Charles preached his sermon on John 8: 1-11 at least three times. The first was on 20 February 1739 'at Mr Stonehouse's'. In the journal Charles wrote
Waked full of concern for the poor harlot and began an hymn for her. At 5 call[ed] on Miss Crisp; then on Mr St[onehouse] where I expounded the woman taken in adultery. 1
This date matches that given on the verso of leaf 1 of the later MS. It is not clear from the MS or the journal entry whether Charles used this MS on 20 February 1739 or, as was his practice, expounded the 'woman taken in adultery' extempore (which seems probable given the concern for the 'harlot' he had on that particular day) and then wrote up his thoughts some time after. Charles further records that he 'expounded' this passage on April 15, 1739 2 and 30 September 1739. 3 There are no further references to the preaching of this sermon in the journal. However, as was noted in Chapter 4 , Charles 'transcribed' the sermon from MS A to MS B on 24 November 1758, which suggests that it was still in his repertoire even at that much later date.
The authenticity of this sermon is not in any doubt. Both MSS are clearly in Charles's hand and neither has any indication of his copying from any other source. The relationship between the two MSS has been discussed in detail in Chapter 4 and need not be entered into again here. 4
Both MSS are now held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester; 5 MS A is the better preserved of the two, though neither is in a state of disrepair. It comprises 16 leaves made up of 8 stitched folded sheets. The sermon is contained on leaves 2-14 written recto only. Leaf 1 forms the front cover, on the recto of which are written the words (in shorthand) 'transcribed November 24, 1758'. On the verso of leaf 1 the words 'Islington April 15. 1739' have been written in longhand. Leaves 15 and 16 are blank. MS B comprises 6 leaves (2 folded sheets and 2 separate leaves) which have been left loose. The leaves are written recto and verso and are numbered 1-12. These are, then, clear MSS which have