls in the middle of one of the larger gaps in the MS journal extract, and no other record appears to have survived of Charles's movements during the early part of 1742. 2 However, the date is clearly recorded on the first edition of the sermon itself and, as was noted in Chapter 4 , John's journal entry for that day records how 'about two in the afternoon, being the time my brother was preaching at Oxford before the University, I desired a few persons to meet with me and join in prayer'. 3 Given the clear attestation of authorship, then, it is not surprising that there is no dispute regarding the origin of the sermon with Charles. This despite the fact that it has been consistently printed in collections of sermons by John Wesley from the edition of 1746 on (though unlike 'The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes', it has always been identified as the work of Charles). Outler included it in the bicentennial edition. 4
No MS is known. Numerous copies of the various pamphlet editions are scattered widely across Methodist archives, 5 but only four copies of the first edition have to date been traced. These are at the Bodleian in Oxford (a copy of which is held at Duke), Yale, Toronto, and at the Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, Tennessee. The Oxford copy has been used as the basis for the text printed here. However, comparison of the Bodleian and Toronto texts indicates that they are not identical. Certainly they have been typeset differently and there are some minor changes in wording. The earliest edition that has been traced to date in the MARC is the sixth (1744). The more significant differences between the first edition and the form that this sermon has in Sermons on Several Occasions have been indicated in the notes.
The main outline and purpose of this sermon is not difficult to discern. Drawing on the words of his text 'Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light', Charles seeks to call those he considers to be in a state of spiritual somnolence from their slumbers. This 'sleep' is, says Charles, the natural state of the human soul until