The English Conference being in Sheffield this year, (1811,) the Doctor repaired thither to attend its sittings, having been previously requested to preach the first of a series of sermons. With this request he complied, -- delivering the former part of his sermon in Carver-street Chapel, on a Monday evening, and the latter in Norfolk-street, on the forenoon of the succeeding Sabbath. His text was Heb. xi. 6, and the plan of his discourse is inserted in his Notes at the close of' the same chapter. The writer having heard both, has a distinct recollection of the overwhelming impression produced on the auditories; his reasonings and arguments, in the first instance, filled the mind with reverential awe; and in the second, -- becoming more experimental and practical, -- suffusing, by one sudden burst of impassioned eloquence, every cheek with tears. At the close of an argument he observed; -- "God is good, -- goodness itself in the abstract; essentially good in himself, and relatively good to man: He can will nothing contrary to his nature, and can purpose or decree nothing contrary to his will; and he willeth that men every where should he saved: 'Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner:' Go home, then, ye parents, and tell your children that Christ died for them; go home, ye children, and tell your parents that Christ died for them; husbands, wives, men and women, proclaim it in the hearing of your neighbors, that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man: tell them that he died for all, whether in hell, earth, or heaven; tell them that those of the human family now in heaven, are saved, -- that those in hell might have been saved, -- and those on earth may be saved!" Mr. Benson preached in the evening of the same day that the second sermon was preached. The celebrated WILLIAM DAWSON having heard both of these extraordinary men on the occasion, hit off their peculiarities as preachers, to the writer, in his own graphic style, some time afterwards. "Image to yourself," said he, "Adam Clarke and Joseph Benson in the same pulpit; Jesus Christ in one corner of the chapel, and a penitent in another: the former presses the penitent to go direct across the chapel, and through the crowd to Christ: 'No, brother Clarke,' says Benson, 'that wont do; he must not disturb the people in the center; let him go round the skirts of the congregation, and by taking the extremity of the chapel, he will be able to come at the Saviour in that way, without inconvenience to others.' Adam's is the shorter cut; he concludes that the penitent cannot reach Christ too soon, and that others ought to forego any little inconvenience either by simply rising, or by stepping aside. He has the sinner brought to Christ, before Benson has got well through his definitions." On the Monday evening, the abstract idea of God seemed at one time to be too much for the Doctor's mind, and in a moment of difficulty, when he felt the poverty of human language, he craved the indulgence of the congregation to allow a coinage, and with their permission, he would style the Supreme God, "The OMNI-BEING!"
In accordance with the "short cut" of Mr. Dawson, it may be remarked, that the Doctor, on reading a treatise on faith, by an old author, in which he had numbered no less than fourteen hundred divisions and subdivisions, threw down the volume, saying, "This is not the faith by which a penitent is to be brought to Christ; it is calculated to perplex rather than direct."
In speaking of faith, of justification, and those subjects which naturally press themselves on the attention of some preachers, in their addresses to awakened sinners and newly converted characters, he never employed the term righteousness; and it is rarely found in any of his published works: this was owing partly to the difficulty persons had of affixing proper ideas to it; still more because of the manner in which it had been abused, especially by persons of Antinomian principles; and not a little the result of his views of general, in opposition to particular redemption. He has even been known to omit the first verse in the 19th hymn of the large Hymn-Book, beginning with, "Jesus, thy blood and righteousness," because of the ambiguity of the term, as he supposed, to the generality of those to whom he preached.
Though the Doctor's studied avoidance of the same text, as the ground-work of discourse, has been noticed, yet, in two or three rare cases, the writer has been able to trace a repetition. One may be mentioned. When on a visit to Manchester, to preach an occasional sermon, he was waited upon by Mr. A. on the Saturday evening. The Doctor said to him, in a frank way, "Give me a text for tomorrow, for I have no set sermons, like you lads." Mr. A., who had heard that he had preached a great sermon some time before on Luke xxiv. 46-48, and was anxious to hear his views on it, took up the Bible, and after turning over some leaves of the New Testament, said, "To-morrow is Easter Sunday; here is a text will suit the day, 'Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer,' &c." "That will do," observed the Doctor, and accordingly preached upon it: whether he recollected having had it before, or whether it was forcibly impressed upon his mind, so as to lead him out of his usual course, cannot be stated; but owing to the circumstance of his accustomed method of preaching from his general knowledge of a subject, rather than from previously written notes, the probability is, that the discourse would abound with a great deal of varied matter.
As several allusions to the Doctor's ministry have been interspersed through the preceding pages, it may be proper to take a more general view of his ministerial character, for the sake of distinctness, and for the purpose of furnishing the reader with a model of one of the brightest ornaments of the English pulpit.
In looking at Dr. Clarke's published sermons, and comparing them not only with each other, but with those we have heard from his lips, we feel it is impossible for posterity to understand his character as a preacher and sermonizer, without attending to the manifest difference between his oral and his published discourses. The truth is, in one class of sermons the excellent author was seated in his study; in another, he was found occupying the pulpit; and it is only in the latter case that a just estimate can be had of his real character as an apostle of God, or a satisfactory discrimination made between the student and the preacher. This was a point which, during life, his stated hearers could easily decide, by comparing his printed with his oral discourses; and this will account sufficiently for any real or apparent inequality between some of the earlier and some of the later of his published discourses; the former having been expressly prepared for the press -- the latter intended simply for present use and a limited circle, as food for the affections and intelligence of his auditory. When he wrote, it was not for the generation moving around him merely, but for posterity. When he preached, he assumed more the character of a person standing by the highway, who, on observing the multitudes pass along, many of whom he might never see again, was anxious to give them a word of wholesome advice, to aid them during the remainder of their journey. Hence, in the one ease, we find fewer references to classical authority, less painstaking, less formality, and more frequent appeals to the hearer; in the other, direct addresses to the reader, accompanied often with those quotations, references, and qualities of matter which are more adapted to the retirement of the closet, than to the momentary pause of a hearer from the bustle of life; -- though in both cases, the holy and the useful are pre-eminently in view. He was so completely transformed from the student into the preacher, that the two seemed to combine, leaving the one in the study, and bringing the other into the house of God, full of holy fervor, simplicity, and heavenly wisdom: in this consisted the charm of his ministry as a learned man, and in this was to be found the advantage of his hearers.
Though he had a plan in the pulpit, and that plan was perceptible, in most instances, to the more intelligent of his congregation, it was rarely announced with the formality of division and subdivision. The plan was unfolded by degrees, in the execution of the several parts. The whole was free, easy, and yet not careless; nil being poured forth like one unbroken stream, with here and there a powerful rush, setting all around on the move; deep, clear, and refreshing, -- simple as the element itself, and without any apparent effort. In cases where order was the least perceptible, the fine flow of thought and feeling in which he indulged, was invariably taking within its vast and sweeping range, whatever of the useful came in its way on its route to the ocean of eternity, whither he was always conducting his hearers. Numerous as might be the windings of the argument through which he conducted his auditors, it was still, like the same stream, working out its own natural bed amid the mountains and over the plains, coming, as it were, from the heights of the understanding, and finally settling down into the heart, in fixed and steady purpose.
Still he was the pure child of nature, ranging at liberty; hence, he was not only discursive, but occasionally excursive. He never fixed his mind exclusively upon his text, just like a fly, confined to the spot on which it alights, and with limited vision, taking in one object at a time, and that object immediately before him; nor did he, though neither text nor context were disregarded, confine himself to the connecting passages; sufficient attention was paid, if not ample justice done, to both. He often took up some broad general truths, and showed the bearing of one part of God's word and God's economy of grace upon another, and the relation of each part to the whole; the one answering the other like an echo, less powerful, only because more distant; and then, after having ranged, like the bird of the sun, along the broad expanse of heaven, he would drop down upon the text, like the same bird upon its food, -- would dissect it with the finest discrimination, and hand round portions suited to the varied character and condition of his hearers; and all, with a freedom and grace not to be found in any of his writings, except in some letters on religious subjects written in early life to his Mary.
His plan was chiefly expository; and this, of all others, without great care and labor, will lead to a certain stiffness and abruptness in manner. But though Dr. Clarke was in an eminent degree an expounder of God's word, he was, as just stated, at the most remote distance from anything like inflexibility in the pulpit. With great compass and reach of mind, there was nevertheless very often a great deal of closely webbed and microscopic thought, -- a great deal of minute criticism, one thought very often thrown back upon another, each dependent upon the other, and the whole brought up again with the combined effect of a piece of beautiful mechanism to the eye, -- though still the mechanism of nature rather than of art. He spoke from his general knowledge, as well as from a knowledge of the original of the particular text under discussion; and while the one aided him in the different shades of meaning attached to the same word in different connections, the other, like a fountain, was constantly welling forth of its abundance, refreshing and enriching the vineyard of the Lord. His biblical knowledge, his oriental researches, and his skill in criticism, were always apparent, but so sanctified by piety, and so unostentatiously employed in the house of God, that his more acquired accomplishments appeared natural, -- so natural indeed, as to resemble shoots from a parent stock, rich in native fruit.
There were great leading truths which occupied his mind, and which run through the Bible, linking themselves to the present and eternal destinies of man; and some of these were employed, because of their adaptation to sacred purposes; but even these were varied in expression; and, like so many orbs revolving on their own axes, were presenting the auditory with new views, -- new, as occasioned by the unusual shinings forth of his own mind, and the more than ordinary influence of the Spirit of God at the time; as well as new in their use to the hearers, and in their application to other subjects; and perfectly aware of repetition, a reference in some instances was made to preceding observations, and reasons assigned for still further discussion and explanation. This, however, instead of palling, was refreshment to the memory; and an old thought, allied to a new text, brought with it so many new companions, that, like an old friend, it was welcomed the more on account of its associates, -- never failing to yield variety and life to the whole.
He had a large oblong volume, called his textbook,  in which there were divisions for dates, for the lessons of the day, together with book, chapter, and verse. Each chapter, having been previously examined, had the verse or verses distinctly marked, which offered themselves to his notice as texts. This plan cost him a great deal of labor and close attention; but when completed, as he informed a friend, it amply rewarded him; for by adopting it, he was never without a text on any day during the year; while his general knowledge of the sacred writings, and an application of the mind to the selected passage, soon furnished him with a sermon, or with such a portion of instruction or spiritual food, as was calculated to feed the flock of God. Still, it has numerous and important advantages, and was peculiarly adapted to the genius that struck it out. Dr. Clarke, favored with ready utterance and an extensive vocabulary, both in his own tongue and in that of others, and a mind stored with biblical and general knowledge, could have strewed -- if not flowers, a goodly portion of fruit, along any path in which he was disposed to walk.
As a preacher, his action was far from varied, and not, perhaps, in every instance, graceful to fastidious taste; but it was rarely otherwise than chaste, and always appropriate. His voice, though not round and melodious, was strong and clear; and though unable at all times to manage its tones, which rendered it in the more logical parts of his discourse a little monotonous, yet when the argument was brought to a close, and the people were wound up to conviction by it, there were outbreakings in the voice, as outpourings among the people, rarely heard and rarely witnessed, except from himself, and under his own ministry. It was like the wand of Moses smiting the rock; the heart was touched, and the eyes were instantly suffused with tears; or his appeal to the children of Israel, when, as with one voice, they exclaimed, "The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey." One instance, among many, may be noticed, heard by the writer, and which can never be forgotten. The Doctor was preaching on the occasion of opening a new chapel. His text led him to dwell on the love of God to man -- his favorite theme. After having established the doctrine of universal redemption by a process of reasoning equally original, powerful, and conclusive, and the hearers having apparently brought their hearts and understandings to the subject -- feeling and perceiving more and more the possibility, the certainty, of present, personal salvation, he gave a sweep with his arm, then drawing it toward himself, and grasping his hand as though he had collected in it several objects of value, to throw them, like alms, in the full bounty of his soul, among the people, -- "Here," he exclaimed, in a strain of impassioned feeling, and with one of those sudden and peculiar elevations of voice for which he was remarkable, frequently melting the whole congregation to tears, -- "Here," said he, "take the arguments among you -- make the best of them for your salvation -- I will vouch for their validity -- I will stake my credit for intellect upon them; -- yes, could they be collected into one, I would suspend them from a single hair of this gray head, (pointing at the same moment to his fine white locks,) and defy all the sophistry of men, and all the malice of devils, to sever it from the throne of the all-merciful God, to which it is inseparably fastened!" It is an expression, the force of which can be felt only by those who are in possession of the previous reasoning -- (reasoning like that employed in his sermon on "The love of God to a Lost World,") -- and to the truth of which there was a sudden burst of responsive applause from the lips of the auditory, similar to a burst of triumph in a political assembly; restrained, however, within due bounds, by the sanctity of the place, and the hallowed influence which accompanied the words.
Persons who knew him not, might say, he never rose to eloquence; that he had little imagination -- that his manner was dry and scholastic -- and that his sermons, though argumentative, logical, and acute, and therefore chiefly addressed to the judgment, were calculated to please only the scholar and the mathematician, but not to interest the majority of mankind; persons, it is repealed, who knew him not, might talk and write thus. But he had something more than imagination -- (and even of that he had more than he dared to indulge;) he had energies allied to real genius, if genius be what a writer defines it to be, "strong feeling and judgment," or in two words, "impassioned wisdom." He blended with the wisdom of a sage the simplicity of a child. Confessed as it has been, that he was always at home when combating the subtle objections of infidelity -- establishing the truth of Christianity -- demonstrating the immateriality of the human soul, and expounding the Scriptures; yet it ought not to be forgotten, that he was equally happy when soaring to the heights, or diving into the profounder depths of Christian experience; accommodating himself equally -- as will be perceived in his sermons -- to the babe, to the young man, and to the father in Christ. Through he exercised the talents of a master in the field of legitimate argument, and wielded with mighty energy the weapons of truth, he never failed, while taking with him the head of the scholar, to take along with him the heart of the humble, uneducated Christian; no, not even when he seemed filled with the inspired glimpses of the seer -- was expatiating upon experimental religion -- or exploring the hidden regions of future blessedness. Though never loose and declamatory, still there was thought without its apparent labor. The whole had the breath of a morning in May, rather than the vapidness of materials that had lost their freshness and spirit by long and constant exposure. His mind was like an immense mine, as well as an ever and overflowing stream; he seemed to have read all, to have known all; and from the inexhaustible treasures within, was perpetually giving forth from his fulness. Still, (to change the metaphor,) it was not a mere forest of thought, tedious and oppressive to the hearer from the multiplicity apparent, always saying everything that could be said, instead of what should be said; he never appeared to exhaust a subject, but when he had preached one hour, seemed as though he could preach another, leaving his hearers always desirous of more, and wondering that he should finish so soon.
Many men are to be found with more elegantly formed minds than Dr. Clarke, but with that elegance, at an immeasurable distance from him in learning and critical acumen. Persons are to be found, too, with finer voices, and who have cultivated the art of public speaking, with all its prettiness, much his superior; but without a ray of his genius; without any of his depth, compass, originality, or wealth of thought. His mind -- though in the strictest sense of the term, not an elegant one, was sufficiently elegant to preserve him from offending; his voice sufficiently tuned to please; his speaking sufficiently engaging to attract; and his diction, though remote from the ornate, partly through choice, has generally had the character of being remarkable for its simplicity, its purity, its strength, and its perspicuity. Except in his younger days, he never appears to have paused to turn a period: and with this we are the more surprised; for so far as the ancient classics are concerned, both Greek and Roman, he appears to have taken the advice of Horace, agreeably to the translation of Francis -- "Read them by day, and study them by night;" -- au assiduous attention to which is so much calculated to form the taste, nourish the genius, and improve the style. Profound and elevated as were his thoughts, he was never "hard to be understood." One of the finest compliments ever paid to a great man, is said to have been unintentionally paid to him by a poor woman in the Shetland Isles. The aged matron referred to, had, with others, heard of his celebrity, and went to hear him preach at Lerwick. On her return home, she remarked with great simplicity, "They say that Dr. Clarke is a learned man, and I expected to find him such; but he is only like another man, for I could understand every word he said." This is too plain to require comment; and if learning and obscurity are synonymous with the vulgar, Dr. Clarke was a happy exception.
At the Conference to which reference has been made, the subject of introducing organs into the Wesleyan chapels was long and warmly argued; Dr. Clarke was strongly opposed to it, but the question was at length carried in favor of the introduction of one into Brunswick Chapel, Liverpool. This place of worship, just completed, the trustees applied to the Doctor to afford his aid in opening: he remarked to them in reply; -- "Though I have nearly made up my mind never to preach in a chapel where an organ is used, yet as I love the people in Liverpool, many of them being the seals which God, in his mercy, has granted to my ministry among them, I would gladly have embraced the opportunity you offer me of testifying my affection for them, by undertaking the opening services of their chapel, had you found it convenient to have kept to the time originally proposed; but as that is postponed to a time to which it is impossible to protract my stay in these quarters, I must decline it."
A somewhat humorous incident turned up, when he was preaching at a certain place, on -" Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." He offered the people a free gospel, strengthening his remarks by a reference to Isaiah lv. 1, where the "waters" are presented "with. out money and without price;" stating by a little ingenuity of thought and expression, that, in every place of public worship, where the gospel is preached, a "well-spring" of the "water of life" is opened up -- gushing fresh and pure from the throne of God -- whence the tide of mercy is ever seen to flow -- and to which every redeemed soul is invited to repair and drink, that he may live for ever. Just as he was taking up the Hymn-Book to announce the page of the closing hymn, one of the stewards stepped up the pulpit stairs, and whispered -" There is to be a collection this morning, Sir, for the chapel." "Had I known that," replied the Doctor, "I should have taken another text." A free gospel, without money and without price," and a collection appended to it, seemed, for the moment, to place the announcements somewhat at variance with each other: however, though a little disconcerted, he made an ingenious appeal, and the collection was improved by the circumstance. Still somewhat unhinged, and this being perceived by the lady of the house at which he dined, on his return from the chapel, she accosted him, -- "It is all right, Doctor: we have a well at a distance from our house, to which the servant goes every morning, to fetch from it the water necessary for the day: we pay nothing for the water; it is free of all cost, save paying for the pitcher in which it is carried: now, the "water of life" is equally free; we pay nothing for it; we only pay for the chapel, which is the pitcher, so to speak, where the water is contained. O yes! Sir, the gospel is quite free; and let us thank God, that we have only to contribute our mite towards the support of the servant, who is worthy of his hire, and to the purchase of the vessel that carries so valuable a gift." Though the truth of the fact of a free gospel was always present in the mind of the Doctor, as it must be in the mind of every Christian minister, yet it was by the ingenious illustration of the lady of the house that the unpleasant feeling was dissipated -- feeling rendered additionally acute from the circumstance of his return to the different places being generally fixed for making collections, when extra aid was required, as he always commanded crowded congregations, and consequently large contributions. He was the first who raised the tone of the public collections in the body. A gentleman complimenting him on the large sums collected after his sermons, he answered, -- "I never stoop to what is called begging; I have preached the gospel in different parts of the kingdom for many years; in my sermons, I have labored to give a good character of my Maker, as a God of mercy; the message finds its way to the heart; and when the heart is melted, then is my turn to step in, and to ask a little for the support of his cause."
Though he rarely deviated from the plan, already noticed, of selecting a passage of the Scripture readings for the day, there was a particular exception, which may be noticed. "I preached yesterday forenoon," said he to the writer, "for the first time in my life, on a text given to me in a dream: and a divine time we had! I dreamed on the Saturday night, that I was in a chapel -- that a minister was in the pulpit, with whom I had no personal acquaintance -- that he took for his text a passage in the Psalms, beginning with, -- 'Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,' xxiv. 7 -- and that he was unable to make any tiling of the text:-- that I was then called upon to take up the subject, and finish it -- and that just as I entered upon the work, I awoke. When I arose on the Sabbath morning, and, agreeably to custom, read the lessons selected for the day, several texts were presented from which, I concluded, I could preach; but my mind as often reverted to the psalm of the dream, and from which I had never before taken a text. I again went over the lessons, but was still directed to the psalm, though unable to see clearly into it. Besides, I am naturally averse to all dependence upon dreams and sudden impulses, from the liability to be deceived by them. At length, being unable to get rid of the impression, I said to myself -- 'There may be something of God in this; I will even take it.' There was evidence in the congregation, -whatever may become of the dream, that I was divinely directed to the subject to which the text gave rise."
Being told that a minister, of whose mind, scholarship, and powers of utterance, he entertained a high regard, had preached an excellent sermon on Abraham offering up Isaac, he observed, -- "That is a portion of God's word which I never dared to take as a text; nor can I perceive -- beyond two or three particulars, which may be expressed in very few words, what use can be made of it to a Christian congregation. It is one of those things for which I can give no rational account -- that God should try, or tempt a man, to sacrifice his own child; to go so deliberately about the work of taking away his life! I know that God was in it -- I see his hand -- I can connect the type with the and-type; but reason is at fault, and I leave it as one of the strange things of God, which he only can interpret." The subject of human sacrifices being noticed, he said, "Some writers have concluded, that they originated in this act of Abraham; and though there is no positive record to contradict it, -- having no account of any such case preceding, though numerous instances following it, -- yet I cannot fully close in with the opinion: it is a fact, nevertheless, that many persons of high intellect, but unvisited by the clear light of a divine revelation, have concluded, that, in some extraordinary cases, the Divine Being demanded sacrifices of this kind, and would only be propitiated in this way. But it is a doctrine with which Christianity has nothing to do; we have but one altar -- one sacrifice: 'Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.' " He then reprehended the practice of which some persons are guilty, in designating abominable lusts, as so many Isaacs, which are to be sacrificed; -- a subject respecting which he has entered a severe protest in his Notes, at the close of Gen. chap. xxii.
To the interests of the Bible Society he continued, as heretofore, to attach himself with all the ardor of youth. He remarked, to a friend, "I am -- as far as that word can be properly used, quite proud of the Methodists in Liverpool: they have done themselves great credit -- and I hope to make some good use of the circumstance at our next meeting. The Methodists alone, I find, are nearly one half in the amount of the annual subscriptions; and whereas, there is one annual subscriber of �5. 5s. among all the other inhabitants of Liverpool, there are not less than twelve among the Methodists alone! Blessed be the name of the Lord; they have done just as Methodists should do." Having the arrangement of some lectures chiefly confided to him, and the plan being interfered with, he observed to Knight Spencer, Esq. -- "The letter to Mr. Saumarez is that, I suppose, which you took for Coleridge's Prospectus. I have seen nothing else of this kind. You should not publish this without giving him an opportunity of revising it -- a revision it certainly requires. -- Many persons will feel objection at so much of the course being occupied with Shakespeare and Milton. Five lectures out of twelve, is an arrangement utterly disproportionate, while so many subjects essentially belonging to the Belle Lettres and Oratory, are left untouched. We want science -- and science assuming a body, so as to render itself tangible." It was in this way he was always disposed to reap the greatest possible advantage from occasions that offered, adopting the most substantial part of any particular subject proposed for selection.
To the English language he had paid close and deep attention, and sonic of his remarks to a literary friend on the subject, are distinguished by their justice and discrimination:-- "I have long deplored the ravages made in our language by the introduction of foreign terms, the injudicious mode of accentuation, and the confused rapidity which has long prevailed, and is still prevailing, in our pronunciation. Several of our best writers have contributed to the debasement and metamorphosis of our language; some by introducing Gr�cisms and Latinisms -- especially the latter; and others by affected terms. Dr. Johnson has formed a compound language, which may be called Anglo-Latin; and, in so doing, he has left nine-tenths of the nation behind him, and greatly injured the nervous simplicity of our language, while rendering it more sonorous.  But indeed such innovations in the English tongue set criticism at defiance, as we have scarcely any standard by which alterations and pretended improvements may be tried: our present language being a compound from all the languages of Europe. -- The elements of every language should be simple, in order to be understood; and especially the letters, or what is commonly called the alphabet. The English alphabet is remarkably defective in proper sounds for its vowels, and in proper sounds and names for its consonants; and it is encumbered with consonants, which are of no service whatever, as they contain no elementary sounds; and their power is expressed by other letters in the alphabet." After establishing his charges, by going through the whole of the alphabet, he proceeded:-- "As to pronunciation, one rule should always prevail, particularly in compound terms, -- that is, to pronounce the compound parts as distinctly as possible, that the import of the word may be more clearly discerned: but the reverse is now generally practiced; for, in all such words, the accent is laid as near as possible to the first syllable, if not on it. This renders pronunciation confused and indistinct. There is a depraved pronunciation used even in the higher ranks, as well as at the bar, and on the stage. If these, by their ridiculous mincing and Frenchified modes be ruining our language, and the provinces or counties not far behind them, in sublime grammatical corruption, need we wonder if the vulgar herd deal, by wholesale, in that which is gross? -- But we are not content with marring our native language: we are daily making depredations of the most serious nature upon the Greek and Latin. These two languages are now pronounced by the English as no other nation in Europe pronounces them. If the true method respecting the Latin language exist, it must be taught among the Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and French. With respect to these, one thing is worthy of remark, that, though they all pronounce their respective languages very differently, yet one of the Latin prevails among them; so that a Frenchman, Spaniard, Italian, and Portuguese, and I might add German, have precisely the same method: a proof this, that they have still the true pronunciation of this ancient and noble language among them."
It was his love of the force and simplicity of the language in which the Homilies of the Church of England are addressed to the people, (though especially the doctrines and practice inculcated,) that induced him to recommend, about this time, a new edition of the work, which was undertaken by some provincial publishers, and had an extensive circulation; and about five years afterwards,--another edition being called for, he wrote, at the request of some intelligent friends, a historical introduction to the work, sub-joining a few notes; characterizing it, at the same time, as a "blessed monument of primitive Protestant faith," and considering himself "honored in having his name registered in front of such compositions."
Dr. Clarke was now (1811) projecting a new edition of " Sturm's Reflections," designing in it to throw aside all papers which did not connect science with religion, and supplying their places with others in philosophy, natural history, chemistry, and domestic economy; each of which treatises he designed to terminate with a few reflections; which, while they would still maintain the original design and spirit of the work, would make it, at the same time, much more generally useful. He intended to begin January with the introduction of the most Popular Proofs of the Being of God; a subject he deemed not sufficiently dwelt upon, and on which many simple-minded persons were grievously tempted; he proposed also, in the course of the work, to supply a paper on each of the attributes of God, one or two upon botany, and a distinct one on each of the planets, on the sun, and on the fixed stars; and then to touch the subjects no more. Sturm, he thought, made his papers tedious, by coming over his subjects again and again, and with nearly the same materials. For want of time, this edition was not published in the precise form in which it was intended to appear. A third edition, however, was published after his death, as noticed in an earlier part of his personal history, including several new papers. 
The circulation of the word of life, whether in the regularly authorized version, or accompanied with note and comment, was a subject which invariably interested Dr. Clarke; and to aid this, he wrote an Introduction for a "Grand Folio Bible," issued by some enterprising publishers, accompanied with engravings; in which Introduction, in addition to varied and extensive reading, he suggests some useful remarks in answer to the question, "How may a man profit most, and grow wise unto salvation, by reading the word of God?"
Perceiving, about this time, a lack of devotional feeling stealing upon the societies in different places, and some of his colleagues in the ministry complaining of the same, he was induced to write an article, "On Kneeling in Public "Worship," which was one of the points that demanded immediate correction; and the article having been published in the "Arminian Magazine," had a happy influence on those who became acquainted with its contents. Sitting at prayer being noticed one day, the Doctor said, "The best thing I can wish those who irreverently sit at prayer, is a porcupine skin for a cushion."
In a conversation on different points connected with the service of the sanctuary, one of the party laid considerable stress on preachers meeting the societies after sermon on a sabbath evening; -- a second was emphatic on the greater importance of a prayer-meeting; -- a third denounced long sermons; -- and a fourth defended long preaching, provided it were good. The Doctor being aware that the latter was offering an apology for himself in what he maintained, observed, "I once heard Mr. Wesley give his opinion on long preaching, while referring to an example that came under his own notice, stating, that he heard a minister distinguished for three half hours' sermons; -- that the first half hour was spent in explaining the text, the second in repeating what had been said, and the third in contradicting the whole!" This was sufficiently severe, and felt in the right quarter.
Directing attention to the subject of government -- on a public character being noticed, the Doctor observed, "Persons might enter his company when they would, without being the wiser: he sat -- heard all -- took whatever was convertible to his own purposes -- left -- but gave nothing in return: he was always lurking behind the scenes, and on the watch; and yet nothing was either said, sung, or published, by those around, that did not bear the high tone of his authority, as though all were afraid to give publicity to any thing that did not entirely accord with his views and feelings." "Do you not think, Doctor Clarke," it was remarked, "that a government of that kind, with such a head, would be likely to degenerate into absolute despotism?" Dr. Clarke: "Unquestionably:" then turning, like the sun-flower, to its parent orb, he again introduced Mr. Wesley, and said, "he was a model of a man in most things; he had power; but it was the authority which he had acquired as the father of his people; -- he always used it with judgment; -- and, from him, a word was generally sufficient! Obedience was cheerfully ceded to him as a right; and it was his supreme delight to find a spirit of brotherhood among the preachers. There was no attempt to stamp the system, or surround the ministerial character, with a kind of authoritative awe, bordering upon that which would tend to constitute the brethren lords over God's heritage, -- leaving the impression of a distinct interest; the people having one, and the preacher another; instead of binding them together in love. The moment authority is felt burdensome, that moment the tie is severed, which links man to man. Combined with wisdom, the great secret of Mr. Wesley's government was love." "Was there not," it was inquired, "something like occasional severity, and an attempt to impose burdens upon the brethren, which some of them were unable to bear?" Dr. Clarke: "there might be the appearance of the thing; but facts would not support it. Take a case: Mr. Wesley established preaching at five o'clock in the morning, being persuaded that the people could not prosper without morning and evening preaching: and why? The preachers rarely visited the people, in consequence of the wide range of country they had to travel over. In one of my early circuits, it occupied me three months in going round to the different places. Mr. Wesley, on finding that the morning preaching had been omitted by some of the brethren, complained. Mr. Pawson, and some others, objected that their physical strength would not allow it. Mr. Wesley, perhaps, laid too much stress upon it; but afraid lest there should be willful neglect in some eases, he said, 'Those of the brethren, who cannot do it, are unfit for the work, and ought to go home again.' Robert Roberts rose, and with great firmness, though perhaps with too little delicacy, said, 'Then, Sir, according to your own principles, you ought to be put away from the body, for you do not preach every morning at five o'clock.' Mr. Wesley threw himself back in his chair -- reclined in silence -- closed his eyes, while the tears gushed from between the lids, then raised himself, and with softened tone, falteringly, said, 'You may put me away, if you will.' This is one instance, among many that might be noticed, of the tenderness of Mr. Wesley's spirit, and his aversion to the exercise of undue authority. He acted in this, as well as in other instances, with judgment, and from the necessity of the case, but was open, at the same time, to conviction, -- and the moment he was convinced, he yielded; never holding any thing from obstinacy. This," continued the Doctor, as he remarked on another occasion, "was true dignity; for it is true dignity to acknowledge we are wrong, when we are convinced of the fact."
Mr. (afterwards Sir James) Williams, was on intimate terms with the Doctor; and, owing to his numerous acquaintance, the latter was occasionally thrown into society, which his duties and habits would not otherwise have led him into. He here met, about this time, with the author of "The Wanderer of Switzerland," whose lays had won him high honor, and with whose genius, Christian spirit and conversation, Dr. Clarke was highly delighted. Speaking of the genius of Methodism, and the local-preachers, the Doctor observed, that the latter would be rendered still more extensively useful, if they were to confine themselves to what they knew, and were to cultivate their talents by reading. A gentleman in the company, as if afraid the Doctor did not fully appreciate their worth, (though no one did more so,) remarked, that "the rams' horns were useful, and employed by the Divine Being." "True," replied the Doctor, "but each horn was perfect in its kind; but that is not the case with the local-brethren, nor even with most of us in the regular work. 'We all have to go a long way before we reach perfection."  He referred to the case of some of them attempting occasionally to expound the Scriptures -- a practice of which he highly approved, but which he knew, required peculiar tact and extensive biblical knowledge, to be effective. A friend stepping in, who had been hearing Mr. Benson preach, the Doctor asked, "What kind of sermon have you had?" But before he could receive an answer, added, "I need not inquire; it would be a great one -- for he is incapable of any thing else."
It was in the course of one these visits, that the Doctor, Mr. Benson, the celebrated Abernethy,  and some other friends, met. Abernethy gave full proof of the interest he took in the conversation of the two Wesleyans, by reluctantly leaving their society to visit two patients, and hastening back with all possible dispatch. He could scarcely keep his eye off Mr. Benson's peculiarly formed head, and in the freedom of social intercourse, requested the privilege of examining it, which was pleasantly acceded to; and on his return home he made a drawing of it from recollection, stating it to be the most extraordinary head he had ever seen.
Mr. Williams had a two guinea piece of the reign of William and Mary; the Doctor had not one in his collection; and looking at it, he said pleasantly to Mr. Williams, "'Thou shalt not covet:' were not this in the way, I should be tempted." Mr. 'Williams replied, "I intend this to enrich your collection, -- but, it is on this condition; if I am the survivor, I am to have it again." "A bargain," subjoined the Doctor. Three weeks after his death, being a lapse of twenty years, the coin was returned to Sir James Williams. This was carrying out, -- though exercised on a comparatively in significant matter, -- the great principle which governed all the conduct of Dr. Clarke: for, be it remembered, as an universal rule, "I-Ic that is faithful in little, will also be faithful in much."
The public mind had been greatly agitated, by a bill brought into the House of Lords by the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Sidmouth, entitled, "An Act to explain and render more effectual certain Acts of the first year of the reign of King William and Queen Mary, and of the year of the reign of his present Majesty, so far as the same relate to Protestant Dissenting Ministers." The novel interpretation of the Toleration Act, which had excited so much unpleasant feeling in the course of the preceding year, was carried into this, and the "Committee of Privileges" was in communication with Mr. Percival, chancellor of the exchequer and prime minister, on the subject. Dr. Clarke, referring to one of these interviews toward the close of February, observes to a friend, "Mr. Percival received our Deputation with great courtesy. You have the general account in the Circular Letter; the conversation occupied nearly three hours. He assured us, that neither his Majesty's government, nor parliament, had any design to restrict or abridge any privileges we enjoyed under the Toleration Act, and thought we had not so much cause for alarm as we apprehended; and rather took it for granted, that the decisions that were pending in the Court of King's Bench, would not be of the kind apprehended by several persons; but, that if the law should be found to require a different interpretation to that in which it had been generally understood, and we suffered in consequence, his Majesty's government would be glad to hear us at any time on the subject. He certainly gave us no reason to suspect that there was any hostile, or even unfriendly feeling towards us." In accordance with this view, another gentleman on the "Committee of Privileges" at the time, remarked,
"We have gained this much by the interview with Mr. Percival, that he has engaged to permit further access to him; and, little as I like 'the man and his communication,' I incline to believe that he will not encourage the introduction of any measure of hostility. I think the 'present expediency,' (which is the leading feature and the guiding helm of the crooked system of politics usually adopted by the minister of the day) is in our favor. He is between the Scylla and Charybdis of Popery and Methodism; and his innate dread of the former will throw him insensibly on the side of the latter." The prognostications of both were found correct; and in the whole affair, the influence of the Doctor, Mr. Butterworth, and Mr. Thompson, of Hull, was sensibly felt. Speaking on the subject afterwards to the writer, he observed, "I had a long conversation with Mr. Percival on the subject of Methodism and Methodist chapels, and explained to him the whole system; and Mr. Percival gave his pledge, first, that every Methodist chapel should be free, and on the same footing as the places of worship belonging to the Establishment, -- exempt from rates; secondly, that the churches should, like Methodist chapels, have free sittings for the poor. Three days after this conversation he was shot." 
The Doctor had now brought on his Commentary to the conclusion of the Book of Joshua; on which he facetiously remarked, "Joshua's sun and moon standing still, kept me going for nearly three weeks." That owing to the pressure of other work, he became dispirited, will appear from some remarks made to Mr. Butterworth. -- "I am oppressed with labor of every kind; looking at what is still before me, I feel no encouragement in reference to the Commentary. I had many grievous knots to untie, which commentators in general have agreed to cut; and where shall be the end of this extending work? Yet, it is my belief, all yet written is indispensably necessary to the useful apprehension of those ancient Records. When Pope undertook the translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, he found it too laborious a task for one mind, and so associated others with himself, who each took a particular book and versified the whole of it; Pope merely revising their work. But mine will not admit of this; I must work alone, and endeavor to make every part perfect so far as I go." But as his was a mind which could only be relieved by renewed labor, we find him escaping from himself by a second visit to Cambridge, for the purpose of examining different libraries, those especially of Corpus Christi and Magdalen, in order to complete the projected edition of the Foedera.
Though in quest of State Papers, the Doctor did not hesitate to step out of his way to indulge in literary research less public in its character and hence, we find him gratifying both himself and Lord Glenbervie, one of the Lords Commissioners on the Public Records, with observations on an Allegorical Poem, entitled, "King Hart," written by Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, and brother to the Earl of Angus, of whom his lordship was a descendant. A printed copy of this curious old poem is to be found in Pinkerton's Ancient Scottish Songs; and the Doctor's remarks on the original M.S., in the Pepysian Library, Magdalen College, Cambridge, are published in his "Miscellaneous Works," vol. x. p. 376. One opinion entertained by the Doctor, in connection with this poem, seems to possess a little too much of the imaginative, namely, that John Bunyan had, in all probability, borrowed his "Pilgrim's Progress" from Bernard's "Isle of Man;" -Bernard, his "Isle of Man" from Fletcher's "Purple Island;" -- Fletcher from Spencer's "Fairy Queen;" -- Spencer from Gawin Douglas's "King Hart;" and Douglashad taken his plan from the old "Mysteries" and "Moralities," which prevailed at a still earlier period. On the first, a remark has been made elsewhere; and to enter fully into the question, would furnish matter for lengthened criticism.
The late Rev. Thomas Galland, M. A., who was at this time studying at Cambridge, furnished the biographer with an incident bordering upon the amusing. The Doctor took up his residence in Trinity-Street; and while there, supped one evening with Mr. Galland, who had some prime ale. Though not a beverage to which he had any great partiality, yet the flavor was more than usually agreeable to his taste. Mr. Galland having to return the compliment, by supping with the Doctor, and taking it for granted that a little of his old October would not be unacceptable, after a day's toil among dusty folios, especially as it was above the common run of the city, felt disposed to surprise his learned friend, and so took two bottles with him, one in each pocket. Though moving on at a somewhat slower pace than Gilpin, and properly balanced, with less probability of his brittle charge swinging round to the back and coming in contact with each other, and preserved also in tolerable equipoise, and in a state of amity with each other, the contents of one of the bottles, in consequence of the mildness of the weather, and the agitation produced by Mr. Galland's step, began to be a little turbulent, and at length burst indignantly away from its place of confinement. This disaster occurred just after Mr. Galland's arrival. The consequence, however, was likely to prove serious, for one of the pieces of glass struck his leg, and made an incision which, on reaching his lodgings, he found to require immediate attention; and he was laid up by the wound for some time. The evening, it may be observed, was spent agreeably, in religious and literary conversation; and the Doctor was not only delighted with the literary advantages of the place, but impressed with the piety of several young men with whom he spent the evening.
About six weeks after his return from Cambridge, he visited Ireland, in company with his eldest son, for the purpose of prosecuting his labors in connection with the Record Commission. He preached in Liverpool on his way, where his ministry was specially owned of God. After a night of storm and peril, a safe landing was made at Dublin. Here he preached, as well as elsewhere, attended Conference, and was assiduous in his researches among the archives of Christ Church, and those of other public institutions. It was during this visit that he met with Dr. Workman, one of his old school-fellows, whom he had satirized when a boy, but had not seen for a period of forty years. Having spent about five weeks in Ireland, he was requested by the Speaker of the House of Commons to proceed with his researches in the Tower of London, and also at Oxford; at the latter of which places he arrived in the early part of the month of August. Here he was received with great respect by Mr. Galsford, Regius Professor of Greek in Christ Church, who was also curator of the Bodleian Library: and what was to him more than ordinarily delightful, in the way of association, he lodged in the apartment once occupied by the celebrated Dr. John Uri, to whose memory he left a merited tribute of respect, in an inscription of forty-three lines, cut by a diamond on a square of glass in the window of the room in which he studied. He was not a little gratified too, on finding himself seated at the table, where Charles Wesley sat, when a student at Christ Church, A letter, however, to Mr. Butterworth, by the perusal of which the intelligent reader will be gratified, will further express his feelings on this subject, as well as furnish him with an idea of the perplexing task which awaited the Doctor, in reference to some of his Record searches.
London, August 18, 1812.
You know I went to Oxford at the request of the Commissioners, and the first work appointed me was to collate a transcript, made by William. Ellis at Durham, of what is called the Boldon Book; it contains an ecclesiastical survey of the Bishoprick of Durham, made in the twelfth century. A letter from the Speaker introduced me to the Rev. Professor Galsford; who, as soon as he had read it, said most cheerfully he would render every assistance in his power. He invited me to dine in the Hall at Christ Church, that day; and thus I had the pleasure of sitting at the table where John Locke, Charles Wesley, and Charles Abbot, had often dined. I had, of course, an introduction to the Bodleian; and Mr. Bandinel, sub-librarian, to whom the Professor had communicated the Speaker's letter, received me very politely. I requested that a room might be granted to write and collate in, and they appointed me one sequestered from the building, into which no person comes but the librarians, and where their most choice M.S.S., and all their editions principes of classics are kept. This was just such a place as we needed: we began our work, and were fortunate enough to find two M.S.S. of the Boldon Book one among the M.S.S. of Dr. Rawlinson, and the other among those of Archbishop Laud. I had not proceeded far, until I found that Mr. E's. transcript was not from the original survey made by Bishop Pudsey, in 1183, but from a revisal of that survey made by Bishop Hatfield, 194 years afterwards: of these things the M.S.S afforded me a sufficiency of internal evidence. It cost five days working to collate these two M.S.S. with the transcript; and this furnished a very large harvest of various readings, and a multitude of corrections for the transcript made at Durham. At the end of the Laud M.S.S. there were several ancient Charters, Placita, inquisitiones, i.e., which I did not think proper to copy without further advice, as they did not appear to be connected especially with the subject of the Boldon Book. When I had gotten proper insight into the work, and was sure of the ground upon which I stood, it struck me I had better make a report to the Speaker himself, rather than mediately through Mr. Cayley. I drew up a long letter, stating the discoveries I had made relative to the
M.S.S. of the Boldon Book. I regret that the Revision had been copied, instead of the original, which rendered it so very awkward to adjust the various readings to it; and that, after all, it was absurd, as now the scion was made to bear the stock, instead of the stock bearing the scion. At the same time I stated, that I had been over the Carte collection of M.S.S., and that the only volume which could have been of use to me, containing Charters, and State Papers, from A. D. 1000, and of the contents of which a return was made to his Majesty's Commissioners, was not to be found in the Bodleian library. Without examining, they had set down the contents of a volume (which it does not appear to me they ever possessed) from a M.S. catalogue. I hinted, also, that, if the Commissioners wished it, I would draw up a detailed report on the Boldon Book; the contents, history, &c., of which I pretty well understood. As I found that Mr. Bandinel had just been printing proposals for a new edition of the Monasticon, and thinking that the Speaker would feel interested in the business, I enclosed a prospectus of the work. To this long letter I received the Speaker's reply yesterday; and from such a man, such a letter is no mean compliment. Two letters also, from Lord Glenbervie, expressing his delight with what I did for him, both at Oxford and Cambridge; his letter of today cautions me "not to work myself to death, nor to aim at too high perfection in the Foedera." Aware that Sir William Jones had set a high value on a Persian M.S. in the Bodleian Library, and pronounced it the most beautiful of any he had ever seen, the Doctor examined it very minutely; after which, he gave the preference to one in his own collection, and invited the librarian, when in London, to call upon him to see it; the latter did so, and acknowledged the superior excellence of the one in the Doctor's possession. If the Doctor prided himself on one part of his library more than another, it was in his rich collection of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, &c., M.S.S. and which he would say would compete with that of any "private individual in the kingdom." 
Much as he had already accomplished, his work seemed to accumulate as he proceeded; reminding us of the traveler at the close of day, who, in fixing his eye on what he supposes to be the last hill, finds, on reaching its summit, height beyond height, over each of which he has to wend his way, before he arrives at the place of promised rest. At the close of the year, he found 15,000 instruments of the reigns of Henry in. Edward I., &c., in the Tower, still to be examined; together with chests of treaties, and other documents in the Chapter-House; a report to be written on no less than 366 Papal Bulls; with sundry commercial and military transactions in the reigns of Henry VIII., Queen Elizabeth, and the beginning of James I.; and yet this was only a part of what lay before him. Notwithstanding the tendency of such pursuits to unfit the mind for the more hallowed ones of religion, he never appears to have relaxed his ardor in theological studies: he gave to the world this year, a valuable edition of the Rev. John Butterworth's "Concordance," with several additions and corrections; -- accurately distinguishing the parts of speech, -- improving the natural history of different beasts, birds, trees, plants, and precious stones, -- expunging the fabulous relations adopted by Wilson and others, -- defining the proper names derived from the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, &c., and comparing them with the originals, -- altering the definitions of several theological terms, &c.; closing with a recommendation of the work, as "the most useful and valuable of its kind in a portable size."
Being frequently consulted in cases involving the interests of different parties and individuals, he never failed to give his advice with firmness, precision, and honesty of purpose. "I would not wish you," said he to a friend, "to have any thing to do with a republican paper -- that in question, being on the government side, has more to recommend it. The Constitution is good, -- it is the best under the sun, -- it can scarcely be mended. The executive government may, in particular cases, adopt bad measures -- and therefore should not be vindicated in those things:-- yet, in general, the executive government must be supported, because, if it be not, down goes the constitution, and up rise anarchy, and every possible evil. In these cases, you must be your own master, and not be obliged to follow the dictates of a proprietor, who probably may not be able to discover the end from the beginning; -- better be a hewer of wood and drawer of water, than be political slave to such a person: be free; and
'Scorn to have your free-born toe Dragoon'd into a wooden shoe.'
I believe the present murderous war has, on our side, been wrong from the beginning. We should never have engaged in it; there was not one political or moral reason why we should: it is the war of Pitt's ambition; -- a crusade in behalf of popery. I have heard all the infantine reasons that have been urged for its support; it has ruined Europe -- has aggrandized our enemies -- and is ruining us:  -- no sophistry can prove the contrary, or make it even plausible."
To a young lady in affliction, he observed, "the accompanying volumes I have had lying by me, waiting for a favorable opportunity of sending them to you. As their avowed tendency is to illustrate the word of God, so as to make it both edifying and pleasing; they may serve to beguile a tedious hour, or steal something from pain and suffering, without unhinging the mind from its great center." To have a friend like this thrown across the path of life, who makes it his study to assuage human woe, whether in young or old, is an unspeakable blessing: and yet, in this case, this was only a passing acquaintance. Being in the house of another friend, where one of its heads labored under considerable physical debility, and seeing a glass of ale standing on the table for dinner, he quietly slipped the poker into the fire, and when red hot, put it into the liquor, and stirred it round; then handing it to his friend, said, "Drink that, and it will wrap round your stomach like a piece of warm flannel, and will, at the same time, impart strength, in consequence of its being impregnated with the iron."
His native cheerfulness rarely forsook him, even when suffering from indisposition. Handing the Bible  to the writer, "There," said he, "you shall be chaplain for us to night; internal ailments are but poor accompaniments, I assure you, to prayer." This being said with some degree of pleasantry, it was observed, "You are moving the muscles, doctor, in the wrong direction." "It is the fact, however," he returned, in the same mood, "and I do not wish you to try it." Mr. S., some time after, looking upon the mantle-piece, and seeing a small piece of paper lying, with something wrapped up in it, was about to take it up, -- "Let that alone," said the Doctor, "it is my medicine:" further remarking, with the same humor, "but I need not be anxious about it, for I suppose I shall not find any of you very willing to take it for me." The fire being rather low after supper, and Mr. J. S. going to it, and stirring it rather carelessly, the Doctor, in the same vein as before, said, "If you do not do better than that, Johnny, we may call in the neighbors to see it die."
The season being rather cold, and a brisker fire than usual being necessary, it called up a somewhat ludicrous reminiscence, which shows the inimitable spirit in which the Doctor's favorite -- the venerable Wesley, met the various "Incidents of Travel." Mr. John Broadbent, who traveled with the latter in Scotland, complained of cold, though having six blankets on his bed. Mr. Wesley, finding an equal number on his own, took the one half of them off, and piled them on the bed of his traveling companion, who, though oppressed with the weight, passed the night under them with tolerable comfort.
The Doctor himself was generally on the side of contentment, and could brook complaining as ill as self-complacency, and self-adulation. In a committee, in which he presided, a blunt, but honest man, losing, for a moment, a sense of the respect due to the meeting, told the members that he cared for no man, that he would never flinch from urging his claims, and stating what he thought right, -- concluding with some self-praise in the discharge of duty, in which he considered himself entitled to equal attention with his brethren.
After a momentary pause, the Doctor rose from his seat -- placed his knuckles on the table, with his back partially bent, and his face towards the speaker, and asked in a half serious, half comic tone -- "Is he dead?" The gentleman, unable to comprehend his meaning, inquired, "What is that, sir?" "I ask," replied the Doctor, significantly, "Is he dead?" Still in the dark with regard to the enigmatical question, it was subjoined, "Is who dead, sir?" "Your trumpeter," returned the Doctor. The members of the committee burst into a fit of laughter, and the voice of the good man was hushed to instant silence.
Doctor Clarke's literary honors having been already adverted to, it is unnecessary to say more, than that, in the early part of 1813, he was elected fellow of the Antiquarian Society. In support of the honors he had thus won, the year was also distinguished for the publication of part of his Notes on the Four Gospels; the close of St. Matthew's being dated, "London, Oct. 22, 1812,"
-- St. Mark finishing with, "Nov. 12, 22, 1812," -- St. Luke, "Feb. 16, 1813," -- the "Harmonized Table of Contents of the Four Gospels," appended to St. John,. "London, June 1, 1813," -- and the "Introduction to the Four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles," prefixed to St. Matthew, "Feb. 21, 1814." Mr. T. Clarke, the Doctor's second son, took part of the labor of correcting proofs, &c., upon himself, being well acquainted with the languages, and one in whom the fullest confidence was placed. This left the Doctor more at liberty to attend to the Record Commission, and other duties which more immediately pressed upon his time and attention. One little incident is worth naming; for, averse as Doctor Clarke was to receiving money in the shape of donation, there was one instance, (owing to its object, and the peculiar manner in which it was conveyed,) in which he condescended to accept a trifling sum from a friend -- given not for work either done or in prospect, any more than from necessity, but for something to work upon. On publishing his Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew, he forwarded the first copy he received from the hinder, to the late Wm. Marriot, Esq., London, accompanying it with a letter, in which that gentleman was reminded of a circumstance which occurred when the Doctor resided at Spitalfields; Mr. M. slipped a five pound note into his hand one day, saying, "I find you have commenced your Commentary; apply that sum to the purchasing of pens and paper; it will honor me thus far to forward the work." "This circumstance," the Doctor observed in his letter, "will probably be as completely obliterated front your mind, as an inscription on the sand of the sea shore, when washed away by the returning tide. I have now, however, the pleasure of presenting you with the first-fruits of that Commentary, so far as the New Testament is concerned; the sum you gave, was applied precisely to the purpose for which it was bestowed."
St. Paul's epistles being noticed, and a question being asked, respecting an extended Life of the Apostle, several were mentioned, as well as admirable sketches, by popular Christian writers. On the inquirer naming, "The Life of the Apostle, as related in Scripture, by Joseph Gurney Bevan," the doctor stated, that he was personally acquainted with its author, that it was more distinguished for its piety than for literary merit, and that its circulation was chiefly confined to the Society of Friends. That published by Dr. Stephen Addington was deemed much superior, and as furnishing some excellent "critical and practical remarks." A gentleman present, who set a high, and not unjust value on the Puritanic school, lauded old Henry Bunting's "Itinerarium Totius Sacrre Scripturte:" on this, the Doctor, who was not over fond of arithmetical minutiae in every trivial circumstance, -- laughing at the minuteness of his observations, said, "What, you refer to that queer old writer, who measures the steps... of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and states how many miles of ground they went over!" the mental, moral, and religious qualities of the Apostle, being of greater importance than the measurement of his steps. The following remarks will be deemed of value, as eliciting the Doctor's views on two or three points.
P. "Is there sufficient ground in any of the writings of St. Paul, for the censure indulged in by St. Jerome, and others, of inelegance and obscurity, and of the Apostle's ignorance of the more elegant Greek? M. "Blackwall, (in his Vindication of the Sacred Classics,) Eisner, Bos, Raphelius, and others, have not only illustrated with great beauty, but defended with uncommon force, the writings of the Apostle against such insinuations, preferred mostly by skeptics, or persons imperfectly acquainted with the Greek language." E. "Might not the scholarship of the Apostle be inferred from his reference to different uninspired authors? Take, for instance, Acts xviii. 28; 1 Cor. xv. 33; Titus i. 12." P. "These might possibly have been quotations, which, like passages from Shakespeare, Milton, and others, had passed from mind to mind, and become familiar to others than general readers." E. "Bishop Bull's remark on, 'Bring with thee the books that I left at Troas,' seems very natural, viz., that it is evident, that Paul read other books than the Bible, and that, from his frequent use of Platonic phrases, he was well acquainted with the writings of their philosophers." Dr. C. "His style, allusions, and quotations, go in support of the fact, that he had read the best Greek writers; and he was evidently master of the three great languages spoken among the only people who deserved the name of nations, -- languages, which, notwithstanding the cultivation of society, have maintained their rank through successive ages, thus proving their decisive superiority over all the languages of the world; I refer to the Hebrew, and its prevailing dialect, the Chaldaic-Syriac; to the Greek and the Latin. The city in which he was born, forms no objection to this opinion -- Tarsus being not only the rival of Alexandria, but of Rome and of Athens, in the arts and sciences: and one of the very writers whose language he quotes -- (Aratus,) was a Cicilian, a countryman of his own. The words, "We are also his offspring," are to be found literatim in the Phounomena of Aratus; and although the sentiment is to be met with in the Hymn of Cleanthes,  yet, as Aratus flourished about 300 years before the Apostle, and Cleanthes 240, it is not unlikely that the latter borrowed from the former; the Apostle in all likelihood, being perfectly acquainted with both: his range of reading being implied in the expression -- -' your own poets,' referring not to poets exclusively born at Athens, but to Grecian poets, generally, Aratus and Cleanthes being among the most popular. The Apostle's natural powers were not only extraordinary, but his education, as we learn both from his historian and his writings, was at once liberal and profound."
M. "May not something of his character for universal knowledge be also inferred from the remark of Festus to him, on his speech before Agrippa, 'Much learning (reading many books) hath made thee mad?'" E. "That, taken in connection with what the Doctor has stated, respecting his animated address to the Athenians, in which he showed that he was no stranger to their poets, is sufficiently decisive -- that he not only had the credit of being a general reader, but incidentally maintained what others directly awarded to him. Nor is it too much to say, (for his mental character would lead to it, being more metaphysical than poetical,) that he was acquainted not only with the poets, but with the writings of the philosophers and historians both of Greece and Rome, which necessarily familiarized him with the principles and customs, the laws and manners, of distant ages and nations, as well as with the distinguished characters and public transactions in each. To which of the Greek writers are we to give the credit of 'Evil communications corrupt good manners?'" Dr. C. "There are many of them, as �schylus and Diodorus Siculus, in whose writings not only the sentiment, but nearly the same words are found; and there is a proverb among the Rabbins which bears a strong resemblance to it; but the general opinion is, that it was taken from the comedy of 'Thais,' by Menander,  which is lost: on examination it will be found to make a perfect Iambic verse."
M. "Are we correct in attributing to Epimenides the Apostle's quotation in his epistle to Titus -- 'One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies?'" Dr. C. "The writings themselves cannot now be appealed to for the fact, because not extant; but on the testimony of St. Jerome, Socrates, Nicephorus, and others, the words are taken from a work of Epimenides on 'Oracles,' and they evidently form an hexameter verse."
P. "How comes it, that the Apostle, an inspired man, gives to this heathen the honor of a prophet?" Dr. C. "Several prophecies are attributed to him by Diogenes Laertius, Plato, and others; the latter designating him a divine man; while Cicero gave him the credit of foretelling future events. The Cretans, for a period of between five and six hundred years before the Apostle wrote, had deemed him a prophet; and as such, on his death, according to Plutarch, rendered him divine honors. The Apostle, therefore, only intimates that he was reputed such by. the Cretans. It may be added, that Yates and poeta, were synonymous among the Romans -- prophet and poet."
E. "To return to the objection with which the remarks started; friend P., who, as all are aware, is no unbeliever, will find few object to the sentiment of a gentleman in high repute in the republic of letters, -- that, 'The Apostle Paul's wisdom did not seek after the beauties of language, but the beauties of language offered themselves, and attended on his wisdom.' M. "If his preaching bore any resemblance to his writings, he must, agreeably to the sentiments of those who have paid the closest attention to the subject, and are most capable of forming an estimate of his general strain, have been unusually serious, solid, argumentative, tender, pathetic, experimental, spiritual, and heavenly -- evangelically practical, and practically evangelical." Some remarks were then made on the real ability of several of the ancients, as exemplified in their writings, and the great difference between an enlightened and an unenlightened author, with the advantage of the one over the other; the Doctor closing with, -- "In some of the old writers, we have a spark of life in a continent of mud:" particularizing the Venerable Bede, who was the first man in England to translate a part of the Bible into our language -- then Saxon, but who was, certainly, more remarkable for piety than for intellect, as, "a weak-minded man, -- believing down every absurdity, and so resembling a river emptying itself into the sea."
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