In August, 1798, Mr. Clarke was obliged, in conformity with the rules of Wesleyan Methodism, to bid adieu to London, with all its social attractions and literary advantages, being appointed a second time to Bristol. He had not been many months in his new station before death bereaved him of his father. When he heard of his illness, he naturally became anxious to see him; but the state of his own health and of his domestic affairs proved insuperable hindrances. In these circumstances, he exerted himself with the hope, that, before the disease of his honored parent proved fatal, he should be in a condition to pay him a visit, and to obtain his blessing, which he ardently desired. In the mean time, he wrote to an old and intimate friend in Manchester, requesting him to watch over his father, and to supply all his necessities, and to procure him (Mr. Clarke) "a line from his father's own hand." This commission was faithfully and tenderly executed. But the days of the venerable schoolmaster were numbered; and neither physicians nor friends could ward off the silent but sure approach of death. When a pen was given him for the purpose of writing, he observed, " I only wish to send my blessing;" but he was too feeble to do even this upon paper without the aid of his son's friend guiding his hand. With this help, he wrote a few lines expressive of his wish that " the blessing of God, and a dying father's blessing, might be ever upon all his children," and informing them, that" he died full of hope, and happy." He died a few hours afterwards. His remains were buried in Ardwick church-yard, in Manchester; and, whenever his son Adam passed that cemetery, he invariably took off his hat, and kept it in his hand the whole length of the yard. He was deeply affected by the unexpected and sudden dissolution of his honored father, expressing himself as if the bands of life were loosened from around him. He sent immediately for his widowed mother, who resided with him till he left Bristol, afterwards taking up her abode with her daughter, Mrs. Exley, in that city.
Nor was the death of his father the only affliction which he was called to endure. In common with many others in like circumstances, he had to cope with a species of adversity which must have been very trying to his feelings as a husband and a father. In 1798 and 1799, the general scarcity already noticed had grown into a famine, and all classes of society were constrained to acknowledge in it the frowns of an offended God. The rich ceased to indulge themselves in luxuries which were in any part composed of flour: the middle classes were with difficulty able to supply their families with food, while numbers of the poor, who were almost wholly dependent on those who could ill provide for their own necessities, inevitably perished by starvation. Mr. Clarke and his family were not exempt from this pinching distress; but they were not willing to draw upon the sympathies of their friends, and therefore their wants were not made known. He took the opportunity, which this period of general scarcity afforded, of inculcating upon his children the practice of that true charity which is connected with self-denial: and they used to reserve portions of their scanty meals for the casual relief of the suppliant poor. In these, as in all adverse circumstances, Mr. Clarke maintained a full reliance on the care of Divine Providence, Instead of murmuring at the largeness of his family, and the prospect of its rapid increase, he used to glory in it, as the highest honor that God could confer upon him; and, to persons who did not thus appreciate their mercies, he would reply in the words of the Mohammedan: -- "The best wife is she who loves her husband, and brings him many children: let your children and your family be increased, and know that it is on their account that God provides for you." Those evenings which were not devoted to preaching Mr. Clarke employed in the society of his children. One of the gambols in which he joined with them consisted in halfa'dozen of them clinging round his back, his arms, his waist, and his legs, while, with the seventh in his arms, he paced the room, " the happiest of the group." When bed-time approached, each of the little ones, kneeling in succession by the mother's side, repeated its prayers while, one after another, their father carried them to bed, revisiting them before he himself retired to rest. The eldest two, who were boys, used to accompany him during the summer months to the villages in which he preached, each of them provided with a stout stick, to belabor robbers withal, should such attack their beloved parent while he beguiled the way with Oriental tales of good and evil genie, the morals of which tales tended to inspire courage and an unflinching adherence to the right under all circumstances.
Nor was he less happy in his wife than in his children. On the eleventh anniversary of their marriage, he presented her with an elegant gold watch, accompanied by an address, in which he said, "This gold watch, the beautiful dial of which is an emblem of thy face; the delicate pointers, of thy hands; the scapement, of thy temples; the balance, of thy conduct in thy family; the gold case, of thy body; and the cap, of thy prudence," &c. And on the thirteenth anniversary of the same auspicious event, he addressed her in some ballad verses, the style and tendency of which may be seen in the following specimen:-
"What though no lands nor store of gold Have raised us up on high; Seven babes we've here of sweetest mold, And three more in the sky; With many friends of heart sincere, Who love, and for us pray: Let's join with theirs our praise and prayer, And greet our wedding-day."
During his residence in Bristol, Mr. Clarke was much engaged in the prosecution of his studies, and in the labors of authorship; but he never allowed these pursuits to betray him into the least neglect of his duties as a preacher and a pastor. He still preached almost daily, and was likewise assiduous in visiting the sick. Moreover, such was his repute for wisdom and integrity, that he was often consulted in cases of conscience, in which his decision was generally final.
His translation of Sturm's Reflections was the first fruit of his pen in Bristol. It was published in 1800, and had a rapid sale. Not being acquainted with the German language, Mr. Clarke translated the French version. To the second volume of this excellent and popular work were prefixed some well-written lines by Mrs. Clarke, which afford evidence of a well-cultivated mind. Some of them, indeed, evince a more than ordinary aptitude for poetical composition; as, for instance, the line which describes the wide circulation of the original work,
"Far as his native nervous language ran."
During the year 1802, Mr. Clarke published his Bibliographical Dictionary, in six volumes, to which, in 1806, were added two volumes of Bibliographical Miscellany and Supplement. To this succeeded a small work, chiefly extracted from it, entitled, " A Succinct Account of Polyglott Bibles," and also "An Account of the Principal Editions of the New Testament." These works were the result of great pains and research; and, while they proved a guide to others in the study of Biblical literature, their compilation had materially added to Mr. Clarke's fitness for performing the great work which he ultimately achieved.
His application to study was so intense, and his ministerial duties were so laborious, as to impair his health, for the restoration of which he was advised to make an excursion into Cornwall. Of this little tour we have an amusing account in letters to Mrs. Clarke, which abound in strokes of pleasantry. He soon recovered his appetite; for he had not been long from Bristol when he " made a breakfast like an ancient Briton;" but he did not fare so well at dinner, where, for two joints of pork, a sort of flesh which he had renounced with all the disgust of an Israelite, the only substitute was a piece of cold beef, scarcely more inviting. Between Launceston and Camelford, he thought he observed the evidences of a natural convulsion in two lofty hills between which the road passed, and which had every appearance of being the two parts of a disrupted mountain. In visiting Nathan's Keeve, a name given to a large round basin, which a fall of water, one hundred feet in height, has formed out of the solid rock, he learned, that, according to tradition, there was in it a silver bell, for which some men were fishing, when one, who had brought it above the water, cried, " Thank God, here it is;" but, the other replying, " No thanks to him-we have got it without him," it immediately tumbled in again, and there remained. This tradition, whether true or false, he regarded as arguing a popular belief that blasphemy against God would not go unpunished. In passing over the ground on which King Arthur fought his son-in-law Mordred, he saw the bridge on which the latter is asserted to have fallen, and which was still called Slayman's Bridge. These and other curious antiquities engaged his attention; but the most gratifying circumstance of this tour was, that he met with a young gentleman from India, who read Persic and Arabic with the true accent.
He returned from this excursion to pursue with renewed strength his ministerial and literary labors. As an occasional relaxation from study, he enjoyed, besides the society of his own family, the conversation of many valuable friends. Mr. Charles Fox, a distinguished Oriental scholar, and a man of sense and taste, was his intimate associate. He was no mean poet, and published a volume of verse, purporting to be translated from the Persic; but there is no doubt that it is original. He had, however, made translations from the poets of Persia; but these he did not live to publish. In the society of this amiable and accomplished man, Mr. Clarke took great delight; and it contributed to ex tend his knowledge of Oriental literature.
The celebrated Dr. Fox was another of his acquaintance; and from this gentleman he had an account of one of the inmates of his large lunatic asylum having swallowed a piece of a poker between two and three inches long. This extraordinary fact rested on incontestable evidence, as the reader will perceive when informed, that the surface of the iron, which had undergone a regular process of digestion, was deeply honey-combed by the action of the juices.
It is worthy of remark, that Mr. Clarke spent an evening at the house of one of his Bristol friends, in the company of Humphrey Davy and Robert Southey; but of this remarkable meeting of three men, each of whom afterwards arrived at the highest distinction in different departments of learning, we are without any more particular record. Mr. Southey was shortly after appointed secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland.
Mr. Clarke often had experience of difficulties arising in his biblical pursuits from the scantiness of his pecuniary resources. This was the case during his residence in Bristol. He had not a good Arabic Dictionary, which, however, was indispensable to him as a commentator on the Scriptures. His bookseller was consequently desired to procure him a copy of Meninski's Thesaurus. An opportunity presented itself of executing this commission; but how to pay for the work (the price being forty guineas) was the question. Mr. Clarke wrote to a friend, requesting him to lend him the required sum for three months, at the end of which it should be repaid. At the same time he instructed his bookseller to call upon the gentleman for the money. But he had reckoned, as we say, without his host. His friend replied, by advising him to " confine his wishes and wants to his circumstances," and concluded by announcing his refusal to lend the money. This was discouraging enough; as no one could say when a Meninski might again be in the market. In these circumstances Mr. Clarke resolved to make a formal application to his friend, Mr. Ewer, of Bristol. This gentleman entertained it in the handsomest manner, replying, " Yes, Mr. Clarke, twenty times that sum for twenty times as long, if you wish it." By this means Meninski, without whose aid the Commentary could never have been written, was secured, Mr. Clarke faithfully refunding the money at the time promised. Of this little circumstance Mr. Ewer or his descendants have reason to be proud.
After a residence of three years in Bristol, Mr. Clarke removed to Liverpool, pursuant to the appointment of the Wesleyan Conference of 1801. The pleasing prospect of renewing his acquaintance with former friends was hardly sufficient to counterbalance the regret with which he parted from his numerous associates in Bristol. He often declared, that he "never met with more kind, more estimable, and more endearing friends," than in that city.
Though his official duties and his private studies were, as usual, pressing, he found time to advance the cause of knowledge, by forming an institution, called the Philological Society, which was opened on the 18th of December, 1801. Being unanimously chosen the president of this Society, Mr. Clarke drew up the rules and the introductory address, as well as a list of questions, touching science and general literature, for the consideration of the members. All these were printed. Many excel lent papers emanated from this institution, which was the means of exciting considerable scientific and philosophical inquiry. Among other circumstances arising out of his connection with the Philological Society, it procured him the acquaintance of the late Mr. Roscoe, a man as eminent for his virtues as for his talents and accomplishments.
While Mr. Clarke was thus engaged in promoting the interests of science, he never neglected any one of his peculiar duties. In visiting the sick, he was eminently prompt, and even laborious, frequently rising in the middle of the night, and walking several miles to administer consolation to the dying.
In the course of these visits, he met with an extraordinary case. It was that of a gentleman who had been awakened under a sermon from him, but who, though he evinced every sign of true and deep penitence, found no rest for his soul. Such had been his state for some time before he became ill and sent for Mr. Clarke. It surprised him that God had so long withheld a manifestation of pardon in a case of so much bitter repentance; and, finding, after repeated visits, that the sick man's disease was aggravated by the uneasiness of his mind, he expressed to him his firm belief that he had left something undone which it was his interest and his duty to do.
This elicited the real facts of the case. The dying man related, that, in sailing some years before from a foreign port to England, he had, by way of frolic, secreted a small bag of dollars, which had been committed to the captain's care, but which he carelessly allowed to lie day after day upon the locker. At the end of the voyage, the captain making no inquiries for the bag, it was still detained, and several months elapsed in total silence concerning it. At length, however, the parties to whom it had been sent, having received notice of the fact, applied to the captain, who candidly acknowledged that he took it on board, but added that he could give no further account of it. By this time, the person in whose hands it was, became alarmed, and was ashamed to confess, lest his character should suffer; and so he purposely hid the property. The poor captain was sued for the amount, and, having nothing to pay, was thrown into prison, where, after languishing for two years, he died. The guilty person now strove to lose the remembrance of the misery which he had occasioned, and to drown the voice of conscience, by business and amusement. But he strove in vain; and, especially from the time when he heard Mr. Clarke preach, he had enjoyed no peace, but, on the contrary, suffered great disquietude of mind. He had agonized at the throne of mercy for pardon, but God was deaf to his prayers; and he feared that he must go down into the grave unpardoned, unsaved. At the end of this painful narrative, Mr. Clarke enjoined the duty of restitution. To the captain himself, none could be made; for he was dead, and that without knowing that his name was rescued from infamy; but his widow and her children were alive. The gentleman eagerly complied with the proposition: the sum, with compound interest, was made up: Mr. Clarke communicated the circumstances, without mentioning any name, to the widow and to the other parties concerned, and obtained an acknowledgment for the money. The mind of the dying man was now calmed; and he expired in full assurance of the mercy of God through Christ. While this case should put the best of us upon our guard, and while it is especially a lesson to these who may have made unlawful gains, it should also teach Christian ministers, and all who may be consulted as spiritual advisers, to beware lest at any time they suffer themselves to impute to God a state of things for which the sinner himself is wholly accountable.
Mr. Clarke's own health became seriously affected, in consequence of his severe application to study, and the pressure of his various engagements. He was often taken ill so suddenly, as well as seriously, as in an instant to lose all sensation. In April, 1802, his health had suffered so deeply from these frequent seizures, that he went to London to take the advice of the faculty. Mr. Pearson, whom, among others, he consulted, told him that he must wholly desist from mental labor, and that he must not engage in any bodily exertion more violent than that of gardening and riding on horseback. The ventricles of his heart, he said, were in a state of disease, perhaps too far advanced to be cured. If he did not totally abstain from reading, writing, and preaching, he would die speedily and suddenly: if he did not abstain wholly for twelve months, he was a dead man. Mr. Pearson concluded by saying, "Did I not believe you to be in such a state of mind as not to be hurt at this declaration, I would have suppressed it."
In communicating this alarming intelligence to Mrs. Clarke, her husband, bidding her not believe it all, said, "If I find I cannot do my work, I will give it up: I will not feed myself to starve the church of God; I will seek out some other way of maintaining my wife and children." This is but one of several strong proofs which he gave of his great disinterestedness and scrupulous integrity. It is one, however, which the holders of ecclesiastical sinecures, as well as non-resident or negligent beneficiaries, would do well to ponder: it ought to make such men blush.
While remaining under the hands of Mr. Pearson, whose gloomy prediction, though confirmed by the opinion of several eminent practitioners, was not verified, Mr. Clarke's opinion was asked upon a point of antiquarian lore. The Society of Antiquarians had just received from Egypt a stone bearing three inscriptions, one in hieroglyphics, a second in Greek, and a third in -- nobody knew what. At the pressing invitation of the Secretary, who was a rather vain and probably a shallow man (for, though he was very learned in his talk on his first introduction to Mr. Clarke, he made less display on further acquaintance), Mr. Clarke went up to the Society's apartments in Somerset House, and saw the monument. In the first place, he determined the fact that the material of which it was composed, and which some had supposed to be porphyry and others granite, was basaltes interspersed with mica and quartz; and immediately after affirmed the unknown inscription to be Coptic, which it was soon admitted to be. Thus readily did he solve a difficulty which had puzzled, for aught that we know, the whole Society of Antiquarians.
Before Mr. Clarke removed from Liverpool to another circuit, he was called to mourn the death of his only brother, Mr. Tracy Clarke, whose constitution had been undermined by the excessive engagements of a large and wide-spread practice, till consumption supervened, and terminated his useful career in the 45th year of his age. Mr. Adam Clarke frequently attended his brother during his illness, and had the melancholy satisfaction of administering to him the Lord's Supper the day before he died, when, though in great pain of body, he was steadfast in his confidence in God. Those who have accompanied us thus far in our narrative may more easily conceive than we can describe, the grief into which the surviving brother was plunged by this painful dispensation; for they have seen by what peculiar ties these brothers were bound together, the mode of their early education having made their interests one, as well as their hearts. But Mr. Adam Clarke, exercising the privileges of the true Christian, found consolation and repose in the hope of meeting his departed brother in the paradise of God.
A most singular circumstance has been recorded as having occurred a short time before Mr. Tracy Clarke's death. He had gone to the Isle of Man for the benefit of his health, having with him one of his sons. During the night which preceded his return to England, he dreamed that he had been to see Mrs. Clarke, and that, contrary to custom, she was sleeping in the best bedroom; and, as they walked to the place of embarkation, he communicated this dream to his son. On arriving in Liverpool, the father was prevailed upon to pass a night at his brother's house, while his son went forward to Maghull, to announce their safe arrival to his mother. When she saw him coming without his father, she fell into a paroxysm of grief, and could not without great difficulty be persuaded of her husband's safety. The cause of these misgivings was not a little remarkable. During the same night in which Mr. Clarke had dreamed his dream, she heard him ride up to the stable, bring his saddle and bridle into the house, and bang them up as usual. She then heard him ascend the stairs, enter the room in which she lay, which was indeed the best bed-room, and walk round the bed. All this, as she assured her younger son, on rising in the morning, she had heard distinctly, affirming that she could not be deceived in thinking the footsteps to be those of his father, and adding her fears that some misfortune had befallen him. We leave those who love to speculate in such matters, to determine, if they can, what degree of encouragement this singular coincidence, of the truth of which there remains no doubt, holds out to the notion of a communion between the spirits of persons at a distance from each other.
The value which was set upon Mr. Clarke's ministry, and the esteem in which his general character was held, may be conceived from the fact, that, as soon as it was lawful (for the rules of the Wesleyan Conference forbid a repeated appointment to any given circuit, until the lapse of eight years since the preacher in question left that circuit), he was re-appointed to circuits in which he had traveled before. We have seen this exemplified in his second appointment to Bristol and Liverpool; and, in 1803, he was stationed, a second time, in Manchester also, where he had the high satisfaction of finding the Stranger's Friend Society, which he instituted in 1791, in a state of active and very beneficial operation.
During the two years which Mr. Clarke passed in Manchester, he made a point of attending the class of Mr. Kenworthy, not to lead it, but in the capacity of a private member, seeking religious instruction. This singular fact- ought it to be singular I - has been mentioned in connection with an argument to prove, that the Wesleyan-Methodist traveling preachers, as a body, act inconsistently in abstaining from this means of grace, as soon as they engage in the itinerant work, while it is held to be absolutely necessary that they should continue to make diligent use of it up to that period, and while, also, they continually urge it upon their hearers, as an indispensable source of spiritual improvement. Mr. Clarke appears to have now devoted more time than. he had been wont to do to pastoral engagements, for which, indeed, the hours of the day were barely sufficient. But the early hours of the morning which he redeemed from unnecessary sleep, he considered as strictly his own property as the Hollanders might consider land recovered from the sea. But, in appropriating those hours to literary purposes, he was far from discovering a spirit of selfishness. From five to seven every morning, his study was open to several young men, who desired to obtain a knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages, in which he instructed them. Some of them found the knowledge thus acquired peculiarly useful; for they afterwards entered the ministry.
Being subject to less confinement than formerly, and experiencing the most affectionate attentions from his numerous friends, Mr. Clarke's health had considerably improved, when the illness, and subsequent death, of his youngest daughter broke in upon his peace. She was a lovely and promising child; but, her constitution not being equal to contend with the whooping-cough, with which she had been seized, it fell upon her lungs, and slowly reduced her to the grave. Her parents shared between them the burden of nursing her. The effect of the consequent fatigue and anxiety upon Mrs. Clarke was such, that the infant, of which she was then pregnant, hardly survived its birth; while the mind of Mr. Clarke was so depressed by the prospect of losing his darling child, that the physician who attended him, declared, "Mr. Clarke, if God does not soon see good to take that child, death will take you." Soon after this, she died, being just five years old. The grief of Mr. Clarke was so deep, that it was long before he recovered his ordinary tone of mind. Writing to a friend, concerning the departed child, he speaks of her as having shown a remarkably fine understanding, and a most amiable disposition. "She loved prayer, attended public worship with delight," and manifested an uncommon "firmness and constancy of resolution. Had she lived, she would have made, under proper cultivation, an eminent woman."
During his residence in Manchester, Mr. Clarke published a new and an enlarged edition of Fleury's Manners of the Ancient Israelites, which appeared in 1804. This work was so favorably received, that, in 1805, a second edition was called for. The author embraced the opportunity of making additions and improvements, and wrote a dedication to two friends, which was to have been prefixed, and had actually been printed off, when those for whom he had designed this mark of his esteem, declined the intended honor. It was consequently suppressed; and, warned by this example, the author took care that all his. subsequent publications should depend entirely on their own intrinsic merits. In 1804 also, he published a Succinct Account of the Principal Editions of the Greek Testament, to which was added, Observations on the Text of the Three Divine Witnesses, 1 John v. 7,8,9.
In the autumn of the same year, Mr. Clarke received a letter from Mr. Samuel Greatheed, of Newport-Pagnell, informing him of the design to establish the Eclectic Review, and requesting his assistance in those departments of criticism to which his attention had been turned. It appears, that several alterations, suggested by Mr. Clarke, were adopted in the Prospectus of that work; and that, though, on account of his numerous engagements, he objected to take charge of the biblical department, his objections were overcome by Mr. Greatheed's importunity; for, in the first number, he furnished an elaborate review of Sir William Jones' Persian Grammar, and, in successive numbers, reviews of Mr. Sharp's Hebrew and Greek Grammars. From the correspondence to which this literary engagement gave rise, it seems that Mr. Clarke did not think that Mr. Sharp's arguments on the Greek articles carried much weight. The reviewer of Lord Teignmouth's Life of Sir William Jones, in the second number, was assisted by Mr. Clarke, whose remarks upon the work it was deemed important to obtain; and Mr. Greatheed bears ample testimony to his efficiency as a periodical critic, when he says, " If we had many friends as zealous as yourself, we should not fear for our final success."
About the same time, Mr. Clarke, as President of the Liverpool Philological Society, drew up an anniversary address, which was printed by request. He had devoted considerable attention to the interests of this institution, a branch of which he formed in Manchester, during his residence in that town; and, in August, 1805, when, in due course, he was to leave them, the members presented him with a unanimous vote of thanks, accompanied with a letter, in which their affection for his person seems to contend for pre-eminence with their esteem for his talents and knowledge, and their gratitude for his efficiency as their president. They likewise acknowledge the receipt of " a classical and elegant diploma plate," which he had presented to the Society. In February, of the same year, the members evinced their regard for Mr. Clarke by more substantial tokens. During his temporary absence from Manchester, they held a meeting, at which it was resolved, that a pair of silver cups should be purchased, and be presented to him by the Vice-presidents on his return. They were richly chased, and on each of them was engraved an inscription, signifying that they were the gift of the Manchester Philological Society to their most beloved and most diligent president, and that they were given in testimony of the numerous advantages which had been derived from intercourse with him. Deprived of the fostering care of its founder, and weakened by the desertion of its most efficient members, who, in obedience to the calls of Providence, removed at different periods from Manchester, this excellent institution gradually declined, and, in a few years, was totally extinct.
Parting from his Manchester friends, both social and literary, with mutual regret, Mr. Clarke removed to London, to which the Wesleyan Conference, of 1805, again appointed him. He took up his residence in one of the houses adjoining the chapel in the City-road. That modern innovation, the division of circuits, -- which, while some defend it on the ground of expediency, if not of absolute necessity, others, with some reason, maintain to be a provision for the personal ease of favored preachers, and a fatal blow aimed at the itinerant principle,- that modern innovation, be it good or evil in its object or its operation, had not yet reached London. The metropolis was still one circuit; and the years which had elapsed since it was formerly the scene of Mr. Clarke's labors, had witnessed no changes except such as tended to extend its size, and multiply its requirements on the preachers stationed in it: for many new chapels had been built, and the most distant preaching stations were more distant than before. Of this immense circuit, Mr. Clarke was now the superintendent-an office which he could not have discharged, but for the efficient aid of Mrs. Clarke, who kept all his accounts, saw every stranger that called, and protected him from the obtrusiveness of impertinent inquirers. So completely was he absorbed in these official duties, that he found it impossible to resume his merely literary pursuits.
Hearing, in the spring of 1806, that his old friend, Mr. John Pawson, who had been his colleague in London and Liverpool, and was associated with him and others in the trusteeship of Mr. Wesley's effects, was in a declining state, he invited him to his house, hoping that a change of scene might produce a beneficial effect upon his health and spirits. But this brotherly invitation came too late to be accepted. The venerable servant of Christ was already fast approaching the gates of death, to which age and a most distressing complaint were bringing him. With much bodily pain he acknowledged Mr. Clarke's kindness, in a letter which appears to have been his last act in this life. His dying moments were cheered by the universal love of his brethren and the Wesleyan Societies, but yet more by those elevated hopes of heavenly bliss, which it had been the labor, the successful labor, of his long life to be the means of inspiring into his countrymen. With such prospects, he was enabled to bear with heroic patience the acutest physical sufferings, and to await with dignified composure his emancipation from the house of clay. " Alas!." he said, "for all the double refinements which some have found out: give me Methodism in its unadorned simplicity
-in its spirit, life, and power!" And it was this Methodism - this sincere milk of the word, which had nourished his spirit, and fitted it, by God's grace, for the beatified state. In 1806, Mr. Clarke was obliged to attend the Wesleyan Conference in Leeds; of the proceedings of which his affectionate and playful letters to his wife enable us to give some account. When it was announced that he would preach at the old chapel in that town, the Methodists, like the tribes at Jerusalem, or the Scotch peasantry at the quarterly sacrament, gathered together, from a circuit of twenty miles.  Before the Conference was opened, he had heard that many of the brethren intended to support his election to the chair; and, before they proceeded to the ballot, he positively declared that he would not serve if elected. Regardless of his objections, however, a very large majority voted in his favor, and he was called to the chair in the name of the Conference. Still he refused, begging that the next to him in the number of votes might be appointed; when Messrs. Joseph Bradford and Thomas Taylor, seeing that words were useless, lifted him by main force into the seat of honor. He was confounded by the responsibilities and duties of the office. "I shall, no doubt," he says, "be 'welly kill't' as they term it here; but I must go through it, if it please God to give me power." The solemn ceremony of admitting into full connection those preachers who had traveled four years, was that which weighed heaviest on his mind, They were in number seventeen. He got through the preliminary examinations "with nearly as much clearness and precision as he could wish;" and, though this labor as well as that attending the actual admission of the candidates exhausted his strength, yet he " acquitted himself to the satisfaction of his brethren, and felt (what few would venture to say of themselves, that he had acted with entire uprightness towards his God.  Twice after this, Mr. Clarke presided over the deliberations of his brethren; but, having once overcome his diffidence, he did not again exhibit so strong a reluctance to accept that honor. His correspondence with Mrs. Clarke, during this brief separation, exhibits his domestic character in an amiable light. " Yourself," he writes, "and the children, are all I have on this side the God of heaven; and I shall come home to you with at least as much cheerfulness and joy, as the day I went into Trowbridge Church, to take you by the hand as my everlasting wife."
On his return to London, he yielded to the request of his brother-in-law, Mr. Butterworth, by becoming a member of the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, which was then in its infancy, and. of which that gentleman was one of the earliest members. During ten years, Mr. Clarke was rarely absent from the meetings of the Committee; and so important had his services become to that noble institution, that, when, in the ordinary course of Wesleyan Methodist rule, the time arrived for his removal from London, the Committee directed an application to be made to the Conference, stating the interruption which must be occasioned to various parts of their foreign translations, upon which Mr. Clarke was engaged, should he be withdrawn from London, and earnestly requesting that he might be permitted to remain, This resolution was forwarded to the Conference of 1807, in a letter addressed by Messrs. Hughes and Owen, the then Secretaries, "To the Reverend the Preachers of the Methodist Society assembled in Conference." By those gentlemen the assistance of Mr. Clarke was represented as "essential to the successful execution of many plans then under consideration, for supplying Mohammedan and Pagan nations with the Holy Scriptures." "Services of that description which Mr. Clarke had rendered, were indispensable," they said, "to the successful prosecution of the, Society's plan; and the Committee knew not any man, he excepted, from whom they could expect to receive them." The letter concluded by urging, that, upon the whole, Mr. Clarke might render more important services to the cause of Christ in connection with the Bible Society, than in any other sphere of exertion. To a request of such a character, and so urged, it was impossible to return any other than a favorable answer; and, accordingly, Mr. Clarke was re-appointed to London.
The Bible Society reaped very considerable advantages from his exact and extensive erudition, and from the versatility of his talents. At the time when he became a member of the Committee, the printing of an Arabic Bible was engaging its attention. Such a version had been commenced at a Newcastle press under the auspices of Dr. Barrington, then Bishop of Durham; and the Committee requested the opinion of Mr. Clarke, previous to determining whether they would bargain for a number of copies, or would print a Bible for themselves. His valuable counsels on this subject are contained in several letters, written obviously with much care, and exhibiting a minute acquaintance with the question under consideration. The first of these was addressed to Lord Teignmouth, the President of the Society, who ever showed a great regard for Mr. Clarke, and paid the most respectful attention to his opinion on all subjects. Mr. Clarke objected to the type of the Newcastle Bible as small, and to the lines as being too long; but his prime objection was, that it wanted the vowel points. The omission of these he held to be fatal to usefulness-not because they were necessary in themselves, but because the Mohammedans considered them essential to a Divine Revelation. So much was this the case, that, although they used no points in their ordinary writings, yet they uniformly supplied them in all passages quoted from the Koran, which, in all its forms, retained them. This rule was observed, not only in token of respect to Divine Revelation, but also in order to determine its precise meaning; for in the Arabic there are words, which, though expressed by exactly the same letters, differ in their moods and tenses, and can only be accurately discerned by affixing the appropriate points. In the first place, then, the omission of the points would be fatal to the pretensions to inspired authority set up on behalf of the Bible; and, in the second, it would lead to misinterpretation of particular passages. The Christians in the East were averse to the use of points; but for no better reason, than because the Mohammedans were superstitiously attached to them; and the object was, to promote the religious improvement, not of the former, but of the latter. In conclusion, Mr. Clarke recommended that the Society should engage to take a given number of copies of the Newcastle Bible, and to defray the whole expense of them, provided it were printed with points, either throughout, or at least in those places where they should be found necessary to fix the sense.
A meeting of the Oriental Sub-Committee of the Bible Society was held on the 21st of January, 1807, to the other members of which Mr. Clarke, being prevented by illness from being present, addressed a long letter concerning the subject of their deliberations. Taking it for granted that an Arabic Bible was to be printed, he discussed the question of what copy or copies should be used. With a minuteness of detail evincing the most extensive knowledge, he enumerated the various Arabic versions of parts, or of the whole, of the Scriptures, stating the peculiar merits and defects of each. He then pointed out those which it would be safest to follow in printing the various books of each Testament, recommending a careful collation of the whole with some of the most ancient manuscripts. He deprecated any direct attack upon the Mohammedan religion, as calculated to excite the indignation of its professors, instead of' removing their prejudices, advising that there should be prefixed to the work a mild address, relative to the integrity of the Old and New Testament, which integrity the Mohammedans deny, asserting that the Jews have corrupted the former, and the Christians the latter. He concluded by saying, "In such prefatory discourse particular attention should be paid to explain the terms, Father, when applied to God; Son of God, when applied to Jesus Christ; and sons and daughters of God, when applied to believers. If possible, let these forms of expression be vindicated from the Koran, and from Arabic theological and poetical writers. I hope this will not appear of small moment to the Committee, as I have often witnessed that the use of these terms fills conscientious Mohammedans with terror, as they are not yet persuaded that we do not use them in their grossest acceptation."
Hearing that the letter, of which the foregoing extract forms a part, had been submitted to Lord Teignmouth, Mr. Clarke addressed his Lordship on the subject, adding several particulars to what he had already stated concerning the relative value of different Arabic editions, and concluding by again strenuously advocating the adoption of the points, which he recommended Mr. Keene, a young gentleman then recently returned from India, and who had been educated in Fort William College, as well qualified to affix.
To this letter Mr. Clarke received a reply from Lord Teignmouth, in which his Lordship speaks of his (Mr. Clarke's) remarks, both to himself and to the Oriental Committee, as having "thrown great light upon a subject which he had so thoroughly considered;" and informs him that he is engaged in a correspondence with Dr. Ford, of Oxford, who had been requested to say whether he would undertake, for a suitable remuneration, to superintend and correct an edition of the Arabic Bible for the Society, and to give his opinion upon the text which ought to be employed, with his judgment upon Mr. Clarke's letter.
The publication of a New Testament in the Calmuc Dialect having been resolved upon, the preparation of types was implicitly confided to Mr. Clarke's superintendence. A scale of types, constructed by himself, and executed with singular beauty, was submitted to the Committee, and a fount was cast according to his model. The preparation of this scale required much care and knowledge, and consumed considerable time; and the types were forwarded to the Missionaries at Karass, with a specimen, by Mr. Clarke, of the mode in which they should be used.
Besides his other exertions in connection with the Bible Society, Mr. Clarke was instrumental in the publication of a New Testament in Greek, the modern and the ancient Greek being, at his recommendation, printed in parallel columns. He likewise assisted Mr. (now Professor) Lee in completing the Syriac New Testament, upon which Dr. Buchanan was gratuitously engaged at the time of his lamented death.
For these various services, which had involved a considerable sacrifice of time and labor, the Committee presented Mr. Clarke with a gratuity of fifty pounds; which, however, he speedily returned, in a letter, the sentiments of which do honor to human nature. He said that he could not reconcile the acceptance of the Society's bounty to any principle from which his services proceeded. The Society might command those services to the utmost of his power, and he only regretted that he could not devote more time to so useful an employment. "God forbid," he proceeded, "that I should receive any of the Society's funds: let this money, therefore, return to its source; and, if it be the instrument of carrying but one additional Bible to any place, or family, previously destitute of the words of eternal life, how much reason shall I have to thank God that it never became part of my property!"
In the mean time, Mr. Clarke had not neglected his engagements with the editor of the Eclectic Review. Early in 1806, he furnished a review of Holmes' Septuagint, concerning which Professor James Bentley, of King's College, Aberdeen, writes, " It is more conformable to my ideas of what a review should be, than is generally to be met with in the periodical publications of the present day': it is such a complete account and analysis of the work, as will enable a person to form a just opinion of it. The article contains many particulars of additional information more than Holmes has given; and these you have so intermingled with those drawn from Holmes, that the generality of readers will not perceive to whom they are indebted for them. The opposite to this is, I believe, the usual practice of reviewers: they often display information as their own, which they owe altogether to their author, whom they perhaps are abusing; and thus make it more their object to seem knowing themselves, than even to give, a proper and just account of the author whose work they are professing to review."
In August, 1806, Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, and Mr. and Mrs.' Butterworth, paid a visit to the ladies' mother at Trowbridge. They made a party to Stonehenge; and, as they approached those venerable monuments, Mr. Clarke, seeing a nearer way of access to them across a field, sprang out of the carriage, and had enjoyed some minutes of consummate gratification before the rest of the company came up. After examination, he concluded that these stupendous stones originally composed three concentric circles. " It was doubtless," he wrote to one of his sons, "a place consecrated to the purposes of religious worship. I have no doubt that the power or strength of the Divine nature was the attribute principally contemplated by our rude ancestors, and, indeed, by all the primitive inhabitants of the earth. Hence colossal statues, immense rocks, and massive temples, were dedicated to this power or strength, which, at last, the licentious imagination of man personified, and adored in a monstrous human form. "I suppose, therefore, that these stupendous monuments of 'huge rocks, placed in a certain artificial manner, which are found not only here, but in every nation of the world, were the temples dedicated to the god of strength by the primitive inhabitants of the earth.
"The rocks of which Stonehenge is composed are certainly not natives of the place: there are no stones like them in all this country, nor, within many miles, any stones at all. They must, therefore, have been brought from a very great distance; and it would puzzle the most scientific engineer to conceive machines adequate to such carriage, and others, not only capable of erecting the stones when brought to the place, but of elevating those which form the horizontal coverings, which are many tons' weight, to a height of between twenty and thirty feet. This consideration alone is sufficient to impress us with respect for the ingenuity of our ancestors. Every succeeding generation fondly imagines itself wiser than the preceding one; and it is on this principle that we suppose our ancestors must have been savage and barbarous; and, rather than acknowledge that they must have cultivated some arts, at least, to a higher degree of perfection than ourselves, we make use of the most sottish hypothesis to account for the formation of Stonehenge and similar monuments. Not only country people, but grave scholars, have conjectured that these immense stones are a composition of sand, with something else, which our ancestors kneaded together, and, stratum super stratum, composed these huge stones, as the tinners in Cornwall do their coble-houses."
The party lodged at Amesbury. On inquiring of the waiter whether there were any religious people there, he replied, that there was a people who had left the Church, and were much under the direction of a baker. This person, whose name was Edwards, several of them, headed by Mr. Clarke, went in search of; and, having found him, discovered that he had come to Amesbury on purpose to introduce Methodism into it, which, during upwards of thirty years, had been attempted in vain, until he succeeded in forming a society and raising a congregation.
The tourists visited Old Sarum also, which Mr. Clarke, having minutely examined it, thus described: "To me this was a very high treat: we found here the remains of a very ancient city and fortress, surrounded by a deep trench, which still bears a most noble appearance. On the top of the bill, the castle or citadel stood; and several remains of a very thick wall, built all of flint stone, cemented together with a kind of everlasting mortar. What is remarkable, these ruins are still considered in the British constitution as an inhabited city, and send two members to Parliament. Within the breadth of a field from this noble hill, there is a small public-house, the only dwelling within a very great space, and containing a very few persons; which, excepting the crows, hens, and magpies, are the only beings which the worthy members have to represent in the British Senate." But, as the reader is aware, those feathered bipeds have been disfranchised.
In looking over Wilton House, the seat of Lord Pembroke, Mr. Clarke was much gratified by the collection of antique sculptures; but workmen were in the house, and all was in confusion. He was mortified, and the noble owner would not have been less mortified, at seeing "many of these invaluable relics of antiquity injured, and in the progress of being injured, by the joiners, plasterers, &c. &c., who had even erected their benches against some of the finest productions of the sculptors of ancient Greece." The English are strangely insensible to the beauties of art, especially in sculpture. They likewise visited Wardor Castle, the seat of the Earl of Arundel, a Catholic nobleman. Mr. Clarke was particularly struck with Spagnoletti's picture of the Death of Christ. "He is represented," says he, in a letter to his son, "as just taken down from the cross, the countenance indescribably expressive of death, and yet highly dignified, fully verifying the words, 'No man taketh my 'life from me: I give up my life for the sheep, I lay it down that I may take it again.' You could see, according to the Scripture, that 'he was free among the dead.' Free: - at liberty to resume his life whenever he pleased, as he had given it up according to his own good pleasure."
His daughter kneeled before the altar; and this, with the devout obeisances of the steward, who conducted the party, gave Mr. Clarke occasion to observe, "To superficial and irreligious minds all this might appear superstition: but I confess, where I meet with so much solemnity, decorum, and reverence, I feel no hesitation to ascribe these acts to a more heavenly principle. He who can enter a church or a chapel, or any place dedicated to the worship of God, as he does into his own habitation, or into that of his horses, which is a very common case, has, in my opinion, no proper notion of religious worship, and is never likely to derive much edification to his own soul from his attendance on the ordinances of God." While some will view these remarks as an apology for religious error, others will admire them as evincing a tolerant and liberal disposition.
The next place which they visited was Fonthill Abbey, whose gorgeous splendor did not please Mr. Clarke; he delighting in what was chaste and classical, rather than in what was merely costly. He was much better gratified by an inspection of the house and grounds at Stourton, the seat of Sir Robert Hoare, Baronet. Here he met with what he had not seen in any of the mansions which he had visited, a we'll-arranged, though not very extensive, library of good books.
Mr. Clarke returned from this little tour, in which he had seen many objects that interested him, and had particularly gratified his taste for antiquities, in an invigorated state both of body and mind.
It was impossible that he could produce works of so much research as those which have been already noticed, or occupy himself on those which had yet to be completed, without attracting the attention of his learned contemporaries. The celebrated Professor Porson was one of his literary friends, and entertained a high opinion of his learning and abilities. A mutual friend requested the Professor to interpose with the heads of King's College, Aberdeen, in order to procure Mr. Clarke the diploma of M.A. As soon as he heard of it, he wrote to the Professor, that the request had been made entirely without his knowledge, and added," I have such high notions of literary merit, and the academical distinctions to which it is entitled, that I could not in conscience take, or cause to be taken, in my own behalf, any step to possess the one or to assume the other. Every thing of this kind should come, not only unbought, but unsolicited. I should as soon think of being learned by proxy, as of procuring academical honors by influence; and, could one farthing purchase me the highest degree under the sun, I would not give it." But it was too late to remonstrate; for, at the close of the month in which the preceding lines were written, January, 1807, he received a letter from his friend, Professor Bentley, announcing to him, that, on his motion, seconded by Mr. Scott, promoter in the faculty, the University and King's College, Aberdeen, had, on that day (January 31), conferred upon him (Mr. Clarke) the degree of Master of Arts, as " Member of the Philological Society of Manchester, and author of several literary works of merit." Professor Bentley concluded by remarking, that he did not consider this as the measure of his friend's merit, but only as a step, and that, "while he lived, he should not cease to endeavor to promote his honor and fame." It was not long before these efforts proved successful; for, in March, 1808, Mr. Clarke, without any previous intimation of the intended honor, received a letter from his learned friend, congratulating him upon having received, by the unanimous vote of the Senatus Academicus of the University of Aberdeen, the highest designation in its gift- that of LL.D. In acknowledging this new literary honor, in a letter to the Principal, Dr. Clarke observed, " Were even other motives wanting, this would induce me to pay such respect to every part of my moral and literary conduct, that, if no act of mine could honor, none should discredit, a University which has been the Alma Mater of some of the first characters in the Republic of Letters." The two diplomas of M.A, and LL.D. were sent to Mr. Clarke in the most honorable and flattering manner, the College refusing to accept even the customary clerk's fees given on such occasions.
Among the numerous friends that Mr. Clarke had gained beyond the pale of his own community, was Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Robert Morrison, who, in the year 1807, first left this country for China. With that excellent man, laborious missionary, and respectable scholar, Mr. Clarke carried on a correspondence, to their mutual advantage, for many years; for, while Mr. Morrison's accounts of China and its inhabitants were matters of great interest to the inquisitive mind of Mr. Clarke, his intelligence concerning the progress of literature and religion at home, was equally acceptable to the voluntary exile. It would too much extend this narrative to make quotations from this correspondence; but it is worthy of remark, that Mr. Morrison, who addresses his friend in the primitive style of" Dear Brother," concludes his first letter in these words, "Be particular in not attaching Rev. to my name." We suspect that many Christian ministers of the present day, if they spoke their real mind, would not adopt this form of expression without expunging the negative. The title in question has been seen in the hats, in the gloves, and on the doors, of ministers, who never received episcopal ordination; and it is not too much to presume, that it was placed there by the hands of the owners, or according to their orders.
At the Wesleyan Conference of 1807, which was held in Liverpool, Mr. Clarke projected a plan of benevolence, which, haying been examined, was ordered to be printed in the Minutes, and in the Magazine, together with an Address to the members and friends of the Methodist Societies, soliciting subscriptions, which address Mr. Clarke was requested to draw up. The proposition was, that an asylum, or a college, should be erected in the vicinity of some large town, healthily situated, where the necessaries of life might be had cheap, for the reception of" superannuated preachers, and the widows of those who had died in our Lord's work." In numerous proposed rules, provision was made against the possible abuse of such an institution. But, not, certainly, to the credit of the Methodist Societies, this excellent scheme, which reflects so much honor on the promoter, was altogether unsuccessful; and many a widow, whose husband's life was prematurely sacrificed upon the altar of Wesleyan Methodism, has been allowed to struggle with poverty, unaided by those who ought to have gladly supplied her every need.
In September, 1807, Mr. Clarke published the first volume of a work, entitled "A Concise View of the Succession of Sacred Literature;" but he was prevented, by the multiplicity of his engagements, from completing it; and it remained imperfect till the year 1831, when his son, the Rev. J. B. B. Clarke, M.A., by the addition of a second volume, brought it to a close. * * * * * * *