1805 -- 1810
"A downright scholar is one that has much learning in the ore, unwrought and untried, which time and experience fashions and refines. He is good metal inside, though rough and uncouth without... But practice him a little in men, and brush him over with good company, and he shall out-balance those glisterers, as far as a solid substance does a feather, or gold, gold-lace." -Bishop Earle.
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There is something of the sublime, in the steady and majestic advance of a great and devoted mind toward the fulfillment of its purpose, amid the impiety, impenitence, and resistance of moral evil! That the will of God shall be done, is the encouragement afforded, and the guarantee given, to the Christian minister, in his efforts for the improvement and moral renovation of the world, and for the ultimate triumph of benevolence and holiness, over depravity and evil; and this is the consolation, that the end, however distant, will throw a flood of light on those portions of the Divine economy, which at present are inscrutable; -- thus assured, the ambassador of Christ "in patience possesses his soul," repelling alike skepticism and despair, in reference to the final and glorious result. Concerning the subject of this memoir, it may truly be said, that not only did the study of Truth yield pure and animating pleasures to his own mind, but that the prime object for which it was studied, was the welfare of Christ's kingdom; -- for this was blended with every thought, and inwoven in the texture of every exertion. We now approach an important era in the career of Adam Clarke, -- it is the summer of his literary life and intellectual strength, in which he comes forth from the circle of friends and brethren, in his own particular church, and stands out as a public man, -- as one given for the benefit of all; an illustrious specimen of the true philanthropist; the man of untiring effort, stimulated by the pure desire of benefiting all around him, of every name, and sect, and place; the man of truest patriotism and zeal, a burning and a shining light, and that too in a place, and among a people, where, and by whom, his genius could be appreciated, and his stores of knowledge brought forth, and laid out at a high rate of interest to their possessor. He was now placed in a field, in the culture of which, his benevolent heart could be satisfied with the abundant increase of his labors; -- the workman being blessed, in the blessing which attended his work! Hence, so long as physical strength would answer the demands of a vigorous and active mind, the London circuit was the scene in which he could best spend his energies, and employ his talents; -- being as well the emporium of literature as of wealth -- of genius as of rank. Here were the good, the high, and the noble; a great and honorable phalanx, arrayed against the terrible opponency of the hosts of evil, also in possession of the place; -- for here men are congregated in greatest numbers, and with highest influence, -- adorned by the most splendid virtues, and degraded by the most atrocious vices; -- here the struggle is mightiest between truth and error, between honor and fraud, between party and principle, between the most glorious exhibitions of benevolence, and the most deplorable instances of selfishness! Into such a place, was Mr. Clarke now bringing the matured efforts of a strong mind, a fervent piety, and a constraining love to God and man, adding one more to the interests of virtue and religion, in the varied mass, and assisting to give the bias to truth and right, over every opposing principle!
Allowing the portraiture attempted, to be correct in its outline and filling up, so far as we have gone; -- allowing the shades and coloring to present the man as he really was, -- we say, that he now demands the especial study of the lookers-on; -- for he will repay the attention as well with a profitable example, as a pleasing portrait.
Mr. Clarke, being appointed superintendent, had, in addition to still accumulating literary engagements, an increase of responsible circuit duties to discharge; and, except to one or two places, he performed the whole of his journeys on foot, as on his previous appointment to the London circuit, notwithstanding those journeys had increased in consequence of additional chapels having been built. His residence was in City Road, adjoining the chapel. Speaking of this appointment in after life, at a time when there was some misunderstanding in the society, he observed to the writer, "The London circuit was then very extensive, embracing what now constitutes five or six circuits. It was nearly twelve miles from the center, in different directions, and twenty-four across: but extensive as it was, I always made it a point to walk home after preaching at night, that I might be near the seat of the machinery, and have it always under my eye; I was even in time very often for the meeting of the sunday-school teachers, and preserved them in temper and in order.
"We had at that time some turbulent trustees; and those who know me, know that I never bowed to any body of them, whether from fear or favor: I never did -- I cannot -- I never will; yet these men were managed; -- though they would do nothing before, I obtained all I wanted. I spoke to Mr. Mortimer, and told him, that we required increased room for meeting classes: he said, he would see about it, -- met the other trustees, -- who acted in unison with himself, and built rooms. After this, I observed to him, that we were in want of room for quarterly meetings. 'What,' said he, 'you want a vestry?' I told him, I left it to himself, and to the other trustees, all of whom were gentlemen, -- men of sense, -- and who had the good of the cause and of the trust at heart. He intimated, that he would call a meeting, and consult the other trustees on the subject; the consequence was, that the vestry was enlarged.
"After this again, I said to him, -- Mr. Mortimer, the City Road chapel is one of the finest in the kingdom; it is a credit to the builder, to the trust, and to the connection; but there is no uniformity between the premises and the entrance -- between the chapel and cask-staves, or some rough wood run up as paling in front! 'What,' said he again, 'you want iron palisades?' [palisade n. & v. -- n. a fence of pales or iron railings. -- Oxford Dict.] Anything you like Mr. Mortimer, you are as capable of judging of the rules of propriety as I am. 'Well,' he returned, 'but we have no money for such improvements: we should have to advance on interest, and money is not so easily to be obtained.' I leave it with you, I subjoined. The trustees met -- advanced the money among themselves -- and we obtained the iron palisades and beautiful entrance now exhibited in front of the chapel; and that too, from men who were deemed refractory: but when Mr. M. came with his 'prerogatives,' we were involved in law-suits -- had to stand by the costs -- and then back out, as decently as we were able. Men, in general, may be managed; -- only treat them as gentlemen and rational beings, and pay them the respect due to their station in life."
Being a man of regular habits, and accustoming himself to the ordinary hours for meals, there was one inconvenience he always felt in the metropolis [London], when out of his own house -- late dinners: "They do not suit me," said he; adding, "I can only live a day at a time in London. Many of the people, dine at a late hour, and when fatigued, eat to repletion; they then drink to drown it -- lose their night's sleep -- and rise with headache next day."
Otherwise, he loved the metropolis, because of its attractions and the facilities it afforded for general usefulness, and the advancement of science. "Everett," said he one day, when passing up Ludgate Hill, and looking into a splendid shop window belonging to a silver-smith, "you may purchase anything in London, except religion." Yet he was not insensible to its profligacy.
A gentleman belonging to Manchester, the place which he had just left, having visited the metropolis, observed, "that though he had been some time in the city, he had witnessed more drunkenness in one day, in Manchester, than he had seen during the whole of his stay in London." Mr. Clarke replied, "I beg leave to differ from you on the comparative view which you take of the wickedness of the two places: Manchester is a mere colony of Satan; London is the seat of his government: it is from the latter that he gives his laws, and issues them to his dependencies." His attachment and views were more fully expressed to a friend about two months after his arrival in the metropolis.
"London," said he, "I consider the first place under the sun. -- So much do I like it, after long acquaintance, that I should prefer a garret and hammock in it, with one meal per diem, to the most elegant building and finest fare in any part of the globe which would preclude my access to this wonderful metropolis. I have traveled the streets of London at all hours, both of the day and night, and was never yet molested, nor ever lost even a pocket handkerchief. The London people are, in general, very 'reserved and shy of access;' but when men of worth become acquainted with men of merit, they are not only friendly, but truly affectionate. I have a circle of friends here, who may justly rank among the most excellent of the earth. With some of the most eminent of the literati I have an intimate acquaintance, and meet them frequently. My connection with reviewers, eminent booksellers, and the members of the British and Foreign Bible Society, gives me opportunities of gaining acquaintances, and hearing discussions of the most important and instructive kind. -Learning I love, -- learned men I prize, -- with the company of the great and good I am often delighted; but infinitely above all these and all other possible enjoyments, I glory in Christ, -- in me living and reigning, and fitting me for his heaven!"
Though some preparatory steps had been taken in 1803, for the establishment of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the further adoption of certain elementary propositions, as the outline of its future constitution, had been entered upon the books of the projectors of it in the spring of 1804, it was not till the 2nd of May that a public meeting was held, at the London Tavern, to give effect and permanency to its plans and operations; on which occasion Granville Sharpe, Esq., presided, with his characteristic urbanity and attention. On the first notice of this society, Mr. Clarke entered with all the warmth of a partisan into its object and measures; and on his arrival in London, about three months after its first anniversary, which was celebrated on the 1st of May, 1805, he was found an active and efficient member of its committees. He observed to the writer, that on his first connection with the society, he had the superintendence of the foreign correspondence, but was at length assisted by Doctor Steinkopff, who took Germany off his hand. He still, however, had to attend to the Oriental department. Being punctual, as to time and place, he was sure to be present at the precise moment the members of the committee were summoned; but one day entering the room before any of the other members arrived, and having other duties pressing upon him elsewhere, he wrote on a slip of paper, -- "I have been here -- no one came -- I am gone forth, Adam Clarke;" and laid it on the table, in front of the chair of the president, Lord Teignmouth.
That Mr. Clarke was found to be a great acquisition to the society, by its active members, will be abundantly demonstrated by a reference to the pages of its "History," by Mr. Owen; for which History, by the way, he furnished the author with his very appropriate motto from the Apocalypse, having compared the society, from its commencement, to the angel flying in the midst of heaven, with the everlasting gospel, to preach to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The society found in him, a man every way qualified for the duties he had to discharge; and this places his scholarship, which has not been duly appreciated, in no mean light. John Wesley's testimony of him -- that "he would be an extraordinary man," was prophetic. He saw the buds of future greatness. It is said of a certain statesman, that when he began his political career, he struck the first notes on too high a key, not to fall an octave before the air was finished: and opposed to this, it has been further stated, that true and lasting melody steals slowly on the ear, commencing with more modulated strains, and rising gradually with the feelings that the sounds awaken. Thus it was with Adam Clarke: he set out on no higher a note than he could maintain; there was rather a steady, perceptible advance; and the impression of reverence for him not only deepened, but his fame heightened, while his usefulness was always on the increase. What fitted him still more eminently for the work, in his connection with "The British and Foreign Bible Society," was his invariable habit of repairing to the original languages in which the Old and New Testaments were written. These improved and enlarged his power of Scripture interpretation. He would never take a Latin version of a Greek author, however excellent, when the original was within reach -- for in the best he had detected errors: he preferred the fountain head to the stream. Add to this, his knowledge of Oriental languages, and his acquaintance with some of the more modern ones of Europe, and he will be found -- taken in connection with his eminent services to the institution, to be fully entitled to all the praise awarded to him in the pages to which reference has been made -- and which, as proceeding from an eminent clergyman of the established church, comes in a welcome and disinterested shape.
It may be proper to observe here, that Mr. Clarke, previously to leaving Manchester, had corresponded with Mr. Samuel Greatheed, on the subject of a new periodical, to be entitled "The Eclectic Review." An address was circulated among a few such gentlemen, in the metropolis and its vicinity, as, it was presumed, were attached to the principles upon which the work was to be founded, accompanied with an invitation to a meeting of its friends, at the London Tavern. That meeting was respectably attended, and certain resolutions being entered into, Mr. Greatheed, one of the leading conductors, enclosed a Prospectus of the work to Mr. Clarke, accompanied with an earnest solicitation to become a regular contributor to its pages. "I have to address to you," observes Mr. G., "my earnest request that you will exert your literary attainments for the assistance of this benevolent and important undertaking. Though I have not enjoyed the privilege of a personal acquaintance with you, I am not a stranger to the laudable assiduity with which you have applied yourself to literary pursuits; and I understand that Hebrew, and other Oriental languages, which are highly useful to biblical criticism, have especially engaged your attention. Your help as a Reviewer in this department, or in any other which may be agreeable to you, is entreated. Favor me with an early reply, and I will transmit to you a copy of the rules proposed for the private conduct of the reviewers, together with such books as have been selected, or may be pointed out by you, from those which have been published within the present year. Hints for the improvement of the annexed prospectus, which you may suggest for the advantage of this undertaking, will be very acceptable." As little more than occasional aid could be promised, a pledge was given to that effect, when Mr. G. again addressed Mr. Clarke: "Accept my best thanks for your favor of the 9th, (1804,) with the remarks on the prospectus. Several of them have been adopted in a large number of copies now printed. I have attended seriously to the difficulties which you have stated, against taking a part regularly in the execution of the task which has devolved upon a few of us; but I trust you will be able to surmount them. Our pressure for time is extreme, and I have ventured to send you Mr. Sharp's two recent publications, and a small Hebrew Grammar, of which only the Introduction is new; and as it contains the best examples of the paradigms, and is most commonly used in dissenting academies, it is worthy of notice. I know not your judgment on the Hebrew points, but you are well aware that much may be said on both sides of the subject. You will oblige me by your remarks on Mr. Sharp's Hebrew Tracts, or at least one of them in the course of the month, in order that we may insert them in our first number. Relying on your zeal in this biblical department, I remain," &c.
Numerous as were the ministerial and literary engagements of Mr. Clarke, it was not long before he afforded Mr. G. substantial proof of the interest he took in the projected periodical, on which that gentleman remarked: "It has given me some uneasiness not earlier to have been able to acknowledge your very acceptable letters of the 24th and 27th of October, and to thank you for the valuable reviews accompanying the latter, all of which were duly forwarded to me from town. Instead, however, of occupying you with a detail of my hindrances, I rely on your candor to give me credit for an earnest wish to have obviated [obviate v. tr. to get around or do away with (a need, inconvenience, etc.). -- Oxford Dict.] them had it been practicable. -- Every instance of zeal for the important work in which we are engaged, demands my cordial thanks, and none more than the exertion of your talents to render the work acceptable by your review of Sir William Jones' Grammar, which will appear in the first number. Our printer will get the Persian set up at another house, where they are competent to the business, and the sheet shall be sent by post for your revision, to guard against mistakes in a business on which we are ignorant. I likewise beg the favor of you, as early as convenient, to attend to what relates to Persian literature in Lord Teignmouth's Life of Sir William Jones. Any remarks that occur to you in perusing the work would be acceptable; though we would not trouble you to draw up a finished review, another person having undertaken it. It will depend upon the materials that may be ready, whether your reviews of the Greek and Hebrew are inserted in the first or following number; if all were put in at once, our readers might perhaps join with your own complaints, and cry out, Ne quid nimis. -- I have not had time to examine the force of Mr. Sharp's arguments on the articles: if you think the ground not tenable, it may be better for us not to occupy it: thank God the proofs of our Lord's divinity do not rest upon such points. On you we rely for Eastern criticisms, and these may perhaps occupy as much of your time as you can comfortably afford us. As we propose an article of correspondence on literary subjects, I should think your list of passages in the Zendavesta, if not too extensive, very proper for that department. I have a list of all the translations of the Bible in the Duke of Wirtemburg's library; if you prepare such a paper, it may be introduced in the second. If we had many friends as zealous as yourself, we should not fear our final success."
In a subsequent letter, Mr. G. observes, "I have been carefully revising your account of the Persian grammar, and, though I have found very little that could be omitted or much abridged, I have ventured to make some transpositions or verbal alterations, which I judged for the better -wishing that so accurate a piece of criticism should be, even in minor points of style, as complete as possible. I hope you have received Lord Teignmouth's Biography of Sir William Jones, and that you will favor us with your remarks upon it at your earliest convenience. Your account of the Greek and Hebrew grammars will be inserted in succession.
On Mr. Daniel Parken becoming the editor of the Eclectic Review, Mr. Clarke continued his contributions. "Your review," says Mr. P., "of Holmes' Septuagint, is performed, not only to my own satisfaction, but to the entire approbation of all who have seen it, and to the credit of the review itself."
In the years 1806 and 1807, Mr. Clarke, in his correspondence with Professor James Bentley, of King's College, Aberdeen, and Dr. John Barrett, Vice Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, was highly complimented for his candor, liberality, and patient investigation, and for the extensive information and learning in every instance evinced in the general tenor of his criticisms. These references go to establish his connection with the review in question during its first and "golden age," when Hall, Montgomery, Foster, and other eminent men, brought the splendid conceptions of their minds to establish its credit, and enhance its literary, philosophical, theological, and poetical value.
Waiving for the present, all conversations which the biographer had with Mr. Clarke on the subject, these notices are sufficient to show, that, in the midst of his other and multifarious engagements, he frequently employed his critical pen on the works of his contemporaries.  The merit of the articles furnished, is a subject of much less moment than the authenticity. It is a matter of some consequence to have the articles properly authenticated; and on this point the writer has to remark, that he was favored with a list of the works reviewed by the subject of the memoir, during the life-time of the latter.
A short time prior to his connection with the Eclectic Review, he published an edition of Fleury's "Manners of the Ancient Israelites;" a translation of which had issued from the press in 1750, by Richard Gough, the celebrated antiquary, then a youth about fifteen years of age, and circulated chiefly among his friends and his family. Another translation was published in 1756, of which Mr. Ellis Farneworth had the credit, but which was really translated by Mr. Thomas Bedford, of Compton, near Ashborne, Derbyshire. As the original work was deemed rather too concise, Mr. Clarke employed some of the materials of Father Lamy, forming part of his Apparatus Biblicus. Those points which he thought the Abbé had treated too concisely to be intelligible, he considered more at large; and added some subjects of importance, which had been totally omitted; appending a copious index to the work, for the sake of reference. For this edition, which had a rapid sale, Mr. Clarke neither expected nor received the smallest emolument.
By way of dismissing the work, it may be observed, that, in order to render subsequent editions more useful and acceptable, Mr. Clarke collated the translation with three of the best copies of the original, viz., the first edition published by the Abbé, Paris, 1681, 12mo.; the Paris edition of 1736, 12mo., with additional references; and that in the OPUSCULES de M. l'Abbé FLEURY, Tome I. à Nismes, 1780, 5 vols., 8vo.: he collated the references also, not only to the Scriptures, but to the Greek and Latin writers, with the authors themselves, correcting various errors which had been increasing with succeeding editions of the work; furnishing many of the references at full length, accompanied with an English translation, when warranted by the importance of the matter: adding a variety of notes, to confirm and illustrate the text, together with some supplementary chapters on Hebrew poetry -- the instruments of music in use among the ancient Hebrews -- the Hindoo and Mohammedan fasts, purifications, &c., as illustrative of those of the ancient Jews -- a copy of the Jewish liturgy -- a sketch of the life and character of Moses: prefixing to the volume, "A Short Account of the Life and Writings of the Abbé Fleury."
Mr. Clarke's literary correspondence engrossed a considerable portion of his time; and when applied to, he spared neither pains nor expense in obliging a friend, who, in want of rare and curious works, solicited his advice. A specimen of his disposition to oblige will be perceived in the following communication to a young friend: "You will think it strange," says he, "that the Polyglott has not yet reached you; and I think it necessary to explain the reason of delay. I informed you, that the copy was a genuine republican one, the two last leaves of the preface being supplied by manuscript. I thought you would feel this a serious defect; and as I knew that a little additional expense to perfect so rare an article should not be an object of much consideration, I determined on having the two leaves in question reprinted, that you might have a perfect facsimile of the original. I applied to three different offices before I could get type to match; and when I got them, the printer had so few of them, that only one page could be set up at a time. It is now in the press, and I hope will soon be printed. When this is done, I will send it with as much speed as possible, and then you will have an invaluable copy."
Ever watchful, to plant a word of advice in the mind, and to benefit those with whom he was on habits of intimacy, he observes to the same friend, "I hope you go steadily on in your work, improving your mind in useful knowledge, cultivating your acquaintance with God, and endeavoring to dispense the word of life to others. Read, less or more, in your Greek Testament every day, and frequently refresh your mind in your grammatical rules."
No less careful was he to preserve the life of God in his own soul; and as one means of promoting that end, he pursued the same course here as in Liverpool and Manchester, by meeting, as frequently as possible, with the Rev. George Story, of whose class he was considered a member.
At the Leeds Conference of 1806, Mr. Clarke, much opposed to his will, was elected President. Out of fifteen of the brethren who had occupied the chair from the death of Mr. Wesley, he was the youngest in years, and the youngest but one in the itinerant work; that one was Dr. Coke, who, on his first election, had traveled twenty-five years -- Mr. Clarke having traveled only twenty-four: but the Doctor's respectable connection with the church, gave him a claim over some of his brethren -- and that claim was generously ceded. Mr. Clarke, it may be further remarked, was the first preacher who filled the presidential chair a third time. The office brought with it many responsibilities, and added considerably to his other duties, of which a greatly augmented epistolary correspondence was not the least.
It was at this Conference, that the Rev. David McNicoll, then a young man, made such an impression on the mind of Mr. Clarke, by a sermon which he preached, that he ever after had his esteem and affection; and at Mr. Clarke's earnest request, he was appointed with him to London, where he resided in the house with him, and was a favorite in the family. One of the members of the family referring to this period of Mr. McNicoll's history, in after life, remarks, "My general impression now is, that he was an intelligent and interesting companion, and a most amiable man. But I do remember, that one of my father's negative commendations, in a good-natured way, was, -' Davy, why do not you work more? If you would but study, you would be a clever fellow.' But it is a fact, that in his earlier years he was exceedingly averse from mental exertion, except when necessity drove him to it. And with great versatility of talent, and a remarkable aptness at seizing upon an idea, or an incident, and making the one his own, and working out the other at his pleasure, he was one who greatly preferred the social hour to the studious one, and who gained much of his mental possessions with a singular and almost instinctive faculty: for it is my belief, that his varied acquirements cost him very little effort. No man, indeed, could be in my father's society, admitted to all the unrestrained confidence of his mind, without being the wiser and the better for it: and it is well known to me, that Mr. McNicoll was on terms of the strictest friendship at our house. My father considered him a man of considerable mental powers, and of an exceedingly sweet and amiable disposition."
This is considered by Mr. Dixon, in his admirable sketch of the character of Mr. McNicoll, to have been one of those eras in his life which gave the final bias to his character and pursuits. David McNicoll was a man of real genius, and often bodied forth great beauty and power of thought, in considerable luxuriance, though often negligence, of style.
As a man of learning and research, the value of Mr. Clarke's labors in the Wesleyan body, cannot well be over-rated; for while, as we have already hinted, the homely mode of communicating instruction employed by the early followers of Mr. Wesley proved so eminently successful, as it confessedly did, at a period when a voice of thunder was far better adapted to the state of spiritual slumber in which the nation was enwrapt, than the voice of melody or its measures; the time was now come when the people began to search and inquire for themselves, and the invariable influence of genuine religion, in refining the taste and manners, as well as in reforming the life and conduct, began to tell upon the multitudes who attended the ministrations of Mr. Wesley's preachers, so that the style at first so successful, became in time less palatable, and indeed less necessary than at first it had been.
At this point then, it may easily be conceived, the usefulness of the body was in danger of receiving a considerable check. The important and rapidly increasing class of the educated, would scarcely come under this influence at all, while the earlier converts having become as wise as their teachers, would feel a diminution of that reverential respect so essential between the pastor and his flock. Mr. Clarke felt the necessity for the preachers of the gospel being an educated, as well as a religious body of ministers; -- he knew that in its sublimest sense "knowledge is power," and that the absence of it, had now become something worse than simple ignorance; -- that if the amount of information were small, the benefit produced would be comparatively insignificant, from the very narrowness of the circle within which it could alone move, affording scanty information, because in itself consisting but of a few disconnected and confused principles. Himself highly appreciating the sublimity, pathos, and eloquence of scripture -- the mystic grandeur of its prophecies -- the exceeding riches of grace and glory unfolded in the gospel -- and the thrilling arguments advanced by the apostles in favor of its reception and practice, -- he felt that to convey to the listening congregations, in words seasoned with wisdom, and replete with right information, the solemn truths of the everlasting gospel, was a consummation at this period of Methodism, most devoutly to be wished. In accordance with this conviction, he took occasion -- at one of those meetings which the preachers in the London circuit frequently held, for the purpose of mutual consultation for the furtherance of the great work -- to introduce the subject of education, in reference to the junior preachers.
To his friend, Mr. Butterworth, he detailed the business of that meeting, in a letter which, without further prefatory observation, we now give to the Wesleyan public in particular. The projectors and friends of Theological Institutions, will hail its appearance with unmingled satisfaction; while the opinions it advocates, and the advices of wisdom it contains, will stimulate the parties more immediately concerned to renewed exertions. The letter may supply hints for improvements in an establishment whose aim is the extension of Messiah's kingdom, by the more efficient prosecution of the great work of calling sinners to repentance, and educating sons and daughters for immortal glory!
City Road, June 4th, 1806.
VERY DEAR BROTHER, -- I need not tell you how glad we all were this morning, on receipt of your message with a copy of the provision, in the Levy en masse Act, in behalf of the Lord's day. God will bless our nation for it, and our rulers will come in for their share of the divine countenance and support. We have now a subject of the deepest concern before us. We want, (God knows how much we want,) some kind of seminary for educating workmen for the vineyard of the Lord; -- who need not be ashamed, but who now, through the disadvantageous situations and circumstances in which they have been bred, know not even how to use the talents which God has given them. I introduced a conversation upon the subject this morning, and the preachers were unanimously of opinion that some efforts should be made without delay, to get such a place established either here or at Bristol, where young men who may be deemed fit for the work, might have previous instruction, in theology -- in vital godliness -- in practical religion -and in the rudiments of general knowledge. No person to be permitted to go out into the work, who was not fully known to be, blameless in his conversation -- thoroughly converted to God -- alive through the indwelling Spirit -- and sound in the faith. Mr. Benson said, he would unite his whole soul in it, if I would take the superintendence of it. What can we do to set this matter on foot? The people are getting wiser on all sides; Socinianism and other isms, equally bad, are gaining strength and boldness; as a BODY we cannot stand and speak with our enemies in the gate, much less turn the battle to the gate. The preachers are in a state of comparative nonage, because they have had no help -- no director of their studies -- no pointer out of method -- no explorer of the paths in which they should tread. Every circuit cries out, -- "Send us acceptable preachers," and we cannot do this, -- we are obliged to take what offers, and depend upon the recommendation of those who can scarcely judge but from the apparent fervor of a man's spirit. My dear brother, the time is coming and now is, when illiterate piety can do no more for the interest and permanency of the work of God, than lettered irreligion did, formerly. The Dissenters are going to establish a grammar school, and have sent about to all our people, as well as their own, for countenance and support; would not God have our charity, in this respect, to begin at home? Are there not many of our people who would subscribe largely to such an institution? If we could raise enough the first year, for the instruction of only six or ten persons, would it not be a glorious thing? Perhaps about twenty would be the utmost we should ever need to have at once under tuition, as this is the greatest average number we should take out in a year. Speak speedily to all your friends, and let us get a plan organized immediately; let us have something that we can lay matured before the Conference. God, I hope, is in the proposal; and we should not promise our strength or influence to others, till we find either, that we can do nothing for ourselves, or that nothing is requisite...
Why an Institution thus wisely proposed, was not immediately put into operation, it is impertinent now to inquire. Mr. Butterworth entered warmly into the scheme, suggesting some improvements, and promising, in the fullness of his benevolent heart, his pecuniary aid, to a very considerable amount; and it will be deeply regretted by many, that such men as Joseph Benson, Adam Clarke, and Joseph Butterworth, passed away from this scene of things, without having witnessed at least the commencement of an Institution, whose interests would have been immensely promoted by the combined efforts and united piety, learning, and talent of these great and good men! The scale of operation, as a beginning, was modest -- "the instruction of six or ten" young men; while the proposal itself places Mr. Clarke nearly thirty years ahead of his brethren on the subject of a Theological Institution: nor were those who followed in his wake, in the struggle of 1834, slow in appealing to his authority, and in citing his opinion, in support of a measure, which may be said to be a revival only of his own.
Leaving this subject, we pass on to afford our readers another peep into one of the high excellences of Mr. Clarke's character: his capacity for an enduring and untiring friendship. Mrs. Arthur, but recently bereaved of a fondly attached husband, wrote, proposing to visit Mr. and Mrs. Clarke. The following letter in reply, will be read with interest by some still living, who knew the strength of affection entertained by the parties for each other. It affords a beautiful specimen of the spirit and temper in which its writer ever viewed the lovingkindness and fatherly care of God in reference to his children, and of the manner in which the comfort should be ministered, which is the gift of God, pre-eminently to the widow and the fatherless.
To Mrs. Arthur. London, 1806.
DEAR SISTER A., -- I return you my best thanks for the very careful manner in which you have sent my books, which arrived safely this morning. I thought I saw in the great care you took in packing up these old volumes, much affection displayed; and while unpacking them, many former scenes were recalled to my memory. How much we love you, it is impossible for us to tell: you talk of putting our friendship to the test; -- do it, and the sooner the better; and see whether we are what we should be, and what we profess to be. The spring is coming on, and your health will be improved by the temporary removal to Bristol. You know I have promised you a pile of my best books to sit on, and what can you desire more!
Your present cloud will be dispersed by and by; -- though affliction "endureth for a night, joy cometh in the morning;" God will not always afflict, neither will he be for ever wrath; -remember his eternal mercy -- remember his son Jesus -- and fear not. In all your afflictions he was afflicted, and he still sympathizes with you; -- believe that he loves you: how frequently have I preached this doctrine to you, and you gladly received it, when you had less need of it than you have now; now that you need it most, receive it heartily, and trust in him who has so often blessed and refreshed your soul heretofore: he is the same God, -- willing to help, and mighty to save! "Put his friendship to the test," and you will find him to be all you want, and all you wish. I am nearly worn out with excessive fatigue. I have lost health and strength since I came to London, merely through being overdone with work. Mary, thank God, is pretty well, and so are all the bairns. We hope Mr. Pawson is a little better, but the prospect has been dreary enough. Love to Mr. and Mrs. Stock, and sister Eliza. I am, my dear sister A., yours most affectionately,
A. CLARKE. Mr. Clarke found, that his public engagements considerably abridged his time for epistolary correspondence; to his friend, Mr. Holdcroft, of Dublin, he observed on his return to the metropolis, "My situation here, full of business, hurry, and embarrassment, leaves me scarcely any time to pay that attention to my friends and correspondents which they deserve. I am obliged to give that time to the public which I used to have to myself: this, the providence of God appears to require, and I must endeavor to be faithful."
One of the works which engrossed not a little of his time at this period, was his "Bibliographical Miscellany," in 2 vols., 12mo. In this work, he furnished an account of the English Translations of all the Greek and Roman Classics and Ecclesiastical Writers, in alphabetical order, -- each Translation being chronologically arranged, with critical judgments on the merit of the principal translations; together with an extensive list of Arabic and Persian Grammars, Lexicons, and Elementary Treatises, embracing a particular description of the principal works of the best Arabic and Persian prose and poetic writers, both printed and in manuscript, with such English translations of them as had then appeared before the British public. To render the work still more useful, he included in it, remarks on the origin of Language and Alphabetical Characters -- a short History of the Origin of Printing, and Inventors of the Typographic Art -- the Introduction and Perfection of Typography in Italy -- a Catalogue of Authors and their Works in Bibliography and Typography, divided into four classes -- an alphabetical list of all the Towns and Cities where Printing was carried on in the fifteenth century, with the title, &c., of the first book printed in each place -- an Essay on Bibliography, or Treatise on the Knowledge and Love of Books -- several Bibliographical Systems, teaching the proper method of arranging books in a large library -- a Complete Table of the Olympiads from their commencement 776 years before the Christian Ĉra, down to A. D., 220 -- the Roman Calendar at large, distinguished into its Calends, Nones, Ides, &c. -- the Hijrah or Mohammedan Ĉra (connected with the Christian) from its commencement A. D. 622, to A. D. 2200, by which any corresponding year in each was seen at one view -- and Tables of the Khalifs, Kings of Persia, &c., from the death of Mohammed to his own time. These subjects were all considered as allied to the Science of Bibliography, and on each of them the reader will find a considerable portion of condensed information. He closed his labors on this work, Nov. 1, 1806; and expressed his satisfaction on seeing its termination, after having, as he observed, "drudged at it so long."
On the eve of this publication, he wrote a learned and interesting "Dissertation on Diplomas," which was subsequently published; and in this, we see his peculiar turn of mind for tracing everything up to its primitive source, as well as his anxiety to honor the Oracles of God as the fountain-head of all true wisdom. Adverting to the motto on the seal of the Manchester Philological Society, which he himself had selected, he observed, "The motto of this seal is taken from Prov. xxiv. 5, in the Septuagint version, 'The wise man is superior to the strong.' This language of ancient philosophy, founded on experience, Lord Bacon borrowed from Solomon, in his celebrated maxim: 'Knowledge is power.' While it stood in the writings of the wisest of men, in connection with other parts of the word of God, it was comparatively disregarded, except by those religious people who, convinced of the moral truth of the maxim, applied it only to spiritual purposes. As soon as it appeared in the excellent writings of the truly philosophic British chancellor, it was loudly applauded, because supposed to be a maxim of his own. How strange, that wise men, even to the present day, are so little acquainted with their Bibles as not to know, that the common English version of this text, -- The wise man is strong, -- was the source whence Lord Bacon drew it! The Christian philosopher will undoubtedly be pleased to see this portion of divine wisdom restored to its Author, while they regret that general neglect of the Oracles of Truth, which kept it unnoticed, though it has lain open to the inspection of the world for more than two thousand years!" In the estimation of Mr. Clarke, the Bible was as a magnificent tower in the center of a wide champaign, -- seen from every point, and always resorted to for direction and security. Alluding to this one day, he said, "I have brought all my knowledge to bear on the illustration of truth: that I have little imagination, I am aware; -- my peculiar forte is investigation. Give me a subject, -- whatever it may be, I can investigate and elucidate it, bring it out, and make it help truth." Whatever credit Mr. Clarke might pleasantly take to himself in part of this statement, in the freedom of conversation -- and he took no more than would be readily ceded to him by those who knew him, he under-rated himself in another, for he evidently showed great ingenuity in the application, as well as acuteness in the process. -- He was, in the mean time, shy, strictly speaking, of speculation. On the death of Mr. B____, of Dublin, which occurred about this time, he remarked, "Father B. involved himself in an endless labyrinth of thought and speculation; and in consequence of a want of simplicity, had a perplexed path through life." He added, "The whole business of salvation is plain and simple. In our attempts to dive into the depths of our own vanity, various curious thoughts, and fleeting images, all relating to spiritual things, pass in such rapid succession, that the judgment has no time to weigh their importance, and to decide on their propriety. Let fancy pursue them, and leave judgment behind, and the soul will soon lose itself in devious paths. There is nothing certain but the plain word of God; no safe teacher but the Spirit of Jesus Christ; and that Spirit teaches the heart, what the word teaches the understanding."
A question at this time before the British and Foreign Bible Society, will show Mr. Clarke's opinion on a subject of interest to some readers. In a letter addressed to the secretary, he observes, "I should have been glad to have been present at the meeting of the B. and F. Bible Society this morning, had not indisposition detained me at home. -- A jealousy lest the French Bible should be subjected to similar delays with the Welsh Bible, induces me to drop you a line. -I am still of opinion, that Martin's Bible is the most literal translation; but because the language through this very circumstance, is often flat, frequently inelegant, and perhaps sometimes scarcely French, I was quite satisfied, that the old Geneva, lately re-printed at Paris, should be the copy from which the stereotype edition should be formed. -- Seeing, however, some uneasiness in the minds of some worthy gentlemen of the committee, lest the Bible which I had shown to be precisely the same with that to which Ostervald's Reflections were appended, should have undergone any changes from the hand of a man who was reputed not perfectly orthodox on some points, I was led to examine the whole question anew; and think I have sufficient authority to state, 1st, That Mr. Ostervald never translated either the Old or New Testament. 2ndly, That he never revised, altered, or amended, any other translation of the Sacred Books. 3rdly, That he used the text of the Geneva version, leaving it just as he found it, only prefixing his own summaries, and appending his own Reflections. 4thly, That the late edition of Paris may be as safely followed as any other edition of the Genevan text. -- You will recollect, that at one of our late meetings, a letter was read, in which a Jersey gentleman had given it as his opinion, that the Paris edition was much more correct than Ostervald's, with which he had collated it. If what I have advanced above be correct, this gentleman is mistaken; as the text of Ostervald's Bible, and that of the Geneva editions are precisely the same: he must, therefore, have mistaken Martin's, or some other translation, for the supposed translation of Ostervald. -- I hope there will be no impediment thrown in the way of the stereotype edition; and I do firmly believe, that the Society cannot find a person in London, perhaps not in Europe, more capable of correcting the press than Mr. P. Carrieres; at the same time, as there are several mistakes in all the editions in the italics or supplied words, a person acquainted with the original languages, should inspect each sheet." We have here, not only a view of a small portion of the working of the machinery of the Society, and the safety of the public in the anxiety of the committee to furnish correct versions of the sacred text, but a point in reference to Ostervald, on which even many biblical students require to be instructed.
A scrupulous regard for truth, combined with great fidelity, led Mr. Clarke to sift with jealousy every literary subject that came under review; and these qualities inspired general confidence in all who submitted to his guidance. It was the same with profaner as with sacred history. Hume and Smollet's History of England came on the tapis one day, when he observed, "Hume is not to be trusted as to facts, -- he takes many of them at second and third hand, without consulting the originals: and as for Smollet, he was paid by government, -- and it was not at all likely that he would fly in the face of his employers; in his case, therefore, impartiality is not to be expected. The keeper of the Records told me, that when Hume was about to write his History of England, application was made by him to the Secretary of State, to allow him free access to the Records; he obtained the permission requested, and went once to the office: the keeper perceiving that he proceeded with his History, and finding that he had ceased to visit the office, took occasion about twelve months after, on meeting him one day in the Strand, to ask why he did not continue his visits to the office; 'Oh,' said Hume, 'I never intended to repeat my visits; I only wished to have it in my power to state to the nation, for the sake of satisfaction, that I had the privilege of consulting the National Records on every subject of moment.' The keeper felt indignant at such duplicity; and no wonder, for the History -- had the privilege possessed been rendered available, would have been very different from what it is. The keeper, however, had sufficient condescension left, to inform him, that his permission still lay open on the table, in the office, if he thought proper to make use of it; but Hume never re-entered the place in which the treaties and other public transactions are deposited, -- so essential to the work of a Historian. As it is, having examined several subjects,  and found him in error, I would approach the work with the feelings with which I would enter upon a work of imagination. Smollett, it may be added, had no time for patient research. It has been stated, that he completed his Continuation in the space of fourteen months; but I have been informed on good authority, that it did not occupy him more than nine."
On another occasion, he remarked, "Were I permitted to give my view of History, it would be the following: a true description and relation, from actual acquaintance of certain persons, places, and facts; in which account nothing is exaggerated, nothing extenuated, nothing suppressed relative to the persons or facts themselves, or their predisposing motives or causes; and nothing set down either through malice or prejudice. Those who undertake to write histories of persons they have never known, places they have never seen, facts they have never witnessed, and times in which they have not lived, are to be read with extreme caution and distrust; unless, in the principal facts, they have faithfully copied those who had a personal acquaintance with the subjects of their history, and scrupulously detailed the truth without disguise, retrenchment, or addition. But where are such to be found? From historians of a different character, little certainty is to be expected. The writer may be deceived, and so deceive others: or it may be his interest to falsify, mis-state, or misrepresent, the truth; and from such an one, correct information cannot be obtained. Multitudes of instances of voluntary and involuntary deception might be produced from every writer of history, from Herodotus to the present day. If the historian be a fine writer, he cannot be trusted for a single page: he usually sacrifices everything to embellishment, and is any moment ready to supply the place of facts by fiction: I am afraid that many of our modern historians are writers of this class. As for the mis-staters, they are political and polemical writers of all parties: these frequently sacrifice truth, honor, and honesty, to serve their own cause; and as most historians have some personal interest, either in their narrative or the success of it, they always take care to steer wide of those subjects, however important or true, by which that interest might be prejudiced. A history of this kind, to use the pun, is but his story who relates it: and this may be as good as any story; and any story of equal importance with it. The honest and industrious RAPIN, and the laborious and instructive HENRY, including the "Continuation " of the latter by Pettit Andrews, may be well exempted from censure in their historic compositions. They may have sometimes erred, but perhaps never consciously. They may be often flat, sometimes tedious, and seldom elegant; but they speak the truth from the heart; and shine, though not with a brilliant, yet with a steady, light." He added emphatically, "A true and impartial history in every respect, can only be found in the book of God."
Popular as Mr. Clarke was in the Wesleyan body at this time, and generally as he was known and respected among others, there were cases, in the suburbs and villages contiguous to the metropolis, in which the people were so indifferent to public worship, that neither fame nor talent could rouse attention, or draw them to the sanctuary of God. Being reminded of a case at Leighton, in his earlier history, when he preached on -- "Give a portion to seven," (Eccles. xi. 2,) there being only that number of hearers to commence the service with, (and which was only augmented by the addition of one at the close of the sermon, when, on the person entering the place, he added the remainder of the verse -- "and also to eight,") he observed, that at Kingsland, during his present station, he had a smaller auditory even than that, -- proceeding to state, that the whole of his congregation was five females, and a child, and that thus constituted, he was unable to address them in the customary language of the pulpit, as dear brethren. But he knew the value of the few, as well as of the many, and would no more indulge in criminal indifference, than do "the work of the Lord deceitfully:" subjoining for the instruction of others, -- "I gave them one of the best sermons I was able to preach; I could not, indeed, have done better, had I preached before the Conference." While this shows the spirit he carried with him into the pulpit, it administers reproof to those who are in the habit of changing their subject on the unexpected appearance of a small congregation, -imposing upon the people a sermon that has cost little labor, or dismissing them with an exhortation.
In all his ministrations of the word of life, he excited and preserved alive, a fine tone of devout feeling among his hearers. "Religion and piety," said he, "are two different subjects with me. With all Luther's zeal for religion and orthodoxy, as contradistinguished to that professed by the Church of Rome, I have been surprised to see, how much he, -- (and I may add others) -- was influenced by his own spirit, and how little of the placid, peaceable mind of Christ, was in him." After preaching one day, he [Adam Clarke] observed, "I would not have missed coming to this place for five hundred pounds: I got my own soul blessed, and God blessed the people. I felt," continued he, putting forth his arms in a circular form, and drawing them two or three times towards his breast, "that I was drawing the whole congregation to me -- closer and closer -- and pulling them away from the world to God."
Though his connection with the Bible Society has been noticed, as well as one of the particular departments to which he attended, it may be proper to advert more especially to some of the services rendered by him to the Institution. The preparation of types for the Tartar New Testament, Mr. Owen remarks, was implicitly confided to his learned and judicious superintendence. A scale of types constructed by himself, and executed with singular beauty, was submitted to the consideration of the committee; and a fount was cast agreeably to the model recommended. by him, and sanctioned by the approbation of the president and other competent judges of Oriental literature.  This scale, as was observed by the subject of the memoir to the biographer, cost no small labor, owing to the nice typographical calculations requisite for its completion; each part requiring a different letter, the gospels one, John another more sublime, Paul one more argumentative, Peter that which was strong, &c. When it was shown to Lord Teignmouth, his lordship observed, that it would have "affected his intellect to have done it;" and so pleased were the committee with it, that it was ordered to be mounted and varnished, and preserved among the society's curiosities and treasures.
Another important subject to which the attention of the committee was directed, was an Arabic version of the Sacred Text. In the year 1803, the Rev. J. D. Carlyle, B. P., Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle, and Professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge, desirous of exciting the public attention to the dispersion of the Scriptures in the Arabic language, issued a prospectus of a plan for printing by subscription an edition of the Arabic Bible, under the patronage of the Lord Bishop of Durham; urging in its recommendation, a variety of encouraging circumstances, and particularly the prevalence of the Arabic language in Africa; and both the qualifications and fondness of the Africans for reading Arabic books, as attested by the Sierra Leone Company, the celebrated Mungo Park, Browne, and other respectable authorities. The unexpected death of Professor Carlyle, while engaged in preparing the copy for the press, and some difficulties arising out of the contract for the types, occasioned considerable embarrassment, and put a stop, for a period, to the projected undertaking. It was during this interval that the British and Foreign Bible Society conceived the design of producing a correct and acceptable impression of the Arabic Scriptures. The subject underwent very serious and repeated examination; and an extended correspondence was carried on with the Bishops of London and Durham, the Professors of Arabic in both our Universities, and other persons of competent information, with a view to the ascertainment of a standard text, and such other points as required to be accurately known, previously to a formal and conclusive determination. 
In the course of this inquiry, Mr. Owen further remarks, in his History of the Society, that the committee derived very material assistance both from the Rev. Mr. Usko and Mr. Clarke. "These gentlemen," continues he, "severally delivered their respective opinions on the quality of the existing versions, the peculiarities of Oriental typography, and other matters of learned detail. Each regarded the text of the Polyglott as requiring correction; and both agreed in the absolute expediency of printing the Scriptures in the Arabic language: as 'the very great importance of an Arabic Bible' (said Mr. Usko) 'must strike every unprejudiced mind; considering that the Arabic language is one of the most extensive that exists perhaps on the surface of the globe.' Mr. Clarke expressed himself to the same effect, with great earnestness and decision, at the close of one of his communications to the president of the society. 'A pure edition,' says he, 'of the Arabic Scriptures is still a desideratum in Biblical literature. The time, I hope, is at hand, in which it shall cease to be so; under the auspices and direction of your lordship, and the British and Foreign Bible Society, I am led confidently to expect an edition of the Arabic Bible, which shall be worthy of the subject, a credit to your lordship and the society, and an honor to the British nation.'"  Though rendered public by the Society's History, it would be improper to omit a fact here, illustrative of the disinterested character of Mr. Clarke, in connection with his labors to promote its interests. "As the assistance of Mr. Clarke," says Mr. Owen, "in the Arabic business, has been referred to, it appears proper to state, that, with the expression of their thanks for this, and other eminent services, which had cost him no ordinary sacrifice both of time and of labor, the committee requested permission to present him with £50: an offering which that learned and public-spirited individual respectfully but peremptorily declined to accept. Gratuitous exertions in the cause of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and refusals to accept pecuniary returns, have abounded so greatly in every period of its history, that it is not intended, nor would it indeed be practicable, to specify the occasions on which they have been made. Mr. Clarke is, however, not to be classed with ordinary benefactors; and the circumstance has been mentioned principally with a view of introducing his reply to the committee's address -- a document, which the author of this History considers as too important to be sacrificed to the modesty of living merit."  Mr. Clarke thus addressed Messrs. Rayner and Mills:
"GENTLEMEN, -- With great respect and gratitude I return the Fifty Pounds which have been kindly sent me by the committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society. To no principle whence my services proceeded, and to no feeling of my heart, can I reconcile the acceptance of the society's bounty. What I have done, was for the sake of God and his truth; and I feel myself greatly honored in having a part in the blessed work, and only regret, that I have, probably, but a short time to devote to so useful an employment. To have, in any measure, deserved the respectful attention with which my feeble services have been honored by the committee, is a subject of sufficient gratification to my mind, and brings with it the amplest remuneration. -- God forbid that I should receive any part of the society's funds:-- let this money therefore return to its source; and if it be the instrument of carrying but one additional Bible to any place or family, previously destitute of the word of eternal life, how much reason shall I have to thank God that it never became any part of my property! -- Have the goodness to assure the committee of my perfect readiness, whether present or absent, to promote, so far as my time and abilities may permit, the great objects of this most benevolent association; which, like the apocalyptic angel, is flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."
In the early part of this year, (1807,) it was announced to Mr. Clarke, by Professor Bentley, that the University, and King's College, Aberdeen, had unanimously conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts; and in the spring of the following year, the same University unanimously voted to him the highest literary distinction in its gift, that of LL. D. While on this subject, and to prevent its future recurrence, it may be observed, that among other successive honors conferred upon him, were those of Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Fellow of the Royal Antiquarian Society in London, Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, and Fellow of the Geological Society of London. With the members of several other literary societies, his name was also associated. There are some learned societies in America too, of which he was a member. But there is one which may be especially noticed, as it is less generally known, viz., the Eclectic Society, of which the Duke of Gloucester was patron, and of which the Chancellors of the two Universities were vice patrons; of this he was likewise an honorary member. Professor Bentley knew Mr. Clarke as an author, and having heard of his rich collection of Oriental and other MSS., was desirous of a personal interview, that he might be indulged with an inspection of his literary treasures; and, for this purpose, obtained a letter of introduction to him. The Professor was highly delighted with his visit, and thus commenced the literary acquaintance, to which reference has been made. His Fellowship with the Antiquarian Society commenced in 1813. His name, agreeably to the rules of the society, was suspended in Somerset House for inspection, six weeks before the day of election. To it was appended the honorable distinction of one of those persons commissioned by His Majesty to examine the Public Records; and on the day of election he was unanimously chosen. In this society he took deep interest, from its congeniality with his tastes and pursuits. He named to the writer a number of papers which had been read in the meetings, selecting especially some original letters from Henry VIII., Catharine Parr, and Cardinal Wolsey.
His sentiments on purchased favors and unmerited titles, and on those who hunt after them, are strong -- though just. "I have such high notions of literary merit," he observed, "and the academical distinctions to which it is entitled, that I could not in conscience take, or cause to be taken in my own behalf, any step to possess the one, or to assume the other: everything of this kind should come, not only unbought, but unsolicited. I should as soon think of being learned by proxy, as of procuring academical honors by influence; and could one farthing purchase me the highest degree under the sun, I would not give it; not that I lightly esteem such honors; -- I believe them, when given through merit, next to those which come from God; but I consider them misplaced when conferred in consequence of influence or recommendation, in which the party concerned has any part, near or remote."
These remarks were made to Professor Porson, and drawn from the subject of the memoir in consequence of a hint he had heard of an application being made for him, in reference to honorary degrees, without his knowledge. Though it may appear somewhat eulogistic, yet justice demands it to be stated, that all his honors, at home and abroad, from Universities and other societies, sat upon him with an ease and grace, as if created for himself alone; and there was a fitness between those honors and public feeling, which is not always the case with persons receiving them -- provoking only the laugh of the learned, or the sneer of the crowd, owing to a want of keeping between the gift and the recipient, -- the quiet observer being able to find the man, but not the doctor -- the title, but not the learning. His honors were not the result of favor or of circumstances, but of merit: the public saw, and heard, and felt; and like the laurels which entwine the brow of the victor, they excited only the plaudits of the people. Based on sterling worth in the outset, his literary labors afterwards, were equal to the highest honors conferred: he reflected back as much light by his works, as could possibly have been borrowed from the various societies, inasmuch as they derived their very existence from the labors of such men: and he could say in the midst of all -- "None of these things move me."
He was unchanged in spirit and demeanor; -- the same humble, affable, courteous being as before, whether to poverty in rags, or to childhood in the arms. In this instance, he passed on his way, like a person gorgeously appareled, without being sensible of it; -- like one of the celestial intelligences arrayed in the borrowed costume of earth, whose nature -- whose bright interior -- so far surpass anything that earth can impart, that the drapery, if felt at all, is only felt as laid on, rather than required, having, without it, achieved everything equal to the exalted nature, and worthy of the superior order of beings to which he belongs. "A Concise View of the Succession of Sacred Literature, in a Chronological Arrangement of Authors and their Works, from the Invention of Alphabetical Characters to the year of our Lord 345," now made its appearance; the preface bearing date, "London, Sept., 1, 1807:" but though thus dated, the principal part of the volume had been printed off upwards of three years, the author having been prevented from completing it, in consequence of other important duties and engagements. It was his intention to bring the work down, in a second volume, to A. D. 1440, about the period when the art of printing was invented; but though he was prevented from carrying out his design, the work was taken up by his son, the Rev. J. B. B. Clarke, M. A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, and brought down to the year of our Lord 1300; the second volume, like the first, displaying great judgment, discrimination, and learning, with much patient research, -- a subject not a little gratifying to the projector of the work, as he lived to see it completed,  and relative to the author he observed, Sept. 14, 1830, "As the Continuation is announced under another name, it may be necessary to state, that I have been obliged to seek that help in others, once found in myself, of which length of days, and impaired sight have deprived me. To my son, J. B. B. Clarke,
M. A., I have delivered up all my papers, (the whole of which have been added to what was previously published, and constitute the completion of the first part,) with the fullest conviction that, from his natural taste for this species of study, so nearly allied to his sacred function, and from his various learning and thorough knowledge of the subject, he is amply qualified to conduct it with credit to himself and profit to the reader, to that issue at which his father aimed, -- the glory of God and the good of his Church." It is unnecessary to enter upon the design of the work, and still less so into its value to the mere English scholar, whose instruction he had chiefly in view, as that must be perceived at once from its plan and execution. He has given a distinct analysis, in a few pages, of the writings of Justin Martyr, Irenĉus, Theophilus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Cyprian, Arnobius, Lactantius, Eusebius, Athanasius, and others, showing, as he intimates, that they were not the titles and indexes barely that had been consulted, but that every page of the several works had been read, in order to present a true synopsis of the author's opinions to the reader.
The first volume would have been still longer delayed, had it not been for a fire, which consumed two works of considerable magnitude, which Mr. Clarke, whom we shall now designate Dr. Clarke, had in the press, and nearly finished, and which furnished him with an opportunity of completing it. The circumstance is referred to by the Rev. James Creighton, A. B., in his advertisement to the fourth edition of Shuckford's "Sacred and Profane History of the World," dated "London, May 20, 1808," who observes, "An edition of the following work was nearly completed in last August, the whole being printed off, (a few sheets excepted,) when every copy, with many other valuable publications, was consumed by a fire in Mr. Henry's printing office. My much-respected friend, Dr. Adam Clarke, was engaged as editor on the work, to which he had made many corrections, added some notes, and given the ancient alphabets, with important inscriptions, in a more lucid manner than had been done in former editions. But his time being wholly occupied with many imperious calls, he was obliged to decline the re-editing of the present work, and requested me to undertake it."
He further adds, "The notes of Dr. Clarke, and also those additions and improvements, which he had made in that edition which was burned, as far as they could be recovered, are inserted in this." Dr. Clarke remarked in reference to the same catastrophe, that the fire had "consumed the labor and hopes of some years;" which is the more to be regretted, when we consider his qualifications for the editorial department of such a work, and the valuable stores of knowledge with which he was capable of enriching its pages.
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