Although Dr. Clarke was not disposed to talk in every company in which his public character demanded his presence, yet, when a celebrated author was named, or reference made to literary merit, it was no ordinary treat to be with him. On one occasion, at a subsequent period, a book was referred to, which on some peculiar point was deemed not orthodox, although in the main a work of merit. A friend present, knowing the Doctor's dislike to the author, interrupted the observations, by quoting one of Shakespeare's splendid passages: "There," said Dr. C., "take that; your author ought to have had a little of such leaven, to have kept his work from putrefaction." This observation led to the inquiry, whether Mr. Wesley had not written notes on Shakespeare? "I had intended," returned Dr. C., "to have reserved that fact for my Life of Mr. Wesley, should I write one, but you, (addressing the writer,) shall have it now, and you may publish it if you choose. What Mr. Wesley attempted, could scarcely be called notes, though occasionally he appended some remarks; his object being to select such parts as he deemed correct in moral sentiment, and beautiful in thought and expression; -- thus coming under the class of what would be termed "Beauties of Shakespeare:" in this state of preparation, he laid aside the work, and in this state it was, when subsequently destroyed by Mr. Pawson, with other papers, before Mr. W's. MSS. were, agreeably to Will, placed in the hands of Mr. Henry Moore."
"Am I to understand, then, Doctor," demanded the writer, "that you do not class Mr. Wesley with the commentators and critics of the great dramatist, but rather associate him with Bowdier in his Family Shakespeare?" "Yes," was rejoined, "but with the difference of Mr. W's. work being still more of an abridgment." Upon the "Julius Caesar"  being named, Dr. C. observed, in reference to the hero of the play, -- "I have always considered him as a blot on the Roman history. There is something in human nature which is ever aspiring after power; but when it becomes a passion, its desires are insatiable; its foot must be upon the neck of all opposition, until men degrade themselves to the servility of spaniels, or the unresisting stupidity of asses, so that a curb is necessary for such men, -- operating in the way of a check or counteraction," abundant instances of which were now suggesting themselves to the Doctor's own mind. One capital error in the policy of Julius Cæsar is affirmed to have been, his neglecting to make any constitutional changes after he had become master of the empire. Like others, he clung to names long after the realities which they represented had disappeared, and he seems to have been startled by shadows after having destroyed the substance.
Dr. Clarke was greatly impressed with the genius of Shakespeare, and a warm admirer of the most excellent portions of his writings; in this taste, he was fully borne out by his venerable friend, Mr. Wesley, -- as sufficiently indicated by his intended abridgment of the Dramatic Works of our first of English bards. A genius of a far different order, but of equally distinctive character, next engaged attention; -- the author of the Pilgrim's Progress. Though Dr. C. was fully decided in reference to the talent of Bunyan, and a warm admirer of his genius, yet he could not accord to him the credit for originality ceded by other great names; -- he was of opinion that Barnard's allegory, entitled, "The Isle of Man;" or, "Proceedings in Manshire," (published in 1627,) and the exquisite poem of Spencer, fancifully enough denominated, "The Fairie Queene," gave birth not only to the Pilgrim's Progress, but to the Holy War; (to the latter especially;) and that while the imagery, the coloring, the language, and the truly evangelical direction given to the whole, were entirely and exclusively Bunyan's, he thought it would be an easy task to draw a parallel between the works above named and those of Bunyan, pointing out, on the way, several corresponding passages.
Notwithstanding this deduction from Bunyan's originality, he considered him as divinely fitted for extraordinary usefulness; -- his natural powers being of no common order, as recipients of influence, qualifying him to be either a wide-wasting plague, or a general blessing; then increasing in vividness of feeling and fervency of manner, the Doctor added, -- "But the man served God in his generation; his works praise him in the gates; and his name will live forever!" Quoting after this the following lines,
"It came from mine own heart; so to my head, And thence into any fingers trickled! Then to my pen, from whence immediately On paper I did dribble it daintily,"
he said, "these comprise the best definition of a ready, off-hand writer I have seen, either in prose or verse."
It may be further remarked, that Dr. Clarke intended writing the life of Bunyan; but finding other work pressing upon him, he resigned the task into the hand of his then young friend, the Rev.
D. McNicoll. One somewhat curious -- if not stray thought, was cherished by Dr. Clarke, which may be useful as a warning to versifiers, not to venture on any large work without due deliberation. "I shall beg leave," said he, in giving publicity to it, "to express an opinion, (which has indeed the form of a wish in my mind,) that the Pilgrim's Progress would be more generally read, and more abundantly useful to a particular class of readers, were it turned into decent verse. The whole of the dialogue and description might be preserved perfect and entire; and the task would not be difficult, as the work has the complete form of an epic poem, the lack of versification alone excepted; but a poet, and a poet only, can do this work; and such a poet too, as is experimentally acquainted with the work of God on his own soul. Even a laureate, if unconverted, would fail here; and a poetaster [poetaster n. a paltry or inferior poet.], however pious, would degrade the sublime though rugged original." It is not difficult to perceive, that while he expresses his "wish," he awes away the mere adventurer; allowing "a poet only," to approach; -- one of the last persons in the world to enter upon the work, as his genius would tempt him to strike out a path of his own. It is a curious fact, however, that between twenty and thirty years subsequently to the expression of the wish, we find it realized, in the form of an epic poem, entitled, "Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress converted into an Epic Poem, by C. E. V. G." Highly as we appreciate the Doctor's opinions, and deeply as we sympathize in his tastes, we can by no means echo this wish of his; -- feeling strongly with a certain critic, that The Pilgrim's Progress wants no re-writing, and least of all, in verse; and for this reason; -- that every author reads best in his own words and style, -- there being so much in every original writer belonging to the spirit of his meaning, and the characteristics of his genius, that the alteration of a single phrase, or even sometimes of a word, is injurious. This is illustrated in the modern versions of Chaucer; it would be intolerable if practiced upon Burns; and though we find the old Romaunts in all shapes, -- the same story existing both in prose and verse, in Saxon, French, Italian, &c., it will be found by those who have curiosity enough to make the trial, that the perpetration upon Bunyan, already alluded to, will be just as agreeable to the general taste, as Milton's Paradise Lost, turned into prose by Dr. Gillies!
Cases were frequently occurring, in which the aptitude of Dr. Clarke for converting every thing available for instruction to his single purpose of diffusing knowledge was manifested. Having had occasion to attend a meeting of the magistrates, a case of dispute was brought before them. A woman who appeared as witness in behalf of her bad neighbor, perceiving that judgment was going against her, took her friend by the arm, exclaiming, "Come along, I told you, you would get neither law nor justice in this place." "Here, constable," said one of the magistrates, (who was as much an honor to his high function as he was to human nature,) "take that woman and lodge her in Bridewell, that she may know there is both law and justice in this place." "In this act," observed the Doctor, "the magistrate proved he had the power implied in the name, by thus summarily executing the duties of his office, -- the title and the power being in combination. An admirable illustration of that portion of Scripture which states, that the Supreme Being was known to the Patriarchs by the name of GOD ALMIGHTY; but by the name JEHOVAH he was not known; that is, though the name was known as one of the names of the Author of the Universe, yet what was really implied in it, was not known; I mean its significancy and its power. So the name of the magistrate was known to the woman; but it was only in the exercise of the power wherewith it invested him, that she felt what was implied in his being a magistrate."
Those feelings of friendship which we have already had several opportunities of adverting to, though of a high order, were sometimes toned down by the insincere and ungenerous treatment he now and then met with. On a certain occasion, a man who had made various voluntary professions of regard, attacked him in an anonymous publication; and although the Doctor characterized the attack as "childish," he yet felt it was uncalled for, and, upon being spoken to on the subject, observed, "Jesus Christ never intended that a man should put such a person into his bosom; -- he commands his followers to forgive a brother, 'even until seventy times seven,' but he did not state, that this was the way in which he was to be treated until he had first come to him repenting;" and yet in reference to such persons, various instances will offer themselves in the onward course of the memoir, in which he overcame evil with good. When any such case presented itself, his usual course was, to appear not to notice it, but to proceed on his way, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left. Such rare conduct was seen and marked, and not infrequently brought the delinquent to personal confession, and entreaty for pardon; and the consequence of this line of procedure was, that affection and confidence were restored. Pope has a fine remark upon this species of confession: "A man," he observes, "should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." Hearing one day some expression of dissatisfaction in reference to the existing state of things among the Wesleyan ministers, he said, "I can assure you, my good fellow, you are vastly better off than the brethren were in the early years of my itinerant history. I once saw a good brother setting out for his circuit on horseback; on a pillion [pillion 2 hist. a woman's light saddle. b a cushion attached to the back of a saddle for a usu. female passenger. -- Oxford Dict.] behind him was his wife, with an infant on her lap; while the hollow place between himself and his poor horse's neck, was occupied by a little boy." Thus, happy was he in bringing his varied experience of life to bear upon existing circumstances; nor less so in supplying cautionary hints when danger was apprehended. "Don't do that," said he to a friend who was about to put on a damp traveling cap. "Did you know Thomas Westall, one of the old preachers? he lost his intellect, poor fellow, by putting on a wig damp from a barber's block."
Among his old recollections and associations of Manchester, he mentioned once, in the run of conversation, the name of the Rev. J. Clayton, of the Collegiate Church, in that town, formerly of Brazen-nose College, Oxford, and one of the few students who, in 1732, united with the Wesleys to promote the spiritual interests of their fellow-men. "After his inhibition and proscription," observed the Doctor, (referring to the part Mr. Clayton had acted during the Scotch Rebellion,) "he was called to preach before the Bishop of Chester. He selected for his text the 9th verse of the 39th Psalm; choosing, instead of the regularly authorized version, the passage as it stands in the book of common prayer, (there verse 10,) and reading thus; -- 'I became dumb, and opened not my mouth: for it was THY doing.' This might work two ways, as it was his lordship who both silenced and restored him."
Against this, and all other accommodation-texts, as they are usually styled, Dr. Clarke invariably objected, from the fact of their capability of application to almost every subject. The poverty of biblical knowledge they bespeak in the minister, and the great fondness of the human mind for the display of a little ingenuity in adaptation, made him eschew and denounce them.
"The men who resort to them," he observed, "speak for themselves instead of for God, -bringing their sermons to the text, in place of permitting God to speak for himself, by allowing the sermon to arise out of the text. Young students, especially, should be awed away from such examples; the recital of striking passages from poets, should also be guarded against.
Mr. _____ went to a certain place to preach, when a friend hearing of it, inquired of one of the congregation, -- had you 'The Frantic Soul?' In seven or eight various places of the good minister's preaching, the same question was asked, and the same affirmative returned; so certainly was 'Blair's Frantic Soul,' the invariable companion of Mr. _____. Impressive and beautiful passages may be quoted occasionally, with effect and advantage, but they are generally so hackneyed, that they lose their effect in consequence of their commonness, -- lose it, it is to be presumed, upon the preacher, as well as upon his hearers."
In meeting the classes on the renewal of tickets, Dr. Clarke was sure to break in upon anyone who seemed disposed to avoid a home question, touching upon the present religious state of a member; nor was he more lenient to persons who were fond of giving prominence to any little trial which might have crossed their path; -- the men who were ever verifying, in their impatient dissatisfaction, that fine satire -- Parturient montes, nascétur ridiculus mus. While meeting the classes once at Bristol, in conjunction with Mr. Wesley, he remarked, -" A man was very free in declaring his trials, which seemed to amount to no more than just as though a poor, hungry mouse had stolen off with a crumb of bread from under his table, covered with dainties; on which, commencing immediate pursuit, and the poor thing having escaped with its treasure, he returned, fretted with disappointment, and groaning in anguish at his loss. Mr. Wesley, who at this moment was sitting by my side, placed his mouth to my ear, when the man had ended his tale of small trials, and said, very softly, -- 'This reminds me, Adam, of the man who told a companion, that on one occasion, in crossing a style, he rent his clothes in such a dreadful manner, that the sound was as though heaven and earth were coming together.' 'I thank God, Sir, said another member, 'that God has opened my eyes.' I replied, -- 'Can you thank him, also, that he is keeping them open?'" Thus intimating the difference between present and past experience; or, more properly speaking, enforcing the necessity of continued applications to the same Almighty Being, who had conferred the benefit, that it might be continued.
The Doctor never busied himself with politics, and rarely gave his opinion upon public questions; but he was a true lover of his country, a zealous advocate for our glorious constitution; and when the interests of any of them appeared to be in jeopardy, -- when any national loss had been experienced, or national calamity was portending, -- then his spirit burned within him, and he spake and wrote with all the ardency and zeal of a true and enlightened patriot. The mind which engages itself largely with the spiritual interests of men, is prepared by that impulse, for any species and degree of sympathy in their behalf. In this respect, the higher principle includes the lesser one; and, in accordance with the benevolence of God himself, -- who regards the temporal interests of his creatures, in the provision he has made for their eternal good, -- the Christian will manifest his philanthropy, in his anxiety to promote the welfare of his fellow-beings, by aiding all measures tending to this result. Thus, he is heart and hand with the interests of the country at large; merging petty measures and party politics, in the great question of general and substantial benefit; watching with interest all her counsels; rejoicing in her triumphs, and sympathizing in her seasons of mourning; -- the earnest desire that is felt for the peace and prosperity of Zion, will, in its comparative degree, be exercised for her; and, in one breath, he will pray for the strengthening and establishing of both.
In the position in which Great Britain stood in the year 1806 and 1807, so far as it regarded the threats and ambitious projects of Napoleon Bonaparte, there was much cause for anxiety and alarm; and while "some cried one thing, and some another," it is difficult now to conjecture what would have been the effect of any attempt at negotiation for peace, just at that juncture; -- whether it would have been interpreted into a symptom of weakness; or, whether the French Consul would have seen it his wisdom to have closed in with the offers of a great and invincible nation, cannot now be determined.
Dr. Clarke was among the lovers of peace, as he was among those of his country; and on the death of the Marquis Cornwallis, which occurred about the time of the events which we are now considering, he thus declared himself, in conversation with his valued friend and relative, Mr. Butterworth; -- "From the time in which I heard of the Marquis Cornwallis' death, I was deeply struck with the state of the nation; -- God has now shaken all the pillars of state. If we have not a speedy peace, I shall expect the most oppressive calamities; -- in a time of warfare, everything seems possible to our enemies, -- peace alone, can bestow even temporary security. I know not what ministry we are likely to have, but, humanly speaking, much depends on the choice which shall be made; -- the removal of so many great men, seems a presage of awful calamities." And the following letter to the same gentleman, more fully expresses, in eloquent and earnest terms, his sentiments on this subject.
My very dear Brother, -- I think it no wonder that you feel so deeply impressed with the state of public affairs; -- it is really awful, and every man is a Job's messenger. We must have PEACE, or we are a lost nation; -- war ministers, and war members, have almost ruined us. Mr. Pitt would have war; his successors would have war; and see now the catastrophe of this awful business; -- he lived just long enough to see the last convulsive pang of his own system; but the end was not just yet. I once hoped much from such a man as Mr. W.; but he also was for war; and therefore would have no share in building that temple which must be founded by the hands of men of peace! Had he opposed the war system, God, in all probability, would have made him the instrument of destroying the slave trade; but while he pleaded -- ably, vigorously pleaded for the emancipation of the Negroes, 'To arms! to arms!' was the alternate note.  What are we now brought to, through this ruinous, inhuman, and anti-Christian system? Two mighty empires are already lost; [The United States and Canada?] and where are we? Oh! that we had known from the beginning, that our strength was to sit still; then might we have given laws even to all Europe. O may God raise up men of peace among us, and scatter from his majesty's council those who delight in war! I know not what can be done to rouse men to see the necessity of deprecating the wrath of God; there is an apathy -- a strange (God grant it may not be a fatal) unconcern about the judgments that are abroad in the earth. Every one seems amazed at what is doing on the continent; and silent grief, and silent astonishment, seem diffused everywhere; -- thus
"We often see, before a storm-A silence in the heavens; the wreck stands still; The bold wind speechless, and the orb below As hush as death,"
When the French have gotten Hamburg, &c., I consider them at the back door of England; -yet there is a God, if we would put our trust in him, who is a deliverer in all troubles. But where is that national humiliation, which can alone recommend us to the attention of a just and merciful judge? Individuals who trust in God, shall ever find a place of refuge; but nations, to be saved as nations, must, in this respect, act as individuals; and when the eyes of men, as in the case of the Tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord, then will he encamp around his house, because of him who passeth by, and him who returneth, and the destroyer shall have no power!-
Yours, my dear Brother, very affectionately, -
A. CLARKE. While engaged in social converse, a circumstance was named one day, which led to a portion of the personal history of his brother, which, as a family relic, is worth preserving, independently of some striking circumstances with which it is connected. After stating that he himself had been "cast away" in a storm, he gave the following relation:
"My brother was surgeon on board a large vessel: the captain, who had killed the mate and the cabin boy, was hand-cuffed and confined to the hold. Such was the peril in which the men were placed at last, that my brother, after tying a bag of dollars round his neck, committed himself to a plank, and reached the shore in safety. On the whole of the crew being brought to land, the captain, to save himself, swore that my brother, together with the second mate, and some others, mutinied on board the vessel.
"The dollars, which might have proved hazardous to life, were now of service, to enable him to fee the counsel employed on the occasion. Among a variety of other questions, which the counsel asked, one was, -- to what part the crew were conducting the vessel prior to the storm? to which the captain unwittingly replied, 'England.' This was at once fatal to his own side of the question, owing to the improbability of a set of mutineers bringing an English vessel to England, -the last place in the world which they would have selected, from the certainty of exposure and detection; this reply led to the ultimate crimination of the captain.
"The rescue of the dollars from the wreck, bore another providential aspect; for my brother had to commence an action against the owners of the vessel, who resided in London, on their refusing to pay the men their wages; and this suit also, he gained for the men and himself. He was a man," continued the Doctor, "of amazing courage; he feared no danger, -- and yet, was as mild and gentle as a lamb. He did, on one occasion, what few men would have dared. He was entering the port of Liverpool during the American war, when the press-gang was there. The men on board the Tender, fired to bring them to; and on their refusal, fired a second time, -- the ball breaking the gunnel [gunwale -- gunwale n. (also gunnel) the upper edge of the side of a boat or ship. Etymology gun + wale (because formerly used to support guns) -- Oxford Dict.] of the boat, but injuring no one. Still refusing to heave to, the Tender, which was at anchor, sent a boat in chase of them, with a compliment of twenty-five men in it. Just as the vessel entered the harbor, the men belonging to the Tender, boarded her, when the crew defended themselves, with swords, knives, and other weapons; -- finally conquered, tied the hands of their assailants, and committed them to the hold.
"A second boat, belonging to the Tender, hove along side, as the vessel was entering the dock. At that juncture, a man who was loading a cart of flints by the side of the dock, exclaimed, as he was engaged in the work, 'It is a shame to take men, coming in from so long a voyage!' adding, 'if I had liberty, I would soon let them see what I would do.' A Welsh captain, standing by, gave him a significant look, and in less than ten minutes, the whole cart-load of flints disappeared, having been thrown at the press-gang, by the by-standers, maiming some, beating off the remainder, and staving in the boat; the ship's crew making their escape in the interim, and either getting safely housed with their families, or snugly hammocked in the vessels of their friends. Nothing of the kind had been witnessed in Liverpool for half a century."
To this, and his own treatment on coming to England, might be traced his [Adam Clarke's] unconquerable aversion to the system of impressment, and his horror of the persons engaged in it. On one occasion, at Liverpool, on having been informed that the captain of the press-gang had been in the chapel, hearing him preach, he quickly replied, -- "How could he expect mercy!" associating in his mind, the man's want of mercy to others; the fact of only the worst, the most heartless, and the most obdurate characters being employed in the work; its unfriendliness to every religious feeling; and the all but impossibility of men being saved in the heat of its ruthless operations.
Early life was often the subject of conversation, when associated with his brother, whose memory was ever dear to him. He said, they used to follow the bee, and that they could find out a wild bee's nest, by a rule in Trigonometry. "Go," said he, "into a garden; take two bees; -- let one of them off at one side of the garden, and watch the direction it takes; let the other off at a part wide of the first, and you will see at what point it goes to the one just escaped; then measure the distance between the parts where you let them off, and you come to the point where they both rest."
Among his juvenile associations of a religious nature, there was one on which he dwelt with strong feeling, and to which he adverted, when addressing the son of an old friend, -- his want of decision of character in boyhood: "It is now upwards of twenty-three years," he observed, "since I had the pleasure of seeing either you or your brother, -- but I have often thought of, and prayed for you both; and was highly gratified on being informed by Mrs. H. a few days ago, that you had gotten into the path of salvation. Oh, my dear friend, what an inexpressible blessing it is to be on God's side, and to have him for our friend! -- I sought and found the Lord at a very early period of my life, and yet I have often mourned because I did not seek him sooner: I have sung, and wept while singing,
'Ah, why did I so late thee know, Thee, lovelier than the sons of men! Ah, why did I no sooner go To Thee, the only ease in pain! Asham'd I sigh, and inly mourn, That I so late to thee did turn.'
And yet I was among God's people as soon almost as my age would permit; but as I had felt strong drawings towards heavenly things when but eight years of age, I know that from that time I was capable of knowing, loving, and serving my Maker. What a mercy it is, that you and I are now in his fold! May God keep us both steady."
He then turned to the present, anxious that a goodly superstructure should rise on the base which had been laid. "Well, my dear friend, abide in him, that when he shall appear, you may see him as he is. Pray much in private: without this, you will find it utterly impossible to keep yourself in the love of God. No soul that prays much in private, ever falls: apostasy from God can never begin till private prayer is either carelessly used, or abandoned. Read the blessed book of God; -let his testimonies be your counselors, and let the matter of them be your song in the night. Keep closely united to God's people. Do not omit one class-meeting even in the year, if you can possibly avoid it. I have been now a traveling preacher upwards of twenty-four years, and yet I feel class-meeting as necessary now, as I did when I began: you may think it strange to hear that I meet regularly once a week, and have done so for years. I find it a great privilege to forget that I am a preacher, and come with simple heart to receive instruction from my leader. -- Look for a full salvation. Get every temper and desire brought into the will of God. Do not live without the witness of the Spirit. Carry Christ about with you, and recommend him to all with whom you have any intercourse or connection. -- Give my love to your parents: your mother was a kind mother to me when I was little more than a child."
"Read the blessed book of God," was iterated and reiterated, to himself and others; and when anything either directly or remotely led to it, or stamped it with value in the esteem of his fellow-men, he could say, "Herein I do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." "Are you acquainted," he inquired of a friend, "with Flavel's 'Navigation Spiritualized?' That man has written some good things, but he is too diffuse: his lines on the Compass, to which he compares the word of God -though homely, contain some excellent truths." Then repeating them, as suitable to his purpose, in recommending the Bible as a "sure guide to heaven," and citing at the same time, portions of some Greek and Latin Odes, bearing on the same subject, he next adverted to "The poor sailors," in Dr. Watts' piece, entitled, "The Day of Judgment attempted in English Sapphic," which he considered feeble when compared with other poetic compositions from the same pen. Opposed, as it will have been perceived he was, to what is termed spiritualizing in the pulpit, he was much more inclined to tolerate Flavel than Keach, the one embracing an entire subject, like Bunyan, and only establishing his positions by appropriate passages of Scripture, while the other, in many instances, compelled the word of God to speak a language which the Holy Ghost never intended.
To all interpretations of Scripture which seemed to affect the vitals of Christianity, he affixed the broad seal of his disapprobation. The doctrine of "Universal Restoration," as held by Winchester, Vidler, and others, was at this time making some progress in different parts of the south of England: but setting aside their arguments as futile, he, by way of diminishing their stature as divines, enlisted Burns into their ranks, and placed him at the head of them, as "giving utterance to one of the finest things" he "ever met with in favor of the salvation of the devil;" quoting, in the Scotch dialect, which he could well imitate, -
"But fare ye weel, auld Nickie-ben! O wad ye tak a thought an' men'! Ye aiblins might -- I dinna ken -Still hae a stake! I'm wae to think upo' yon den, E'en for your sake!"
But while the Universalists advance their opinions with an air of certainty, Burns is modest, tender, and in doubt, showing, in fact, that he was not a believer in the doctrine to which his wayward fancy had given birth in song.
On looking at the other extreme, which restricts the mercy of God, he observed, when Clarke's "Medulla Theologiæ; or, Marrow of Divinity," was in question, -- "It is sound Calvinism from beginning to end."
The subject varying, and some stanzas being quoted by a friend, from a Cumberland versifier, one of the lines of which led to the subject of alliteration, Dr. Clarke adverted to the alliterative manner of Pierce Plowman; quoting his opening lines, and also the following from Milton,-
"The sound of the slow and sullen roar."
Asking for a copy of the verses cited, he subjoined, "Some of our best poets, of the old school, occasionally wrote for the sake of sound, though not forgetting to combine sense with it. Take," continued he, "an example from Homer, where sense and sound are wonderfully expressed, both in the words chosen, and in their quantity. I refer to him, where Meriones is sent by Agamemnon, with men and mules, to bring wood to burn the body of Patroclus, who had been slain by Hector. The roughness of the ground passed over, and the action of the mules trotting over the ground, sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes cross-ways, are all inimitably expressed in the following line...
By Cowper, it is,-
'Much uneven space They measured, hill and dale, right onward now: And now circuitous.'
Pope is as follows;-
'First march the heavy mules, securely slow, O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er craggs, o'er rocks they go.'
Not one of these properly expresses the motion of the original,--
Polla d'ananta, katanta, parantate, dochmia, t'elthon.
You may trot over the same ground, in verse of your own making.
The next instance may be taken from Virgil, Æn. 8, 1. 596, where the poet describes the troops of Evander, under the direction of his son Pallas, going to assist Æneas against the Rutulians, and their leader Turnus. They issue with great spirit from the gate, and take the nearest way to the seat of war; and the line describes in sound, the trotting and galloping of the steeds:
'Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum.'
A critic will tell you, 'that the numbers of this verse imitate the prancing of the steeds.' Pitt translates it,-
'Loud shouts arise; the thundering coursers bound Through clouds of dust, and paw the trembling ground.'
This is tame enough, and Dryden is not much better:
'The neighing coursers answer to the sound, And shake with horny hoofs the solid ground.' It may be added, that Davidson, in his prose, has gained but little on his predecessors;-
'The horny hoof of the horse, beats with prancing din the moldering plain.'
It must be granted that the original itself, gives more sound than sense."
On another occasion, he observed, half playfully and half seriously, -- "The more we read the Iliad and the Odyssey, the greater appears the plausibility of old Bentley's opinion -- that Solomon was the author of them." To this, the writer interposed the author's familiarity with the mythology of the Greeks, -- a subject with which Solomon could scarcely be supposed to be so nicely and extensively conversant. The Dr. replied in the same mood, -- "That is an argument for it: they must have been written after his departure from God, when it was an easy matter with him to change the Jehovah of the Bible into the Jupiter of the Greeks, with his retinue of deities; Solomon and his wives having a knowledge of the whole range of them."
Adverting to the soporific effect of intense cold, he spoke with grateful feeling of a young man who had saved his life, during his residence in the Norman Isles; -- he said, "I had an opportunity of meeting the kindness, in after years, by discharging some debts which he had contracted, and so releasing him from prison, and returning him to his motherless children."
"That was noble of you, Doctor," said a friend.
"Not so," he returned; "we are sometimes glad to find a fellow-creature, from whom we have received good, or by whom we have been laid under obligation, in circumstances to enable us to quit scores, so that selfishness is often at the foundation:-- 'however, I only relieved him he saved my life!"
The period of his Presidency now drawing to a close, he attended the Conference, (1807) which was held at Liverpool, during the sittings of which, several important subjects were discussed, in which he took a principal part: one of these will appear in the following extract from the Minutes of Conference:-
"What can be further done to improve the condition of the superannuated preachers and widows in our Connection? Answer. As it is well known that the whole of the provision which can be afforded by the fund for the support of superannuated preachers and widows, is not sufficient to provide them with even the necessaries of life, we recommend to the attention of all our opulent friends, a plan laid before us by brother Clarke, which we desire may be published, with as much speed as possible, in the Magazine."
While the plan itself -- (an asylum for the ministers in the decline of life,) spoke the benevolence of Dr. Clarke's heart, and the sanction of the Conference decided on its wisdom, the financial state of the body was such at the time as to prevent the project being carried into effect.
Another institution dear to his heart, was the British and Foreign Bible Society, in whose cause he had labored so successfully. "How can the Conference of the Methodist Connection," it is asked, on the same page of the Minutes, "best testify the lively interest which they, in common with the whole Christian world, cannot but feel for the success of the British and Foreign Bible Society, lately established in London? Answer. Let public collections be made in our principal congregations through all the circuits in Great Britain, for the support of this excellent institution, and transmitted to brother Clarke."
This resolution having been carried into effect, the benevolence of the Wesleyan body has been permanently fixed on the pages of the Society's History by the Rev. John Owen: "A splendid part," he observes, "of the augmentation of the society's funds for this year was formed by the aggregate collections made through the several congregations of the Connection of the late Rev. John Wesley, amounting to £1300. Of the Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke, through whom the munificent donation was transmitted, something has already been said in another place; but the introduction of a subject in which the liberality of the body of Christians with whom he stands particularly connected, is mentioned, affords a convenient opportunity of bearing testimony to their friendly regard for the prosperity of the institution. This disposition was particularly manifested in the year 1807, when, on an application from the British and Foreign Bible Society, their Conference permitted Dr. Clarke to remain in the metropolis, from which, by their regulations, he must otherwise have been removed; and thereby continued to the society those literary services, the loss of which would have been severely and injuriously felt." 
At the preceding Conference, Dr. Clarke, Dr. Coke, and Mr. Benson, were appointed to draw up a Digest or Form, expressive of the Methodist doctrines, with a sufficiency of texts of Scripture to explain them respectively; and with extracts out of Mr. Wesley's works, to prove that everything before advanced, exactly coincided with his judgment and public declarations. These articles were accordingly drawn up, and, on being printed in a pamphlet, 8vo., a copy was sent to the chairman of each district, when the several districts took the various articles into serious consideration. A press of business, however, prevented the present Conference from entering more largely upon the subject. This being the first Conference held in Liverpool, it was gratifying to the ministers to find, that they were kindly received and entertained, that the three large chapels were invariably crowded with hearers, and that a special influence attended the word preached.
Dr. Clarke delivered a discourse on Luke xxiv, 4, 5, which, in the Memoirs of Mrs. Budgett, is said to have been attended with great unction. He was appointed a third year for the metropolis, and now stood for what was designated the "New Chapel."
On his return to London, he entered upon his various duties with renewed vigor. Independently of his labors as a Wesleyan preacher, his literary works excited no small astonishment; one of the popular reviews of the day, leaving on record the following memorial of his industry: "Dr. Clarke surprises us with the variety and magnitude of his labors. With that maturity of judgment, the result of long experience, which always directs his attention to objects of great utility, he unites the ardor even of youth in the execution of his designs. Amidst incessant engagements, he appears to the public as if he had only to remain in his study to write for their instruction."
But the interests of internal religion kept pace with the interests of literature. "Be much," said he to one of his brethren in the ministry, whom he took occasion to address at this time -- "be much in private prayer -- avoid the company of young women -- shun tea-drinking visits -- rise early -- be punctual in all your engagements -- never disappoint a congregation -- meet the societies everywhere -- encourage the people to meet in band -- preach a full salvation -- exhort those who are justified to look for deliverance from all sin NOW -- live for eternity, for behold it is at hand!"
It is generally known, that about the commencement of this year, Dr. Clarke accepted the office of principal librarian to a literary institution formed under the denomination of "The Surrey Institution," now no longer in existence. It was thought by his friends generally, but more especially by Mr. Butterworth, who watched over the interests of his relative with the anxious concern of a brother, that this situation would afford congenial relief for awhile, from those accumulated duties, under the weight of which, his health was declining. With this impression, Mr.
B. strongly urged upon the Doctor to allow himself to be put in nomination for the office, kindly assuring him, that all trouble and concern, touching the election, &c., should be upon himself. The following extracts from the correspondence between the two gentlemen on the subject, will be more satisfactory than any statement of our own. The first communication from the Doctor, in reply to Mr. B's proposition, will show his strong feeling on the general principle of soliciting public offices. May 24th, 1808.
VERY DEAR BROTHER, -- Whether I propose myself for librarian to the Surrey Institution, or permit another to do so, is nearly the same thing. It is a fixed principle with me never to be a candidate for any public office either in church or state, and from this I have never swerved. My heart is in every literary institution; -- I believe they are all ordered in the Divine providence. Perhaps I am as well qualified in many respects, for the office of librarian, as I am for any of those I now fill. I must continue in London another year on the Record business; and must necessarily employ a part of my time in some other study: were I to engage in the Surrey Institution, I am satisfied it never could be according to the rule laid down in their bye-laws; and I am equally well satisfied, that no man who is qualified for the office, would ever accept it on those terms; -- the framers of that law knew nothing of the nature of the work.
I must here be permitted to express a suspicion, that, as there were two parties in this business, and one of them is now ousted, whatever officers shall be chosen by the present managers, may have their way made very unpleasant, by those who are disappointed in their expectations of bringing in their own friends. Upon this point, I have only to say to you, that I have never meddled in any party-matters, -- in church, in state, or in civil life. -- I am, my very dear Brother, yours affectionately, -- A. CLARKE.
The Doctor was of course elected; -- remained in the office ten months, and then resigned it, peremptorily refusing any remuneration for his services, -- being constituted, however, honorary librarian by the managers, for the double purpose of testifying their high respect for his character and gratitude for his services, as well as for the purpose of still binding him to the interests of the institution, to which he continued to lend his support and counsel. A second extract from the correspondence, will show the high motive by which he was actuated in the acceptance of office, even for "the shortest possible time:" "As to the Surrey Institution business," he observes, "it has done me more harm than all other matters put together, but I saw a struggle to cast out an awful heresy, in which struggle the prevailing parties exerted themselves to the utmost against the growing evil, without having any eye to my interest, or even knowing my name. All that affected me in the business, was merely collateral; -- though the Socinian managers were cast out, the victory was not complete, for if a Socinian librarian got in, all the labor was lost. I was thought of by several who were strangers to my person, and knew nothing of your wish. When some of the principal managers waited upon me, and pressed me either to become a candidate, or promise to accept it, I said, among other things, -- 'I cannot absolutely engage. I know not what my brethren may do with me.' One gentleman said, with great emotion, -- 'Then all our labor is lost, for if you do not come forward in some way or other, Cotes, the Socinian, will get in.' I was grieved to see so much apparently dependent upon me, and replied, -- 'Suppose I accepted it, could I with 'propriety give it up in a short time?' The answer was, -- 'Accept it, should it be for the shortest possible time, for by so doing, the Socinian power will be completely broken.' I believe not a man in the management of that institution ever designed to make me a prime object in the business, but to serve the institution through me; and in this they acted perfectly right. But the object these persons had in view, you say, cannot now be accomplished, because I have promised next year to be at the disposal of my brethren. Have you forgotten, my brother, that the librarian can, at the utmost, be sure of his station only for one year? Does not one of the bye-laws say, that 'he is removable at the will of the managers?' And is there not a fresh election of the managers annually? And is there not a cabal [cabal n. 1 a secret intrigue. 2 a political clique or faction. 3 hist. a committee of five ministers under Charles II, whose surnames happened to begin with C, A, B, A, and L.] in the Surrey? And will they not strive to have in their own managers and their own officers next year? Is not this almost certain, and who would covet the situation on so precarious a tenure? Add to this, -- Is it not in the power of the disappointed party to make the librarian's way extremely unpleasant'? And do not their squibs, already thrown out, show what they will do? -- My situation, I have no doubt, will be an unpleasant one. But is the Surrey Institution likely to suffer if I leave it in twelve months? Mark! I have all the books in both libraries to provide; I have to travel from shop to shop, to examine books, -- to compare the different prices of the same article before I purchase; I have lectures, and the plan of lectures, and even their matter, to arrange; I have to construct the whole machine, and give it its proper momentum and direction; to be incessant in labor, and to employ all my bibliographical and philosophical knowledge in those things; and as I have taken them in hand, I shall do them, if God spare my life."
It was during Dr. Clarke's residence at the house of the Surrey Institution, that his old friend, Alexander Knox, Esq., paid him a visit. The writer well remembers that occasion to have been marked by those circumstances of deep interest, which can wait only upon the meeting of old friends and congenial intellects. The subject of conversation was one, on which both had thought deeply, namely, the points in dispute between Arminians and Calvinists. -- John Wesley was the friend of Knox's youth, and Adam Clarke, at a later period, had the benefit of his acquaintance and correspondence. His parents were Methodists, but he himself lived and died a liberal Churchman. At the period of the union, he was private secretary to Lord Castlereagh; but delicate health, in the first place, and piety, afterwards, induced him to retire from public life, and to devote himself to the cultivation of his mind in religious knowledge. He was a man of deep piety and profound thought, -- one who had the capacity of developing important points of the Christian faith, in classic diction, and with original illustrations. His works, which run through several volumes, consist chiefly of letters, or rather disquisitions [disquisition n. a long or elaborate treatise or discourse on a subject. -- Oxford Dict.], to his various friends, especially to the excellent Dr. Jebb, bishop of Limerick: in them, he discourses upon the National Establishment, the Fathers, &c. In his opinions, there is much that is fanciful and ingenious, -- discovering in deep prophecies references to the National Church, which it is not given to common minds to see with equal clearness.
Whether he may at all have contributed to the pestilent heresy of our day, usually denominated Puseyism, is a question of some delicacy; but a man of ardent piety and deep veneration for the church, if possessing at the same time an ill-regulated judgment, would be likely to be hurried to that extreme point, from the external fopperies [fop n. an affectedly elegant or fashionable man; a dandy. foppery n. Etymology 17th c.: perh. f. earlier fop fool], and intrinsic excesses and errors of which, the sound and healthy intellect of Mr. Knox preserved him. He takes care, and most justly so, to give great prominence to the fact, that internal religion is "the one thing needful;" and we feel, in reading his works, that the spirit and temper of his piety is contagious -that we should dwell in contemplation more upon what Christ, by the influence of the Divine Spirit, does in us now, than what he did for us eighteen hundred years ago; -- personal salvation -though proceeding from, consisting not in the death of Christ, but in the subjugation of sin and the increase of piety in "the inner-man."
Mr. Knox's views of justification are Wesleyan, and so are those in reference to perfection; his early intercourse with Mr. Wesley, unconsciously imbued his mind and tinged his theology; and some of the letters of the latter to him, are quite characteristic of the piety and practical wisdom of that great man.It was also during Dr. Clarke's official connection with the Surrey Institution, that Professor Porson died, who was principal librarian of the London Institution. With this profound scholar he was on terms of intimacy, and visited him a short time previously to his death. Being much affected by the occasion, he wrote "A Narrative of the Last Illness and Death of Professor Porson;" accompanied "with a Facsimile of an Ancient Greek Inscription, which was the chief subject of his last literary conversation." The Doctor observes in reference to this, -- "Several causes have concurred to induce me to lay this memorial before the friends and literary acquaintances of the late Professor Porson. 1st, My high esteem for him as a scholar. 2nd, The desire of his and my friends, who heard of my interview with him, to neither of whom I could refuse any reasonable request. 3rd, The incorrect, not to say false and uncandid, accounts handed about in different daily publications. And 4th, Because his last conversation was with me alone, and the principal subject of it, the annexed Greek inscription, in my possession only."
This highly interesting "Narrative," dated, "Surrey Institution, Oct. 25, 1808," precisely one month after the death of the Professor, was printed with a view only to private circulation; and though now made public, by its appearance in his "Miscellaneous Works," the present writer rejoices in the possession of a presentation copy. "There was not a man of his acquaintance, I think I may safely assert," observed the Doctor, in reference to Porson, "who reverenced him more than I did: every production of his pen, and every conversation I had with him, only served to deepen the conviction in my mind, that he was the greatest scholar of his day. At the same time, I deplored his irregular mode of living, as tending to injure a constitution already sunk low by his obstinate asthma, and to deprive the world of much of the benefit which it might have otherwise derived, from a proper use of his vast talents and erudition. Even by his comparatively partial exertions, the republic of letters has been enriched and dignified; and from his papers many invaluable remains may be expected. As a scholar, his name is imperishable; and as a critic, his memory will be revered to the latest revolutions of time."
Dr. Clarke's successor in the institution was the Rev. T. H. Home., author of "An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures;" -- a man who has done immense service, in this work, to the cause of biblical literature.
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