« AnteriorContinuar »
"On Friday last, as well you know,
Mr. Clark possessed good abilities: - his knowledge of men and things was extensive: he was strictly evangelical in his religious sentiments; nor was he less strict in his zeal to promote the duties of personal and relative religion. Few persons have ever obtained a better report from them who are without; yet he thought it a light thing to be judged of man's judgment: and derived his satisfaction not from the good opinion of men, nor from any of his public labours, but rather from his com munion with God in private.
This good man, notwithstanding the excellence of his character, and long-continued usefulness in the church, was the subject of much spiritual affliction. His temptations were sometimes extremely distressing. He was assaulted with horrid suggestions from the enemy; and was tempted, not only to doubt of his own personal interest in the blessings of the gospel, but even of the authenticity of the gospel itself, His conflicts with Satan were sometimes uncommonly severe; but he was enabled to fight his way through, and at length to come off more than conqueror.
Mr. Clark, in the short narrative before referred to, modestly observes, that his worldly circumstances had uniformly been in the humble line, When his family was increasing, and their support depended chiefly on 'his own labour, he found it difficult to keep his expences within his income: - he then said, "I shall think it a great privilege if I live to pay all my debts." This favour be obtained; and then uttered this extraordinary sentence, "I believe, few men are less troubled with money than I am; for I owe none, I am owed none, and I have Some of his friends, hearing of this expression, sent him so many generous tokens of their regard, that it was thought he never had occasion to repeat the latter clause of the sentence.
Mr. Clark was a man of peace; and being asked by Mr. Sibree, How he kept himself from being involved in quarrels ? replied," By letting the angry person always have the quarrel to himself." This saying having been mentioned in public since his death, several persons in Frome, when a quarrel was
likely to ensue, have said, " Come, let us remember old Mr. Clark, and leave the angry man to quarrel by himself."
The Lord, in whose hand our times are, was pleased to prolong the life of Mr. Clark to his ninety-second year; and to continue him as the pastor of the church at Crockerton for near fifty-seven years. At length, however, the fleshy tabernacle sunk under the weight of age. A few weeks before his death he was violently assaulted by the tempter; when, in great distress, he poured out his soul to God, in the words of David," Cast me not away from thy presence!" and, to his great relief and support, these words were given him, "I will never leave thee +"In the following night, thinking of Dr. Young's idea, "That the striking of the clock was the knell of a departed hour;" and judging that his thoughts during the hour preceding had been useless and impertinent, his heart approached the Lord in these words, "Unite my heart to fear thy name." When he illustrated the blessing desired, by the similitude of collecting the rays of the sun, by a glass, into a focal point, so he desired that the focus of his thoughts might be Christ himself. This new train of thought engaged his attention all the rest of the night; and he felt no pain or weariness.
On the 4th of April, it was evident that death was approaching: he wished to be helped out of bed, that he might sit by the fire; but as soon as his friends began to remove him, he felt great weakness and pain in his right leg and thigh, so that he could not be removed from his bed. He thought this seizure was paralytic; but it was soon perceived that the parts were cold and dying.
The next day, Mr. Kingdon coming to his bed-side, Mr. Clark took him by the hand, and said, "Fare well! you have been a witness of my life, and now you are about to be a witness of my death. I have a wicked heart; and the enemy has often suggested to me, that there would come an unguarded moment, in which I should expose my religion to banter and ridicule; but I trust I am now got out of his reach. Be thankful! be thankful! We have lived together in as much agreement and friendship as could be expected in this world." Mr. Clark also signified his persuasion, that nothing could separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and that his hope was more established than it used to be. It was observed to him, That Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; on which he said, "Suppose I now thought that I am not a sinner, then I could not derive any comfort from that Scripture; but I feel that I am a sinner, and that saying is suitable to my condition; for Christ came to save sinners." This was within two hours of his death; which took place
f Heb. xiii.
Ps. li. 11.
‡ Ps. lxxxvi. 14
about three o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, the 5th of April, 1803.
Mr. Clark was twice married. By his first wife he had one son and three daughters, who all arrived at maturity; but only one daughter survives her father. His second wife was the widow of the Rev. Abraham Larwill, predecessor of Mr. Kingdon. Mr. Clark has left eléven grandchildren, inany of whom are respectably settled, and some of them have large families. Mrs. Marshman, wife of one of the Missionaries at Serampore, is a daughter of his eldest child.
The remains of this venerable servant of Christ were com mitted to the grave in the place where he used to attend public worship in Frome. Messrs. Sibree and Hyatt, wishing to shew their Christian respect to the deceased, omitted their own services on the Lord's Day morning of the 10th of April. Mr. Kingdon, according to the desire of Mr. Clark, preached the funeral - discourse, from 1 Tim. i. 15, “This is a faithful saying," &c. It was well observed in the Sermon, that "The compassion of Christ inclines him to save sinners, the power of Christ enables him to save sinners, and the mise of Christ binds him to save sinners."
Mr. Clark, notwithstanding his very great age, was enabled to preach at Frome, Jan. 9, 1803, but three months before his death, from Col. ii. 6, "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." On that day he closed his ninetyfirst year. Many persons attended, and appeared to be much affected. Lest he should become giddy by ascending the pulpit, he stood in the table-pew, leaning on the top of his staff, like the patriarch Jacob, while he delivered his discourse.
Thus was this valuable man, after a long life of piety and usefulness, gathered to his fathers in a good old age, "like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season." He had adorned, as well as preached the doctrine of God his Saviour; and obtained, by an unblemished life, the good opinion of all his neighbours.
We shall conclude this Memoir with an extract from the oration delivered by Mr. Hyatt at the grave.
After many pertinent observations of a more general nature, on the Vanity of Man as mortal, he thus proceeded :-" In the act of committing all that was mortal of a fellow-creature to the grave, there is something peculiarly solemn. There, my brethren, lies a man, an aged man, a father, a minister of the truth, just about to be consigned to the gloomy mansion. There lies all that was mortal of a great and good man; justly esteemed by every individual, within these walls, that knew him.
"There lie those hands which so often turned over the hallowed pages of inspiration in this pulpit, motionless and stiff. There are those eyes which so often sparkled with life,
and with pleasure beheld you thronging the house of God, closed in darkness. There lies that tongue which so often, in your hearing, spake of the infinitely important things of religion, silent in death. There, unconverted sinner, lies the man that so often "warned you to flee from the wrath to come." How, oh! how will you dare to meet him at the bar of God if you die in sin!
"There lies, shall I say, the man that was to some of you your spiritual-Father in Christ. You were his joy here, and will be his crown of rejoicing at the last day. To you, his memory must ever be peculiarly dear. Be ye followers of him as he followed Christ; and rejoice in the prospect of soon seeing him in that world where all is perfection and joy.
"There, my much-esteemed, my honoured father in the sacred ministry, there lies your brother and companion in tribulation. You often took sweet counsel together; and went to the house of God in company. You have alternately held up each other's hands. I have looked at you as a Moses and a Joshua among this people, or as an Elijah and an Elisha : — you were kindred souls, united in heart, in the great cause of religion. You feel the providence; your friend is gone. Ah! methinks you were ready to say with Elisha, when Elijah went up to Heaven, " My father! my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof!" May a double portion of his pious spirit rest upon you! May God be gracious unto you, and bless you! May he cause his face to shine upon you, and give you peace in your latter end!
"When I stood in this pulpit this day fortnight, our dear departed friend was here, for the last time that he ever mingled with saints upon earth for the public worship of God, — when he heard a sermon on the blessedness of the knowledge of Christ. Ah! he is now gone to realize that blessedness in its perfection. He no longer worships in this assembly of imperfect Christians, and where hypocrites are found; but he is associated with the spirits of the just made perfect. Could we hear him, would he not thus address us?
"Farewell, ye my Christian friends! I no longer see thiro'. a glass darkly, but face to face do I behold my Saviour. No longer have I cause to complain of sin, of temptation, of sorrow I am freed, perfectly and eternally freed from all. I have finished my course, fought the good fight of faith, and and now have received the crown of life, the crown of glory, the immortal prize! I have begun a Sabbath that will never break up; -a song that will never, never, never end. My death-bed was the field of victory over sin, and death, and Hell, and the world, and Satan. Now the God of peace hath bruised Satan under my feet; now I am at the fountain of life: I am" ever with the Lord."
THE GOSPEL A TREASURE.
How comparatively worthless are all earthly possessions! One, who had formed his estimate of them from experience, exclaims, "Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities; all is vanity!" Happy are the persons who, deeply impressed with the truth of this sentiment, earnestly covet and seek after true substantial riches. These are to be found in the gospel of Christ. It is compared to a treasure. Let it be remembered, that it is not what some call the Gospel, which deserves this character; not the gospel legalized in its nature, or corrupted in its form by the inventions of men;- but the doctrines, the invitations, the promises of the gospel, in their purity and connection, as delivered by Christ and his apostles in the Scriptures of the New Testament. This gospel is a treasure; the properties of which are so singularly excellent, that it can never be duly esteemed.
The gospel is a treasure of heavenly origin. The mine whence it is digged is no other than Jehovah himself. It springs from the wisdom, the goodness, the grace, the very bowels of God; it bears his image and superscription; it qualifies a person to carry on a commerce with Heaven.
The gospel is a treasure of intrinsic worth. The value of silver and gold is merely accidental, arising from the authority and common consent of men; but the excellence of the gospel is founded in its own nature: no external circumstance whatever can either increase or diminish its value. Whatever its reception among men may be, it is, in itself, infinitely precious.
The gospel is a treasure suited to the souls of men. The riches it exhibits are spiritual; and, as such, adapted to the nature of our souls. They are equally suited to the deplorable circumstances of depravity, of guilt, and of misery, into which our spirits are fallen. In the treasures of the gospel there are forgiveness of sins, peace of conscience, purity of heart, joy in the Holy Ghost, the hope of glory; - an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
The gospel is a treasure, as plenteous in its stores as it is valuable in its nature. It proceeds from an infinite source; — it includes all heavenly and spiritual blessings, the unsearchable riches of Christ: it is calculated, not only to supply the wants, and to answer the desires, but even to fill and to exceed the most enlarged capacity of our souls:- it is capable of enriching the most indigeut, of enriching millions of
• Mat. xiii. 44, 45, 46. 2 Cor. iv, 7.