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;” “ Thomas à Kempis, on the Imitation of Christ,” &c. ; 'and all these books seemed as if they were in frequent use. In departing from this place, my heart most cheerfully and affectionately said, “May the blessing of God rest upon this noble mansion, and upon its worthy inmates.' Vol. ii. pp. 135—137.
An expression occurred in the first of these extracts, that respecting Amesbury, which could not have passed unnoticed by our readers. Dr. Clarke speaks of six persons “ who enjoyed a clear sense of their acceptance with God,” and this expression he uses as a synonime for true believers. There is no point on which he dwells more often and more earnestly than on this. Even when casually called upon to preach, either at places where the people were utterly ignorant of the principles of the Gospel, or where there was already a body of religious persons, this topic, of the witness of the Spirit," seems constantly to have presented itself to his mind as one of the most important on which to address them. He considers this witness to be “the privilege of all true believers.” We have read and thought much upon this prominent tenet of Methodism, but to this hour we do not clearly comprehend it. We will do Dr. Clarke the justice to quote the following passage, in which he goes into a brief detail of his views on this point, and also on another doctrine held by the followers of Mr. Wesley, and which is usually, though not very correctly, called “perfection in the flesh.” The latter appears to us inconsistent with actual facts, and contradictory to the whole tenor of Scripture, more especially to the penitential acknowledgments of the Apostle Paul. The former, besides those objections which attach to it as held under the Calvinistic system, is doubly untenable under the Arminian; for the doctrine of necessary assurance, if admitted, seems to us to be essentially connected with that of final perseverance; as we cannot believe that the Holy Spirit really witnesses to any man that he is a child of God, whose conduct proves to-morrow that he is a servant of Satan, and that, however specious or even sincere for a time was his profession, his “ heart was not whole with God." We will only add, that we do not doubt that the assurance spoken of has been often enjoyed, and that it is a privilege which the Christian should earnestly seek, if it please God thus to bless him with this manifestation of his love ; but to make it necessary, essential, and an invariable consequence of the operation of saving faith, is to give to it a place not given to it in Scripture, and may make the hearts of many of the righteous sad, whom God has not made sad. The following is Dr. Clarke's explanation.
“ In addition to what you found in my papers, permit me to say,–1. I should never have looked for the witness of the Spirit,' had I not found numerous Scriptures which most positively asserted it, or beld it out by necessary induction ; and had not I found, that all the truly godly, of every sect and party, possessed the blessing,-a blessing which is the common birth-right of all the sons and daughters of God. Wherever I went among deeply religious people, I found this blessing. All who had turned from unrighteousness to the living God, and sought redemption by faith in the blood of the cross, exulted in this grace. It was never looked on by them as a privilege which some peculiarly favoured souls were blessed with : it was known from Scripture and experience to be the common lot of the people of God. It was not persons of a peculiar temperament who possessed it; all the truly religious had it, whether in their natural dispositions sanguine, melancholy, or mixed. I met with it every where, and met with it among the most simple and illiterate, as well as among those who had every advantage which high cultivation and deep learning could bestow. Perhaps I might with the strictest truth say, that, during the forty years I have been in the ministry, I have met with at least forty thousand, who have had a clear and full evidence, that · God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven them their sins,' the Spirit himself bearing witness with their spirits, that they were the sons and daughters of God.' The number need not surprise you, when you learn that every Methodist preacher converses closely, and examines thoroughly, every member of his societies, concerning the work of God upon their souls, once every three months. This single point of their spiritual economy, gives them advantages to know and discern the operations of the Divine Spirit in the enlightening, convincing, converting, justifying, Sanctifying, and building up of the souls of men, which no other system affords, and no other ministers in the same degree possess.
“ 2. We never confound the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, with final perseverance.
This doctrine has nothing to do with a future possession; the truly believing soul has now the witness in itself; and his retaining it depends on his faithfulness to the light and grace received. If he give way to any known sin, he loses this witness, and must come to God through Christ as he came at first, in order to get the guilt of the transgression pardoned, and the light of God's countenance restored. For, the justification any soul receives, is not in reference to his future pardon of sin, since God declares his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past.' And no man can retain his evidence of his acceptance with God, longer than he has that · faith which worketh by love.' The present is a state of probation : in such a state a man may rise, fall, or recover; with this the doctrine of the witness of the Spirit,' has nothing to do. When a man is justified, all bis past sins are forgiven him ; but this grace reaches not on to any sin that may be committed in any following moment.
“ 3. I rather think it is the privilege of every true believer to have all those destroyed which you call · infirmities of the flesh,' if by that word you mean any kind of transgression, any improper word, or any unholy temper; for I have been long taught, both by my Bible and my Prayer-book, to request. Almighty God to cleanse the thoughts of my heart, by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, that I might perfectly
love him, and worthily magnify his holy name, through Christ our Lord. To love God perfectly, is to love him with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to worthily magnify his name, is to begin, continue, and end every thing, work, purpose, and design, to his glory. This also is another blessing which I am taught to expect from God,—to be saved from all sin in this life ; for the order of the great work of salvation is,—first, Conviction of sin ;-second, Contrition for sin ;-third, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as having been delivered for our offences, and risen for our justification ;-fourth, Justification or pardon of all past sin, through faith in his blood, accompanied ordinarily with the testimony of his Spirit in our hearts, that our sins are forgiven us ;-fifth, Sanctification or holiness, which is progressive, as a growing up into Jesus Christ, our living Head, in all things; and may be instantaneous, as God can, and often does, empty the soul of all sin, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;' and then, having sowed in the seeds of righteousness, they have a free and unmolested vegetation ;-sixth, Perseverance in the state of sanctification-believing, hoping, watching, working, in order to stand in this state of salvation, receiving hourly a deeper impression of the seal of God ;-seventh, Glorifi. cation is the result; for he who is faithful unto death, shall obtain the crown of life. Without conviction of sin, no contrition; without contrition, no faith that justifies; without faith, no justification, no sanctification ; without sanctification, no glorification.” Vol. ii. pp. 381-384.
Dr. Clarke, warmly attached as he was to the system of Mr. Wesley, was also a cordial friend to the Church of England, with which he never considered that system incompatible. He would himself gladly have been a minister of Christ within her pale, and he had great satisfaction in seeing two of his sons appointed to that office, having been educated by him in attachment to her communion, and trained at her renowned seats of science and learning. He always felt pleasure in reading her Liturgy, and in administering baptism he invariably used her service, only substituting parents for sponsors. His sentiments are so fully expressed in a letter written only four years since to the present Bishop of London, that we shall quote the whole of it, not only as it is very interesting in itself, but as it shews the folly of driving such men further from us by violent party-spirited “ Dialogues with Methodists," misrepresenting their opinions and practices, and presenting them in colours of the most glaring heterodoxy and absurdity.
Haydon Hall, Oct. 16, 1829. “ My Lord,—I humbly beg your Lordship’s acceptance of the volumes of Discourses which accompany this note. They are now for the first time published, though the substance of them has been preached at various times through the now united empire, and the Norman and Zetland islands. Whatever may be their merit, they are not constructed after the common manner of sermons. It has ever been my aim, both in preaching and writing, to endeavour to explain the words of God, that by this method I might attain to the knowledge of the things of God. Your Lordship well knows how little is done for the interests of Divine truth, where texts of holy Scripture are taken as mottos to sermons, in which only sentiments or maxims of general morality, or social duties, are explained. To secure the end of public instruction, I have often been obliged to call the attention of the people not only to the literal meaning of several exotic words, but also to the import of many terms in their mother-tongue, which, though of frequent use in religious matters, are little understood.
“ With this short explanation, I take the liberty of sending these volumes, as a mark of my deep reverence and high respect for your Lordship’s sacred office, and great personal worth ;—a reverence and respect which I have long entertained for your Lordship, and which have been greatly encreased by the late opportunity with which I have been favoured, of having the honour of paying my respects to your Lordship at Fulham. The talis cum sis, &c., with which your Lordship dismissed me, have done me indeed great honour; for your Lordship's inflexible attachment to truth and honour, shewed me how much I should value the opinion then expressed, though retaining a just sense of my own littleness.
“ I hope that the omnino in the remaining part of the quotation, which I told your Lordship had been sent in a letter to me by the worthy Archdeacon of Cleveland, neither refers to my creed, nor to my essential membership in the church ; but only in reference to my being destitute of its orders. I am afraid of making too free in mentioning the following anecdote ; if so, your Lordship’s goodness will pardon me :
" At an anniversary Meeting of the · Prayer-book and Homily Society,' an excellent clergyman, quoting something that I had written, was pleased to preface it by the remark, · The worthy Doctor, who of all the men I know who are not of our Church comes the nearest both in doctrine and friendship to it.' When be bad done, I arose, and after making an apology (which the company were pleased to receive with great tokens of kindness), I took the liberty to observe, I was born, so to speak, in the Church, baptized in the Church, brought up in it, confirmed in it by that most apostolic man, Dr. Bagot, then Bishop of Bristol, afterwards of Norwich, have held all my life uninterrupted communion with it, conscientiously believe its doctrines, and have spoken and written in defence of it; and if, after all, I am not allowed to be a member of it, because, through necessity being laid upon me, I preach Jesus and the resurrection to the perishing multitudes, without those most respectable orders that come from it,--I must strive to be content; and if you will not let me accompany you to heaven, I will, by the grace of God, follow after you, and hang upon your skirts.' This simple declaration left few unaffected in a large assembly, where there were many of the clergy. Mr. Wilberforce, who was sitting beside the chair, rose up with even more than his usual animation, and with winged words," said, : Far from not acknowledging our worthy friend; far from not acknowledging him as a genuine member of the Church, and of the church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven,'— far from preventing him to be of the company who are pressing in at the gate of blessedness,--we will not indeed let him follow,' he shall not hang on our skirts,' to be as if dragged onwards,we will take him in our arms, we will bear him in our bosom, and with shouting, carry him into the presence of his God and our God!'. The worthy clergyman, whose speech had given rise to these observations, soon placed himself on the best ground, with · Indeed, Dr. Clarke, my observation went only to the simple fact of your not being a clergyman of the Established Church.'
“ Whatever evil may be in this, I believe your Lordship already knows, lies at the door of the res angusta domi'. It was neither my fault nor my folly. Of the Established Church I have never been a secret enemy, nor a silent friend. What I feel towards it the angels are welcome to ponder; and what I have spoken or written concerning it, and in its favour, I believe I shall never be even tempted to retract. Being bred up in its bosom, I early drank in its salutary doctrines and spirit. I felt it from my earliest youth, as I felt a most dear relative. While yet dependent on, and most affectionately attached to her (my natural mother) who furnished me with my first aliment, I felt from an association, which your Lordship will at once apprehend, what was implied in Mother Church. Howsoever honourable it may be to a person who was in the wrong, to yield to conviction, and embrace the right, that kind of honour I have not in reference to the Church. I was never converted to it; I never had any thing to unlearn, when, with a heart open to conviction, I read in parallel the New Testament and the Liturgy of the Church. I therefore find that, after all I bave read, studied, and learnt, I am not got beyond my infant's prayer :• I heartily thank my heavenly Father, that He hath called me into this state of salvation; and pray unto him that He may give me grace to continue in the same to the end of my life.'
“ Begging pardon for the freedom I have used with your Lordship's time, I bave the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship's much obliged, grateful, and humble servant, Adam Clarke." Vol. iii. pp. 206--210.
Dr. Clarke soon began to number among his friends or acquaintance
“* Alluding to the narrow circumstances of his fatber's family, which precluded the possibility of his receiving a University education.” Christ. OBSERV. Arp.
many of the most distinguished scholars of the age; from Professor Porson, with whom we should think he could indulge small sympathy except as fellow-citizens of the republic of letters, to Dr. Morrison, with whom, after his removal to China, Dr. Clarke for many years held a correspondence, in which literature was only the handmaid to those Christian exertions on behalf of the heathen world with which the names both of Clarke and Morrison are closely identified. Literary honours now flowed in thickly upon him. He was presented with the diploma of Master of Arts, and subsequently of Doctor of Laws, by the University and King's College of Aberdeen ; and was some years after chosen a Fellow of the Antiquarian Society, and a member of various other learned institutions.
In the year 1808, while busily engaged in the various occupations above mentioned, Dr. Clarke was induced, at the earnest solicitation of his Majesty's Government, to add to them another, which caused him ten years of such severe toil as brought him nearly to the borders of the grave. This Herculean labour was to collect from all the archives of the United Kingdom all authentic State Papers, from the Conquest to the Accession of George III. ; and to arrange and illustrate them in frequent reports to his Majesty's Commissioners on the Public Records of the Kingdom, for the purpose of “completing and continuing that collection of State Papers called Rymer's Foedera,” of which he carried nearly four volumes folio through the press. Most reluctantly did he undertake this task, more especially as it might seriously interfere with other and higher duties ; nor would he have done so, could he have foreseen the immense sacrifice of time and strength which it ultimately required. Before he embarked upon the enterprise, he laid the whole business before the Committee of Preachers, and requested their advice. Some said, “It will prevent your going on in the work of the ministry." Others, “ It is a trick of the devil to prevent your usefulness.” Others, “ It may rather be a call of Divine Providence to greater usefulness than formerly; and seeing you compromise nothing by it, and may still preach, &c., as usual, accept it, in God's name.” Others, “ If Mr. Wesley were alive he would consider it a call of God to you; and so close in with it without hesitation.” He was much perplexed with these conflicting opinions, and sought then and afterwards to avoid the office : but the place had been open for seven years, and the Royal Commissioners, finding that they had acquired what they had so long sought, would not listen to his excuses, and he was thus obliged, he says, in honour, and indeed in conscience, to proceed.
This office rendered it necessary for him to make diligent researches amidst the antiquarian records, not only of the metropolis, but of Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, and many diocesan and other libraries, public and private, throughout the kingdom; but his chief literary domicile was the British Museum, where the usual hours of reading not suiting his cus. tomary hours of study—which were from five till ten o'clock in the morning, and after five in the evening—he was allowed a private room, and access to the library out of the usual hours. It does not enter into our plan to detail the results of his labours, which were highly important as respects our national records, and were acknowledged in the warmest terms of eulogy by the Commissioners, especially by Mr. Speaker Abbott (Lord Colchester), who was the main-spring of the business, and found time amidst his arduous parliamentary duties to devote to it no small measure of attention. During many years he held much communication with Dr. Clarke, both by letter and in person ; and he deliberately stated, that "never had he witnessed such uniform and successful exertions” as those which the public received from the hands of Dr. Clarke in bringing out
his work, even the very printing exhibiting, he said, "the joint qualities of
beauty and compression, in a manner little known to modern typography." When Dr. Clarke first accepted the appointment, and was induced to draw up an elaborate essay for the Commissioners, within fourteen days, upon unedited and latent records with which till that moment he was unacquainted, he said mentally, “ for the honour of God, and for the credit of my people, I will put my shoulder to the wheel, deeply stuck in the mud, and endeavour to raise it, if I can*.” And raise it he did, and kept it moving steadily for ten years; till in 1819, after twice refusing to receive his resignation, they at length, on his third application, accepted it, after the chief of the labour was over ; and then principally on the ground of his having gone to reside near Liverpool, where he could not efficiently continue his services. We believe that Methodism profited in public opinion by his exertions in this matter, as he had hoped it would; and that the access which he gained to persons of high political and literary celebrity was a means of softening many prejudices, and concurred with the general good conduct of his brethren and their flocks in troublous times, in accrediting them with his Majesty's Government, and gaining a respectful hearing for them as often as they had occasion to present any petition to the Legislature or the Throne.
But Dr. Clarke's historiographical studies did not diminish his ardour for sacred literature. When worn down to exhaustion with recondite researches into leagues, treaties, alliances, capitulations, confederacies, and other time-worn papers of State, he projected, in addition to other works connected with Biblical learning, a new and improved edition of the London Polyglott Bible. In conjunction with a much-respected and esteemed clergyman, whose many labours of Christian zeal, both as a wise counsellor and an active agent, have rendered him for many years a blessing to his country and the world; who was one of the founders, and the first clerical secretary, of the Bible Society; and to whom various other religious institutions, and especially the Church Missionary Society, owe an overwhelming debt of gratitude—in conjunction with the Rev. Josiah Pratt, whose ready pen and judicious advice were never wanting on such occasions, Dr. Clarke assisted to digest a plan for re-publishing this most important work.
“ To this end they conjointly drew up a plan, in which they embodied their views on the subject; and having communicated them to a few literary friends, a meeting was appointed to take place at the house of Lord Teignmouth, in Portman Square, which was attended by bis Lordship himself, Dr. Burgess, then Bishop of St. David's, Dr. Williams of Rotherham, Mr. Professor Shakespeare, Archdeacon Wrangham, the Rev. Josiah Pratt, and Dr. Adam Clarke. After variously discussing the plan, arranging the proportions of space on the page which each original text would require, a Specimen Sheet was proposed, which Dr. Clarke undertook to furnish in royal folio, and reduced also to an octavo size for the greater convenience of distribution. These were to be sent to the great men of the nation. Lord Teignmouth undertook to forward one to each Lay Lord: the Bishop of St. David's promised to furnish one to every Lord Spiritual; and Dr. A. Clarke, through the Right Honourable the Speaker, to put one into the hands of the different members of his Majesty's Govern.
The plan was accordingly printed and distributed; and, at Dr. Clarke's suggestion, the Bishops of the land were to be requested to patronize and preside over
• He describes his “ fourteen days'” preliminary work as follows: “ To do any thing to effect, I must examine sixty folio volumes, with numerous collateral evidence, and write on a subject (Diplomatics) on which I had never tried my pen, and in circumstances too the most unfriendly, as I was employed in the quarterly visitation of the Classes during the whole time. I thought, I prayed, I read; and like John Bunyan, * I pulled, and as I pulled, it came.' To be short; my Essay was completed, and sent in to the Commissioners this day se’nnight. At the same time I sent them word that I was an Itinerant preacher among the people called Methodists, lately under the direction of the Rev. J. Wesley, deceased.' Mr. Butterworth, and Mr. Creighton, thought it was one of the completest things of the kind ever drawn up.” Vol. ii. pp. 162, 163.