King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:

  • Visit Our Store



  • THE LIFE AND LABORS OF ADAM CLARKE -
    CHAPTER 3


    << PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER >> - HELP - FACEBOOK - GR FORUMS - GODRULES ON YOUTUBE    

  • Your Practical Guide To Christian Financial Freedom
  • Adam Clarke's Unabridged Commentary on CD 75% Off

    CHAPTER 3

    Mr. Clarke, as we may now style the subject of our memoir, entered on the regular work of a Wesleyan-Methodist traveling preacher, on the 26th of September, 1782; Bradford, in Wiltshire, being his first circuit, and Trowbridge, in that circuit, being the place in which he made his debut in the itinerant character. He was but in his eighteenth year, and, being extremely slight and juvenile in his appearance, went by the name of the "little boy" among the multitudes who collected to hear him preach. One day, as he was going down the aisle of the chapel, he overheard a man saying to himself, "Tut, tut! what will Mr. Wesley send us next?" When he arrived at the principal place in the circuit, says Mr. Entwisle, his youth, and his plain appearance, unaccompanied by anything like the costume of a minister, produced in the leading friends surprise, and almost induced them to despise his youth, till they had heard him preach. He soon, however, became popular, and, what is better, very useful. Generally speaking, the age above-mentioned is much too young for an undertaking of such importance as the Christian ministry. But there have been rare exceptions, and Mr. Clarke was one. He had experience and steadfastness above his years. The extent to which he had been thrown upon his own resources, and the spiritual conflicts through which he had been called to pass, had tended to mature his judgment, and extend the sphere of his practical knowledge, to a degree unwonted in so young a person. If his intellectual attainments were not great, they were solid, so far as they went, and all connected themselves, directly or indirectly, with the duties upon which he had entered. His acquaintance with the Scriptures, in particular, though slight compared with what it eventually became, was considerable and correct: so considerable, and, in his own esteem at least, so correct, that he had already drawn up thirty-two articles of his belief, "no article of which he ever afterwards saw occasion to change." This creed will be more particularly referred to in a future page; but, in the meantime, it may be well to state, that his well-known views concerning the sonship of Christ formed one of its articles. Besides these qualifications, his dispositions were good. His zeal knew no bounds, but those of his commission; the Bible was his constant companion; and prayer his continual exercise. His natural diffidence was great, but he depended entirely on Divine assistance, believing that without the accompanying influence of the Holy Spirit his best exertions would be altogether vain.

    Thus qualified, Mr. Clarke entered his circuit. It extended into the three counties of Wilts, Somerset, and Dorset, comprising no less than thirty-one towns and villages. This extensive sphere of labor kept him in perpetual motion. It was not without reason that Mr. Wesley's early followers were called itinerants. The itinerancy of the present race of preachers is, in very many instances, confined to moving from circuit to circuit; but, fifty years ago, it was in the circuits themselves that the traveling occurred. In my first circuit, says Mr. Entwisle, one of the oldest living preachers, I was at home five days only in six weeks. I remember very well, says Mr. Henry Moore, a still older laborer in the Lord's vineyard, when I had to travel three hundred miles on a circuit, and to preach fifteen times in each week -- every morning, every evening, and three times on the Lord's day. My friend (Clarke) had this to do too. But, if it involved severe physical labor, it was attended with this advantage, that the same sermon might be repeated at different places. He did not abuse this advantage, as some have abused it, by neglecting study; but, by diligent reading of the Scriptures, with much prayer, he was enabled to produce new matter each time of his "going the circuit." His youth was a trial to himself; for he could not be persuaded that his instructions could have any value, or that they would be patiently received by his seniors; but it proved an advantage rather than an obstacle, attracting large congregations, and leading ultimately to the salvation of many souls. On one occasion, when he was expected to preach at Road, a village between Frome and Trowbridge, a large congregation of young people assembled to hear him. This village did not contain more than one or two Methodists. The effect of his preaching and prayers was such, that thirteen of his youthful audience began earnestly to inquire the way of salvation. A religious concern became general throughout the village and neighborhood, beginning with the young, and extending to the aged. Fifty years afterwards, when Dr. Clarke preached his last sermon at Frome, one of these young converts called upon him. Similar results followed from his ministry in several other parts of the circuit: the year was one of prosperity; and his own heart grew in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    He proceeded in the cultivation of his mind by useful studies. Shortly after his arrival in the circuit, he received his copy of Mr. Bayley's Hebrew Grammar, which he read with much care. From the lessons and the analytical parts, he derived valuable instruction: the rest he considered nearly good for nothing. In Latin, Greek, and French, he made little progress. He had to preach daily, and to travel on horseback daily, besides performing other duties. Like Mr. Wesley, he accustomed himself to read on horseback. In this way he read that great man's Abridgment of Mosheim, which, he states, is done with "eminent skill." But he could not pursue the study of languages in this position, that requiring the use of more books than one.

    But a circumstance happened, which threatened not merely to hinder, but to put an end to, his learned acquirements. In the preachers' room at Motcomb, near Shaftesbury, someone had inscribed a Latin sentence on the wall, to which Mr. Clarke added another from Virgil, corroborative of the first. A preacher, whose name has not transpired, observing the addition, and knowing who had made it, wrote underneath, "Did you write the above to show us you could write Latin? For shame! Do send pride to hell, from whence it came. Oh, young man, improve your time, eternity's at hand."

    This ridiculous, because unjust, censure, the offspring of envy and ignorance, produced a withering effect upon the ductile mind of Mr. Clarke; and, in an unguarded moment, he fell upon his knees in the middle of the room, and solemnly promised to God that "he would never more meddle with Greek or Latin as long as he lived." This rash vow was religiously observed till the year 1786. About this time, Mr. Clarke, who had not precluded himself from reading French as often as he found opportunity, met with a discourse on pulpit eloquence by the celebrated Abbé Maury, from which he translated a passage with which he was particularly pleased, and sent it to Mr. Wesley, for insertion in the Arminian Magazine. In acknowledging the contribution, which was inserted, Mr. Wesley charged his young disciple "to cultivate his mind as far as his circumstances would allow, and not to forget anything that he had ever learned." The latter part of this enlightened precept came too late; for he had already forgotten a great deal. The former part, however, led him to reconsider his vow; and the result of his reasonings, which, as in all cases, were crowned with prayer, was a decided conviction that his vow had no foundation either in Scripture or in common sense, but that, on the contrary, it was sinful. That which it was sinful to make, it could not but be sinful to keep; and, accordingly, after having asked the forgiveness of God on account of his former temerity, he resolved to abjure the rash promise, and recommence (for he had literally to do this) the study of Greek and Latin. In all this, the providence of God is seen. Why the foolish counsel of the nameless preacher was suffered to prevail, is not so clear: perhaps, however, the immediate loss to which it led, was more than compensated by the increased avidity of the temporarily restricted appetite for knowledge.

    But to return. During 1782, Mr. Clarke read Mr. Wesley's Letter on Tea, the arguments in which he could not answer; and he resolved, that, till he could, he would drink neither tea nor coffee. This vow, unlike the last, was kept to the end of life. When Mr. Wesley, after twelve years' abstinence, returned to "the caps which cheer but not inebriate," this was not deemed by his pupil a refutation of his arguments against them.* The Doctor piqued himself [congratulated himself -pique 1 v. & n. _ v. tr. (piques, piqued, piquing) 1 wound the pride of, irritate. 2 arouse (curiosity, interest, etc.). 3 (refl.; usu. foll. by on) pride or congratulate oneself. -- Oxford Dict.] not a little on his superior perseverance, and was fond of calculating how much time he had rescued for study and other work which might have been spent at the tea-table.

    [*This statement confirms what I earlier found in the Etheridge biography of Clarke, that Wesley did drink alcoholic "cordials" and perhaps "night-caps" on some occasions -- a fact that would probably shock and disappoint many present-day "Wesleyans". However, it should be observed that Wesley's partaking of such was probably very moderate, and perhaps on most occasions he partook of such medicinally. -- DVM]

    In August, 1783, Mr. Clarke attended the Conference in Bristol, where he arrived on Saturday the 3d. On the following day he heard seven sermons, three of which were delivered in the open air, besides receiving the sacrament from Mr. Wesley, assisted by Dr. Coke and two other clergymen. Among the preachers whom he heard was Mr. Bradburn, who delivered "the best sermon he had ever heard on the subject of Christian perfection." On Wednesday, the 6th, he was received into full connection, although he had traveled only eleven months. During those eleven months, however, he had preached no less than five hundred and six times, including preaching at five o'clock every morning, winter and summer; besides performing various other ministerial and pastoral duties. At that time, the four years' probation was unknown; but still it was the earliest admission that had ever taken place. It followed, too, that Mr. Clarke's name did not appear upon the Minutes until he had been admitted into full connection. One of the questions put to candidates for this honor is, "Are you in debt?" A few hours before this question was put to Mr. Clarke, he had borrowed a halfpenny from another preacher with whom he was walking, to give to a beggar. As he had not refunded the amount when the investigation into his solvency was about to take place, he could not conscientiously declare that he was not in debt; and yet, should he acknowledge that he was, and, on being interrogated as to the amount, declare that it was a halfpenny, he might create a laugh at his own expense. The question overtook him while in this dilemma, but the proper answer came unsought; and he saved both his credit and his conscience, by instantly replying, "Not one penny."

    At the Conference he was appointed for Norwich, where he arrived on the 16th of August. Here he was obliged to sleep in the same room with a preacher who was ill of a fever, without, however, catching the disorder. So miserably were the early Methodist preachers provided for. The Norwich circuit then extended over considerable portions of Norfolk and Suffolk, including twenty-two towns and villages. The round of the circuit comprised a journey of two hundred and sixty miles. There being four preachers, each of them passed one week of the month in the city, and three in the country. Mr. Clarke's colleagues were, Richard Whatcoat, John Ingham, and William Adamson. The first, who was a plain good man, afterwards, at Dr. Coke's request, became a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. The second was given to quackery and chewing tobacco, never preaching without a quid in his mouth. This filthy practice betrayed him into the love of drink; and he fell into disgrace the following year. The third also desisted from preaching at the same time; not through immorality, but fickleness of mind.

    The Norwich Society was very poor. "A family," says Dr. Clarke, "lived in the preachers' house, and provided for the preachers at so much per meal, and the bill was brought in to the stewards' and leaders' meeting at the end of the week, and discharged: and he was most certainly considered the best preacher who ate the fewest meals, because his bills were the smallest. In this respect Mr. Clarke excelled: he took only a little milk to his breakfast, drank no tea or coffee, and took nothing in the evening. Hence his bills were very small. Sometimes, but not often, the preachers were invited out; and this also contributed to lessen the expense."

    This house was miserably provided with the most ordinary conveniences of life. Mr. Clarke, imitating the example of the Apostle Paul, wrought with his hands for its improvement in this respect. At the expense of twopence in money and a little labor, he restored to a state of soundness the bellows, which were in the last stage of pulmonary consumption, and supplied the place of a worn-out cinder-sifter by drilling holes through the remains of a superannuated saucepan. To mend the poker, which had been consumed to the stump, was beyond his power; but the circuit-stewards, stimulated by his example, took heart, and had it new bitted. In this city, also, he complied with the rule of Conference, which says, "Be not above cleaning your own shoes, or those of others, if need be," performing this office for his brethren as well as himself. The marvel is, that his brethren permitted him.*

    [*If Richard Whatcoat allowed Clarke to clean his shoes, I suspect that it may have been at Clarke's urging. However, the character of the others, as described in the preceding, may have been such that they were very happy to allow Adam Clarke to clean their shoes. -- DVM]

    During his stay in Norwich, he was invited to breakfast by a member of the Society, who, after having given him the directions by which he might find the place of her abode, suggested a doubt whether he could read sufficiently well to make her instructions available. Dr. Clarke has recorded this circumstance for the purpose of showing how little the Methodists of those times expected from their ministers. To us, however, it affords evidence of the exceeding ignorance, not of the preachers, but of the members of the Methodist Societies, at that period. Few of the early preachers were deficient in the rudiments, at least, of an English education.

    But it appears that the Norwich circuit was not lower in intellect than in piety. There was no place in it, we are told, where religion flourished, either among the Methodists or in other denominations. Among the former, the mere creed of Calvinism had to a great extent superseded the just foundation of a sinner's hope, besides distracting the minds of the members in general; for many of the local preachers and the leaders had imbibed Antinomian sentiments, which they endeavored to propagate. Mr. Wesley soon found out that his all-comprehensive scheme was a vain one; and that it was impossible to include Arminians and Calvinists in one society, and to preserve concord. Yet the low state of the Society in Norwich was not without exceptions; and in the course of the year during which Mr. Clarke labored among them, religion revived a little, principally, he states, through the preaching of the doctrine of entire sanctification.*

    [*I think that Richard Whatcoat may have been a good deal responsible for the emphasis on sanctification, for he clearly obtained the experience and was an advocate of this second work of grace. -- DVM]

    The rigors which Mr. Clarke endured at Kingswood would seem to have been light when compared with some of his hardships in the Norwich circuit. There being but one horse for the four preachers, he, as well as his brethren, was obliged to travel much on foot. It must have been "curious," as he says, to see him set off, with his saddlebags tied upon his back. At most of the places in the circuit, the accommodations were very miserable. Sometimes, and that during a winter extraordinarily severe, he lodged in a loft, through the holes in whose floor he might observe all that passed below; and sometimes in an out-house [out-building, no doubt, and not what has long been commonly known as an "out-house" in America -- DVM], in which, during seven successive years, there had been no fire. Such was the intensity of the cold, and so much was he exposed to its pinching, that, in numerous instances, he had personal experience of the truth of that apparent paradox, that cold in the extreme produces the same sensations as heat in the extreme.

    These hardships, and even worse than these, were the common lot of the early Methodist preachers, who, far different from their modern followers, seldom dwelt in ceiled houses, or partook of any but the humblest fare; nor is it too much to say, that to men who, for purposes so disinterested, endured such privations, "the nation and the state are under endless obligation." Among the "lower orders" at least, the primitive followers of Mr. Wesley produced an improved state of society, the beneficial effects of which remain to this day, and will never be obliterated. But, in doing this, they had to take up their cross daily, and to deny themselves. They were not men of high rank or of learned education, it is true; but, generally speaking, they were men who, for the love of souls, exchanged the comforts of this life for a state of privation and inconvenience; nor were they liable to the reproach which, whether justly or unjustly, has sometimes been cast upon their successors, of entering into the ministry for the sake of the ease, the emolument [emolument n. a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office. Etymology ME f. OF emolument or L emolumentum, orig. prob. 'payment for corn-grinding', f. emolere (as e-, molere grind) -- Oxford Dict.], or the reputation which it might produce. The prospects that lay before them were uniformly such, that the poorest among them could not reasonably be suspected of an unworthy motive.

    At a subsequent period of life, Dr. Clarke, in endeavoring to reconcile one of the missionaries in Shetland to the privations which he was called to endure, thus addressed him: "I well know what yourself and brother Dunn must suffer through the want of many of the necessaries of life, and particularly through innutritive food, and bad, or no beds, I have suffered in this way often. You cannot imagine how destitute we were, in many cases, about half a century ago, when I came into the Methodist Connection: both these were common. I have often lodged in out-houses [out-buildings, see the preceding -- DVM], in the coldest weather, without fire, and with scarcely enow [enough] of clothes to keep the vital spark in existence."

    Dr. Clarke was fairly entitled to apostrophize [to make an exclamatory digression, or an "aside" to a specific person or group -- DVM] his junior brethren, and say, "Ye ministers, who have entered this vineyard in the halcyon days of the church, think of what your predecessors have suffered, to make plain paths for your feet to walk in. And see that ye give all diligence to maintain that ground which they have gained by inches, and at the hazard and nearly the expense of their lives. Talk not of your hardships and privations; for of these ye can know comparatively nothing."

    At the period to which this part of our narrative refers, the stipend of a Methodist traveling preacher, if a single man, was three pounds a quarter. Out of this pittance he had to provide himself with clothes and books; with every necessary, in fact, save food and lodging; besides paying one guinea per annum towards the support of superannuated brethren and preachers' widows.

    In October, 1783, Mr. Wesley paid his annual visit to Norwich. His young follower was much refreshed both by his private conversation and by his public discourses. Of most of the latter he preserved the outlines. -- In one of these, he observes, the charge of enthusiasm -- a charge frequently brought against the Methodists by the ignorant and the malevolent -- was retorted upon the major part of the religious professions of the day. The enthusiasm which Mr. Wesley reprobated was that which consisted in expecting salvation as an end without using the means that lead to it -- in expecting pardon, holiness, and heaven, without prayer, repentance, faith, and obedience.

    Norfolk appeared to Mr. Clarke to be the most ungodly county he had ever visited; but he had not yet visited many, or he would have found that it was not particularly remarkable in that day of general rebellion against God, and of indifference to his cause among the professors of religion. The great sin of the Norfolk people appears to have been the profanation of the Sabbath. It was a day of sport in the country and of business in the town. Even professedly religious people bought and sold without remorse. Against this dreadful licentiousness, Mr. Clarke lifted up his voice. Whenever he heard of a Methodist joining in it, he visited him, not leaving until he had obtained a promise of reformation. He has recorded a pleasing instance in which a miller at Teasborough, who had permitted his mills to be worked during the Sabbath, was converted from the sin of Sabbath-breaking. The sense of his misconduct gave him so much uneasiness, that he resolved, at all hazards, to stop his mills during the day of rest. The consequence was, that, instead of becoming poorer, he prospered more than ever.

    We once overheard an old woman, who kept an apple-stall on the Pavement in Moorfields, declaring to a little girl, that, though she never came out on the Sabbath to prosecute her humble trade, she believed that she was better off than many of those who did. There is, in a town on the Sussex coast, a barber, who, being a member of the Methodist Society, was informed by his superintendent, that he must either desist from shaving [probably meaning: shaving customers for pay -- DVM] on the Sabbath, or submit to be expelled from the Society. He resolved upon the first alternative, and the result has been, that, patronized by all classes of religious people in the town, he has acquired a much more extensive and profitable business than he had before. We mention these as instances only, by no means pretending to found upon them the conclusion, that, in every case, religious fidelity is followed by temporal prosperity; though, -- in the cases enumerated, this was manifestly the consequence. While on this subject, it may not be improper to notice the fact, that, though the sanctification of the Sabbath by a total suspension of worldly occupations is enjoined upon those of the Methodists who are barbers, yet equal measure has not been meted out to another class of tradesmen who often offend in this particular. We allude to bakers, against whom the rule ought surely to be put in force, as often as they violate it by pursuing their calling on the Sabbath.

    That hatred to the Gospel which is generated in the carnal mind, was another feature which marked the irreligious character of the Norfolk people. Scarcely a Sabbath passed without disturbances at the Methodist chapel at Norwich. Mr. Wesley himself did not escape altogether from their fury. Dr. Clarke relates an instance in which that good man was surrounded by a mob, which threatened to molest him. Mr. John Hampson, senior, was with him. "This man," we are told, "was of gigantic make, well proportioned, and of the strongest muscular powers." Of these endowments he was not unconscious, nor backward to use them, On the occasion in question, he assumed an attitude of defiance, when Mr. Wesley, whose mode of quelling the fury of a mob, was by the exhibition of an overawing calmness of demeanor, entreated him to use no violence. To conclude the anecdote in the words of the narrator, "Mr. Hampson replied, with a terrible voice like the bursting roll of thunder, 'Let me alone, Sir; if God has not given you an arm to quell this mob, he has given me one: and the first man that molests you here, I will lay him for DEAD!' Death itself seemed to speak in the last word -- it was pronounced in a tone the most terrific. The mob heard, looked at the man, and were appalled: there was a universal rush, who should get off soonest: and in a very short time the lane was emptied, and the mob was dissipated like the thin air. Mr. Hampson had no need to let any man feel even the weight of his arm. For such times as these, God had made such men." The concluding remark does not accord with the language of Christ to Peter, when he had resorted to physical force, nor with any precept of the Gospel.

    Mr. J. H____, who had been master of Kingswood School, and traveled several years as a preacher, retired to Norwich in 1782, having imbibed the doctrines of Baron Swedenborgh. It appears from an entry in Mr. Clarke's Journal, dated January 4, 1784, that he had been much perplexed by a conversation with this person concerning the Trinity. According to his new creed, Mr. H. maintained that there was no such thing as three persons in one God, but that, what is called God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, is only God acting under three different characters, Mr. Clarke, however, penetrated this flimsy sophistry, concluding, that, if Mr. H.'s views were true, we should have had a Centenity [sic], instead of a Trinity, of characters. Besides this, by a reference to Matthew iii. 16, 17, he satisfied himself at least, that the Son evidently baptized, the Holy Spirit visibly descending, and the voice of the Father actually heard, afforded the clearest and most undeniable proof of a Trinity of persons in the Godhead. He found, also, that the angels of heaven are represented as worshipping God and the Lamb, not God under the character of a lamb. He perceived, in fine, that, in obeying the command to worship the Son even as we worship the Father, we should be guilty of idolatry, upon the Swedenborgian hypothesis, since in worshipping the Son, for instance, we should worship, not God, but one of his characters. Perhaps, there is no one doctrine in the word of God, on which Dr. Clarke was clearer, whether as to his own belief or as to his mode of stating it, than that of the Trinity.

    In Norwich, Mr. Clarke had the opportunity of hearing female preachers. He had heard of them before, and was not prepossessed in their favor. But, after having heard Miss Sewel and Mrs. Proudfoot exercise their pulpit talents, and being satisfied that they had been made the means of usefulness in various places, he was constrained to admit that they were acting in accordance with the providence of God, and to concur with "a shrewd man," who said, "An ass reproved Balaam, and a cock reproved Peter: and why may not a woman reprove sin?" But a woman might reprove sin without presenting herself before a large audience; and the apostle Paul prohibits women from "speaking in the church" -- a circumstance which does not appear to have occurred to the mind of Mr. Clarke. He did not think, however, that a call to preach could exempt a woman from those domestic duties which devolve upon a wife, a mother, or a daughter. Such being his opinions, and since it does not appear that mature consideration changed them (indeed the Doctor was not remarkable for change of opinion upon any subject), it was not quite consistent in him, when, late in life, he saw a portrait of Mrs. Fletcher, with a book in the hand, to say that the artist had better have painted her knitting stockings. Mrs. Fletcher was a sort of female preacher, exercising her talent, however, more immediately within the bounds of female modesty, than if she had actually ascended the pulpit; and, surely, Dr. Clarke would be no advocate for persons pretending to teach others, without preparatory reading. Besides, Mrs. Fletcher was a woman, who, being without children, had fewer domestic duties to perform than most married females; and none, we are sure, but those entirely ignorant of her history, would deem it out of character that she should be painted with a book in hand. If it was her choice to be so represented, we may rest assured that it was not for the purpose of producing an impression that she was a book-learned woman; and people know well enough that the accessories of a portrait are not uniformly indicative of the prevailing habit of the original, or, to say no more, the artists who have depicted certain of Dr. Clarke's brethren, would have been called to account for omitting the pipe.

    While in Norwich, Mr. Clarke labored much to improve his mind during the little leisure which he could command. Greek and Latin were, as we have seen, proscribed; but he made some progress in French and Hebrew. He read Mr. Wesley's Philosophy, which disgusted him with the horrid doctrine of unconditional reprobation. Though his labor was severe, and he suffered numerous privations, yet his strong sense of duty, and the affection of the people, bore his spirit triumphantly through. In Lowestoff, especially, he met with kind friends, two of whom were conspicuous, entertaining him as a son, and allowing him the use of their libraries. Good was done, though not in a remarkable degree; and he lived in harmony with his colleagues.

    On the 7th of August, 1784, he received from the Leeds Conference his appointment to St. Austell. He performed this journey (four hundred miles) on horseback, to effect which, one guinea had been sent him. To this was added, from his own poor purse, the sum of half-a-crown. On the way, he visited his friends in Wiltshire. The keep of his horse requiring nearly all his cash, with such an appetite as a journey of between forty and fifty miles per diem may be conceived to have excited, he was obliged to content himself with very meager and scanty diet, a penny loaf serving him for both breakfast and dinner. This, it must be owned, was a severe test of sincerity.

    Leaving Norwich, in which, during eleven months, he had preached 450 sermons, besides a great number of exhortations, he arrived at St. Austell on the 28th of August. His colleagues were Messrs. Francis Wrigley and William Church, with the former of whom he had labored in the Bradford circuit. His present sphere of exertion included the eastern part of Cornwall, from shore to shore, and consisted of forty places, besides others occasionally visited. This circuit, like the former, and, indeed, like most of the circuits at that period, was a very severe one -- the riding constant, the roads bad, and the accommodations worse; but there was this difference between them: in Norfolk, religion was at a low ebb; in Cornwall, there existed that spirit of hearing for which it has ever been remarkable, and never more so than during the past year. The toils and privations endured by the preachers, were compensated by a blessed ingathering of sinners to Christ, and a general renewing of the face of the county. The chapels would not contain the crowds that came; and, almost every week, Mr. Clarke was obliged to preach in the open air.

    Among those whom Mr. Clarke had the satisfaction of receiving into the Society, was Mr. Samuel Drew, [16] who had then nearly completed the term of his apprenticeship. Of this remarkable man, who died in the month of March, 1833, a Life, by his son, is forthcoming. His fellow-townsmen have erected a tablet to his memory; and the respect and esteem which have been universally manifested towards him, since, in the providence of God, he emerged from his native obscurity, by all classes of intelligent Cornishmen, do equal honor to his memory and to the county. Dr. Clarke has justly styled him, "one of the first metaphysicians of the empire, a man of primitive simplicity of manners, amiableness of disposition, piety towards God, and benevolence to men, seldom to be equaled; and for reach of thought, keenness of discrimination, purity of language, and manly eloquence, not to be surpassed in any of the common walks of life." Nor was Mr. Drew the only, though the most, remarkable man, whom Mr. Clarke had the satisfaction of admitting into the Methodist Society in Cornwall. He admitted Mr. George Michal, inventor of the patent window-frame; Mr. Joseph Avard, a magistrate in Prince Edward's Island; and several others, who have since become distinguished in literature and mechanics.

    Mr. Clarke had not been long in Cornwall before he met with very inhospitable treatment from one of the inhabitants, a farmer at Trego. In this place, a small society had been formed, and the place of meeting was the farmer's house. Mr. Clarke was to preach there on the night of his arrival, and the next morning. The farmer's wife set before him the remains of an apple-pie, the crust of which was "almost impenetrable to knife or teeth." This homely fare he had discussed as well as he might, when the farmer himself entered; and a strange dialogue ensued between them, which it is unnecessary to repeat. Why, it does not appear; but the farmer had resolved he would have no more Methodist preaching; and, not only so, he would not even give the youthful stranger a night's lodging, but, notwithstanding his expostulations, insisted upon his immediate departure. Accordingly, Mr. Clarke saddled his horse, and, mounting, departed; but not before he had, with much solemnity, literally wiped off the dust of his feet against the inhospitable man. This was the last time that he had a Methodist preacher beneath his roof, or before his door. "Ruin," says Dr. Clarke, "came on him, his family became corrupt, and were finally scattered; and he died not long after."

    In the winter of 1784, Mr. Clarke met with an accident that had nearly proved fatal. A gentleman of Bradford, in Wiltshire, presented him with a horse, which, besides its other good qualities, was represented to be an excellent chaise-horse. Mr. Wesley stood by when the remark was made, and proposed to make an exchange, giving Mr. Clarke one of his own horses, which was often restive in the traces. The offer was readily accepted, Mr. Clarke being but too happy to possess himself of a horse which had belonged to one whom he so much revered. This horse fell almost every time he was ridden, and Mr. Clarke's friends often endeavored to persuade him to sell it; but, for the reason already stated, he refused to do so. On the 17th of December, the horse fell as usual, but with worse consequences to the owner than before. Pitching directly on his head, Mr. Clarke lay for some time senseless. On coming to himself, he felt as in the agonies of death. Eventually, however, he reached the house to which he was going. A congregation being in waiting, though he could scarcely stand, he attempted to preach. The next day, still in much pain, he reached a place, where, obtaining medical assistance, he was bled. Some of the vertebræ of the spine had been injured. The doctor ordered him to rest a few days; but this he refused to do, hazarding his life rather than forego the fulfillment of his engagements. From this hurt he did not entirely recover during three years. But no argument was now necessary to prevail with him to part with his horse, which was exchanged with a farmer, who, reverencing Mr. Wesley, readily promised to use it well.

    This accident was not the only means by which Mr. Clarke's life was endangered during his labors in the St. Austell circuit. Those labors were so abundant, so incessant, and so severe, that his constitution seemed to sink under them. Without counting "innumerable (that is, very numerous) exhortations," he preached five hundred and sixty-eight sermons, and traveled hundreds of miles, during the eleven months. He preached out of doors in all weathers, frequently twice, and sometimes even thrice, on week-days; and, three Sabbaths out of four, he regularly delivered four sermons in as many different places, riding many miles in the intervals. His great exertions, together with the hurt which he had received, had such an effect upon his health, that his appetite failed, his strength declined, and he often bled so copiously at the nose, that his friends feared for his life; and he himself thought that he should not long survive. The tendency of this apprehension was to make him observe a closer walk with God, and to set a stricter watch over his own heart.

    His popularity was very great. "To this day," says Mr. Joseph Beaumont, in his eloquent discourse on occasion of Dr. Clarke's death, "to this day his name in that county is held absolutely sacred; and, when I was lately on a tour through that part of the country, I found that everywhere his name was as ointment poured forth." At St. Austell, he was obliged, on one occasion, to enter the chapel through the window, and literally walk upon the shoulders of the people to the pulpit; but the constitution of his mind was such as to prevent him from being unduly elated: a sense of his comparative weakness, ignorance, and imperfection, kept him in his proper place. His usefulness was in proportion to his popularity. The additions to the society were numerous, the edification of the church was manifest; and even the vicious and the profligate were restrained within the bounds of decency. One circumstance only interfered with the course of prosperity. Some Antinomian Calvinists "spread their poison" in certain parts of the circuit, and succeeded in seducing a few of the less fixed members of the Society in St. Austell; but they converted no sinners to God.

    "At Launceston," says Mr. Beaumont, "a persecutor of gigantic stature and unbounded rage determined to take away the life of this zealous evangelist; and for this purpose filled his pockets with large stones, that he might, as he expressed it, 'dash out the brains' of the preacher. On arriving at the place with this awful intent, he found Mr. Clarke in his sermon; and he thought that, before he executed his purpose, he would listen to a few words. While listening, he suddenly fell down, as if he had been shot. The immediate result was, the saving of the preacher's life -- the final issue, that [the saving] of his own soul."

    But the period when the faithful preachers of God's holy word were at the mercy of "gouty 'squires and clerical justices," and their myrmidons [myrmidon n. 1 a hired ruffian. 2 a base servant. Etymology L Myrmidones (pl.) f. Gk Murmidones, warlike Thessalian people who went with Achilles to Troy -- Oxford Dict.], was now drawing to a close. At St. Austell Mr. Clarke had little time for reading; but that little was diligently employed. He added to his other pursuits the study of chemistry, in which he was enabled to make experiments, having access to a friend's laboratory. He even entered upon the study of alchemy; not, of course, in the delusive hope of finding the philosopher's stone, but that he might enlarge his knowledge of the operations of nature. This pursuit was regarded in the light of an amusement rather than of a study; for we are informed, that it "served to divert his mind from that intensity of thought on other matters which before was preying upon itself." He derived much consolation under his sufferings, and much instruction in his studies, from the friendship of Mr. Richard Mabyn, of Camelford, a gentleman of much piety and considerable information. Mr. Mabyn's house he regarded as "his only home on earth;" and he felt towards him and his wife a filial affection. Their friendship continued uninterrupted till Mr. Mabyn's death in 1820. It does not appear in what particular circumstances Mr. Mabyn's friendship displayed itself; but, as Dr. Clarke describes him to have been the "amicus certus, qui in re incerta cernitur," it may be concluded that he had special reasons for so doing.

    In August, 1785, when the Conference was held in London, Mr. Clarke was appointed to Plymouth Dock. At the request of his St. Austell friends, Mr. Wesley had consented to his remaining among them a second year; but, a secession having taken place in the Plymouth Society, and it being thought that Mr. Clarke was likely to counteract the influence of the disaffected body, his removal was determined upon. This new circuit lay partly in Devon and partly in Cornwall, and comprised eighteen places. His colleagues were Messrs. John Mason and John King, with whom he labored in the utmost harmony. In the course of the year, the Society was doubled, and some of the seceders returned, The congregations were immense; and multitudes of sailors flocked from the Dock-yard, and from the ships in the Hamoaze, to hear words whereby they might be saved. Among others Mr. Cleland Kirkpatrick, who afterwards became a Wesleyan-Methodist traveling preacher, and is now a supernumerary in the Congleton circuit, was brought to God. He had recently lost his arm in an engagement with the famous Paul Jones, and was the cook of the Cambridge man-of-war.

    In those parts of Cornwall which fell within the circumference of his circuit, Mr. Clarke succeeded in forming several new societies. He had not been many months in the circuit, when he was invited by John Nile, a farmer, in the parish of Linkinhorne, to preach in his house. There being no church within three or four miles of the place, the invitation was eagerly accepted. Many sinners were converted, and a society was formed; but Nile himself, as Mr. Clarke relates, in a letter to Mr. Wesley, remained without a satisfactory assurance of the Divine forgiveness, though he too had been for some time under conviction of sin. One night, however, he felt an unaccountable impression, urging him to visit his turnip-field; and, on going thither, caught a man in the act of filling a sack with the turnips. Nile turned out the stolen property, and, selecting such as were seed-turnips, returned the rest into the sack, which he assisted the thief to place upon his shoulder; and then, bidding him steal no more, but, if at any time he should be in distress, come to him, and he would relieve him, he let him go. "Having thus dismissed the poor trembling sinner," continues Mr. Clarke, "he went into private, and began to wrestle with God in earnest prayer. The Father of mercies instantly heard him, and filled his soul with a clear evidence of his pardoning love, which he holds fast to the present day. Thus, having forgiven his brother his trespasses, his heavenly Father also forgave him." Mr. Clarke preached in Plymouth Dock (now Devonport) at five o'clock in the morning throughout the year; and used to go about in the dark winter mornings, with his lanthorn [lantern -This appears to be an archaic spelling of that word -- DVM], to awake those who, as he thought, should attend the preaching. Services at this early hour are now almost entirely unknown, The preachers are, nowa-days, too much "at ease in Zion" to rise for labor at so early an hour. If, as Mr. Wesley averred, "this was the glory of the Methodists," then, assuredly, "the glory is departed;" a fact which ought to awaken serious concern in the mind of every follower of Mr. Wesley, especially considering that he said, "Whenever this is dropped, they [the Methodists] will dwindle into nothing!" That their numbers are not only not less, but even much greater, is no disproof of the truth of the prediction, which had more reference, no doubt, to depth of piety than to numbers.

    It was while in the Plymouth Dock circuit, that Mr. Clarke was induced to retract his rash vow concerning Greek and Latin. Here, too, he had more leisure than in any of his previous appointments. Mr. Hore, a naval officer, whose eldest daughter was afterwards married to Mr. William Henshaw, [17] a Wesleyan-Methodist traveling preacher, lent him Chambers' Encyclopædia, which he read with so much care as to make himself master of its contents. Of this work, and of his obligations to Mr. Hore for the loan of it, he was wont to speak in terms of the most unqualified approbation. He commended it as superior to every work of a similar description, whether antecedent or subsequent in date; and declared, that, if enlarged to such an extent as to comprehend the advanced state of science, without departing from the original plan, it would be infinitely preferable to the very voluminous works which have since been published. His Hebrew studies were greatly promoted by the acquisition of Leigh's Critica Sacra, and still more by an early sight of Dr. Kennicott's edition of the Hebrew Bible, for which he was indebted to the author's sister, a resident in Plymouth Dock. From this laborious work he derived his first knowledge of biblical criticism.

    A choir of singers, which had been formed in Plymouth Dock, gave some trouble to the officers of the chapel and of the society. The trustees having refused to accommodate these musical persons with a certain seat upon which they had fixed their choice, but which had been previously engaged by a private individual, they secretly agreed that they would cease to sing, still, however, attending in the pew assigned them, which was in one of the best situations in the chapel. When Mr. Clarke, who was the preacher, gave out the hymn, he waited for the singers to begin; and, as they were silent, he, imagining that they had not heard the page, repeated the announcement. Still they kept silence; and Mr. Clarke was obliged to raise the tune, the congregation taking up the strain. The same process was repeated when the other hymns of the service were given out. Mr. Clarke saw that the members of the choir, which, he informs us, comprised some skillful musicians, and, what is more difficult to believe, some sensible and pious men, were dumb by contumacy [contumacy n. stubborn refusal to obey or comply. -- Oxford Dict.]; but it was not till he had conversed with the trustees, that he learned the reason why they had thus resolved that "Almighty God should have no praise from them!" This "ungodly farce" being repeated, the trustees provided themselves with a person to raise the tunes, and so the choir were out-generaled. "The liveliness and piety of the singing," says Dr. Clarke, "were considerably improved; for now, the congregation, instead of listening to the warbling of the choir, all joined." Nor was this the only occasion on which Mr. Clarke had reason to doubt the propriety of forming choirs of singers in Methodist chapels. He has declared that he never knew an instance in which they did not make disturbance in the societies. He was opposed to everything which had a tendency to convert the congregation into mere listeners to the singing. For this reason, and probably because of the unnecessary expense, he strongly objected to the introduction of organs into Methodist chapels, an innovation on the original simplicity of Christian worship which is now of nearly every-day occurrence. But certainly the choirs of singers, the fiddlers, &c., are the greater evil of the two. "Many scandals," observes Dr. Clarke, "have been brought into the church of God by choirs and their accompaniments. Why do not the Methodist preachers lay this to heart?" The fact is, that different opinions exist upon this subject. Some who have a taste for music, perhaps, and also a taste for worldly show, are willing to patronize the system of theatrical singing in places of worship; and thus it happens, that, even in the present day, in many chapels such exhibitions frequently occur. Very recently, we heard of a young female singing solos in one of the chapels of a London circuit! It would be better to imitate the Friends, and forswear singing altogether, than to permit the recurrence of such scenes as this.*

    [*It sounds from this that in those days among Methodists the singing of special songs in the worship service by one or several persons was considered a wicked thing -- yet a thing that has for many years been done in perhaps every Wesleyan-Oriented denomination. The abandonment of this tradition, as I see it, was no "departure from the faith," for many times God has used such singing in holiness services to bring people to Himself. It should be admitted, however, that there has been far to much cheap "showmanship" by "special singers" in holiness services. -- DVM]

    Mr. Clarke appears to have derived many advantages from the society of his senior colleague, Mr. Mason who, judging from the manner in which he speaks of him in his Letter to a Preacher, and in the character of him, which, upon his death in 1810, he drew up at the request of Conference, was, as a Methodist preacher, a remarkable man; for he was extensively read in general and ecclesiastical history, and was well versed in anatomy, medicine, and natural science. In botany he greatly excelled, having formed large collections, of which one of English plants was particularly complete. Notwithstanding these attainments, he never neglected his ministerial duties, but laid everything under contribution to his theological studies. "From him," says Dr. Clarke, "I learned how to demean and behave myself, in civil and religious society." He died at the age of seventy-eight, residing at West Meon in Hampshire, some years before his death. Dr. Clarke was of opinion, that, in the course of nature, he might have lived at least ten years longer, had he not adopted a milk diet, which, as he was tall and strong-boned, failed to clothe him with sufficient flesh. He presented to his friend Clarke a Hortus Siccus, in forty-three volumes, octavo: as for his fossils, minerals, and plants, they were scattered and lost. [18]

    The Society in Plymouth would have gladly retained Mr. Clarke a second year; but it was ordered otherwise. Mr. Robert Carr Brackenbury, a Lincolnshire gentleman of fortune, who ranked as a Methodist preacher, had lately established his family in the isle of Jersey, where, as in the other Norman Isles, he had preached with some success; and, at the Conference of 1786, he applied to Mr. Wesley for an assistant preacher. Mr. Clarke, having some knowledge of the French language, was appointed.

    This appointment was made without his approbation, and he never became thoroughly reconciled to it. In his correspondence with Mr. King, his colleague in Plymouth, these facts appear evident. His zeal was ambitious of a more extensive sphere of labor; and he had, besides, considerable doubts as to the fairness of the manner in which his appointment had been brought about, "I have much work to do," he wrote under date of Guernsey, Feb. 22, 1787, "yet I could do more were I in a more enlarged sphere." Concerning his appointment, he added, "I am induced to scruple my appointment as the immediate result of the Divine counsels. Had Mr. Wesley appointed me, it is probable I should have had little doubt; but I have been credibly informed by Mr. Day, that Mr. Wesley had no hand in the affair." Now, of the circumstances of his appointment, we are unable to add anything to what has been already stated, excepting the account of Mr. Moore, who says, "I was employed by Mr. Wesley to write to him, and especially when he was sent to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey. By Mr. Wesley's desire, I wrote to him the letter by which he was sent thither, and likewise assured him in it of Mr. Wesley's friendship, and that, if anything was needful to enable him to go on comfortably, he should let me know." This, however, throws no light upon the cause of Mr. Clarke's complaints. Though it is evident from his letters to Mr. King, in which he speaks much of the severity of his trials, temptations, afflictions, and privations, that he continued to regret those associations and engagements from which he was removed, yet his mind was brought into a submissive frame. He was, in fact, the subject of contending feelings. While, as he stated, he neither murmured nor repined, was far from desiring to leave his station, was heartily willing to stay, whatever privileges he might be obliged to relinquish, so long as God might see meet to detain him, and while he was devoutly thankful for the prosperity of his mission, still we find him careful to add, that his success in Guernsey was no proof that his labors would not have been prospered "more abundantly in a situation where he would have had ten times the ground to sow the seed of life in." Therefore, Mr. Everett's remark, that "England being too circumscribed, he visited the islands of the seas" is as far from being correct in sentiment, as in geography. The loneliness of his position, and his unparticipated responsibility, particularly oppressed him. "Before," he says, "having two or three preachers always with me, we all shared the labor and concern. I had less burdens to bear; but here, I may truly say, I stand alone; every load falls on my shoulder, very incapable of bearing it. But this," he adds, recovering his truly missionary tone of feeling, "shall work eventually for my good. Never did I so comprehend what is implied in watching over souls, as I do now. My feelings are so increased, and my concern so deepened, to get eternal souls brought to, and kept with Jesus, that any backsliding among the people is a sword to my soul, and gives me some of the most poignant [poignant adj 1 painfully sharp to the emotions or senses; deeply moving... Etymology ME f. OF, pres. part. of poindre prick

    f. L pungere] sensations." Such was his devotedness, that it was impossible to lay his discontent to any other account than that of a most grasping desire to be useful. "My conscience," he observes, in this high strain of pious ardor, "acquits me of a desire even to write a letter, which is not necessary, or for the glory of God: for I find that in this, as in every other respect, it is full time to have done with all trifling." Through the sympathetic interference of Mr. King, who, as we have seen, was made the depositary of his inmost feelings, his discontent became known to Mr. Wesley. Of this step Mr. Clarke by no means approved; but yet he interpreted it as an evidence of his friend's affection. Whether Mr. Wesley had any part in the original appointment or not, he took a view of the case in which prudence and affection were remarkably combined. Writing to Mr. King, from Athlone, in Ireland, under date of April 21, 1787, he said, "Adam Clarke is doubtless an extraordinary young man, and capable of doing much good. Therefore, Satan will shorten his course, if possible; and this is very likely to be done by his still preaching too loud or too long. It is a sure way of cutting his own throat. Whenever you write, warn him of this; it may be he will take advice before it be too late. He may have work enough to do, if he add the isle of Alderney to those of Guernsey and Jersey. If you have a desire to go and be with him, you may, up to the Conference. At that time, I expect they will have both work and food for another laborer." Thus wisely did that great man determine the case -- converting the very grounds of his protege's dissatisfaction into a reason for his stay; and yet, at the, same time, with a rare indulgence, permitting his friend to go over and console him. Whether Mr. King availed himself of this permission or not, does not appear. From one of Mr. Clarke's letters to him, however, it would seem as if he had got rid of the conflict of feeling which had been agitating his breast. "Here," he says, "I am determined to conquer and die: I have taken the subsequent passage for a motto, and have it placed before me on the mantel-piece." He referred to a Greek sentence, the meaning of which is, "Stand thou as a beaten anvil to the stroke; for it is the property of a good warrior to be flayed alive, and yet to conquer." [19] This was the motto of Dr. Clarke's life, But we are anticipating the current of our story. To return.

    While Mr. Brackenbury was making some necessary preparations, Mr. Clarke paid a visit to his brother, who was in practice at Maghull, near Liverpool. During this visit, he formed a Methodist Society in the place. Returning towards Southampton, where he was to embark, he called at Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, where he had several kind friends, but one dearer than all. Ever since he left the circuit, he had corresponded with some pious young ladies of the name of Cooke, on general subjects. The letters of Miss Mary Cooke, however, had made a stronger impression than those of her sisters; and, during the flying visit which we are describing, a more intimate acquaintance sprang up between them, which, as we shall hereafter see, ripened into marriage.

    Mr. Clarke arrived at Southampton at the time appointed; but Mr. Brackenbury was detained in England a fortnight [two weeks] longer, which period Mr. Clarke divided between Southampton and Winchester. He spent a good deal of his time in the cathedral of the latter place, where he saw the chests containing the indiscriminate remains of our ancient kings; and several series of reflections which are recorded as having occupied his thoughts during this brief interval of leisure, evince that his mind was actively engaged, and that on the most useful subjects. At length Mr. Brackenbury had completed his arrangements, and they sailed for Jersey, where they arrived on the 26th of October, 1786. It was agreed between them, that Mr. Clarke should go to Guernsey, where he procured a large warehouse, at a place called Las Terres, in which he preached in English, besides preaching night and morning in several private houses in St. Peter's, the principal place in the island. His labors were not confined to Guernsey, but were divided among the other islands; among which he continued three years, laboring and studying incessantly for the good of the people, and not without injury to his own health.

    In the spring of 1787, he was attacked from so many quarters, that there was little view of his lingering long, especially as he had been slowly wasting for some months before. The people were greatly alarmed, and proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer, to snatch him from the grave. The severest attack was from jaundice, caused, probably, by a sudden cessation from the use of horse exercise, consequent upon his removal to the islands. When his disorder left him, he was, as he describes himself, "little else (considered abstractedly from my spirit) than a quantity of bones and sinews, wrapt up in none of the best-colored skins." During the crisis, he resorted to the Sortes Biblicas, to which, in common with Mr. Wesley, he was addicted, and opened upon "I am with him in affliction."

    During his sickness he wanted for nothing; persons willingly sat up with him day and night; and, to use his own words, "he had much favor in the sight even of the Egyptians." Many months had not transpired since his recovery, when he suffered a relapse, through imprudent exertion in preaching. Not knowing his weakness, having a very large attentive congregation, and being willing to speak for eternity, he exceeded his time, and hurt himself so much, that he did not soon get the better of it. His imprudence was punished in a very proper manner, considering that, as he had engaged himself to Miss Cooke, he was bound to regard her feelings in his exertions. His sleep was broken by unpleasant dreams, among which was one, to the effect that he had received an epistle from her sister, informing him, that she (Miss Mary) was dead, and enclosing an oration which had been delivered at her funeral. So much was he perplexed by these vagaries [vagary n. (pl. -ies) a caprice; an eccentric idea or act (the vagaries of Fortune). -- Oxford Dict.], that, at whatever time he awoke in the night, he thought it better to arise at once, than to run the risk of further annoyance. But this was not the way to recover his health.

    During one of his illnesses, a soldier came to see him. Looking into his face pitifully, and saying, "I heard you was sick," he sat down in a chair, and melted into tears. And yet he was a soldier! This man had been a slave to drunkenness. One morning, having got drunk before five, he had strolled out to Les Terres, where Mr. Clarke was preaching, and was deeply convinced. "After preaching," says Dr. Clarke, "he took me by the hand, and with the tears streaming down his cheeks, betwixt drunkenness and distress, said, 'Oh, Sir, I know you are a man possessed by the Spirit of God.' He went home; and, after three days' agonies, God, in tender compassion, set his soul at liberty."

    In one of his visits to Jersey, he met with some deeply experienced Christians, compared with whom he found himself but a very little child. Two females, one old, and the other young, were the most remarkable. Of these persons, he gives an account, which should stimulate private Christians to emulation, showing, as it does, the advantage which religious teachers may derive from the personal example of those to whom they have to minister. "The elder," he observes, in a letter to Miss Cooke, "seems to possess all the solemnity and majesty of Christianity. She has gone, and is going, through acute corporeal sufferings; but these add to her apparent dignity. Her eyes, every feature of her face, together with all her words, are uncommonly expressive of the word ETERNITY, in that importance in which it is considered by those whose minds are devoted to deep reflection. To her I put myself frequently to school, during my short abode in the island, and could not avoid learning much, unless I had been invincibly ignorant, or diabolically proud. The latter seems possessed of all that cheerful happiness and pure love which so abundantly characterize the Gospel of Christ. Peace, meekness, and joy, judiciously intermingled by the sagacious economy of the Holy Spirit, constitute a glorious something, affectingly evident in all her deportment, which I find myself quite at a loss to describe. Two such I know not that I have before found: they are indeed the rare and the excellent of the earth."

    In the Norman Isles, he was able to devote more time to study than in any of his former circuits; and, being free from his improvident vow, he resumed the perusal of Greek and Latin works. When he had recovered a little of his lost knowledge of the former, he began to read the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, for the purpose of noting its variations from the Hebrew text, with which he was tolerably well acquainted. He continued the reading of this ancient version, without the help of which, besides that it cast much light on the Hebrew text, it would have been nearly impossible to gain any proper knowledge of the Bible, till he had reached the end of the Psalms, noting down in a book, which was afterwards unfortunately lost, the most important differences between it and the original text. His opinion of the value of the Septuagint, was always very high; and he attributed the outcry against it to a misunderstanding of the question, and of the circumstances of the case. These profound studies were much hindered by the scantiness of his library, except when he was in Jersey, where there was a public library, which contained, besides other excellent works, a copy of Walton's Polyglott. A perusal of the Prolegomena led him to acquire some knowledge of the Syriac and Chaldee. To the latter he was introduced by Dean Prideaux's Connections; to the former, by Walton's Introduction to the Oriental Tongues, and Leusden's Schola Syriaca; and, when to these he had added a knowledge of the Samaritan alphabet, he was able to collate the original texts in the Polyglott, in the Hebrew, Samaritan, Chaldee, Syriac, Vulgate, and Septuagint. In the Arabic, Persian, and Ethiopic, he despaired of making any progress without a teacher. All the time that he could spare was spent in the manner which we have described; but, as he had not always the opportunity of resorting to the St. Helier's library, he began earnestly to covet the possession of a copy of the Polyglott. He had no means of gratifying this desire; but, as he believed that it was God's will that he should cultivate his mind by biblical studies, he entertained a confident hope that the work would, in due time, be providentially given to him. That he made his wishes and his hopes public, would appear from the fact, that a preacher's wife dreamed one night that someone had made him a present of a Polyglott. The announcement of this dream led him to reiterate his confidence in God respecting the subject of it; and, in a few days, he received a letter "containing a ú10 bank-note, from a person from whom he never expected anything of the kind." "Here," said he, on discovering the valuable enclosure, "is the Polyglott!" and he wrote to a friend in London, who purchased for him a copy of Walton, the price of which was "exactly ten pounds." To this timely act of liberality, and to the equally remarkable discovery of the half-guinea, which, as the reader remembers, was devoted to the purchase of a Hebrew Grammar, Dr. Clarke often gratefully referred, as special cases of providential goodness, and as having laid the foundation of his prodigious acquirements in Oriental learning and biblical literature; and, viewing them as direct gifts from God, he was stimulated to greater diligence in the studies which they facilitated.

    The following epistolary account of his miscellaneous literary pursuits at this time is interesting, and evinces that he had indeed "entered into the spirit of study:" -- "I yet pursue my old, and have made some additions to my former plan. French certainly must not be entirely forgotten. The Septuagint I cannot persuade myself to relinquish. My esteem for it rather increases. The writing of occasional notes I must continue, though, perhaps, none will think them worth reading but myself. Occasional reading and translating take up some more time; and the book which I have to translate for Mr. Wesley [20] (which I have not yet begun), must come shortly; and this, I think, will hardly leave me time to take my food. Again, philosophical researches have not a slender part of the day and night. My spirit has lately got more latitude and longitude than it ever had before. The earth does not now content it. Though it knows but a trifle of that, it must needs understand the heavens, and call all the stars by their names. Truly I do find an ability for speculations of this kind, which I never had before; but I am shackled, -- perhaps it is well so, -- I have not glasses to perform the lucubrations [lucubration n. literary 1 nocturnal study or meditation. 2 (usu. in pl.) literary writings, esp. of a pedantic or elaborate character. -- Oxford Dict.] I would. I own this may be an error; but I do indeed find this is not a barren study to my mind. My soul is thereby led to the Framer of unnumbered worlds; and the omnipotency of my Redeemer appears illustriously stamped on the little out of the almost infinite, which I am able to view.

    * * * * * * *

    GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - CLARKE INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.