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ployed in the labour of husbandry, and in the studies of the school by turns: he whose duty it was to read the Georgics, communicating his lesson to him whose duty it had been to apply them. The pence they thus gained were laid out in books—such nursery tales and wild romances as were wont to make
the youthful library before the march of knowledge had superseded them by treatises on political economy, and taught us to put away childish things ere yet we are men. The use of such books, Adam Clarke defends, as creating an appetite for reading, the foundation of all knowledge; leading the mind to the contemplation of a spiritual world, such as it was; and, in some instances, as in the case of Robinson Crusoe, impressing the child with such a notion of the providence of God, as nothing was ever likely to efface afterwards.
Mention has already been made of Adam Clarke's mother. She was a Presbyterian of the old Puritan school—a person powerful in the Scriptures—and whenever she corrected her children she gave chapter and verse for it. Such a practice, if generally adopted by parents, would soon render the Bible the rule of life, and go far to make religion operative. From her he received his early religious impressions. It might seem that St. Paul dropped his hints about Timothy's breeding expressly to put mothers in mind of the magnitude of their trust. That eminent disciple, as he turned out, knew the Scriptures from a child, though his father was a Greek; but then there had been faith unfeigned in his grandmother Lois, and in his mother Eunice, and by their means he was what he was. Adam Clarke was now far in his teens, but as yet without any settled plan of life. His friends wished him to assist his father in his school, and eventually to succeed him in it, but the proposal was not to his taste. He was afloat, and in a condition therefore to be appropriated, when, in the year 1777, the Methodists first appeared in his neighbourhood. Hitherto he had been in the habit of attending both Church and Meeting-house, the former chiefly, but with no great edification from either ; indeed the Presbyterian congregation here, as elsewhere, was fast drooping into Socinianism. He was now led by curiosity to hear a serinon of the new preacher. It was after another fashion—after that described by the hand of a master in one of the most powerful of his poems
• Repent, repent, he cries aloud,
• Repent, repent, though ye have gone,
They shall be white as snow!! In short, Christ crucified, and redemption through his blood, was the burden of his sermon; and Mrs. Clarke, who accompanied her son, and who was as yet his oracle in matters spiritual, pronounced rightly enough- This is the doctrine of the Reformers.' From that time the house of the Clarkes was open to such preachers as came to those parts, and young Adam was soon added to the number of the converts. It was still, however, some time before he had assurance of his salvation, a doctrine then strongly insisted upon by the Methodists, but• One morning,' we quote his own account of an incident which he ever represented as the epoch of his life, in great distress of soul he went out to work in the field. He began, but could not proceed, so great was his spiritual anguish. He fell down on his knees on the earth and prayed, but seemed to be without power of faith. endeavoured to work, but could not; even his physical strength ap. peared to have departed from him. He again endeavoured to pray, but the gate of Heaven seemed barred against him. His faith in the atonement, so far as it concerned himself, was almost entirely gone; he could not believe that Jesus had died for him; the thickest darkness seemed to gather round and settle on his soul. He fell flat on his face on the earth, and endeavoured to pray, but still there was no answer; he arose, but he was so weak that he could scarcely stand.
It is said the time of man's extremity is the time of God's opportunity. He now felt strongly in his soul, Pray to Christ; another word for, Come to the holiest through the blood of Jesus. He looked up confidently to the Saviour of sinners, his agony subsided, his soul became calm; a glow of happiness seemed to thrill through his whole frame; all guilt and condemnation were gone.'-vol. i. pp. 99. 102,
The field in which this crisis befel him, this wrestle, as it were, with the angel, he used to visit with intense interest in the latter years of his life, when his journeys to Ireland brought him into its neighbourhood, and would have gladly got possession of it by purchase. Yet we should have thought Dr. Clarke might have been led to suspect the nature of this evidence, when a few years afterwards, according to his own account, it appears that he became a universal sceptic, save only that he believed in the being of a God, and the truth of the sacred writings'-(p. 130); a point very
far below that fulness of faith which his former assurance must have reached ; and, indeed, how his doubts could have stopped where they did, we are quite at a loss to understand. For when he had arrived at the condition of distrusting his own senses, so that he would not assert positively that he had done, said, or seen any one thing-looked upon himself as a vision, and upon all nature as the same-it is difficult to say how he could be satisfied that scripture itself existed, that the characters of black and white in which it was writ were themselves real-much less how the ideas they conveyed were founded in truth.
Methodism was in danger of deceiving the hearts of some, and breaking the hearts of many, by exacting this witness of the spirit alike of all. Physical temperament has much to do with the capacity to receive it. When the saintly Herbert lay a long time prostrate on the ground before the altar in Bemerton church, and afterwards told his friend that he had now put off all worldly thoughts, and hereafter should live to God, the Methodist might contend, with apparent reason, that the spirit testified to him— and so perhaps it did; but what will he say of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who, before the publication of his intidel book · De Veritate,' &c., fell upon his knees, and earnestly besought God to give him a sign that he sanctioned the publication, and fully satisfied himself, and declared the same to others, that this sign he had ? Surely the witness of the spirit was not here too? The two men were brothers--and, different as their courses proved, the constitutional elements of both were alike, and had some share in either of these scenes.
Let us not be misunderstood; we are not arguing that there is no such thing as the testimony of the spirit-far be that from us we believe that there is, and that good men have it; all we contend for is this, that the paroxysms in which John Wesley and his followers made it of necessity to consist, are trumpets that give a very uncertain sound.
But to proceed with our memoir-Adam Clarke continued to store his mind with such knowledge as a self-educated boy of active parts, slender means, and few opportunities, could command, grudging not a daily walk of many miles, early and late, in the depth of winter, to gain some acquaintance with French-never having found, as he says, a royal road to any branch of learning. His parents now made another effort to fix him in an honest calling, and a linen merchant of Coleraine, a relation of his own, was the man chosen to take him apprentice. With him he remained some time, but was never bound, satisfied with his situation chiefly as it gave him a more ready access to the ministry of the Methodists. At length, through the intervention of one of the preachers, he was recommended to the notice of John Wesley, who proposed to receive him at Kingswood school, an establishment of Wesley's own projecting, and originally intended for the sons of itinerant preachers. Accordingly he set sail for England, and his employer, Mr. Bennet, must have released a boy from his service, we imagine, with hearty
good-will, who, to the plain questions of a plain tradesman, would make answer in such rigmarole as the following, the sceptical scruples of which we have already spoken being then upon him, . Have you been at ?-I think I have, Sir.' 'Did you see Mr.
?-I believe I did, Sir.' Did you deliver the message? -I think so,' &c. Come what might, it was clear that Adam was not to make his fortune by cloth.
At this same precious school of Kingswood he arrived in a cold wet day of autumn, and with three-halfpence in his pocket. There he was thrust, by the churlish Nabals of the place, into a miserable unfurnished chamber-fed thrice a day upon scanty supplies of bread and milk, not being allowed to join the family meals; and dressed before a large fire (the only one he saw there) with Jackson's itch ointment—it being presumed that such application could not be ill bestowed upon any one who proposed to be a student at Kingswood; meanwhile poor Adam was as innocent of any disease of the kind here intimated, save an itching ear,' as the child unborn. Here the poor lad worked in the garden to keep himself warm, and found a half-guinea in a clod. The inmates of this place were in general heartless persons enough, but in the present instance they could not reconcile it to themselves to deprive a forlorn boy of this God-send, for such it seemed to be, who proposed, however, on his own part, to resign it; and with six shillings of the sum, which was all that he had in the world, he gallantly bought Bayley's Hebrew Grammar, the foundation of his future acquirements in Oriental literature, and of the character by which he was principally known. Soon afterwards Wesley himself arrived at Bristol, and delivered his victim from this strange preparation for the ministry.
* Mr. Wesley took me kindly by the hand. Our conversation was short,--"Well, brother Clarke, do you wish to devote yourself entirely to the word of God?” I answered, “Sir, I wish to do and be what God pleases.” He then said, “We want a eacher for Bradford (Wilts); hold yourself in readiness to go thither; I am going into the country, and will let
you shall go.” He then turned to me, laid his hand upon my head, and spent a few minutes in praying to God to bless and preserve me, and to give me success in the work to which I was called.'
So this raw boy went forth to preach : his call to the ministry from God being found in the casual opening of his Bible, some time before, upon John xv. 16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should bring forth fruit,' &c. --and from man, in the imposition of John Wesley's hands. It might have occurred to him, that, if this sortilege through Scripture was good for directing the priest, it was equally good for directing
the people, and would supersede the necessity of any ministry whatever. But the disposition there was in Adam Clarke, which appears on very many occasions, to construe the accident of the moment into a message to him from the Almighty, now received a serious check. It chanced that he had scrawled a few verses from Virgil on the wall of his lodging ; the preacher who succeeded him resented this unknown tongue, which he was not Daniel enough to interpret-and added a remark that it was pride in the writer which thus led him to make his learning known that he should send that passion to hell, and prepare for eternity.' Adam Clarke, in this instance, like Jerome of old, considered himself under the lash of an angel for his Latinity; and not being probably very conversant with the writings of South, who would have told him that if God had no need of human learning, he had still less need of human ignorance-he yielded to the direction of this fanatic, fell on his knees forthwith in the middle of the room, and solemnly promised God that he would never more meddle with Greek or Latin as long as he lived! He had accordingly the satisfaction of receiving the commendation of his friend for his docility, and his assurance that he had never known one of the learned preachers' who was not a coxcomb. Thus did he cut himself off from the study of these languages for four years—the one, that of the Scriptures themselves, the other, that of many of the Fathers and most of the commentators--and betook himself forsooth to French, that not being laid under the interdict of this barbarian. At the end of this lustrum, thinking the best thing he could do with such a vow was to break it, he resumed his studies, though to great disadvantage, and ran the risk of the coxcombry they might engender. He
grew, however, more cautious on the subject of special interpositions as
older. In a letter written near the end of his life, on putting out apprentice a boy for whom Adam Clarke felt an interest, and addressed to his schoolmaster, we perceive the following passage:
My dear sir,-Speaking to you and to your excellent wife, sub rosà, I do not think that the offer of the gentleman in question, whoever he may be, is a matter much to rejoice in; and though I am a decided advocate for acknowledging God in all his ways, I do not see the particular reason why the said gentleman should “go and lay the matter before the Lord,” whether he should take “ for six years without a fee, a lad brought up as the son of Mr. and Mrs. M.Kenny, and educated by Mr. Theobald, his parents providing him all the time with clothes, washing, and pocket-money.” I need not quote to you, nec Deus intersiti'
Conference now met at Bristol, and thither Adam Clarke hastened-had the advantage of hearing seven sermons on the