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DOCTOR IN PHILOSOPHY, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HEIDELBERG, AND
MEMBER OF THE ASIATIO SOCIETY OF PARIS.
Amabat vehementer quod docebat, docebat argute quod amabat; utrumque gignit
in eo qui scriptis illius propius intendit animum. ERASMUS.
New York: PUBLISHED BY CARLTON & PORTER,
E 43 •C597
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
No name in the history of Methodism, after John Wesley's, is more widely and honorably known than that of Adam CLARKE. His “ Commentary on the Bible” has been more generally circulated, both in the British Islands and in America, within the last thirty years, than any other exposition of the sacred writings. The Biblical culture of many a Methodist minister is due chiefly to that great work. And although it is now to some extent behind the present state of science, especially in the geography and topography of the Holy Land, its multifarious learning, and its excellent practical observations and reflections make it of great value, and keep it in circulation.
But those who know Adam Clarke only from his Commentary know little of the man. His mental characteristics, it is true, are broadly stamped on that vast work : his simplicity, industry, self-reliance, boldness, even credulity, are obvious enough to the careful reader of the Commentary. But the nobleness of his nature, his thorough devotion to the cause of God, his spirit of self-sacrifice, his unfaltering loyalty to Methodism—these traits are chiefly displayed in other fields of his activity. To exhibit and illustrate them is the task of his biographer. A copious life of Dr. Clarke, by his son, including a curious and characteristic autobiography, appeared in London in 1834, (3 vols. 8vo,) and was afterward republished in this country. But it never supplied the wants of the general public as a life of Dr. Clarke. Too bulky for general and cheap circulation, and too minute and prolix for easy reading, it affords a repository of facts for the biographer, rather than a biography itself. The want of a portable volume, portraying the man as he was, for the people, has long been felt.
Dr. Etheridge has supplied this want in the volume now offered to the public. He evinces that first requisite of a biographer, a true and hearty sympathy with the subject of his work, in a high degree. He discriminates well amid the vast mass of extant material, selecting the salient points of Dr. Clarke's varied career, and presenting them clearly and boldly. If he fails at all, it is in the grouping of his facts; pictorial skill is not among his most striking endowments. But even the naked facts are enough; the plain, unvarnished tale of the rise of Adam Clarke from the hut of the humble schoolmaster in Ireland, to be the companion of princes and of the intellectual monarchs who are far higher than princes, is a record of surpassing interest. Most of all is the work valuable as the history of a true and earnest Christian life; simple and modest in its profession, but manly and robust, to the highest degree, in its realities.
Besides the attractiveness of this volume, as the record of a life full of rapid changes, and touching human society at many points, it has an ethical value for all classes of readers. To the young student it will afford the stimulus and example of unparalleled devotion to the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, and of grand success in the pursuit. For the Methodist minister it portrays a career of itinerancy in which the most minute attention to the details of that arduous life were made compatible with continued and systematic culture. For the Christian reader it depicts a life of earnest, simple, childlike piety, growing, from the beginning to the end, in richness of experience, and fullness of sanctification, throughout a career of unexampled labors, cares, and temptations.
The book is welcome to its place among that repository of true and noble names, that genuine Acta Sanctorum of modern times, the list of " Methodist Biographies.”