Kenneth J. Collins and Jason E. Vickers, eds. The Sermons of John Wesley: A Collection for the Christian Journey. Abingdon, 2013. 608 pages. ISBN: 978-1426742316
Dr. Vic Reasoner
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 2. Volume 32.Fall 2014.
There have been five annotated editions of John Wesley's standard sermons. Nathaniel Burwash, a Canadian Methodist leader, produced the first such edition in 1881. William P. Harrison worked from the Burwash edition to produce a similar work for Southern Methodists in 1886. Later, Edward Sugden, an Australian, produced a third edition in 1921. It was marred by certain criticisms of Wesley in light of modern psychology and evolutionary theory.
With the completion of the Bicentennial Edition of the sermons of Wesley by Albert Outler in 1987, this has become the new standard for Wesley studies. However, Outler's introductions were primarily historical. The other introductions were primarily theological. Thus, in 1996 my father-in-law, Robert L. Brush, and I gleaned the best from the three previous editions and published them in The Wesley Workbook, along with other helpful introductory material. And Dr. Collins wrote the Foreword. However, our book did not contain the actual sermons.
In 1991 an anthology of fifty of Wesley's sermons was produced by Outler and Heitzenrater, separate from the Bicentennial Edition of Wesley's Works. Sermons were placed in chronological order.
Now in 2013, Collins and Vickers have provided a fifth option. The text is from the critical edition by Outler, but the introductory notes are by Collins and Vickers. Their one-page introduction to each sermon is both historical and theological. They have arranged Wesley's sermons in a systematic order, reflecting a Wesleyan order of salvation. This edition also supplements the basic fifty-two standard sermons with eight additional sermons by Wesley which serve to provide a more complete overview of Wesley's theology. If you do not have a copy of Wesley's basic sermons, this is the edition to buy.