The publication of the first part of Dr. Clarke's Commentary excited, as might be expected, much noise in the biblical world. It was criticized without mercy, and almost without end. The small fry of reviewers fastened upon his hypothesis concerning the nature of the animal which was made the Devil's instrument in the temptation of Eve; and, to this day, the notion, that, instead of' being a serpent, it was a creature of the ape or satyrus kind, is sufficient to make them merry. Dr. Clarke, like the mastiff in the fable, allowed these curs to bark till they were hoarse, and never condescended to answer any of his opponents, save one or two, whose objections bore the semblance of' resting upon a solid basis. He did not advance his opinion as an article of faith, or a touchstone of orthodoxy; but contented himself with asking the same liberty of thinking which he conceded to others: and yet, if he had endeavored to set up an ecclesiastical court without appeal, or to kindle the fires of Smithfield, he could not have been assailed with more rancor. But, for the most part, it was noise and fury, signifying nothing. While many confidently predicted that a work which started with such an absurdity would never succeed, some of whom have lived to endure the mortification of disappointed malice and humbled presumption, there were others who adopted the hypothesis, and many more, who, though they retained the old opinion, were too much absorbed in the obvious excellences of the work, to spend time in vainly ridiculing what it was found not easy to refute by sober argument. Nor was all the wit on the opposite side; for, in one of the public papers there appeared the following ingenious verses:-
"The Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke asserts, It could not be a serpent tempted Eve, But a gay monkey, whose fine mimic arts And fopperies were most likely to deceive. Dogmatic commentators still hold out, A serpent, not a monkey, -- tempted madam
And which shall we believe? -- without a doubt None knows so well what tempted Eve, as Adam."
In December, 1811, Dr. Clarke went to Cambridge to make researches for the Fæedera; and, during his stay, he was present at the formation of an auxiliary to the Bible Society, of which he gave the following characteristic account in a letter to Mrs. Clarke:-- " Such speeches I never heard. Mr. Owen excelled his former self; Mr. Dealtry spoke like an angel of the first order; and Dr. D. E. Clarke, the Russian traveler, like a seraph: every thing was carried -- nemine contradicente -- and the meeting concluded in a blaze of celestial light. For myself, I have nearly broken my new staff with thumping, after having made my fists sore in pounding the table. I did not laugh and cry alternately -- I did both together, and completely wet my new pocket handkerchief through with my tears. Between two and three hundred of the University young men were the first movers in this business."
During the early part of the year 1812, Dr. Clarke's time was divided between the Fæedera and his Commentary, to one or the other of which he devoted every hour of the day, that was not imperiously demanded for the discharge of other duties. About this time he had published the Pentateuch, and also the Book of Joshua. While the Book of Deuteronomy was going through the press, he wrote to his friend, Mr. Roberts, of Bath; and an extract of his letter will serve to show what labor and anxiety the work was costing him:-- " Joshua's sun and moon standing still, kept me going for nearly three weeks. That one chapter has afforded me more vexation than any thing I ever met with. And even now, I am but about half satisfied with my own solution of all the difficulties, though I am confident I have removed mountains that were never touched before. Shall I say that I am heartily weary of my work:-- -so weary, that I have a thousand times wished I had never written one page of it, and am repeatedly purposing to give it up. No man should undertake such a work alone; and I have no soul to help me."
In April of this year, he paid a second visit to Cambridge, in connection with his labors for the nation. He. collated, and afterwards copied, Gawin Douglas' poem of King Hart, from the only manuscript known. This was done at the request of Lord Glenbervie, one of the Record Commissioners, who was a descendant front the poet, and was projecting an edition of his works. In speaking of King Hart, Dr. Clarke observes:-- " John Bunyan seems to have borrowed his Pilgrim's Progress from Bernard's Isle of Man: Bernard, his Isle of Man from Fletcher's Purple Island: Fletcher took his plan from Spencer's Fairy Queen: Spencer, his Fairy Queen, from Gawin Douglas' King Hart: and Douglas, his plan from the old Mysteries and Moralities which prevailed in, and before, his time."
As public attention has lately been called to the morals of the University of Cambridge, it may not be uninteresting to hear the opinion formed by Dr. Clarke, who, certainly, would not connive at wickedness; but yet we must not forget that he was at Cambridge for a few days only, that his character would inspire awe, and that, during -the hours said to be devoted to noting and wantonness, he would be in the state of sleep:--"There is certainly much of the fear of God in this place; and so many literary advantages, that even the hearts of the foolish might understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerer be ready to speak plainly." In June of this year, Dr. Clarke paid a second visit to Ireland for purposes connected with the Record Commission, having under his care a young lady, a Roman Catholic.  On this occasion he preached very frequently, and always with great effect. Also he attended the Conference in Dublin, during the sittings of' which, intelligence arrived of the death of Mr. John Graves, one of the preachers. On his way to Dublin, he was seized with a putrid fever, which so alarmed the persons in whose house he was, that they insisted on his removal. and he was carried to an empty and a dilapidated house, in which, after lying a few days, he breathed his last, and was hurried into the grave on the following day. "Lord," exclaims Dr. Clarke, on this occasion, "thou seest and wilt judge!"
While in Dublin, he was requested by a friend who had just entered a new house, to join with him and others in dedicating it to God; upon which he remarks, "Whatever is consecrated to God, he will invariably preserve and protect!"
About the middle of July, he received a letter from the Speaker, desiring him to return to England, and make researches in the Tower of London, and in the libraries at Oxford, for materials for the completion of Rymer. On his arrival in Oxford, he dined, by the invitation of the Greek Professor, Mr. Galsford, in the Hall of Christ Church; concerning which he observes, "It was no small gratification to a Methodist preacher to dine, and to sit on the same seat, and eat at the same table, where Charles Wesley, student of this college, often sat and dined: and where that glorious work, by the instrumentality of which some millions of souls have been saved, had its commencement, in conjunction with Mr. John Wesley, of Lincoln College. Oh, what hath God wrought since the year 1737 This city is the nurse of this great work, and yet has it profited? The law went forth from Zion, and the word (doctrine) of the Lord from Jerusalem; but have Zion or Jerusalem greatly profited by the law, or by the doctrine?"
It so happened that during his stay in Oxford, Dr. Clarke took up his abode in the very apartments occupied by Dr. John Uri; and, before he quitted them, he cut an inscription  on one of the panes of the window, in the room in which that learned foreigner died.
While Dr. Clarke was thus busied in the double labor of arranging a documental History of England, and of illustrating, by learned notes and unprecedented tables, the books of sacred writ, he still pursued his ministerial duties, always preaching once on the Sabbath, visiting the sick, and giving spiritual counsel to the numbers who applied to him, personally and by letter. He constantly answered all letters as soon as he received them. The Committee meetings of the Bible Society, which he regularly attended, were also very frequent, and the work connected with them arduous. In such circumstances, it is no wonder that we find him complaining that he was overburdened, and that his mind was distracted amid a multitude of duties, each claiming the precedency. "I feel now," he observes in a letter to Mr. Caley, Secretary to the Record Commission, dated December 2, 1812, " that I am inundated with work, and really cannot tell what to do, or at least what (among a variety of things to be done) should be done first. I own I feel myself now fairly distracted, and almost discouraged. No person can work without time and means: sometimes I seem destitute of both." Thus bowed down by his burdens, he besought his friends to get him out of London; but they alleged that he could not yet be spared. They knew, that, while there, he could work well, and also that he would keep to it while the responsibility was upon him: for he never trusted his duties to another, when he himself' could perform them. Had it only been to satisfy the impatient subscribers to his Commentary, he required relief and seclusion; but the time had not yet arrived when he could obtain these advantages.
On the ,5th of March, 1813, Dr. Clarke was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; an honor which was the more gratifying to him, because it was unsought, and because he might, without vanity, entertain the belief that it was not unworthily bestowed. For honors which resulted from personal worth or intellectual merit, he had a high esteem; and to such an extent did he carry the precept, "Render to all their due," that, even to the tax-gatherer at his door, he acted more in consideration of him whom he served, than with the feelings conscious of taxation.
In July of this year, having finished his Comment on the Evangelists, he presented the Speaker with a copy of it, accompanying it with a letter, in which he observed, "As the people with which I am connected, are not only very numerous, but of considerable weight in the land, I have not hesitated to show them that those sacred oracles from which they derive the principles of their faith and practice, are in perfect consonance with the principles of the British Constitution and the doctrines of the Established Church: not that I doubted their loyalty or attachment to the State, or the Church; but to manifest to them, and to future generations, the absolute necessity of holding fast that 'form of sound words' which distinguishes our national Church, and ever connects the fear of God with honor to the King. Sir, it is with the most heartfelt pleasure that I can state to you, that this immense body of people are, from conscience and affection, attached to the Constitution both in Church and State; and the late decisions in behalf of religious toleration, have powerfully served to rivet that attachment." Of the loyalty of the Wesleyan Methodists there cannot be two opinions; but, there may respecting their supposed attachment to the Church of England.
About the year 1814, Miss Sharp, the niece of Granville Sharp, and grand-daughter of the unfortunate Archbishop Sharp, wrote to Dr. Clarke, requesting him to arrange the manuscripts of her Most Reverend progenitor, which had come into her hands on the death of her uncle. Dr. Clarke undertook this task the more readily because the collection comprised a correspondence between the Archbishop and the Rev. Samuel Wesley, the father of the founder of Methodism. This correspondence was inserted in the Doctor's Lives of the Wesley Family, of which we shall hereafter have to speak. The Rector of Epworth, and the Archbishop had one trait in common: they were proselytes to Episcopacy. The Sharp papers contained many documents of interest, one of which was a Life of the Archbishop, in four volumes. Some of them were distributed among the libraries of the several sees to which they related; and others were deemed of sufficient importance to be deposited in the British Museum.
The reader has already been informed of Dr. Clarke's habits of promptitude and early rising. The following illustration of them in combination occurred about the period at which we have arrived:--A catalogue of books having been sent to him late one evening, he immediately looked over it, and saw advertised for sale the: first edition of Erasmus' Greek Testament. Early on the following morning, he went off to the bookseller's, and purchased the work. A few hours afterwards, a well-known literary character, the late Dr. Gossett, went also to Paternoster-row, with the intention of procuring it; but the book was gone. Finding by whom it had been bought, -he called on Dr. Clarke, and requested a sight of it, observing, " You have been very fortunate, Dr. Clarke, in having obtained this work; but how you got it before myself, I am at a loss to imagine; for I was at Baynes' directly after breakfast, and it was gone." "But I was there before breakfast," replied Dr. Clarke; and consequently, Doctor, I forestalled you."
About this time, Dr. Clarke was obliged to preach less frequently than he had heretofore done; having suffered severely from spasmodic attacks brought on through speaking in a crowded chapel, and being afterwards exposed to the night-air.
In consequence of the death of Dr. Coke, which, as the reader is most probably aware, took place while he was on his way with six missionaries to the Island of Ceylon, it was found necessary to organize a Wesleyan Missionary Society. In effecting this, Dr. Clarke bore a conspicuous part. A meeting was held in the City Road Chapel, on December 1, 1814, over which he was called to preside, when he delivered an admirable address, which was afterwards published by request, under the title of "A short Account of the Introduction of the Gospel into the British Isles, and the obligation of Britons, to make known its salvation to every nation of the earth." How amazingly the God of Missions has prospered that institution few readers of these pages, it may be presumed, require to be informed.
A short time before the event just related, Dr. Clarke became acquainted with Mr. Hugh Stuart Boyd, who, as we have seen, was his relative by marriage. The similarity of their tastes and pursuits gave birth to mutual esteem; and Mr. Boyd was soon a frequent visitor at Dr. Clarke's. Early in 1815, this learned Grecian wrote an essay on the Greek article, which Dr. Clarke published, during the same year, at the end of his comment on the Epistle to the Ephesians; and, in the following year, Mr. Boyd supplied a postscript, which was inserted at the end of the Epistle to Titus, in the same work; for the controversy turned upon Titus ii. 13, and Ephesians v. 5. Mr. Boyd received a confirmation of his views on this question from a Greek gentleman of the name of Lusignan, who lived at Chelsea, and came from the Isle of Cyprus. To every mind not strongly prejudiced this person's opinion will appear decisive of the question. Mr. Boyd had maintained, that the words "God and Saviour," in Titus, and Christ and God," in Ephesians, do not point out two distinct beings, but designate the same person, according to the true grammatical construction of the Greek tongue.
In proof of this position, Mr. Boyd alleges, that, when two or more personal nouns (of the same gender, number, and case) are coupled together by the conjunction cat, and the article is prefixed to the first, but not 'to the second, third, &c., those two or more nouns, whether they be substantives or adjectives, denote one and the same person; and that this is the case also, when two participles are thus coupled together. In support of this rule, he cites many passages from the Scriptures, the fathers, and profane writers, in which it is impossible to mistake its application. He then argues, that, as the Greek article, in the two texts in question, is prefixed to the first noun, and not to the second, it is clear that the last noun applies to the same person as the first. Hence the "great God" is " our Saviour Jesus Christ;" and "the kingdom of Christ" " the kingdom of God; "and, of course, Christ and God are one.
On meeting with Mr. Lusignan, who, he it observed, understood ancient Greek as we understand English, having learned it as his mother tongue, he asked him if he had read any of the controversy respecting the Greek Article. He answered that he had not read, nor heard; any thing about it. He then asked him to take down his Greek Testament from the shelf, and to look for Titus ii. 13. When he had done this, a conversation took place, which Mr. Boyd has thus related:--Mr. B. "Pray, Sir, how do you construe these words: change the following to Symbol font to get the Greek: [toumegalou Oeou kai swthmro lmwn?] Mr. L. "I construe them thus, "Of our great God and Saviour.'" "Does Oeon here mean the 'Father,' or does it mean 'Christ?'" "It means' Christ.'" "May it not mean the "Father?" Certainly not." " Why may it not?" "Because the construction will not admit it." "Why will it not?" "Because the article is not prefixed to swhro: if Oeou and swthro had meant two different persons, then the article would have been prefixed to each." "If, then, two personal nouns be thus joined, and the article be placed before the first and not before the second, must one person be necessarily intended?" "Certainly."
The time was now come when Dr. Clarke's removal from London could no longer be postponed with safety to himself or comfort to his immediate friends. "I feel," he observed, in a letter to his wife, written during a brief absence from home in the summer of 1815, "that matters are come to this issue: if I do not at once get from many of my avocations, I shall soon be incapable of prosecuting any. I must hide my head in the country, or it will shortly be hidden in the grave."
Notwithstanding this announcement, he was strongly urged by different religious and benevolent societies: to remain in town; and many of his literary acquaintances. also set- their faces against his removal. Among the rest, the Rev. John Owen, at the desire of the Committee of the Bible Society, endeavored to dissuade him from leaving London, in a letter in which the point was pressed with considerable force, and yet with all possible delicacy.
" I need scarcely acquaint you," observes the reverend gentleman, "that there is a department in the business of our Committee, which no one but yourself is competent to direct. In that department we can work with you, or rather under you; but we can do nothing without you. Reflect on the Arabic, the Ethiopic, the Abyssinian, and the Syriac; in all which languages we stand pledged to the world for something which has not yet been executed; and then ask your own heart what you. think we shall be able to accomplish in either, if you should resolve to abandon us. I say nothing of the assistance which we have been in the habit of receiving in all our transactions, both literary and mechanical, from your general knowledge of business, and particularly from your extensive acquaintance with the practical details of typography."
Dr. Clarke replied in terms which evinced a just sense of the value which the Committee were pleased to set upon his services; but, on the main point, he was not to be moved. " As to my continuance in the work," he observed, "however grateful this would be to my feelings, a variety of causes combine to direct my way, and that of my family, from the metropolis. To specify these, is not necessary: they exist, and they are imperious; and that is enough."
According to this determination, those of his friends who were more particularly interested in promoting his personal comfort and the preservation of his health, assisted him in making arrangements for his removal. By their munificence, an estate was purchased for him a few miles from Liverpool, towards which Mr. John Nuttal, of that town, presented 1000l., and Mr. Henry Fisher, the proprietor of the Caxton Printing Office in Liverpool, which was destroyed by fire a few years since, 300l. To this retreat, which Dr. Clarke, in honor of his friend Mr. Samuel Drew, styled Millbrook, that being the name of a place where that celebrated man resided in early life, his family retired on the 20th of September, 1815.
It was not ease merely, but change of occupation, that Dr. Clarke sought in retiring into the country. His avocations were less laborious, less numerous, and less pressing, than they had been; but he was still actively and usefully employed. Many of his new modes of disposing of time were directly promotive of health, and all that he did was performed in the midst of that tranquillity which is the charm of a country life. Under a change of circumstances so beneficial, he speedily recovered his strength and spirits, so long consumed, and so nearly exhausted, by the incessant performance of heavy and exigent labors.
At the request of the Wesleyan Methodists in Manchester, he was appointed to that Circuit; but the appointment was little more than nominal. He preached there but once a month, generally filling up the other Sabbath mornings, by preaching in Liverpool, or in chapels nearer his own residence.
Nearly the whole population around Millbrook was Roman Catholic. The churches and chapels being from two to three miles distant, he erected a small chapel on his estate, which the Methodist preachers supplied. At first a few Protestant colliers only attended, who, with his family, the village schoolmistress, shoemaker, and blacksmith, formed the congregation.
Dr. Clarke engaged in agricultural pursuits; and all the time he could spare out of his study was employed in superintending his farm, watching the progress of his young plantations, or making agricultural experiments. He was the first in the morning to feed the fowls, &c., in the farm-yard; nor would he ever eat any thing thus reared under his own eye, from the fowl to the cattle. He made many improvements On his estate, and brought it into a state of order and perfection rarely equaled. The poor of the neighborhood were his especial care: he supplied them with Bibles and Testaments, and instituted a Sunday School, where from sixty to seventy children were taught to read. He frequently went in to encourage the good, and to exhort the disorderly; and interested all by instructive little tales. He was careful to mark the ill-clad, and never rested till he had procured them comfortable clothing.
In the commencement of the year 1816, which was unusually severe, many hundreds of sailors were thrown upon the benevolence and compassion of the inhabitants of Liverpool. Dr. Clarke resolved on lending his aid to these perishing strangers. He had some cottages untenanted, into which he put a quantity of straw and blankets, and then sent for twenty of the poor fellows. In the daytime, they were employed in making the road to his house; and at set hours they assembled in his kitchen to their meals, one always remaining in-doors to cook for the rest. Dr. Clarke allowed them also a certain quantity of spirits for grog per day; but, on their asking for tobacco, he endeavored to dissuade them from using it. Yet they pleaded so strongly, and with such humorous pathos, that he yielded, though not without frequently urging them to accept money instead of tobacco. One of them, to whom he had said, " I really wish you would give up this silly nasty practice," replied, "Indeed, Sir, I cannot give it up: if you had been in the four quarters of the globe, as I have, in storms and tempests, in heat and cold, in hunger and thirst, and often in battle, you would have known the comfort, as well as myself, of having such a companion." This was an argument which Dr. Clarke was not prepared to answer. During the three weeks that these poor fellows remained at Millbrook, they behaved themselves well, and were not guilty of the slightest injury, excess, or disturbance.
In June, 1816, Dr. Clarke, accompanied by two friends, made a tour through part of Scotland and Ireland, and kept a journal, which will afford some amusing and instructive extracts.
Along the bay of Wigton, he found the country "poor and barren;" yet, he adds, "here and there you will meet with a cultivated. spot; for, to the honor of the Scottish gentry, they spend the money which they receive from their dependents and tenantry, among those from whom they get it. Were this same ground in Ireland, it would be a perfect dessert; as the Irish gentry, to their eternal disgrace, spend all the money they receive in the kingdom, in: places of public resort in England, &c."
In that part of the journal which relates to Ireland, we find some passages descriptive of the miserable state of the peasantry, which, we fear, is not now much better. "We went into several cabins, which were wretched in the extreme. Though in most of them there is a hole, which corresponds to what we call chimney; yet, so heavy is the smoke produced by their turf, that it is rarely seen to issue from the top, but fills the house, and passes with slow sullenness through the door. The poor people are often ill-colored, and their eyes badly affected. We went into one, where we found a very nice young woman, about eighteen years of age, nursing her first child. She had a little fire on the earth, the bed near it, and scarcely any furniture. The house was built of thin stones, without any kind of mortar: through the wall, on the other side of the bed, you could every where see the daylight, and even the fields, between the stones! How it is possible for herself, husband, and infant, to maintain life in such circumstances, is to me quite inexplicable. We found she could read; but, alas! she had no book but a Romish Manual. I regretted much that I had not brought a few Testaments with me: I could never have bestowed them to better advantage, than in this day's journey. We gave her a little silver, for which she seemed truly thankful; and offered us, in return, all she could bestow, -- a little sea-weed, here called dulse, which, when dried, has a pleasant saltish taste."
On this occasion, Dr. Clarke visited the Old Barn, where, for the first time, he heard a Methodist preacher; the house in which his father had for several years resided; and the field where, after earnestly wrestling with God for mercy, he found his peace.
At Garvagh, where he lived from his tenth year to the time of his departure to England, he found deep impressions of the tooth of time. "The house is partly fallen down, and the rest is in a most miserable state. A large mill-dam, the mill to which it led, and the canal by which the water was conducted to it, are all obliterated! I proceeded to see the school where I had my classical education. But what a change is here! the beautiful wood is entirely cut down; not even the brambles are left; sheep, goats, and larger cattle, no longer browse on the adjoining hills; and the fields are rudely cultivated, and the school-house is itself become the habitation of two poor families. I searched about to find, if possible, some, of my old school-fellows, and class-mates, forty years ago: some of them had been bred up for the Church, some for the law, and some for the practice of physic; a few I found now old men, who, by various providences, had been disappointed in their views of secular establishments, and reduced to the cultivation of their paternal soil. On the whole, I received little pleasure from this visit, and, having dined, set off for Maghera, and stopped there to visit the places of my earliest infancy, and where I learned my alphabet. Now persons, houses, trees, enclosures, &c., are running rapidly to decay! Economy and industry have not been exerted to counteract its influence; and, consequently, that influence has been ample and extensive. I witnessed several things here which tended to deepen the gloom, which the former objects had diffused; so I rode on to Maghera felt, revolving in my mind a multitude of ideas, produced in various assemblages, none of which tended to relieve the pressure on my spirit."
The reception which Dr. Clarke met with on returning to Millbrook is a lively contrast to this gloomy picture. Not only were his wife and his children glad to see him, but the very animals in the field. The bullock, which he called Pat, came to him, held out his face for him to stroke it, and actually placed his two fore feet upon his shoulders, with the affection of a spaniel. "So here," says the Doctor, in relating this singular trait of animal affection, "is a literal comment on 'the ox knoweth his owner.'"
In the spring of 1817, he had occasion to make some alterations in his house, in effecting which his own life, and the lives of his whole family, were accidentally endangered. An account of this, he gives in a letter to his Sons:-- "In making a sough to take off the water from the buttery, the whole wall of the breakfast-room over it gave way, and for several yards fell in. Every moment in expectation of the whole building falling, I got your mother, and sister Rowley, with great difficulty removed, and all of every living thing out of the house. Before the crash came, (for I was standing by and saw it giving way,) I was constant in my warnings to the workmen; for I was assured they were digging away the foundation, without putting suitable props. But in vain I warned the fellows: they would not believe, till they had nearly lost their lives. When the catastrophe took place, they were all, except the bricklayer, like a rope of sand. I directed the place of every prop, and the whole mode of proceeding. I was continually exposed to imminent danger: yet my mind was kept in perfect calmness."
After his removal to Millbrook, Dr. Clarke became acquainted with Mr. Thomas Smith, a Dissenting minister, now of Sheffield, who, not being settled over any particular congregation, and having the offer of a tutorship in the Dissenting Academy at Rotherham, applied to Dr. Clarke for his advice. After referring to his own long experience in the ministry, and extensive observation of others engaged in that office, the Doctor, in his reply (dated April 20, 1817), observed:-- "On hearing any man preach, I can generally judge correctly whether he is likely to be useful, and in what degree. I have heard you again and again; and I am satisfied, that your preaching, in its matter and manner, is calculated to do much good. I deprecate your being diverted from this work. Teaching youth is a noble employment; and, where it can be done in connection with the other, it is well and praiseworthy. But this work is not to be compared with the work of the ministry: saving souls from death is an especial work of God; and the power to be the instrument of it is an especial gift. In the course of Providence, many are qualified to be instructors of youth: in the course of grace, but few are qualified to be the means of saving souls. Fear not, man! The length and breadth of Immanuel's land are before you: the wide world is his parish; and he will send his curates where he pleases." On the 3d of October, 1817, Dr. Clarke had the honor of being elected" Member of the American Antiquarian Society."
In May of the following year he was called to London to preach two of the annual sermons in aid of the Wesleyan Missions, and to attend the yearly meeting of the Society. On this occasion he received information from Sir Alexander Johnstone that he had brought with him, from Ceylon, two high-priests of Buddha, who had left their country and their friends, and put themselves before the mast, in order that they might come hither to be instructed in the truths of Christianity: that he had paid their passage, but, in order to try their sincerity, had kept them in the meanest place and at the greatest distance from himself, during the whole passage. The following is the Doctor's description of these interesting strangers:-- "Munhi Rat'hana, Teerunanxie, is twenty seven years of age, and has been high-priest eight years; but he was educated, as was also the other, from his youth for the priesthood. Dherma Rama is twenty-five years old, and has been between six and seven years in the priesthood. They are cousin germans, and are about five feet six inches, and quite black. They have fine eyes, particularly the elder, regular features, and the younger has a remarkably fine nose. There is a gentleness, and an intelligence, in their faces, which have greatly impressed me in their favor: in short, they are lovely youths, for whom I feel already deeply interested."
At the joint request of Sir Alexander Johnstone and the Wesleyan Missionary Committee, Dr. Clarke undertook to instruct the young priests in Christianity and science, for which purpose they accompanied him to Millbrook. The difficulties of the task were not small, for their prejudices and false learning were to be combated; but their docility tended to lighten the labors of their teacher. Early in the morning they were accustomed to go into the study for, religious instruction. They were particularly struck with the history of our Lord's sufferings in the garden, and his death upon the cross; and would have it read over and over to them, while they wept at the tale. To this succeeded a long class of doubts of the efficacy of that death itself. They were confounded too, when they contrasted the miracles recorded with the want of energy betrayed at the moment when its exercise appeared most necessary for self-preservation; and the patient endurance of indignities by a mind so nobly constituted, but ill accorded with their notions of a just resentment. But their teacher was one of a thousand; and by his prayers with them, and for them, and by the Divine blessing, their doubts were gradually overcome, and yielded to a full conviction of the truth of Christianity; and, after years of trial, even among their own countrymen, neither of them has evinced the slightest disposition to return either: to their idols or to the faith or practice of their forefathers. In matters of science they manifested the liveliest interest and the quickest apprehension. Here they had proof; for Dr. Clarke, in all his lectures on Natural Philosophy, had recourse to experiments. On such occasions their delight was excessive.
They were amazingly anxious to see frost and snow, the accounts of which they treated as fictitious, until Dr. Clarke assured, them, that during the approaching winter, they would probably be able to stand upon the surface, of the fish-pond as securely as upon the solid ground. The winter came, and snow fell upon the earth. In the morning they looked out of their window, and, behold! the landscape was clad in white. Their surprise at first amounted to fear; but, when taken out to the garden to handle some of the fleecy substance, their pleasure was so great, that they could hardly be persuaded to return indoors. Frost followed snow, and the pond was a mass of ice; but it retained so much of its old appearance, that the cautious priests refused to venture upon it. Dr. Clarke led the way; but they thought it possible for him to do, with impunity, what would not be consistent with safety in them; and it was not till several others had joined the Doctor, that they could be induced to, trust themselves upon the "white water." When the Doctor's nephew, accoutered in his skaits, began to glance rapidly over the pond, they conceived that he was actually flying, until their attention was directed to the fact that one or the other of his feet was always in contact with the ice. When they understood this, their courage was augmented. In the end, they would have a piece of the ice, and satisfy themselves, by exposing it to the action of fire, that it was really composed of water.
In April, 1819, the elder of the two Singhalese priests, at the request of Sir Alexander Johnstone, translated into that language a piece of poetry on the emancipation of slaves, written by Mrs. H. More.
About, the same time, Dr. Clarke wrote to the Secretary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, to inform him that his protégés were improving rapidly, having obtained a more extensive knowledge of the English language. From the same letter it appears that they excited much interest in the neighborhood of Millbrook. Mr. Sherbourne, Director of the Plate-glass Company at Ravenhead, presented them with two fine plates for toilette glasses; but, though Dr. Clarke endeavored to remove their scruples, by urging that they might receive such a present without the slightest imputation on their characters, they steadily rejected them, saying, "No, we will receive nothing but the Gospel of Christ: for that alone we came." "I must now send back these elegant plates," concludes Dr. Clarke, whose pupils were, in this respect, not unlike their preceptor; "it would be sacrilege to receive them, when rejected on the above glorious principle."
The two priests frequently entreated Dr. Clarke to administer to them the ordinance of Christian Baptism; but for a long time he constantly resisted their importunities, wishing to be clearly satisfied of the soundness of their faith and experience, before he took so important a step. But at the end of more than a year and a half, during which he carefully instructed them in various branches of learning, but more especially in the evidences and doctrines of Christianity, being, as he himself states, "fully convinced that they were sincere converts, at their own earnest request, he admitted them publicly into the church of Christ by baptism," conferring upon one of them his own name. He had previously warned them of the obligation of the new vows they were about to take upon themselves: and, on Sunday, March 12th 1820, after having preached at Brunswick Chapel in Liverpool, in the presence of a large and deeply interested congregation, he solemnly baptized them. Shortly afterwards, it was resolved that they should return to Ceylon; and, as Sir Richard Ottley was about to sail for that island in the capacity of judge, it was deemed advisable that they should take advantage of his company. Towards the end of April, Dr. and Mrs. Clarke accompanied them to town. Day after day, as the time for their leaving drew near, they wept, and deplored the necessity for their return: they went from place to place, to bid them adieu; the garden, the shrubbery, and every room. When they had bid a last farewell to the other members of the family, Dr. Clarke took them into the study, and, kneeling down, commended them with much earnestness to God. This concluded, they covered their faces with their hands, and, in an uncontrollable agony of grief, stepped into the chaise which was waiting to convey them to the London coach. To accredit these young men, Dr. Clarke wrote the following letter, to which Earl Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, subjoined a similar testimonial, addressed to the authorities in Ceylon
"To All Whom It May Concern. -- Adam Sree Goona Munhi Rai'hana, formerly a Teerunanxie, or High Priest of Buddha, in the temple of Doodhandhuvè, near Galle, in the Island of Ceylon, was on the 7th May, 1818, with his cousin Alexander Dherma Rama, also a Teerunanxie of the same temple, placed under my care by the Hon. Sir Alexander Johnstone, late chief judge of the Island of Ceylon, in order to be instructed in the Christian Faith; and during the space of two years, have continued under my roof, and have given such satisfactory proofs of their total change from every species of idolatry and superstition, and thorough conversion to Christianity, that I judged right, on their earnest application, after eighteen months instruction, to admit them into the Christian church by baptism, which was administered to them in Liverpool, 12th March, 1820, according to the form of the Established Church of England.
"As they now intend to return to their own land, with the purpose of testifying to their benighted countrymen the gospel of the grace of God, I feel much pleasure in being able to recommend them to the notice of sincere Christians in general, wherever they may come; and especially to all who are in power and authority, both in ecclesiastical and civil affairs, being satisfied of the strict morality and loyalty of their principles, and that they are worthy of the confidence of all who may have any intercourse or connection with them.
"Given under my hand, this 7th of May, 1820. Adam Clarke
The following extract from a letter addressed to Dr. Clarke, by Alexander Dherma Rama, and dated Deal, May 22, 1820, will interest the reader, evincing, as it does, the gratitude and ingenuousness of the writer:-- "Dear Sir, believe me, I will work hard: I intend to do ten years' work in five years; and, after that five years, if you live, then I will come and see you; and, if you be in glory -- before that my coming, then I will not come to England, but I will come to see you in glory. Amen. God be with you, and with your family, because, when I rejoice, you was rejoice, with me; when I laugh, you did laugh the same time with me; when I question you, you did answer me for all: for these your grand glorious manner, I could not keep my self, because so heavy, when I had to leave you. Sir, I will try to be Englishman long as I live; and, if any try to make me Singhalese man, that I not like."
From Adam Munhi Rat'hana, Dr. Clarke received a letter, on his arrival at Ceylon. It was dated Colombo, Dec. 19, 1821, and the following is an extract:
Since we sailed from England, we have every Sunday read prayers, and sometimes had a sermon; every morning and evening we have met in Sir Richard Ottley's cabin to read the Bible and pray: indeed, sometimes, bless God, some of the other passengers have joined. We have three Sundays had the Lord's Supper: indeed, my mind sometimes rejoice concerning my soul. Every day, Judge Ottley order us to go to him, for our improvement; indeed, by his teaching, we have got great knowledge: also, he is very kind to us. Your book teaches us great knowledge: he talks to us out of it, and my mind is greatly satisfied with him all the time. 1 now better understand what you wrote to us in your little 'book, and I am now sorrowful in my mind, when I read your excellent teaching, seeing my great danger of everlasting death; but I have often, after reading, much satisfaction in my mind. You have done great kindness to me, and I feel much as I can for your sake. On the 30th of October we arrived at Colombo; the Governor very kind to me, and put me under Rev. Dr. S, who came from England, colonial chaplain. With him I study Christian religion, and I hope in a very short time I will be able to preach the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. When I was with you, I told you I wish to have some power to preach the Gospel to Heathen people. My wish, I thank God, he was done for me; and I have now exceeding happiness in receiving this great blessing, and in seeing my welfare in this respect. My dear father, I will never forget you: you cut me some of your hair; and, when I think of you, I take it in my hand, and, seeing that, my mind is full of sorrow, wanting you. Hereafter I hope you send me your likeness; what you have done for me makes me feel highly, and my daily prayer is for you and your family."
The book here referred to is the Clavis Biblica, by Dr. Clarke. His earnest desire for the due instruction of his two pupils caused him to compile it solely for their use, though it was published in 1820. In the preface, we have a short account of the circumstances under which the Buddhist priests came over to this country, and were received under the author's roof. The tract was compiled, in the expectation of the return of these persons to their native country, and embodies in a system the instructions which they had received while in this. It was written " that they might be able at all times to have recourse to them, and be the better qualified to speak with their enemies in the gate;" and their indefatigable preceptor actually -- "made a copy for each to take with him, on his journey." This little work is prefaced by a remarkably affectionate letter addressed to them, in the course of which Dr. Clarke says, "I know that it is your present purpose to announce to the heathen in your own country, and in Continental India, the Gospel of the grace of God," and then proceeds to lay down some excellent maxims for the regulation of their conduct.
Having concluded the history of the Singhalese priests, so far as it is connected with that of Dr. Clarke, we must now resume the narrative of events peculiarly concerning himself.
About the close of the year 1818, he received from Mr. Henry Campbell, a clergyman, a gratifying letter concerning his Commentary, containing the following just sentiments:-- "From the first of its appearing, I had heard it frequently spoken against; but this is not to be wondered at. Any man who has mind enough to have original ideas, and who has firmness and independence sufficient to lead him to avow his opinions, such an one must expect ridicule, censure, and obloquy in various ways, from the ignorant and the unthinking, who have not modesty enough to suspend their own judgment till farther consideration tends to illuminate their minds. I thank Almighty God, who has given you the firmness to be nothing daunted, but in the subsequent, as well as the early, part of your notes, to enable you to avow your own opinions and judgment, even though they be original. There is one thing that particularly pleases me in the work: it is your pressing into the service of the sanctuary, what even comes from a proscribed quarter: I allude particularly to the use you have made of Dr. Taylor's work on the Epistle to the Romans. When I read it, I was certain you would be much censured for quoting from such an author, and for honestly avowing it; but you ably defend yourself, and very successfully answer the very objections raised against your using his work." In the spring of 1819, a Mr. William Hill, of Harrow, a stranger to Dr. Clarke, wrote to him, relative to an opinion which he had heard him express concerning the Jews, in a sermon at Hinde Street. The following is part of the Doctor's reply:-- " Though I have no recollection of the discourse to which you refer, yet I should certainly speak as you intimate I did. The Jewish regal family was nearly extinct when our Lord came; and I am satisfied, that, at that time, there was no legal claimant of the Jewish crown, but our blessed Lord; and he had a right, as to his human nature, and in right of both his mother and reputed father: and so has the providence of God ordered it, that there is not now on the face of the earth one legal claimant of the Jewish throne, the royal family terminating in Jesus Christ, who is a king for ever and ever; and, as to a living king, there can be no successor: Jesus, ever living, is the actual or present King of the Jews, and has all the regal rights, civil and spiritual, in his own person."
The location of a man so celebrated as Dr. Clarke, in any place of retirement, could not fail to attract the visits of the curious. This was frequently the case at Millbrook. The Earl of Derby and his family were among the Doctor's neighbors, and honored him by frequent visits. We shall present an account of two of these visits, in Dr. Clarke's own words. The fact, that the present Colonial Secretary, then a boy, made one of the party, gives increased interest to the detail:-" There were thirteen persons, all nobles. To the various questions that were asked about our Missions, their success, the priests, their motives in coming to England, the progress they had made in the knowledge of Christianity, their object on their return, &c. &c.; I was enabled to give such answers as seemed to interest them much, and delight them not a little. The Countess was particularly inquisitive, and asked such questions, and made such observations, as plainly showed a mind highly cultivated and informed; and one that was far, very far, from being indifferent, relative to the life of God in the soul of man! They tarried about three hours, gave me a pressing invitation to visit them, and offered to send their carriage for me, whenever I could make it convenient to come to the hall. They departed, saying, They had not, in the course of their lives, ever spent a morning so much to their satisfaction. When showing some of my rare and curious MSS., the Countess took occasion to say, Dr. Clarke, I am delighted with these; but there is one thing, of which I have heard, which I do not see.' 'Of what does your Ladyship inquire?' 'A sermon, published by yourself, on Salvation by Faith; for a copy of which I shall feel highly obliged. I immediately expressed my sense of the honor she did me, in noticing my work, and promised to present her with a copy before she departed. At three several intervals she mentioned this again; and said the last time, Pray, Dr. Clarke, do not let me depart without the sermon. I then ran and brought it, and a copy of that on the Love of God, which she seemed to receive with delight; and both of which, I was afterwards informed, she immediately read.
"On Wednesday last I had a private visit from her and the Earl; and they told me that they just then called to know whether they might have the pleasure of introducing, at my own time, next day, Lord Dartmouth, and some other friends who were then at Knowsley. The hour was accordingly fixed; and, on the following day, they came.
"Besides the Derby family, and Lord Dartmouth, we had the two Ladies Legge, Lady Essex, several others, whose names I could not catch, Bootle Wilbraham, Esq., M.P., and his lady. They filled my house, and continued there nearly three hours. I never had such an opportunity with great people, to speak so much about the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ; and this, too, at their own especial and repeated request. "These and the many visits which we have from the neighboring gentry, magistrates, and ministers, of which I have given you no detail, consume much of my time: but, notwithstanding, I rejoice in them, because I have so many opportunities of showing to many, who, perhaps, otherwise would never have heard of them, the honor and influence of Methodism. I thank God for this: and I well know, that these things are leading, not merely to a simple knowledge of important facts, but to something of infinitely greater importance. And you may rest assured, that, from a thread to a shoe-latchet, I take nothing that is theirs."
In the autumn of 1819, Dr. Clarke took a journey into Cornwall, for the purpose of preaching, and visiting his aged friend, Mr. Mabyn. Mr. Corner, of Liverpool, accompanied him. When they had reached Bristol, Dr. Clarke was attacked by his spasmodic complaint, with such severity, that, as he informed Mrs. Clarke, he "longed, intensely longed, for death in any shape or form." On recovering, he proceeded on his way.
The following extract from his journal, addressed to his wife, is exceedingly characteristic:-- "I write this, my dear Mary, in a situation that would make your soul freeze with horror: it is on the last projecting point of rock of the Land's End, upwards of 200 feet perpendicular above the sea, which is raging and roaring most tremendously. There is not one inch of land from the place on which my feet rest, to the vast American continent! This is the place, though probably not so far advanced on the tremendous cliff, where Charles Wesley composed those fine lines-
'Lo, on a narrow neck of land, 'Twixt two unbounded seas I stand,' &c.
The point of rock itself is about three feet broad at its termination; and the fearless adventurer will here place his foot, in order to be able to say, that he has been on the uttermost inch of land in the British Empire westward; and on this spot the foot of your husband now rests, while he writes the following verse in the same hymn." Having added the verse, the adventurer prudently subjoins:-- "I shall reserve the rest of my paper to be filled up in less perilous circumstances." 
After relating a number of preachings, in quick succession, Dr. Clarke says:-- "You will inquire how I have stood so much work? I have not stood it, for it has nearly killed me: I have almost totally lost my appetite, am constantly feverish, and afflicted with a dry mouth: my strength is prostrated. All these consequences I foresaw; but I found I must either go through all this labor, or have instantly left the county?' The Cornish, it seems, were not less selfish than the Irish; and he certainly could not apply to himself the proverb that denies honor to a prophet in his own country.
But, on one occasion, the eager crowd endangered themselves, as well as, their preacher. "When I was about to take my text," observes the Doctor, concerning the newly enlarged chapel at St. Austell, "the gallery gave way: the timbers fairly came out of the walls, yet it did not fall down; but the confusion was awful. I was close to the gallery, and distinctly saw the peril; and, had it come down, I knew, I must have been the first victim'; but at least two hundred others would also have been killed. I stood in my place; for, had I moved, universal terror would have taken place, and many must have fallen victims to an impetuous rush out. The chapel was soon nearly emptied, and no one was hurt. Many came back again, and I preached; but I knew not, till the end of the service, all the miracle it required to save us! Then it was found, that, owing to the pressure in the gallery, the timbers, being too short, had started out from the walls two feet; and the gallery actually shook to its center, having nothing but its pillars to support it. Our son John, being beneath, could see this plainer than I could at the time; and he saw also, that, if it fell, he must be killed if he kept his place, which was immediately before the pulpit; but, as he knew his father must be the first victim, he resolutely kept his situation, expecting eternity every moment. But enough of this: it makes one's blood run chill. This is the last crowd I ever wish to see."
About this time, Dr. Clarke was busily engaged in collecting materials for a Life of the Rev. John Wesley. In the course of this labor, he received a letter from an aged clergyman, the Rev. Thomas Steadman, Rector of St. Chad's, near Shrewsbury, from which we make, a short extract, to show the high esteem in which the Founder of Methodism was held by dispassionate, but observant, spectators of his high career:-- "If it can be done to your mind, I should wish to have my name, worthless as it is, pass down the stream of time, united to yours and Mr. Wesley's: being once mentioned, if in the margin, will please and satisfy your admiring and affectionate friend." Upon this, at the foot of the original, Dr. Clarke remarks, "Should it please God that I write this Life, his name shall stand prominently, not in the margin, but in the text; and I shall think the page honored where it stands." But it did not fall to his lot to finish the work, for which he had made large preparations, and which his industrious researches and intimate knowledge of Mr. Wesley, during the few last years of his life, would, doubtless, have rendered highly interesting and instructive. Mr. Henry Moore was too tenacious of the honor of being Mr. Wesley's biographer, to give up the documents which he possessed, and which comprised many that were deemed essential to the work. Dr. Clarke turned his collections to excellent account in his Lives of the Wesley Family, and Mr. Moore published a much-enriched edition of the Life of the Rev. John Wesley, which he had formerly written in conjunction with Dr. Coke. And here let us admire the magnanimity of Dr. Clarke. Instead of endeavoring to depreciate the work of Mr. Moore, he vindicated his fitness for the task he had undertaken, against the sneers of a critic in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, who had insinuated, that, notwithstanding the information which he possessed, he was not capable of producing a " Standard Life." "There are only two alive," said Dr. Clarke, in reference to these circumstances, "who had the high privilege of an intimate acquaintance with Mr. Wesley -- the Rev. Henry Moore, -- and Adam Clarke; as he long knew Mr. Wesley, he is every way qualified to write a 'Standard, Life.' For a man who has never seen, and never known, Mr. Wesley, nor seen nor felt the spirit or the modus operandi of original Methodism, to write a Standard Life of that extraordinary man for the Methodists, would be a strange work, however wise and clever the writer might be." The Founder of Methodism has had many biographers, who have their several excellences and defects. Mr. Moore stands pre-eminent for information; but it is not sufficiently condensed; and, indeed, there is yet an opening, with deference to Dr. Clarke, for some skillful pen, at once just and impartial, to give to the world a fair and an ample history of the great Reformer of the eighteenth century. Little can be added to the facts already known; but, by one who would be as far from charging Mr. Wesley with interested ambition, as from attributing to him infallibility, the history of his life might be more faithfully sketched than it ever has been. In June, 1820, Dr. Clarke was called upon to sympathize with Mr. Butterworth in the loss which he had sustained by the death of his wife, of whose character and conduct an opinion may be formed from the following extract of a letter, addressed by the former to his bereaved relative:-" Her steady piety to God, her unwearied diligence in the means of grace, her incessant practical godliness; her continual labors of love among the poor of Christ's flock, and the indigent in general; her sound judgment; her great prudence and discretion, connected with her many domestic virtues;-- gave me, and all her friends, the strongest evidence of the soundness of her mind and the excellence of her heart; both of which were directed, refined, and managed, by the grace and energy of the Spirit of her Lord; and, while they illustrated, gave the fullest proof, of the purity and super-eminence of that creed which she learned from the Bible, and which was interwoven with every fiber of her heart. It was her own boast that she was a Methodist, and it was the boast of that part of the Church of Christ with which she was connected, that she was a sound one, faithful to her God, to his word, and to his people. Her name, her zeal, and her labors of love, veiled as much as possible from the public eye by her modesty and humility, will long live in the recollection and hearts of many; and will never be blotted out of that register, where, 'I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; naked, and ye clothed me; sick, and ye visited me,' is entered as the evidence of the incorruptible faith of every genuine son and daughter of God Almighty."
The year 1820 was that in which George IV. succeeded to the throne. The Wesleyan-Methodist Conference had no sooner assembled at Liverpool, in July of that year, than it came to the resolution of presenting an address to his, Majesty, and Dr. Clarke was appointed to correspond with Lord Sidmouth, the Home Secretary, concerning the mode and time of its presentation. After commending, in high terms, the loyalty of his brethren, the Doctor proceeds to say:-- "As they find that a deputation from the three denominations of Dissenters, has been condescendingly received by his Majesty, these ministers, as not ranking, under any of those denominations, standing nearer to the Established Church than any of the others, holding, without exception, all her doctrines, venerating her authority, and using her religious service, and, consequently, in their own apprehension, not justly denominated Dissenters, in any legal sense of the term, humbly wish to be received also by deputation, as they cannot for a moment yield in loyalty and affectionate attachment to the Throne, to any of those who have been thus honored." From his lordship's reply, it appears that the Conference were not considered worthy of the honor of approaching the Throne. He stated, indeed, that it might be presented by a deputation, or by an individual, at a levee; but he immediately added, "Many months, however, are likely to elapse before a levee will be held. If it should be the wish, which I presume it is, that the address should be presented with as little delay as possible, that object will be obtained by transmitting it to me; in which case, I will take the earliest opportunity of laying it before his Majesty, and causing the insertion of it in the London Gazette." On this occasion, Lord Sidmouth remarked concerning the Wesleyan Methodists, that he "knew their influence to be extensive." We are willing to believe that he derived his knowledge rather from the effective opposition which they made to his infamous bill in 1809, than from the highly-colored pictures which Dr. Clarke, though a Whig, was in the habit of painting concerning their loyalty to the King, and their devotion to the Government, of which Lord Sidmouth was not the least unpopular member.
In February, 1821, Dr. Clarke, being on a visit to London, heard of the illness of his former colleague, the late venerable Joseph Benson, whom, though they differed on many points of divinity, he highly esteemed, both as an eminent theologian and as a man of distinguished piety. It being intimated to him that the dying minister wished to see him, he hastened to his house. On Dr. Clarke's entering the room; Mr. Benson recognized him, and held out his hand, which Dr. Clarke took, and observed, "You are now, Sir, called to prove, in your own experience, that power and mercy of God, exhibited under all circumstances, to which you have so long borne testimony." To which remark, Mr. Benson replied, in very articulate tones, -- "that his reliance was firm and steadfast upon God, and that he did experience the power and comfort of the truths which he had preached." On Dr. Clarke's remarking, he thought the light in the room too great, Mr. Benson observed," I can bear a strong light." To which Dr. Clarke emphatically replied, "Yes, you always saw things in a strong light." Dr. Clarke then kneeled down by the bedside, and, in a short, but earnest prayer, commended his dying brother to God's especial support and protection; then kissing his clay-cold brow, he quitted the apartment. Before Dr. Clarke left town, he had the melancholy task of speaking over Mr. Benson's corpse, in City-road Chapel, before an immense crowd of the friends and admirers of the deceased, and of pronouncing a just tribute of praise to his talents and long and successful ministerial labors.
In the spring of 1821, Dr. Clarke again visited his native country, in company with several friends. Soon after his arrival in Dublin, he opened the new Wesleyan-Methodist chapel, in Lower Abbey Street. Several of the nobility and gentry were among his hearers.
On the road to Coleraine, Dr. Clarke met with the following interesting occurrence:-" Curiosity led me to step into one of the cabins. It was a small one, where I saw nine persons, chiefly young women, spinning, and one reeling the produce of their labor. There was a bed in the place, in which a young lad lay of about fourteen years of age, who had received a hurt in his ankle several weeks before, and was still confined to his bed. On asking them if they all belonged to one family, I was answered 'No.' One who spoke for the rest, said, 'We are only neighbors of this poor woman: her son has got a hurt several weeks ago, by which he has been unable to work': our neighbor being distressed, and getting behind-hand, we have agreed to give her a day's work.' They were all spinning as hard as they could, in order to make the most possible profit for the poor family by their day's work. There was not one of the nine, who did not herself appear to be in the most abject poverty; and they now conjoined their labors to relieve one who was only more miserable than themselves. This was the finest specimen of philanthropy I had ever seen! To witness this sight, -- the poor laboring for, and in order to relieve, the poor, and those to whose poverty was added affliction, read me a lesson of deep instruction: all was voluntary, all was done cheerfully; and, as the day was dedicated to the relief of deep distress, they endeavored to make the most of their charity, by laboring with all their might. Myself and companions said, 'Verily, these shall not lose their reward:' we, therefore, gave them each a piece of silver, equal to double what they could have obtained by their day's labor at home." During this journey, he designed to visit the grove and neighborhood where his father had formerly lived, and where he expected to see some of his old school-fellows; but, upon inquiry, he found they were all dead, but two, who were removed to another part of the country. In Garvagh, he found one class-fellow, Wm. Church, Esq., whom he visited, and from him got information concerning most of the rest. One had married unfortunately, and was gone to America: another, and another, were dead: one was killed in a quarrel: a fourth, wearied out with a perverse and an iniquitous wife, took poison, and ended his days. The school-house had been pulled down, and entirely destroyed. He proceeded to Maghera, near which town was situated the house in which he had his first conscious existence; but what was his disappointment, when he found it razed to the ground, excepting a small portion of the wall, just enough to indicate that a building had once been there. "My friend, Mr. Holcroft," he observes, " took a sketch of what remained, and a few bearings of the scenery." A drawing of the birth-place of Adam Clarke would be an object of no common interest.
After a fortnight's absence, Dr. Clarke returned to Millbrook, and pursued his biblical labors with renewed vigor. His studies were sometimes broken in upon by visitors, and an extensive correspondence consumed much of his time.
The delight which he took in promoting the comfort of his fellow-creatures, will be seen in the following pleasing picture of a fête which he gave on occasion of the coronation of George IV.:-- "We brought all our tenants together, even to the least of their young children; and gave them a dinner. They ate a world of beef, pies, pudding, and cheese, besides half a bushel of currants and cherries. To all our work-people I also gave a holiday, and paid each man his day's wages; and, when all was over, I gave every child a penny -- all above eight years old, a sixpence -- and to every grown person, a shilling. We sang and prayed, and afterwards I dismissed them. They were as happy as they could be. Our Union Jack was flying all day. At sunset we struck our flag; and heartily prayed, morning, noon, and night, for the King."
On the 13th of July, 1821, Dr. Clarke was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy, -an honor peculiarly agreeable to his feelings, as it proceeded from his own countrymen.
In the autumn of this year, Dr. Clarke yielded to the earnest solicitations of the Methodists of Epworth, in Lincolnshire, that he would go and "preach for their chapel; and, as it was especially endeared to him as the birth-place of the great Founder of Methodism, he the more readily assented to their request. In the account of this visit which he gave to his youngest daughter, we find the following description of the rectory:-- "I trod the ground with reverence, and with strong feelings of religious gratification. Mr. Nelson (the incumbent) led us into every room and apartment of the house, up and down. I was greatly delighted. The house is a large plain mansion, built of brick, canted, roofed, and tiled. I even looked out upon the leads. It is a complete old-fashioned family house, and very well suited for nineteen children. The attic floor is entirely from end to end of the whole building. The floor itself is terraced, evidently designed for a repository of the tithe corn, and where it would be preserved cool and safe. We then proceeded to the church: this revived my reverential feelings: it is simple, very plain, and clean. I went to the Communion Table, which is the same as in Mr. Wesley's time; and I ascended the pulpit; and, while kneeling on the bass, pronounced to all that were below, these words, "He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself." Having looked a little about on all things, we went into the church-yard to see a sycamore tree, which was planted by the hand of old Samuel Wesley. I brought away a piece of the outer bark. I have got a pair of fire-tongs, which belonged to old Mr. Samuel Wesley, and which were bought at, the family sale: there is also an old clock, which, I rather think, I shall have, and for which I left a commission."
In describing his homeward journey from Epworth, he says, "We had no road for upwards of forty miles, but traveled through fields of corn, wheat, rye, potatoes, barley, and turnips, often crushing them under our wheels. In all my travels, I never saw any thing like this: I feared we were trespassing; but the drivers assured us there was no other road." About this time, we find a letter addressed to his youngest son, who was then pursuing his studies at Cambridge. It displays his extreme partiality for Oriental literature, for which, however, reasons are assigned I consider Persian and Arabic, as opening more sources of information than any other languages in the universe. All that remains of Greece and Rome, which is really worthy of being known, has been published either in English or French. There is no store-house there to be unlocked; and, when a man understands Greek and Latin well enough to relish the beauties of the poets and historians in those languages, I think the hair-splitting business of verbal criticism on Greek and Latin words, on mendings and measures of corrupt readings, will amount to extremely little in the sum of human knowledge. The Persian and Arabic contain immense treasures yet unlocked; and will pay interest of ten thousand per cent, to those who labor in their acquisition. I say, then, avail yourself of Professor Lee's assistance, and remember an Arabic proverb:-- "Partial knowledge is better than total ignorance: he that cannot acquire all that he would, should be careful to get all that he can.'" This is somewhat at variance with Pope's "A little learning is a dangerous thing."
In November, 1821, Dr. Clarke conceived a strong desire to meet all the members of his family, which, indeed, he had often proposed before. The following extract from a letter on the subject, may stand for a description of this interesting reunion, as it actually took place:-- "As common sense would dictate, that, in all probability, it would be the last time that we should thus meet, I should earnestly wish that some solemn act should stamp the meeting. I do not mean that we should meet in gloom. No, I will be as cheerful, and as happy, with you as I can be; but I wish us all to act like a patriarchal family of old, et cum Deo mire foedus: to make a covenant with God, which shall put us all in an especial manner under his protection. What should this covenant be? A very simple service, yet one on which my whole heart is bent;-- that we all receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper together. I have thought much of this lately, especially since I wrote the closing scene of old Samuel Wesley's Life. When in extremis, he ordered all his family to gather round his bed, and receive the Sacrament with him, using our Lord's words, 'With desire have I desired to eat this last Passover with you before I die.' Now, we could all go together to the church, and get the clergyman to deliver it to us. This would be to me the happiest day of my earthly existence; and I have no doubt, that God would crown it with an especial blessing, and would from that hour take you all into his more especial care and protection. There is a mighty availableness in this kind of covenant-making: whatever, and whosoever, is thus given to God, he interests himself in reference toward for ever: it is his own way, and this is one grand and especial use of the Lord's Supper."
It appears, then, that Dr. Clarke was at this time engaged upon the Lives of the Wesley Family. Of the conclusion of this work, we find the following notice in a letter to a friend. "I have finished the Lives of the Wesley Family. The work has cost me about six months hard labor; and I would not take a thousand guineas to do it again. It has been a sad hindrance to me in my Comment, of which, by the way, I am heartily tired. I have passed three-score, and need rest; for I have had none for more than forty years." Dr. Clarke presented the copy-right of the work above-mentioned, to the Wesleyan-Methodist Book-Committee, for the use of the Connection.
* * * * * * *