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My heart, a stranger once to pain,
The Sun emits his golden fire,
When the last hour of life draws nigh,
B. H. D.
Occasioned by a sermon preached
Lord endureth continually.
AMBITION thro' the human breast,
And prostrate slaves exulting view;
The countless worlds which roll on high,
Fresh proofs of his paternal care.
His everlasting goodness shines!
Of blessings in profusion stor'd:
The fast'ring goodness of the Lord.
Or tremble at a mortal's threat?
Is safe, if God her shores surrounds, Here let the Christian fix his trust,
Nor fear the Gallic boaster's might; Tho' oft his foes have lick'd the dust,
And vict'ry crown'd the lawless fight. Tho' foreign lands his conquests feel,
Where mischief mark'd his mad career; The Christians' pray'rs for England's weal Shall frustrate all his efforts here. Lord, hear our pray'rs !— on thee alone We fix our hopes in danger's hour; Help us to make thy glories known, And crush the mighty boaster's pow'rl
Printed by G. AULD, Greville Street, London.
THE EXEMPLARY LIFE AND COMFORTABLE DEATH OF
THE LATE REV. JOHN CLARK,
THE Rev. John Clark was the offspring of pious parents, who were members of a Baptist church at Frome, in Somersetshire, under the care of a Mr. Sharp. He was born December 29, 1711, and was put to school to a woman, who taught him, to read; and as soon as he was able, he was set to work. ́ ́At about fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed to a cooper at Frome, who soon after removed to Axbridge, where he kept a public-house. Here his situation became so uncomfortable, that he was discharged from his master in the fourth year; and returned to his father's house. In consequence of the conversation he witnessed between his parents and their friends, together with what they said to him about eternal things, he was sometimes led to think of the state of his soul; yet still he proceeded in the ways of sin, though often reproved by his conscience, and frequently promising amendment.
It pleased God, however, about his nineteenth year, to exert the power of his effectual grace, and to decide the protracted conflict. This will best be expressed in his own words, extracted from a paper which he drew up for the satisfaction of his friends, about two years before his death.
"I was convinced," saith he, "of my sinful ruined state, and was filled with distress, bordering on despair; so that I expected nothing but eternal misery in Hell. I thought the clouds appeared charged with the wrath of God; and feared they would burst on my head and sink me into endless ruin. In this awful state I continued about eighteen days; but one day, being alone, lamenting my miserable helpless condition, these words occurred to my mind," My grace is sufficient for thee." The impression was so forcible, that I verily thought some one behind me had spoken them, and turned round to see who it was; but no one was there. I was greatly surprized;
but soon recollected that it was a part of Scripture; and began to think, Who can tell but what there may be hope for me? My mind dwelt much upon it; and about the same time some other Scriptures abode much on my mind, as Ezek. xvi. 7, 13, "I spread my skirt over thee, and entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine:- and thy beauty was perfect, through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee:" which expressions I was led to apply to the case of a believing sinner, as justified by the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to him. While meditating on these things, there appeared to my mind such fulness and sufficiency in Christ, and in what he had done to save sinners, that I thought I could rest my soul on him for life and salvation; and from that time I found my mind relieved from the dreadful burden that had oppressed it."
Soon after this (August 1742) Mr. Clark, finding a desire to unite himself with religious persons, became a member of the church at Frome, of which Mr. Thomas Hurne was then pastor. Providence, however, occasioned his removal to Bath, where he formed an intimate acquaintance with Mr. Robert Parsons; and there being, at that time, no society of their denomination in that city, a few friends used to meet at one of their dwelling-houses on the Lord's Day, spending their time together in reading, prayer, and religious conversation. Thus the ministerial gifts of Mr. Clark began to be exercised with acceptance; and being desired by the church at Frome to speak on some portion of Scripture in the presence of a few friends, it was agreed to desire him to preach the word, whereever he should be invited. In August 1746, the church at Crockerton being destitute of a minister, they requested him to preach there; and at length chose him for their pastor. The ordination took place April 26, 1750: the principal parts of the service being perforined by the Rev. Messrs. Evans, Fuller, and Haydon.
Mr. Clark now resided in Frome; and though he had to travel seven miles to Crockerton every week, yet never disappointed his friends on a Lord's Day for many years: but once being overtaken with a prodigious fall of snow, and thinking his people could not expect him in such weather, he returned to Frome (which he used to call his Mother-Church); and entered the meeting-house just in time to hear the minister name his text, which was Prov. xxxi. 21, "She is not afraid of the snow;" which he felt as a severe reproof for turning back, However, he made it sufficiently evident at another time, that a little snow could not hinder him in his work; for he once walked from Frome to Bristol, a distance of twenty-four miles to preach: after which, he wrote the following lines to his friend :