Cicero defines moral greatness to consist in contempt for external objects; and in the performance of actions abounding in utility, requiring labor, and fraught with peril of life. If to any man of modern times, this definition is literally applicable, it is so to the subject of these pages. "I am ready not only to be bound, but to die for the name of the Lord Jesus," was the spirit, of sacrifice in which, heart and soul, he entered into the ministry, at a time in which Methodism was "a sect everywhere spoken against," and its ministers treated as "the off-scouring of all things." Instances have already met the eye of the reader, in which he has seen the moral courage of Mr. Clarke sufficiently tested; and the passages of the history onward, will discover him dauntlessly pursuing the same path, in defiance of personal hazard, amid great mental discouragement. That was a fine sentence uttered by a soldier in the Parliament army, of our First Charles; "There is nothing, " said he, "that has a spark of God in it, but [which] the more it is suppressed the more it rises." The religion of Christ, indeed, has an immortal life, and even the fires of persecution, may, in a certain sense, be said to be the element in which it lives in its strength and in its purity. Wesley, and the preachers who were his coadjutors, knew, that in commencing their invasion of a comparatively barbarous community, they were addressing themselves not only to a difficult and important, but also to a perilous task; and that, in the majority of cases, they must take their lives in their hand, and preach Christ at the peril of them.
Foster, in his masterly Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, observes, "The preaching of Wesley and Whitefield, was a test of what the people had been previously taught or allowed to repose in, as Christian truth, under the tuition of their great religious guardian, the National Church: what it was, or was not, would be found in their having a sense of something like what they had been taught before, or something opposite to it, or something altogether foreign and unknown, when they were hearing these loud proclaimers of the old doctrines of the reformation. Now, as carrying with them this quality of a test, how were those men received? Why, they were generally received, on account of the import of what they said, still more than from their zealous manner of saying it, with as strong an impression of novelty and strangeness, as any of our voyagers and travelers of discovery have been, by the barbarous tribes who had never before seen civilized man: they might, as the voyagers have done, experience every local difference of moral temperament, from that which hailed them with acclamations, to that which often exploded, in a volley of mud and stones: but through all these varieties of greeting, there was a strong sense of something then brought before them for the first time; 'Thou bringest certain strange things to our ears,' was an expression not more unaffectedly uttered by any hearer of an Apostle, preaching in a heathen city: and to many of the auditors, it was a matter of nearly as much difficulty as it would to an inquisitive heathen, and required as new a posture of the mind, to attain an understanding of the evangelical doctrines, though they were the very same which had been held forth by the fathers and martyrs of the English Church."
Thus we see, that in disturbing what had been the settled order of things; in endeavoring to relieve truth of the deep shade which was spread before it, and by the intervention of which, its beams lost their brightness, the spirit of persecution was raised against  these apostolic men and their associates: wherever they went, a multitude of barbarians rushed together, assailing them with dangerous missiles, and greeting them with profane oaths; and it required more than honest zeal, it demanded "a grandeur of enthusiasm," to stand forth in the service of religion, amid such proofs of the mental and moral ignorance of the people. But Wesley and his preachers knew, that "ignorance could not annihilate the principle of religion in the spirit of man and albeit its claims were to be advanced and supported at the expense of suffering, and the hazard of life itself, this they endured, under the influence of a solemn and abiding conviction of the paramount importance of the cause they had espoused; -- namely, the waging of an eternal war with "the kingdom of darkness," -- in its desolating reign of ignorance, depravity, and misery!
Mr. Clarke in the prosecution of his high vocation, displayed a strength of mind, a steadfastness of purpose, and an extension of resources, which kept pace with the demands made upon them by the difficulties and perplexities of the path along which he was called to move: in the midst of all the intellectual obscuration at which we have glanced, he asserted the claim of the gospel to be heard and considered, with a power of moral suasion, which, in many instances, dismayed and quelled the most violent outbreakings. Truth, thus declared and inculcated, was, upon numerous occasions, received by the people, who opened their minds to its influence, listened to the things which were spoken concerning the kingdom of Christ, and so, by means of the light which now began to pierce the veil of heathenish ignorance in which the mass of the common people were enwrapt, a new scene of realities was presented to the view; the principles of religious truth were brought home in familiar language, and approachable form; the revealed law of God shone forth in its purity; emanations from the Spirit of wisdom, enlightened the hitherto dark and insensate mind; and the highest interests of the intelligent being were apprehended, and as a consequent, acknowledged, by the anxious and reiterated question, -- "Men and brethren, what shall we do!"
It was not in perfect accordance with his own inclination that Mr. Clarke was stationed at the Norman Isles: but as he made it a point of conscience, neither to choose nor refuse an appointment, and as a knowledge of the French language was an acquisition highly important in the estimation of Mr. Wesley, to the success of the mission, he went in compliance with his expressed opinion. The first year, however, he spent in these islands, he describes as being felt by him to be "days of exile," for he was cut off from former associations, and even from accustomed aids in the pursuit of literature; but in the spirit of his mind, which turned even the bitters of life to profit, he considered that this comparative banishment might be necessary to accomplish ends the most excellent: he knew that, "Where God vital breathes, there must be joy;" and to the eye of his intelligent apprehension, the barren desert smiled, and the dreary landscape afforded pleasing and variegated hues, when gilded by the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness; and in the sublime elevation of his own mind, while contemplating the glorious work in which he was engaged, he could discern the Spirit of God brooding over the moral chaos, -- reducing disorder and confusion into regularity and harmony, and accomplishing, throughout the whole moral scene, the beauty of a new creation!
Mr. Clarke set sail with Mr. Brackenbury from Southampton, in a Jersey Packet, and arrived in the Bay of St. Aubin, on the 26th of October, 1786, from whence they proceeded to St. Helier's, the residence of Mr. Brackenbury. In this place, as well as at St. Peter's in Guernsey, the people understood English. After preaching a few times in Jersey, Mr. Clarke proceeded to Guernsey, where he obtained a large warehouse, in which he preached occasionally, extending his ministerial exercises to different private houses in various parts of the town. Though he frequently addressed congregations who could understand a sermon in English, yet, generally speaking, he had to resort to his French, and in these instances he observed, "I always read my sermons, (occasionally quoting the English version,) not daring to leave myself at large, though this plan was far from agreeable to me." He met in these islands with several deeply experienced Christians, a beautiful picture of two of whom he gave in a letter to his "beloved Mary," a few months after his arrival, and concerning whom he observed to another friend; "I have lately visited Jersey, and though my stay was but a few days, yet was my soul much refreshed by the wise counsel of a mother in Israel, and of a daughter in Abraham; from these I discover, with increasing evidence, that whom God justifies, them he also sanctifies; who stagger not at his promise through unbelief. How blessedly is this remarked in Abraham; he staggered not; the original word signifies, he did not fetch a compass, at the promise, through unbelief. How many take the opposite way! -- fetching wide compasses, out of their own, and others' inventions; the way of God not being complete enough, to afford matter of deep research for refined geniuses!"
Other feelings, however, besides that of admiration were occasionally called into exercise: there was a woman who professed, like Mr. Poole, in a preceding page, to be inspired with a tune, which she had received in her sleep: "it went through the congregations," he observed, "and was received by some of the people as though it had been sent from heaven; I was obliged to endure it, but such a con-drizzening piece of stuff I never heard, either before or since; it was indeed a wonderful thing, but like many other wonderful things brought to light, could not, when brought to it, -- endure its flash."
During his ministrations in these islands, Mr. Clarke met with much and varied opposition, in his attempts to "cast that bread upon the waters, which was found after many days:" the description of persons for whose salvation he labored with the greatest earnestness, were the ones most violent in their persecution of him, upon the principle that "Satan rages the most fiercely when he knows his time is short." On one occasion, they drummed him out of the town, having at their head, as patron, a magistrate of the place, whose name ought to be associated with this notice of his disgraceful outrage upon the spirit of his office: at another time, when the mob assembled, most of them, in true Ephesian style, "not knowing wherefore they were come together," he bespake their attention, and in the language of wisdom, and the spirit of meekness, so entirely convinced them of the cowardly nature of their conduct, and the kind intent with which he presented himself before them, that they heard him to the end of the discourse in perfect silence; and from that time they molested him no more, and he continued to preach until every species of opposition died silently away. "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
But the instance of opposition on which Mr. Clarke lays the greatest emphasis, on account of the special interference with which he deemed it to have been accompanied, was the one related at length in his Commentary, in the form of a note on Luke iv. 30, and for which reason no more than a reference to it is made in this page, simply for the purpose of pointing the reader to the circumstantial detail of fact and feeling therein given; and we pass on, hazarding, however, an observation by the way, touching the relation above alluded to: wishing it to be fully understood, that we should be the last to limit the interference of God for, we believe it is constantly operating upon human beings in visible manifestations, and therefore ought to be habitually recognized; yet we cannot but be aware, that there is a cast of thought, (and Mr. Wesley himself was an evidence of it,) in which the recognition seems to consist, not so much in the apprehension of the universal and unremitting energy of Divine operation, as in the feeling, that the mighty apparatus in motion, is exercised in individual cases, to save from a trifling accident, in some instances counteracting even the laws of nature for the accomplishment of such an end; yet this is an error on the right side, far safer and more elevating, than a leaning to its opposite; because, at any rate, it disposes to all that is ennobling. About this period, writing to a friend he says, "Notwithstanding all hindrances and oppositions, there is a good work going on here, though I have many difficulties to grapple with, much ignorance, and much unfaithfulness, and a great devil to combat." He was cheered at this time by news from France of a thorough ratification of all the privileges of the Edict of Nantz being then on foot, and rejoiced in the prospect of the field thus thrown open for the ingathering of a plentiful harvest.
Between Mr. Brackenbury and Mr. Clarke, great cordiality subsisted, and a correspondence at considerable length was maintained, which, on Mr. Brackenbury's part was preserved, and was highly valued by his widow after his death. On three several occasions these letters were named to the writer, by the subject of these pages; "Mrs. Brackenbury," said he, "wrote to me, stating she had several of my letters, written to Mr. Brackenbury when I was in the Norman Isles: these she prized, she said, exceedingly, and should she die before me, she would direct that all should be delivered to the family. If however, (she further observed,) I thought they would be of any service to me, I was welcome to them, and had only to name my wish; but she considered it a duty on her part to inform me that such letters existed." At a subsequent period he remarked, "All letters directed to me, except such as are intended for reference, or literary subjects, are burnt; my Mary and I agree in this:" he then repeated what he had stated before respecting the letters possessed by Mrs. Brackenbury, adding, "If you wish to have those letters, they are at your service;" thus giving liberty to the writer to employ what means he deemed proper in order to possess himself of them. The reply made to this grant was, "I should esteem them a great treasure." On another occasion, he said, "If I had those letters, you should have them." As no means were employed by the writer to secure this correspondence, he is of course ignorant of its character; yet from the letters which have appeared, and which were written about this time, it is but just to infer, that in his correspondence with Mr. Brackenbury, there must have been several points of deep interest.
The two great advantages consequent on Mr. Clarke's comparative "exile," were, that he was thrown entirely on his own resources, -- and that he had leisure for the deeper and more extended cultivation of both heart and understanding. He tells us, he began to rub off the rust from his Latin and Greek; -- to pursue his study of Hebrew, and to combine with these, other valuable requirements: in the process, therefore, he was now undergoing, defects would be supplied, and imperfections removed, and the operations of mind in the circumstances in which he was placed, would conspire to produce "the perfect man," both spiritually and intellectually.
Under the influence of the perpetually "accumulating energies which were gathering within him," he determined on conveying the message of the gospel of peace to the isle of Alderney, at that time in a state of darkness almost without parallel, being peopled chiefly by outlaws. He watched several days unsuccessfully for an opportunity of going over; at length be prevailed upon the captain of a smuggling vessel to take him. On landing, he proceeded to the town, and after having walked about it, in a state of considerable perplexity in reference to his precise mode of procedure, his attention was arrested by a small cottage, which he forthwith entered, with the announcement of peace, on the authority of his Divine Master. Its inhabitants, an old man and woman, bade him welcome; offered him the best food they had, a small chamber in which he might sleep, and their house to preach in. On the public announcement of his mission, a multitude of persons collected together, to whom he unfolded the gospel of Christ, and who were so much interested, that it was only on the promise of preaching to them the following evening, that they were prevailed upon to depart. He withdrew, much fatigued, to his apartment, where he had not remained long, ere he was summoned down stairs to preach again, to a house quite full, among whom was a "chief man of the island; " who, at the expiration of the service, being perfectly astonished at the phenomenon of an extempore discourse, begged permission to look at the Bible which Mr. Clarke held in his hand, doubtless expecting to find a written sermon enclosed within its covers. The next day he preached again, in one of the large store-rooms, which had been cleared out for the purpose; and here, to gentry, laborers, sailors, and smugglers, he reasoned upon the superior excellence of "the righteous man, over his ungodly neighbor." All heard with solemn attention; many felt the power of conscience, and were deeply affected; and the expression of universal satisfaction, molded itself into the form of earnest entreaty, that he would remain among them. Such was the ultimate success of this truly apostolic visit, that a flourishing society was established, and a large chapel erected on the island. The Sabbath before he left, he was invited to preach in the English church, when he records, in a letter to Mr. Wesley:-- "The Lord enabled me to declare his counsel without fear, and several were affected."
He returned to Guernsey the following day. But this continuous and excessive labor produced a lamentable effect upon the health of Mr. Clarke, and the anxious question of Mr. Wesley, -- What shall be done to save brother Clarke? testifies to the seriousness of the illness with which he was afflicted; and, in writing to him upon the subject, Mr. Wesley suggests the hint, that loud speaking, and long sermons, are to be guarded against.
Mr. Clarke was extremely particular in his person and habits; and was, therefore, still less able to bear the dirt and slovenliness of the islanders, and the irregularity and confusion with which they were mixed up; -- yet in both, (for they generally support a twin existence in the same person,) his patience and forbearance were often called into exercise. "One of Mr. Wesley's mottoes," said he, when speaking upon the subject, "was, -- 'cleanliness is next to godliness.'  'When I went into the Norman Isles, I found French dirt, the worst of all dirt. I have seen a large quantity of butter dashed down on the pavement for sale, and the suet [perhaps meaning: excretion, one meaning of suet being "pudding" -- DVM] of beasts lying in the window in a filthy state. After my marriage, and on Mrs. Clarke's arrival on the islands, she found it equally difficult with myself, to be comfortable, or silent, in the presence of dirt. On one occasion, she took courage to speak to a good woman, whose children appeared never either to have had their faces washed, or their hair combed. 'Do you. think,' said she, placing the subject in the least objectionable form, by proposing a question; -- 'Do you think your children are as orderly as they might be?
Woman. -- 'Indeed they are.'
Mrs. Clarke. -- 'Would it not be better to wash them?'
Woman. -- 'O! away with your English pride.'
Mrs. Clarke. -- 'Does not Mr. Wesley say, -- that cleanliness is next to godliness?' hoping, by this reference, as she knew the woman entertained great respect for him, to win her over to compliance with more agreeable habits. 'Thank God!' exclaimed she, in return, as though cleanliness had been viewed as an intolerable burden, and deliverance from it a blessing; 'Thank God, that it is not written in my Bible!'
In the spring of 1788, Mr. Clarke made a visit to England; and, on the 17th of April, of the same year, married Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Cooke, cloth manufacturer, of Trowbridge; on the 25th of the same month, they set sail from Southampton, and on the morning of the 30th, landed in Guernsey. Of the voyage, he gives the following graphic and characteristic description. "We had the most agreeable passage I ever met with. The sea was perfectly still: such a quiescency sat on the mighty waters, as the oldest sailor on board had scarcely ever seen. What added, in an especial manner, to the pleasure of the passage was, the frequent opportunities we had for prayer-meetings, at which the captain was generally present; and, at particular times, all the sailors, who seemed to unite both body and soul with us, and received the word of exhortation with all readiness of mind, insomuch that we had not a single oath from our departure from Southampton, till our arrival in Guernsey." Proceeding to speak of the reception Mrs. Clarke met, he says; -- "My Mary is received with every demonstration of pure affection; and, if I may trust her own testimony, is perfectly contented. Last evening, she was present at one of our class-meetings; and while she was at prayer, the Lord poured out his Spirit in a manner so abundant, as the people had scarcely ever experienced."
On the first Sabbath after their arrival, he says "We had the privilege of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's supper, from the hands of the Rev. De St. Dalmas, an Italian count, who abandoned his country, his estates, and his religion, for conscience sake. He esteems and loves the Methodists. He is to pay us a visit at Mont Plaisir, in a day or two. What a mercy it is, to find one of his character, and in his situation, solemnly fearing, and diligently striving to serve God, and to save his own soul, and the souls of those who hear him!"
Neither discouragements, nor declining health, could abate the zeal of Mr. Clarke. As the winter wore away, he renewed, in the various parts of this scene of labor, the morning preachings. These early services seem to have been eminently owned of God. They were generally well attended. He speaks, at one time, of "a season of refreshment from the manifested presence of God; several being convinced of sin, and others stirred up to desire the completion of the spiritual edifice." Again, in a note lying before the writer, he says; -- "A little while ago, I returned from the five o'clock preaching at Les Terres. The congregation was good; and we had such another time as when I preached at Contree Mansel, upon the 'Lord's controversy.' Surely all this seed cannot fall to the ground for nought."
On the occasion of the king's recovery from one of those distressing attacks which the nation had frequently to lament, the island of Guernsey manifested its loyalty by a general illumination. No man was more warmly steadfast in his attachment to that best of kings, than the subject of this Memoir, and none would have gone farther in serviceable demonstrations of loyal duty than himself; but, at this period, many of the best people in the island were writhing under the grip of poverty, and the meltings of his heart in tender sympathy for the poor of Christ's flock, rose in opposition to what he deemed the sinful outlay consequent upon this display of general feeling; and, in a vein of humor, attempered by the sober genius of religion, and the tender yearnings of his benevolent nature, he thus enters upon a description of the scene. "They have had a day of rejoicing (as it is called,) here, for the king's recovery; -- fine illuminations in all parts. Old Mr. M. had, I am told, every pane of glass in his house, above and below, illuminated by a candle. Mr. M. junior, had, besides every pane's illumination, 'Long live the king,' in letters of light on the ridge of his house: 'tis true the candles would not burn well above, which caused them to be taken down, and placed in the same order before the house. These things have offended many upright persons, and I have preached a whole sermon against them, and I believe all who heard me, thought my way the best. If Christianity can make no greater difference betwixt us and the world than this, pray how shall we know the spirit thereof, from its opposite? Oh! what crying sins are these before God! The poor, -- the representatives of Christ, -- the best friends of God are starving, while this unholy waste is made.
"William Mahy, our local preacher, was obliged to put his four or five little innocents to bed in the day time, and cover them up to prevent them from starving, not having a morsel of coal to burn before them, nor money to purchase any! Had a portion of the cash wasted in the above illumination, been appropriated to the relief of this distressed good man, how gladly would the first scribe in heaven have registered it, in the annals of eternity! When I consider the suffering state of these more righteous than I, I can scarcely eat my morsel with contentment; if there is meaning in the expression, 'a bleeding heart,' I do think I have it for the poor: my very soul seems to feel for the whole of them throughout the world, as my father, my sister, my mother, and my brethren!" And then, in a strain of the deepest pathos, he concludes; -- "Forgive me, if in dilating on the subject which oppresses my heart, I have forgotten to write about the full salvation you inquired after; -- but is it not found in the bowels of Christ? and were not these exercised in continual outgoings for the poor? He lived for the poor; he died for the poor; and blessed is he who remembereth the poor, even supposing he is not able to help them. I know I feel the spirit and power of Christ, in proportion as I feel love, modified into compassion and pity."
We have already seen, that amid various hardships and continuous labors, the health of Mr. Clarke seriously gave way. The climate did not agree with him; but a fear of its being imagined that he shrank from the cross, united also with his apprehension of grieving the people who were remarkably solicitous about him, -- (expressing their attachment and sympathy by recommending and presenting to him a variety of cures, for which they had searched both hill and dale,) -- he was determined to remain with them until Conference, although Mr. Brackenbury advised him to desist from preaching for awhile, and kindly suggested a visit to England. Agreeably with his resolution, he continued his ministrations among the Islands until the August of this year, and was then appointed to the Bristol circuit. But before he left, he had an accumulation of evidence, of how a single voice, raised loudly and fearlessly in the cause of truth, not only checks evil, but prepares the way for extensive and permanent future good: and thus, while the practical wisdom of this world lays plans agreeably with the impression it has of the exigency of the case, the minister of Christ simply sows the seed of the word of life, and looks to the great Lord of the harvest for its fructification, in reference both to "the wisdom which is profitable to direct," and to "the grace which brings salvation." Mr. Drew, with the characteristic kindness of a friend, and the fidelity of a Christian, has noticed the revolution which Mr. Clarke effected, in companionship with his coadjutors, in the Islands, in his life of Dr. Coke.  There is no subject of contemplation more deeply interesting, than that of tracing a Christian minister, evidently baptized into the sacred office with the Holy Ghost and with fire, in his arduous yet triumphant course; to observe him offering the first fruits of his strength to God in zealous, devoted, and untiring service; going forth like the pupil and spiritual son of the great Apostle, thoroughly instructed from a child in the holy Scriptures, warring a good warfare, no man despising his youth, nay rather multitudes becoming convinced and won over to the truth, by the power and pathos of his ministry, under the commanding influence of which, the stubborn heart bows down, and the faint is upraised and cheered, -- the earnest solicitude of his mind being thus continually evidenced, not only by his zeal and importunity, but by the effects produced wherever the word of the great salvation is by him announced. In the case of Mr. Clarke, the holy effects attendant upon his preaching, afforded the strongest presumption of his divine mission.
An objection has been sometimes taken against the early age at which persons are admitted into the Evangelist's office; but age does not necessarily constitute efficiency for any great undertaking. Aristotle, after alleging the "neos" [neophyte], or young man, to be an unfit hearer and inculcator of his Ethical Treatise, affirms the deficiency in such an one to arise, not from his age, but from his living, and choosing everything in obedience to his passions; even the old man, he tells us, may be "cata to athos," (perhaps meaning something like "aged, well-matured" -- DVM) in moral character. Nothing less than an irresistible conviction of his divine appointment, could have induced Mr. Clarke to have entered, so early as he did, into the work of the ministry, especially in association with a people among whom, in its exercise, difficulties of no ordinary magnitude were to be met and overcome. His first effort was made as a stranger, -- in a strange land, -- and with the heart of a stranger, in all its feeling of desolateness. But the mysterious paradox of the "philosophic apostle," -- "When I am weak, then am I strong," -- was fully justified in his experience; for the Angel of the Lord encamped near him, and what time he was afraid, his soul was delivered from the battle which was against him, because he trusted in God.
There is not enough readiness in ministers in our own day, to surrender everything for Him, in whose service they are professedly engaged. The church and the world must, under all circumstances, be in direct and continued opposition to each other; it is a divine enunciation, engraven upon both, to the end of time, -- "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him:" no amelioration of circumstances, no restraint of persecution, no tolerance of religion, can in any wise alter or commute the meaning of that solemn question, "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" nor qualify that declaration, sounded forth from the lip of eternal truth; "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
So then it would appear, that ministers of religion must not be influenced by considerations of place and ease, because scripture, as well as common experience, establishes the impossibility of a division of heart between two opponent principles: God must be wholly served, and mammon neglected; or, mammon will be fully served, and God neglected. It would be an instructive lesson, and one which no difference of circumstances could render unworthy to be learned, to contrast the self-denying efforts, the untiring energy, the devoted zeal, of the lights of other days, with the comfortable ease, or political bustle of ministers in our own; where the wise and the scribe are too much in request, and their instructions dangerously valued for their reach of thought, or symmetry and beauty of style, rather than for their intrinsic usefulness. The modest error of Mr. Clarke, in supposing that upon the weak warning of a dull scribbler, he must sacrifice his learning to other duties, is not likely to be the prevailing error in our day, though the pseudo scholar's warning might be less invidiously given, now when learning is esteemed more for its own sake, or for the honor attached to it, than for the preparation and strength in divine things, which it is really empowered to furnish. If we had not the living testimony of a vast majority of cases to support this view, it would, (at least prima facie,) be supposed, that study would be directed with a constant reference to the important end proposed; but it is to be feared that the schools, not the church, -- the obtaining a high place on the class-list, not the gaining wisdom and strength nobly to resist the opponents of truth, as the grand object of instruction with students for the ministry, who thus barter the honor which descends from God, for that which comes from man.
That such was not the aim of Mr. Clarke, will appear in still clearer light, as the reader advances in the perusal of this history of his life; for it will be observed, that he practically contradicted the heathen maxim, "nous pantown Basileus," ("Intellect is the king of all things"), by "bringing every thought into obedience to the gospel of Christ."
'The experience alike of nations and of individuals proves, that learning cannot long survive the decline of spiritual light: and it will be well if its lovers recollect this, before the bitter and sophistical disputes of churchmen, upon mere technicalities, shall have dimmed truth's radiant beam, or extinguished her pure and hallowed splendor!
The determined perseverance with which Mr. Clarke directed all his acquirements towards one grand object, that of the spiritual advantage of mankind, may be observed by following out a parallel between his ministerial and literary career. In his scientific researches, for example, he would experiment upon the refinement of silver, for the purpose of illustrating the important work which the Holy Spirit, under this figure, effects in the human heart. But nothing, of course, could more decisively prove the concentration of power, perseverance, and learning, into one grand focus, than his Commentary upon the Holy Scriptures, which will be noticed in the proper place.
On Mr. Clarke's return from the Norman Isles, he attended the Leeds Conference. Noticing this some years afterwards, at the close of a public service, he observed, -- "I have, for the second time in my life, forgotten to pray for the king. The first omission occurred at Leeds, and I am unable to assign any reason for it, unless it were, that the comparatively destitute condition of the islands I had just left, had become associated in my mind with the idea, that neither the king, the government, nor any other power seemed to notice them. However, being reminded of my omission, I endeavored to amend; and, having again to preach, I prayed devoutly, that God would bless the king, and fill him with his justifying and sanctifying grace. But, alas! the prayer now, was worse than the omission had been: the nicely discriminating minds of a few of the sisters, took alarm; I had implied that the king was a sinner.  A petition had been previously sent to the Conference, at the request of the Leeds Society, and signed by the whole of the trustees, that I should be appointed to their circuit; but these formal worthies, at the head of whom stood the names of Mrs. Crosley and Miss Trip, got up a counter-petition, strongly remonstrating against the appointment, alleging that my prayer was calculated to lower royalty in the estimation of the people, -- that to have uttered such a petition, argued dangerously democratic principles, and that consequently, I was an unfit person to minister among them. The voice of the women was heard, and prevailed in the Conference, and my name was transferred (upon the M. S. stations) to Halifax. One of the principle gentlemen of the society invited me to breakfast with him, on the morning after this alteration had taken place and fearing that I might feel hurt by it, most kindly began sympathizing with me, adding, he had no doubt, I should be re-appointed, and expressing a hope, that I would comply with the wishes of the people irrespective of this formidable opposition. Never, I returned, will I enter Leeds, in the way of an appointment as a traveling preacher: I recognize no church, nor will I minister to any, in which my Lord and Master is not king and governor." 
The apostolic injunction, "Let your women keep silence in the church," was as strange to the ears of the ladies in Halifax, as it appeared to be to those of Leeds. A local preacher, understanding that Mr. Clarke was nominated to that circuit, reported that he had heard him preach; that he might be learned, but that he was dull, cold, and heavy. The influential sisters on this station also took alarm, sounded a note of disapprobation in the ear of Conference, and, says Mr. Clarke, "I was again displaced. In mitigation of' this second interference, I received an affectionate letter from Mr. Emmett, explaining that a local preacher had heard some minister whose gift corresponded with the above description, and whom he had mistaken for me, and hoped that, upon this showing, I would not object to the Halifax appointment. I replied, that the same principle must guide my movements, on this, as on the former occasion; my call, I conceived, not extending to any locality in which women were the governors, for that I was certain Christ had not the proper management, where women held the reins."
It may be just observed, before dismissing this somewhat singular item in the early economy of Methodism, that Mr. Wesley, in the ardor of a zeal for God which was apt occasionally to blind him to what would be deemed, by cooler and more calculating minds, the minutial proprieties of church discipline, was prone to accept the proffered assistance of any who appeared to possess the "root of the matter," without having sufficient regard to those qualifications, which a calculating policy would have suggested, as indispensable requisites for the proper discharge of duty; and hence we frequently find him, on revisiting the various scenes of Methodistic operation, recording instances of disorganization, imperfect administration of discipline, falling away of members, misunderstandings between his various church-officers and the people; requiring in some cases, all the weight of his astonishing influence, and the utmost exertion of his sagacity, to restore harmony and Christian fellowship among the dissentients. But it is also to be recorded, that at, and about this period, there were added to the Methodist Church, many women eminent for piety, of considerable station in life, and of superior intellectual endowments. These, bringing to the common cause, the advantages of their social position, and the value of their high character as women possessing godliness, were immediately employed by Mr. Wesley, and set prominently forth, as leaders of classes, visitors of the sick, &c. How faithful and how successfully the majority of these devoted women discharged their onerous duties, can be told by hundreds, their successors and witnesses, scattered up and down the land at this day. Miss Johnstone, Miss Ritchie, and the Cookes, together with a goodly multitude like-minded, whose praise is in all our churches, have left behind them a track of glory, by the light of which, if the women of modern Methodism were to walk, it would be immensely to their own advantage, as well as to that of our common Christianity. It was a natural consequence on the success of such instrumentality, that Mr. Wesley should be led to extend his confidence, in some instances, a little further than the event justified: his natural benevolence of heart helping on to the conclusion, that where so many were excellent, none could greatly fail; and indeed, the necessity of the case, in many circuits, left him scarcely power to choose.
"I love the man," says old Feltham, "who is modestly valiant; who stirs not, till he most needs, and then to purpose:" and we add the sentiment of the shrewd, discriminating German physiognomist, who tells us, that "the firm, without pliancy, and the pliant without firmness, resemble vessels without water, and water without vessels." To all who were favored with the friendship of Mr. Clarke, it will be unnecessary to affirm, that, in the above instances, he was not actuated by a petty resentment for a personal affront; but by a strong wish to show his disapprobation of what he considered to be a growing evil in the Methodist body. In the town of Leeds, during the course of his long ministerial life, he preached many times with pleasure to himself, and much advantage to overflowing congregations; and at Halifax also, upon one or two occasions, he ministered the Word of Life; proving, that while he was firm in principle, he could also be pliant upon all fitting occasions. The remonstrances themselves, like a few jostlings by the way to the traveler, who, notwithstanding, is still proceeding on his journey, were no impediments to the progress or peace of Mr. Clarke, and are only noticed in singular contrast with his future celebrity; affording, also, a proof of how easy it is to mistake, in forming an estimate of principle and character. He lost nothing, however, by these transfers: for though, as fully appears, he was little known in the central parts of the kingdom, Mr. Wesley was aware of his value, and he was ultimately stationed at Bristol.
Occasional visits, some years anterior to this appointment, had made him less of a stranger in Bristol, than in most other places; and casual interviews with several of the members of this Society, prepared the way, on both sides, for that form, and tone, and spirit of fellowship, which cemented itself into strong and abiding mutual attachment. Over the choicest renewals of former acquaintance, there was, however, a shade cast, by the absence of Mrs. Hall, one of the sisters of Mr. Wesley, who was, at this period, in the metropolis. This lady was highly esteemed by Dr. Samuel Johnson. Her philosophic mind, enriched by various reading; her fine temper, and her genuine piety, were duly appreciated and honored by Mr. Clarke; and her absence was consequently felt in the circle which now gathered around him.
Mr. Clarke entered upon his ministerial labors in this city, animated by a deep concern for the salvation of sinners. From the hour, indeed, in which the grace of God took possession of his own soul, everything implied in that sublime form of expression, -- THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN, seemed not only to imbue the affections of his heart, but to influence every act, -- entering into the whole of his pursuits and conduct. He labored to impress all who were either casually thrown in his way, or with whom he had more permanent contact, with the importance of the "Communion of saints." One person who had been in the habit of attending public worship, for the space of seven years, who was of serious demeanor and good moral character, but who had not entered into close alliance with the people of God, was induced to join himself to the Methodist Society, on being exhorted by him, in apostolic language, "first to give himself to God, and then to the church, by the will of God."
Only a few days elapsed between Mr. Clarke's arrival in Bristol, and Mr. Wesley's visit to that city. The latter had entered the 86th year of his age, and on this return of his natal day, wrote as follows; "This day I enter on my 86th year. I now find I grow old: 1. My sight is decayed; so that I cannot read a small print, unless in a strong light: 2. My strength is decayed; so that I walk much slower than I did some years since: 3. My memory of names, whether of persons or places, is decayed; till I stop a little to recollect them. What I should be afraid of is, (if I took thought for the morrow,) that my body should weigh down my mind, and create either stubbornness, by the decrease of my understanding, or peevishness, by the increase of bodily infirmities; but thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God!" Still, though there were evident symptoms of decay, he maintained his general cheerfulness, and occasionally in conversation, gave tokens of vivacity.
His stay was short both here and in the metropolis. "At Seven," he observes "we set out, and about noon, on Monday, August 9, reached Bristol. Finding all things there in a flourishing state, I set out for the West early on Tuesday morning, and had an exceeding pleasant journey to Taunton." He returned to Bristol, September 5, when he remained preaching in the city and neighboring towns, for the space of a month, not excepting out-door services. He speaks, in the course of this visit, of Kingswood being a "sweet recess," and where everything was then just as he wished; -- of spending "an agreeable hour with Mr., Ireland and Mr. Romaine;" -- of preaching three times a day, the first service commencing at five o'clock in the morning, -- of administering the sacrament to multitudes, -- of visiting the classes, -- of keeping a watch night, -- of holding a prayer-meeting in one of the churches, -- of visiting the father of the celebrated John Henderson, at Clare-Hill, (whom he considered to be "the best physician for lunatics in England;") -- of preaching at Thornbury, Kingswood, Pensford, Midsummer Norton, Coleford, Frome, Trowbridge, Bradford, Bath, Churchill, &c., thus filling up each day, notwithstanding his infirmities, with labor that seemed to demand the vigor of youth.
He felt, however, at intervals, the force of his own observations, on the anniversary of his birthday. In commencing his labors at Bristol, he remarks, September 6, "I read prayers and preached, and administered the sacrament to many hundred communicants. I preached in the evening as usual, and spent a little more time with the society than I commonly do: but it was more than I could well do: yet in four-and-twenty hours I was as well as usual." About the close of the month, on the 27th, he further observes, "I doubt I must not hereafter attempt to preach more than twice a day."
The friends perceiving his inadequacy to go through the whole of the above sabbath-day's duty, repaired to Mr. Clarke, and asked whether it was not advisable to engage someone to assist in the service, and so relieve him of part of the labor. To this suggestion, Mr. Clarke, who felt equally on the subject with themselves, readily acceded; and the Rev. _____ Baddily, a clergyman, afforded his help on the occasion. Mr. Wesley, referring to this, remarks, "As Mr. Baddily assisted me in the morning, I took the opportunity of preaching at Kingswood in the afternoon, and abroad in the evening; and was abundantly better in the evening than in the morning." Mr. Baddily was somewhat eccentric. While reading the passages on benevolence, in the communion service, he added, after, "'Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother in need,' that is, and is convinced, observe, in his own mind, that he is really in want." Mr. Wesley, who sat next [to] Mr. Clarke, in one of the pews, turned to him, and in an undertone, said, "What necessity is there for such interlocutions on the present occasion?"
Service being over, a friend suggested the propriety of presenting Mr. Baddily with something by way of remuneration for his assistance: Mr. Clarke, who had, ere this, acquired some knowledge of him, having preached in his house, (and might, with his good will, have preached in his church, had he dared to permit him,) observed, that as there was danger of giving offense, it ought to be done in a way the least objectionable to his feelings. Mr. Clarke himself was deputed to wait upon him, and prefaced the business by telling him, that he had traveled ten or twelve miles of bad road to serve the good cause, -- that he had to pay toll-bars, -- that the horse might have lost a shoe, -- that he had to pay for grooming the animal, &c. -- and that the trustees, while tendering their thanks for his services, wished him to accept a small donation of two guineas.
Mr. Baddily received them with apparent readiness; and putting his hand into his pocket, took out two of his own, which he placed on the top of those he had received: then looking at Mr. Clarke, he said, "Here Adam, take these four guineas, and give them to Mr. Wesley, with my best respects; tell him to accept of them for the cause in which he is engaged, and for his condescension in employing me on this occasion." "This," said Mr. Clarke, "was an explanation of his remark in the course of the communion service, -- 'and is convinced in his own mind, that he is really in want.'" Mr. Baddily, after this, frequently walked abroad with Mr. Clarke, "he had a word," said the latter, for almost every person he met with;" and this practice was sometimes carried to such an extent, as to render Mr. Clarke a little apprehensive of having a mob collected around them. In some instances, Mr. Baddily was benevolent, in others penurious. He was alive to his besetment, and was no less free in taking vengeance of it, than in its occasional gratification. "Go out of my sight immediately," said he, to a person into whose hand he had pressed a handsome donation for a public charity; "for if you stop here, this heart of mine will be yearning after it, and I shall lose any advantage arising from the act, as a freewill-offering." -- "You are a young man, Adam," said he one day to Mr. Clarke, "and have probably but few books."
Mr. Clarke -- "I have a few."
Mr. Baddily -- "Do you read them?"
Mr. Clarke -- "Yes Sir, over and over again."
Mr. Baddily -- "Here is Beza on the New Testament for you; you will find some good things in it. You can read Latin?"
Mr. Clarke -- "Yes Sir, I think I can manage that well enough."
Mr. Baddily then putting his hand into his pocket, and taking out a guinea, said, "Take that, and buy any other work that may be useful to you." In this way, Mr. Clarke, in his own language, more than once "felt his benevolence."
It will have been perceived, that Mr. Clarke had, ere this, become a favorite with Mr. Wesley, in consequence of the high estimate he had formed of his abilities; in a letter of 1787, he writes, "Adam Clarke is doubtless an extraordinary young man, and capable of doing much good." This led the way to his occasionally traveling in company with Mr. Wesley, on one of which occasions he read to him, "Crousaz's Art of Thinking," in French a work which, if not distinguished by originality of genius, is -- on the testimony of some of the first metaphysicians,  at least strongly marked with the sound and unprejudiced judgment of its author, exhibiting everywhere traces of the influence of Locke's doctrines, as well as the effects of the Cartesian Metaphysics, in limiting those hasty expressions of Locke, which have been so often misrepresented by his followers; and a work, respecting the merits of which, Wesley and his disciple were more likely to do justice, than either Pope or Warburton, -- Pope, who introduced its author into the "Dunciad,"
 among the Aristotelian opponents of Locke, because, as is strongly conjectured, of his acute strictures on those passages in "The Essay on Man," which seem favorable to fatalism, -- and Warburton, who seems to have considered himself specially licensed to defend his poetic friend against all his adversaries, though at the expense of good breeding and Christian character, distinguished Crousaz by the appellation of a "blundering Swiss." While these readings led to literary conversation, and developed more fully to Mr. Wesley the talents, the acquired knowledge, and the capabilities of Mr. Clarke, they drew still closer the bond of friendship between them, and gave rise to freedoms which unreserved confidence alone could warrant. Some reference having been made to works of a philosophical character, Mr. Wesley pleasantly inquired, "Adam, you dunce, did you ever read Professor Robison's work on philosophy?"
Mr. Clarke -- "Yes, Sir."
Mr. Wesley -- "Do you know the reason why one volume is so much thicker than the other?"
Mr. Clarke -- "No, unless it was, that the volumes were published at separate periods, and that the work swelled in his hand beyond expectation."
Mr. Wesley -- "That was not the case. The professor sent the former part of the work to me; and, resolving to be faithful, I marked what, in my judgment, he ought to omit, as well as suggested what should be added. He very respectfully published it agreeably with my omissions and additions. Afraid, however, to trust me with the other volume, lest it should share the same fate, he published it as it had been originally written." 
Adverting to Bishop Warburton, who had treated Crousaz with such scurrility, Mr. Wesley further observed to Mr. Clarke, "He was a gentleman. When he intended to write against me, he sent me the MS.; stating his design, and informing me, that he considered it his duty to show me what he proposed to give to the world; requesting me, at the same time, to notice any errors into which I might conceive him to have fallen. The MS. abounded with quotations from poets, philosophers, &c., both in Greek and Latin. After correcting the false readings, improper glosses, &c., I returned it." Mr. Wesley, in styling the prelate a "gentleman," refers to this special act of condescension, not to his general language and conduct; and it is not difficult to perceive, that the bishop -- knowing his man, might be prompted as much by a desire of safety, arising from some apprehension of a want of solidity in the positions he had taken, as from a feeling of courtesy. 
The office of superintendent devolving on Mr. Clarke, he was necessarily much engaged in circuit matters, and it being the time for the quarterly visitation of the classes, Mr. Wesley took his share in the work; observing, in his Journal, "On Monday, 21, and the three following days, I visited the classes at Bristol." In those days, all minor matters gave way to the renewal of the tickets; and the classes were met, not in so many successive weeks or evenings, accommodating leaders and members, but so as to suit the convenience of the ministers, who had to attend to the concerns of the church. Preaching commenced at five o'clock in the morning, and was repeated in the evening. The classes began to meet at seven o'clock in the morning, continuing till noon. Mr. Clarke stated, that he took one class and Mr. Wesley another, alternately; thus proceeding during the four successive days, till the whole of the members had received their tickets. Dr. Coke was in the city at the time, and having to preach, Mr. Wesley, who had a few minutes to spare from other society matters, said, "Let us hear the Doctor, Adam." After listening awhile, they retired, when Mr. Wesley observed, "You have heard, Adam, how the Doctor mouths his words:" then repeating a sentence or two by way of imitation, he showed where the imperfection lay. He was an excellent judge of public speaking; and as his remark was not in the spirit of fault-finding, it led to some useful observations.
Several friends wishing to possess a likeness of Mr. Clarke, he had sat for the purpose at different times; but each successive attempt having proved a failure, he became impressed with the idea that a correct likeness could not be taken. The celebrated Mr. T. Holloway, then the subject of some promise, and an intimate friend of Mr. Clarke, requested the favor of a sitting; to whom he observed, in the way of antithesis, "I will comply on two conditions; first, that you do not make me appear better than I am, for that will be to reflect on my maker, as though he had not made me good enough; and secondly, that you do not make me appear worse than I am, for that will be to burlesque me."
Mr. Holloway was supported by Mr. Wesley, who wished to have an engraving of it for the Arminian Magazine. This likeness was in profile, and was published in that periodical about the same time. Though the engraving is indifferently executed, the likeness is correct; and yet, little more than an unfinished performance could be expected, for "Holloway," as Mr. Clarke observed, "had only £5 per head, for both painting and plate!" The intimacy between Mr. Clarke and Mr. Holloway, continued through life; and when the latter was employed on his splendid engravings of the Cartoons of Raphael, he invariably consulted his early friend on each subject, as to the precise moment which the painter appeared to seize for the action of his piece, together with time, place, and probable characters -- inviting, at the same time, general advice and criticism, and embodying the whole in his various typographical descriptions.
A long correspondence passed between them on the subject, and the efforts of the pen of the divine, and the graver of the artist, are left upon record by the critic, to illustrate the sublime subject of Paul preaching at Athens, Acts xvii.; where the commentator passes the highest eulogy on the genius of his early friend.
Mr. Clarke's father was in Bristol at this time, and seeing beneath the portrait referred to, "Mr. Adam Clarke, Ętatis 27 [age 27]," said, "You must be mistaken, -- your mother, you know, fixes 1760 for the time of your birth." This was in 1789 [at which time Clarke would have been 29, not 27, according to his mother's estimated year of his birth, 1760 -- DVM]. Some time, however, elapsed between the taking of the portrait, its being engraved, and its publication in the magazine: but there was evident surprise on the part of the father, in viewing the temporary inclination of his son to his side of the question (though permanently fixed on the plate,) indicating a slight wavering in his own mind, relative to the correctness of the opinion he himself entertained. He took his date from the circumstance, as he supposed, of his being at college when Adam was born: but who would attempt to place this in opposition to all that is implied in the sentence, -- "In such things mothers are rarely mistaken," as noticed in the early part of his personal history!
Mr. Thomas Rankin being at Bristol at this period, also, Mr. Wesley requested him to sit for his likeness, with a view to its publication in the Magazine, together with the above portrait of Mr. Clarke. Mr. Rankin objected, unless he should be permitted to select his own artist, being so much dissatisfied with the likenesses in the Magazine. This was acceded to, and he selected Holloway. Mr. Clarke remarked on the occasion, that "Mr. Rankin had a good deal of sedate majesty about him; every feature was enlarged, from the chin upwards, swelling with apparent importance, even to the eye itself, which was unusually full." On the portrait being finished, Mr. Rankin brought it to Mr. Wesley, who, looking at it some time, and turning it to the light, said -rubbing his hands after laying it down, "Well, well Tommy, I think it will do, -- do very well;" subjoining, "I think it only wants a pair of whiskers to make a noble Saracen of you."
These antiques in Methodism being the subject of conversation one day, Mr. Clarke descanted on them with considerable humor. Among other playful remarks, he said, "There is one face -- certainly one of the most ordinary ever taken; I am no great beauty myself, -- but that face appears as though it had been put into a mold, and received four or five heavy blows, -- every feature having taken its own characteristic from the strength of the blow imparted. -- Mr. T. is a man upward of six feet, -- very small -- with a face and an eye most singularly formed, and a head like a minikin pin; yet they have contrived to make a rather pleasing face of it at last." He added, "There are some persons who suppose that I have no taste, either for painting, or for instrumental music in a place of worship; and thus attribute to ignorance and a want of taste, that which is a matter of principle."
On the relation of a simple anecdote one day in the unreserve of social intercourse, Mr. Clark remarked, "It is from facts such as these, -- facts characteristic of the man, that the biographer forms a proper estimate of the being he describes; if he do not avail himself of such incidents, he may plod on, in dry detail of facts, destitute of all enlivening circumstances: little pleasing to himself, and unsatisfactory, if not insupportable, to his readers." This opinion stands as our warrant for the introduction of certain incidents in this Memoir, tending to the illustration of character, supported as we are by Coleridge, who reminds us, -- "That all are not trifles which might appear so to those who recognize no greatness of mind, and can conceive no dignity in any incident which does not act on their senses by its external accompaniments, or, on their curiosity, by its immediate consequences. Things apparently insignificant, are recommended to our notice, not for their own sakes, but for their bearing or influences on things of importance; in other words, when they are insignificant in appearance only." "There are some persons," says Knox, "who measure all the energies of a thing, by the sounds which it emits, or the appearances it exhibits; but the intellectual are ever the few, and the sensitive, the many."
Mr. Wesley was characterized by Mr. Clarke, as one who thought deeply on every subject, and who felt himself answerable to his reason and conscience for everything he did; never permitting passion, or natural appetite, to have any peculiar sway. Mr. Wesley told him, that when he was a child, and was asked, at any time, out of the ordinary way of meals, to take, for instance, a little bread and butter, fruit, &c., he has replied, with cool unconcern, -- "I thank you, I will think of it." He would neither touch nor do anything, Mr. Clarke observed, till he had reflected on its fitness and propriety. By adverting to a letter of Mrs. Wesley, dated "Epworth, July 24th, 1732," on the education of her children, as much credit will appear to be due to the manner of training, as to the natural temperament of the subject. This constraint of the mind to deep reflection, Mr. Clarke further remarked, might have appeared, to persons unacquainted with him, something like hesitation, and sometimes, agreeably to Mr. Wesley's own statement, it puzzled the family. In one instance, his father said, in a pet, to Mrs. Wesley, -- "I profess, sweetheart, I think our Jack would not attend to the most pressing necessities of nature, unless he could give a reason for it." Mr. Wesley gives the following additional remark of his father to himself, in his Works: -- "'Child,' said my father to me, when I was young, 'you think to carry everything by dint of argument; but you will find how very little is ever done in the world by close reason: very little indeed.'"
In his pastoral visits, and especially in his "visitation of the sick," Mr. Clarke was extensively useful. Among other persons, he took an unusual interest in the history of "Dame Summerhill."  Her account of herself, as given to him on his first visit, is somewhat extraordinary. She was then in the 104th year of her age.
"You are," said she, "one of Mr. Wesley's preachers, Mr. Clarke. He was my father in the gospel, and a man of God. When he first came to Bristol, I went to hear him preach; and having heard him, I said, -- this is the TRUTH. I inquired of those around, -- Who, and what he was? and was told, that he was a man, who went about everywhere preaching the gospel. I further inquired, -- Is he to preach here again? The reply was, 'not at present.' Where is he going to next? I asked. 'To Plymouth,' was returned. And will he preach there?' 'Yes,' replied the persons, of whom I made the inquiry. Then, said I, I will go and hear him; what is the distance? 'One hundred and twenty-five miles,' was the answer. I went; -- walked it, -- heard him, -- and walked back again." This conveys a cutting rebuke to those to whom the proverb is applicable, -- "The nearer the church, the further from God."
To prevent a recurrence to the case of this interesting woman, a visit may here be anticipated, which took place about two years afterwards. Mr. Clarke having occasion to come to Bristol, made inquiry after her. The first to whom he spoke, replied, that he did not know such a person; the second, that she was "mad;" and the third, that she was "possessed." To the last, he observed, "I cannot conceive how a woman, so holy, can be given up in that way; and this I am certain, that the devil could not get in, till God had come out; -- the one would have to make way for the other. But I will go and see, and hear for myself."
He immediately proceeded to the house, when an infirm old woman, between seventy and eighty years of age, the daughter of Mrs. Summerhill, opened the door. On inquiring after the welfare of her mother, he was shown into a room; and going up to the bedside, he accosted her in the frank way in which he had been accustomed to address her:--
Mrs. Summerhill -- "Who are you?" Mr. Clarke -- "My name is Clarke."
Mrs. Summerhill -- "Adam Clarke?"
Mr. Clarke -- "Yes."
Mrs. Summerhill -- "Are you the Adam Clarke, who used to visit me."
Mr. Clarke -- "The same person."
On this, she sprung up in the bed, (a thing she had not done for months before,) and grasping him by the hand, poured forth blessings upon him, -- blessings, he observed, in narrating the circumstance, which he believed he had never lost, and he had no doubt, he had received hundreds through her prayers. The conversation proceeded.
Mr. Clarke -- "What age are you now, Mrs. Summerhill?"
Mrs. Summerhill -- "I am in my one hundred and sixth year, and my daughter there is in her seventy-fifth."
Mr. Clarke -- "Though excluded, through infirmity, from the ordinances of God's house, I trust you realize his sacred presence?"
Mrs. Summerhill -- "As a substitute for the public means of grace, I read the Church Service daily. I am not telling you a falsity; I can read the smallest print." So saying, she stretched out her withered arm, and pointing to a sideboard, said to her daughter, "reach me that book here." A small-printed Bible being handed to her, -- "now" said she to Mr. Clarke, directing a pleasant and intelligent look towards him, as he still stood by the side of the bed, "you shall hear me." She then read a portion of Scripture without hesitancy, -- with a firm and audible voice, -- and with a perfectly clear apprehension of the subject.
"This woman, so far from being 'mad' or 'possessed,'" said Mr. Clarke, "was perfectly rational:" subjoining, "she possessed great originality of character; and on anyone visiting her, with whose conversation or conduct she was not pleased, she immediately let drive at them some of her strong sayings; and they, in their turn, and in the exuberance of their charity, charged her with insanity. This poor creature, I am afraid," he added with deep feeling, "died beholden to the parish, in consequence of her real character being misunderstood." Mr. Clarke was a good judge of character; and in his veneration of age, possessed the true spirit of a Spartan; -- a feeling, says Sir William Drummond, dictated by nature, and approved of by morality, which more polished nations have admired, but never imitated. When age is loved, the affections and propensities of men flow in their natural channels; when venerated, youth becomes tractable; and when its experience is consulted, wisdom is practiced. Let the aged and infirm be respected, and then the middle-aged look forward with satisfaction, and without fear, to the decline of years. When feeling runs in an opposite direction, the language of the poet of nature is adopted, -- language which might have been quoted by Dame Summerhill, had she not been in the habit of solacing her spirit at the Spring-head in heaven;-
Let me not live, After my flame lack, oil, to be the snuff Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses All but new things disdain.
To give a few moments of comfort to the subject of adversity, and to cheer with a transient gleam of joy the evening of life, was among the pleasures, as well as the duties of Mr. Clarke. He took care, however, not to lose in his pastoral visits what it was necessary to secure in the study. While he imitated the apostle's example in going "from house to house," he was not less attentive to his precept -- "give attendance to reading." He had already, as old Bishop Earl would say, "a considerable stock of learning in the ore; to which thought and experience were giving form and adding value." His time was not spent, like that of many of the schoolmen, in puzzling himself, (to employ his own language,) "with hypercritical questions, and endless distinctions, without differences," and by attempting to dive into those vast depths, which no human understanding can fathom, but chiefly in acquiring substantial and useful knowledge; that, in short, which "invests a man with grand and glorious privileges, and confers on him largeness of beatitude."
The sacred writings, and their illustration, were objects ever before him, and from which he never once seemed to avert his eye, following them in all his pursuits as the Israelites followed "the pillar of cloud" in the wilderness. His pocket Bible bore indications of constant use; for though he consulted the original text, and had familiarized himself with it, he was exceedingly partial to the regularly authorized version. He was, in the strictest sense, a reader and a student -large in the one, and close in the other. His reading was solid and instructive. He was one of those persons who had the excellent faculty of using rightly what they know, -- and such persons can never know too much. For then follows the advantage of Sidney's maxim, "Thinking nurseth thinking;" as well as the full import of Seneca's observation on the student, -- "He that is well employed in his study, though he may seem to do nothing, does the greatest things yet of all others; he lays down precepts for the government of our lives, and the moderating of our passions; and obliges human nature, not only in the present, but in all succeeding generations." This is the way in which a man lives when he is dead; and the literary productions of Mr. Clarke, form an admirable monument of the industry of early days.
One of his own maxims was, -- (and which he once inserted in a lady's album,) -- "Partial knowledge is better than total ignorance: he that cannot obtain all that he would, let him take heed to secure all that he can." This, in addition to habit, and considerable native energy, preserved him constantly on the advance.
While conversing one evening, after supper, respecting the literary attainments, unwearied industry, extensive usefulness, and private habits of Mr. Wesley, a friend made some remarks on the principles of conduct inculcated in his twelve "Rules of a Helper;" and inquired whether Mr. Wesley himself, in his intercourse with society, exemplified their practicability. "Yes;" replied, Mr. Clarke, with some energy, "he was always 'diligent.' I never knew him to be 'unemployed.' I never found him 'triflingly employed.' His own practice was formed on these principles, and if he discovered any of the preachers omitting to 'walk by the same rules,' and to 'mind the same things,' he would send them home -- 'one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.' Looking at his fine powers of mind, his scholarship, and his profound acquaintance with the deep things of God, and above all, the honor which his Divine Master had put upon him as a minister of the gospel, -- (for in the church there never was one above him but Christ its head) -I am of opinion, that God never made his fellow, and never will."
The close of this eulogy apart, which will be found sufficiently strong for the most ardent admirer of the Founder of Methodism, still we have unexceptionable evidence that the precepts and practice of Mr. Wesley were in perfect keeping with each other; and the example furnished by Mr. Clarke, so far as industry is concerned, is proof sufficient, that he was a disciple of whom the Master needed not to have been ashamed; a living instance of the fact, that life is not a state of rest, but of incessant operation; the most perfect perpetuum mobile; a continual circulation of action and being; a compound of working powers, maintained by one principle, for one end.
His library, at this time, -- though small to what it afterwards became, was highly creditable to him as a scholar. Mr. Henry Moor, who had not seen him for some time, met with him in Bristol, and they received each other cordially. "He took me," said Mr. Moor, in his plain, clear, quiet way, "into his study, and showed me his library, with which I was greatly astonished, for my own would almost go into my saddle bags. He had many choice books, very choice; and among the rest, a large Polyglott Bible. We conversed awhile, and I said, Brother Clarke, you have a nice collection of books, but what can you do with them? How do you command time to use them? On our circuits, where we have so much to do, I find it difficult to keep the doors open that have been opened; and sufficiently hard to retain anything I know of the languages. How will you do?" Mr. Clarke smiled, and said, "I will do as well as I can." Mr. Moor was aware, and therefore told it in his conversations respecting his early friend, that he obtained "all his learning by redeeming the time."
Wherefore, it has been demanded, should a man encumber himself with twenty thousand volumes, when a hundred will answer every purpose, and be full as many as he can digest? The inquirer knows not that even a hundred are necessary, -- if the endless writers of idle imagination and vain disputation are excluded: but choose works with taste and deliberation, and then twenty thousand will not be deemed sufficient for the bibliomanist. The great secret is, be libraries large or small, to know how to make good use of them. The only imperishable monuments of men, are letters; they are not only the foundation of all, but they out-live all others.
Literary pursuits necessarily led Mr. Clarke into other society than that which was strictly Wesleyan. It was here, in the city of Bristol, that Humphrey Davy, Robert Southey, and Adam Clarke, met for the first and last time, at the house of a friend, where they spent the evening; -three men, comparatively young, destined to arrive at considerable celebrity, though in different departments of study: the first, like Bacon in thought, striking out a new path for science to walk in -- illustrating the volume of nature; the second, in history and poetry, giving immortality to man in his mightiest deeds, and soaring in all the beauties of imagination; and the third, as a linguist, a critic, and a divine, elucidating the oracles of God. Little did Southey, then in the midst of the buddings of his poetic genius, think that he should ever become the biographer of the venerable Wesley  -- just then in mellow age, and like autumn fruit, about to drop off the tree; and as little did Adam Clarke imagine, that, in some of his own productions, he should ever cross the path of the poet, to dispute the propriety of some of his positions. Yet so it was; the men who met in the social circle were destined to engage each other, -- though temperately, at the point of the pen, particularly in the case of Mrs. Hall, in the "Wesley Family."
In directing attention to the ministerial progress of Mr. Clarke, it will be seen that, qualified in an especial manner by the soundness and perspicuity of his arguments, the seasonableness of his advices, and the modesty and firmness with which he proposed and maintained truth, for gaining the confidence of the multitudes to whom he preached, his success became increasingly great, and to his own mind delightfully encouraging. The spirit in which his work was prosecuted will best appear by affording to the reader some extracts selected from minutes in his own handwriting, describing, in his peculiarly vivid and energetic style, a portion of his work, and the success by which it was attended.
He records, "I set out for Westbury, walked thither and preached with great liberty to a large attentive congregation. At five I preached at the room, and the Lord gave me an hour's work of very convincing speech: I felt in my soul that much good was done. I may not know to what extent, but this the Lord has favored me with, a notorious sinner was thoroughly convinced, and has since been earnestly wrestling with God, that he may escape eternal fire. Glory be to Thee, O God! I then met the society, and spoke all my mind; the lazy rich I did not spare. On Monday morning, I had at five o'clock such a congregation as I think I never saw in Bristol; several of the great folks too were hearing for life; these things are tokens for good. Our friends tell me there is a great stir all round Bristol; in such a large place it cannot be so palpable as in a smaller, but thank God -this is no matter -- glory, glory to God and the Lamb!"
The following Sabbath he says, -- "I preached at Donkerton to a very simple pleasing people, and God was particularly in the midst: at noon and at night -- in Bath, God gave me liberty, and I have no doubt much good was done. I had one soul for my hire at the last preaching; such a power from on high rested on all as I have seldom seen; God seemed to have given the people into my hand. The congregations in Bath are much quickened, and there is a glorious prospect of an abundant harvest."
The following record of a week's work will afford a good view (in addition to what has already been given) of early Methodism. "I am almost wrought out with riding about, preaching, meeting classes, &c.; yesterday I rode from Bath to Bristol, and back again this morning -- met five classes and preached once, -- have yet to preach twice, and meet six classes: tomorrow morning I return to Bristol, as we begin to meet classes at six in the morning, and continue with short intervals the whole of the day -- and this continuing till the latter end of the week; but blessed be God I feel willing to spend and be spent in the prosecution and fulfillment of such a work as this! I am almost totally exhausted for the present."
The additional duties of the Christmas season coming, in immediate conjunction with the labor of meeting the classes, left Mr. Clarke now much of an invalid; yet we perceive no relaxation of labor, no flagging in the extraordinary energy of his devoted spirit: "I went," he observes to a friend, about this time, "last Sunday to Kingswood, preached twice, gave an exhortation, and met nine classes; and from thence to Guinea-Street chapel, where I preached, met the society, and gave tickets to one class.
On another occasion, he observes, "At seven in the morning I met the Bridge-Street society, and gave an exhortation: then preached at Guinea-Street: thence to Westbury, where I preached at two o'clock, and gave tickets: then back to Bristol, -- fatigued and wet, -- preached at five, and met the society: the next morning at five, preached again, and then rode to the Marsh, where, scarcely able to speak, I preached again, and gave tickets: from Marsh the next morning back to Pensford, -from thence to Clutton, -- through a severe tempest, wet to the skin: Thursday to Kingswood -preached at five, and returned home to assist Mr. Hodgson to hold a watch-night at Bristol, but was scarcely able to move for more than an hour after I got home. I at length went to lend some aid, and brother Hodgson and I held on, till about eleven o'clock, when we made an apology for retiring, -- exhorting as many as we conveniently could, to remain, and sing and pray in the new year; -- though preaching had begun at seven o'clock, scarcely a soul attempted to go away: we left them, and one or two went to prayer.
"Just as I was passing to my bed-room, I thought I would go to the lobby window, and take a last view of them, at which moment one of the singers was giving out a hymn; I thought, the meeting will close for lack of persons to pray, I will go down: Mr. H. at that moment joined me, and advised me not; I hesitated a moment, but finding my soul drawn out in pity to the multitudes, I said, I will go down in the name of the Lord; -- Mr. Hodgson would not be left behind. I had before felt much of the power of God, but now it was doubled; we continued singing, and praying, and exhorting, until half-past twelve o'clock, -- during which time, strong prayers, cries, and tears, bore testimony to the present power of God. How excellent the Lord is, in working! How wondrous in his ways of mercy! Lord, I am thine, save Thou me! I am willing to breathe my last breath in Thy work. For some time past, the Lord has been affording me unusual discoveries of the eternal world, -- I feel it, in an inexpressible manner, in and about me, -
'Take my body, spirit, soul, Only Thou possess the whole.'
"The day will come," says a deeply thoughtful writer, "when it will be better to have preached one useful sermon, than to have had the fee-simple of the solar system." Mr. Wesley's attestation in favor of the zeal of the preachers and the fruit of their ministry among the people, is admirably borne out by the above exhibition of successful labor. Mr. Clarke's colleague, Mr. H., was a man of exalted character; generous, humble, and devout; possessed of considerable information, and by the sweetness of Spirit with which he diffused the truth abroad, recommended his message to the hearts and understandings of the people: between these "true yoke fellows" there was but one grand object, one holy impulse, and one method in its accomplishment, -- "We preach Christ crucified;" -- and, in numerous instances, it became the power of God to salvation, among the multitudes to whom it was thus fervently, fully, and affectionately proclaimed.
Mr. Hodgson was a man who consecrated his knowledge to the Christian pulpit, and this led Mr. Clarke to esteem him the more highly as a Christian minister. In a conversation with a friend who brought his knowledge of agriculture to bear upon different subjects of discussion by way of illustration, he observed; "There were two preachers in our connection, both of whom I knew, Mr. J. Mason and Dr. Kershaw, as he was called, who had acquired a good stock of knowledge; the one being well skilled in botany, the other in anatomy and medicine: yet their acquirements were perfectly useless so far as regarded their preaching; they never brought them in to elucidate a single subject, or to enlarge the views of their hearers, or to lead them to God the fountain of light, and the Creator of all things."
This was considered a serious defect by him, and it could not be otherwise felt, as he invariably rendered his own information, where at all practicable and proper, subservient to the best interests of religion. He observed, that, while upon the Plymouth-Dock circuit,  he laid in a considerable stock of useful knowledge, which was under constant contribution to his ministerial labors; that knowledge had been accumulating, yet, with all this exertion, he felt, at times, a harassing sense of what he termed his insufficiency for the effective discharge of the duties in which he was engaged. This will be evident from the following notes in his own handwriting, now lying before the writer:-
"Of the trials of a preacher, none can form an adequate idea: indeed, to me, the science seems not only very extensive, but very complex; I am in the school, and find a new lesson to learn daily, but God is still with, and instructs me, and on that account there is the less delay in learning."
Two or three additional notices will show, not only the spirit of Mr. Clarke, but the occasion of some future movements. He observes, "I am earnestly entreated to go to Ireland, next Conference. A proposal is made that the kingdom shall constitute three grand Methodist divisions, and three persons be appointed as general inspectors and regulators: I am to be one, if I will go; several motives are suggested in order to persuade me to this; but I fear in my present state of health, this would answer no valuable end."
As Mr. Wesley had made the tour of Ireland the preceding year, it is not improbable that the propriety of the above plan had suggested itself to him, being originated by observations made at that time, assisted by conversations with the preachers assembled in the Irish Conference. As Mr. Clarke was a native of the island, and held in high esteem for his wisdom and piety by the great leader of the body, it was perfectly natural he should be selected as one of the "general inspectors."
In the prosecution of exercises such as we have been delightfully contemplating, the year wore away, and the subject of this history had again to separate himself from a circle of friends, and a scene of duties, consecrated by the purest affections, and the holiest associations: the present field of labor was, in the economy of Methodism, now closing in reference to him, and the object of Mr. Wesley's wish, a station in Ireland, was about to be carried into effect. Two incidents, however, before we follow him to Dublin, may be noticed, one connected with Mr. Wesley, and the other with his ministry in the Bristol circuit.
No man ever held the person and character of the founder of Methodism in higher estimation than he did; he was full of anecdote respecting him: some of his relations were the result of personal observation, some furnished by Mr. Wesley himself, and others received from his contemporaries: to which of these sources to attribute the following one, communicated by Mr. Clarke, cannot be determined; but it is in perfect keeping with the character and habits of the British tar. [tar 2 n. colloq. a sailor. Etymology abbr. of tarpaulin -- Oxford Dict.]
"Mr. Wesley," said he, "was traveling by coach, and the outside being full, a sailor took an inside birth; at every stage he regaled himself with rum; on one occasion he offered the glass to Mr. Wesley, saying, as he held it towards him, -- 'Here, old boy, lay hold of that.' Mr. Wesley politely declined taking any; 'what you won't have it then?' said Jack, with a look in which pity and contempt were conjoined: it was again, with equal politeness, refused. 'Hand it then,' returned Jack, 'to that there fellow a-head,' -- meaning the driver."
Mr. Clarke was ever attentive to those delicacies which contribute to the happiness of social life, and it was therefore usual for him to present, upon fitting occasions, those mementos which not only rivet old friendships, but prepare the way for the introduction of graver and more important subjects. He, on one such occasion, presented to two females a small golden ornament; and willing to please them by the gift itself, and at the same time to impress them with the necessity of industry in connection with the blessings of providence, he said to them; "There are many little things associated with these trifles, that are interesting; I purchased these articles from a person in Bristol. He was young, and by trade a watch-maker, when I joined him with the society: he subsequently became a silver-smith, -- God blessed him, and consequently he prospered. He has a son, whom I baptized, and who has now become a Methodist preacher; you see," he added, "that even little things lead to various and deeply interesting recollections."
Immediately on reaching Dublin, Mr. Clarke wrote to advertise his friends and relatives of the safety of himself and family.
"My very dear Sister, -- On Tuesday morning we left our kind friends at Birmingham. After a very romantic journey through North Wales, we came to Conway, an ancient fortified town, on an arm of the sea, where there is a beautiful castle, the walls of which are nearly entire. Here we lodged agreeably for the night, and yesterday morning set off for Holyhead. Seventeen miles from Conway, we came to Bangor Ferry, after crossing which, we found ourselves on the famous island of Anglesea -- formerly Mona, the celebrated habitation of the ancient Druids. I was desirous of seeing some of their monuments, but had not the pleasure, as the land was everywhere cultivated near the road. Through mercy, we arrived safely at Holyhead, and had just time to give the children a little food before we went on board the packet. We had scarcely any wind in our favor when we set off, but in a short time, a very gentle breeze sprung up; the sea was perfectly calm; there was scarcely any motion in the vessel; and, to our great astonishment, we found ourselves in Dublin Bay this morning about six: but through various delays of boats, &c., we did not reach the shore till eleven. A lodging was provided for us, in consequence of our house not being ready. This is all I can write at present. This day eight years, was the one upon which I landed in England! The Lord Jesus be with you! I am yours, with all affection, -- ADAM CLARKE."
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