Christian Theology

By Adam Clarke


[1] This excellent woman has since deceased. She died on the 26th of December, 1836, in full hope of a glorious immortality.—Am. Ed.

[2] He had previously received the following letter from Mr. Wesley:— "Near Dublin, June 2 5, 1789. "Dear Adam,—You send me good news with regard to the islands. Who can hurt us, if God is on our side? Trials may come, but they are all good. I have not been so tried for many years. Every week, and almost every day, I am bespattered in the public papers. Many are in tears on the occasion, many terribly frightened, and crying out, 'O, what will the end be? what will the end be?' Why, glory to God in the highest, and peace and good will among men. But, meantime, what is to be done? What will be the most effectual means to stem this furious torrent? I have just visited the classes, and find still in the society upward of a thousand members; and, among them, many as deep Christians as any I have met with in Europe. But who is able to watch over these that they may not be moved from their steadfastness? I know none more proper than Adam Clarke and his wife. Indeed, it may seem hard for them to go into a strange land again. Well, you may come to me, at Leeds, the latter end of' next month; and if you can show me any that are more proper, I will send them instead, that God may be glorified in all that is designed by,

"Dear Adam,

"Your affectionate friend and brother,

"J. Wesley."

[3] In a letter to myself, he says, "Lord Glenbervie, who was one of the commissioners, once wrote to me: 'Dr. Clarke, festina lente: you will destroy yourself by your labour. Do a little, that you may do it long.' The same advice I give you. May God bless you, my dear Sammy."

[4] The following letter I received in 1825:—

"My Dear Sammy,—When I had but one sovereign in the world for Shetland, I prayed, called earnestly upon God, and sat down and wept—and wept till I could scarcely see to write or read.—'Well, I once more thought, I must lay the whole before our best earthly friend. With a full heart, I stated the matter in a letter to Mr. Scott, which letter was watered with fast falling tears. He wrote me word that he and Mrs. Scott would be up in a fortnight and see me. They came; and I set off in very bad health to London to meet them:—and O, what a meeting!—their hearts were nearly as full as mine. Says Mr. Scott, 'Come, let me have a check, I will give orders on my bank for 100.' Says Mrs. Scott, 'And I will, out of my private purse, give 5?' 'And I am desired,' says Mr. Scott, 'by my sister-in-law, Miss Grainger, to give 5; and lest any chapel begun should be impeded, here is 10 more, and thus I will give the check for 120. And this is not all that I will do; I tell you again, I will give 10 to every chapel or house begun under your direction in Shetland.' O, my Sammy! you can hardly tell how much I rejoiced—I thanked God, I thanked them, and could have kissed the ground on which they trod. I said in my heart, 'O my poor Shetlanders! (whom I have never seen, and now never shall see, but God has laid you upon my heart) God has not forgotten you.' I sent my check to the bankers, got the cash, 120, and immediately wrote to you, and told you what God had done, to take courage and go forward. Mr. Scott has written to me, two or three days ago, stating that he is very poorly, and wishes to make a 'trust deed' in behalf of Shetland, and to do this immediately; and wishes me to give him the names with which I wish it to be filled. Old as I am, I must be one, Mr. Butterworth will be another, and you shall be the third.

"Yours, my dear Sammy, affectionately, 'ADAM CLARKE"

Mr. Butterworth, Mr. Scott, and the dear doctor, have all since been called to give an account of their stewardship. Mr. Scott left three thousand pounds to the

Shetland mission, in the three-and-half per cents.

[5] For a brief account of the subjects, the author, and the date of every book in the Holy Scriptures, see the preface to each in Dr. Clarke's Commentary; and also his " Clavis Biblica," a work that contains a fund of most important information in a very small compass.—S.D.

[6] Those who wish to see an attempt to demonstrate, by arguments a priori and a posteriori, the necessary existence of a supreme and eternal Being, are referred to the doctor's Commentary, Heb. xi, at the end.—S.D.

[7] The sentiments contained in the following letter are worthy the attention of the reader:—

"Millbrook, Prescot, Jan. 21 st, 1823.

"MY DEAR BROTHER DUNN, "Last evening I received your letter of the 19th ult., and was not a little glad to hear from you: and still more rejoiced to hear such good news. I plainly see that every thing is going on as God usually conducts his work. I do not regret your being shut out of the churches; to such God never yet gave us a call: nor are we to build on other men's foundations. We have a work to do peculiar to ourselves. We know our own sorrows in the operation; and no stranger intermeddles with our joy. I should not wonder to hear next that you are denounced from the pulpits as deceivers and heretics. Boldly proclaim all the truth. Preach it with all its proofs and evidences; and leave that villanous stuff that is in concert with the Eleven Letters as perfectly unnoticed as if it never had existed. I am quite of Mr. Wesley's mind, that once 'we leaned too much toward Calvinism,' and especially in admitting, in any sense, the unscriptural doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ. I never use the distinction of righteousness imputed, righteousness imparted, righteousness practised. In no part of the book of God is Christ's righteousness ever said to be imputed to us for our justification; and I greatly doubt whether the doctrine of Christ's active obedience in our justification does not take away from the infinite merit of his sacrificial death: and whether by fair construction, and legitimate deduction, it will not go to prove, if admitted as above, that no absolute necessity of Christ's death did exist. For if the acts of his life justify in part, or conjunctly, they might, in so glorious a personage, have justified separately and wholly; and consequently his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion, and his death, burial, and ascension would have been utterly useless, considered as acts and consequences of acts, called atoning. Our grand doctrine is, 'We have redemption in his blood.' Nor can we ever successfully comfort the distressed but by proclaiming Christ crucified. having been 'delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.' He is not represented in heaven as performing acts of righteousness for our justification; but as the Lamb newly slain before the throne. I have long thought that the doctrine of imputed righteousness, as held by certain people, is equally compounded of Pharisaism and Antinomianism; and, most certainly, should find very little trouble, by analysis or synthesis, to demonstrate the facts, little as its abettors think of the subject. But go on your way, preaching all our doctrines, but not in a controversial way: and if at any time you may be obliged to repel invective, do it in the meekness of Christ. Our grand doctrines of the witness of the Spirit, and Christian perfection, are opposed to all bad tempers, as well as bad words and works.

"The peace of God be with you. Write often to "Your affectionate brother and friend,


[8] As adoption is not so much a distinct act of God, but is involved in our justification, I have not thought it necessary to give to it a separate chapter.—S.D.

[9] The reading of Dr. Clarke's interesting "Memoirs of the Wesley Family, by all parents and children, has my warmest recommendation.—S.D.

[10] As I have found very little on this subject in Dr. Clarke's writings, I shall perhaps be excused if I refer the reader to a small work recently published, the title of which is, "A Present for Female Servants: or, the Secret of their getting and keeping good Places."—S.D.

[11] Dr. Clarke published two very instructive tracts, entitled, "The Rights of God and Caesar;" and The Origin and End of Civil Government."—S.D.

[12] Few selections have been made from the doctor's "Letter to a Preacher." It is presumed that those who feel an interest in the contents of this chapter will purchase that interesting pamphlet. It deserves the attention of all ministers of the gospel, and to Methodist preachers is invaluable.—S.D.

[13] In addition to the many other proofs in support of the great doctrine of the Godhead of Christ, which will be found in this volume, (see page 99, &c.,) I would here recommend to the notice of the critical reader an admirable essay on the Greek article, published at the end of the doctor's notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians, by that accomplished scholar, H. S. Boyd, Esq., author of "Translations from Chrysostom," &c., who has read the Greek writers, both sacred and profane, with peculiar attention. It was carefully revised by him for the new edition of the Commentary, and was considered by Dr. Clarke the best piece ever written on the subject. The doctor's insertion of it is only one among many instances in which he showed his readiness to "sow beside all waters," and to avail himself of the talents of others to enrich his work and benefit the public.—S.D.

[14] In the Minutes of Conference for the year 1827, (p. 77,) are these words: "It is the acknowledged right, and, under existing circumstances, the indispensable duty, of every chairman of a district, to ask all candidates for admission upon trial among us, if they believe the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ as it is stated by Mr. Wesley, especially in his notes upon the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, to be agreeable to the Ho1y Scriptures; and that it is also the acknowledged right, and, under existing circumstances, the indispensable duty, of the president of the conference for the time being, to examine particularly upon that doctrine every preacher proposed to be admitted into full connection, and to require an explicit and unreserved declaration of his assent to it, as a truth revealed in the inspired oracles."

[15] The following lines were written in a lady's album:— I have enjoyed the spring of life; I have endured the toils of summer; I have culled the fruits of autumn; I am passing through the rigours of winter; And am neither forsaken of God, Nor abandoned by man. I see, at no great distance, the dawn of a new day, The first of a spring that shall be eternal: It is advancing to meet me:— I haste to embrace it:— Welcome! welcome! eternal spring!



[16] For many interesting particulars relative to the disturbances at Epworth, I must refer the reader to Dr. Clarke's "Memoirs of the Wesley Family."—S.D.

[17] As the above project was not carried into execution, it is hoped that the year 1839, the centenary of the establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist Society, will not pass without services somewhat similar to those mentioned by the doctor. The collections, and the objects to which the moneys shall be applied, are but secondary considerations.—S.D.

[18] What answers were given to these questions it is not necessary for the reader to know. The letter is inserted as a curiosity; and as likely to be of use to other missionaries in different parts of the world. The success of the mission to the islands may be learned from the letters and journals published in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine since 1832.—S.D.