According to the record on the MS, Charles 1 preached this sermon some six times, 2 and further accounts of his preaching the sermon appear in the journal. 3 The entries are dates in 1737 and 1738 (see the text below for details). Clearly, then, this was a sermon Charles was happy to preach and he must therefore have been in agreement with its content. Thus, while it was copied from his brother's MS, shows no evidence of significant interruption in the order of paragraphs, and has no sections of shorthand or other obvious interpolations, it can nevertheless properly be included here as a sermon of Charles himself.
The MS is held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 4 where it is one of four contained in a small bound volume (the others being Sermons 20, 22, and 23, on Mark 12: 30, Proverbs 11: 30, and Psalm 91: 11 respectively). 5 It was published as sermon V in the 1816 edition, 6 and as always there are significant differences between its form in that edition and in the MS. Outler also published the text in his edition of John's sermons. 7 The few inaccuracies in Outler's edition have been corrected here and the more significant of these are indicated in the notes.
Outler gives a good account of the way in which the reference in Luke to the 'one thing needful' was interpreted in the eighteenth century and his notes are well worth consideration at this point. There were numerous possibilities. In his Unum Necessarium published in 1655, Jeremy Taylor (1613-67) put forward the view that the one thing that was needful was the practice of true repentance. Other commentators had different views. Charles here makes the case that 'the one thing needful' is none other than 'the renewal of our fallen nature', that is, the restoration of the image of God.