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Hugh Clark

. Hugh Clark, A. M.—This excellent person was born at Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire, August 15,1563,' and educated first in Jesus college, Cambridge, then in the university of Oxford. Having finished his studies at college, he first settled in the ministry at Oundle in Northamptonshire. Here he found the people in a state of most deplorable ignorance and profanencss, living in the constant profanation of the Lord's day, by Whitsun-ales, morricedancing, and other ungodly sports. For a considerable time he laboured to convince them of their sins, and to reclaim them from their evil ways, but without any prospect of success. Though God visited several of the ringleaders of vice, by successive remarkable judgments, they still persbted in their profane sports. They seemed to have made a covenant with death, and to have been at agreement with hell. At length, however, there was a pleasing alteration. They began to take serious heed to the ministry of the word. Their lives became reformed; and many were called to a saving knowledge of the gospel.

During Mr. Clark's abode at this place, he experienced several remarkable providential deliverances, among which was the following:—Having, in his sermon on the sabbathday, announced the just judgment of God against certain particular sins, to which the people were much addicted, the next morning a lusty young man came to his house, wishing to see him. Mr. Clark, having invited him into his chamber, and, knowing his vicious character, sharply reproved him, and warned him of his awful danger; and God wrought so effectually upon his heart, by this pointed and faithful dealing, that the man, falling down on his knees, and crying for pardon, pulled out a dagger by which he had determined to murder him. " I came hither," said

• SIS Remarks; p. 895.

the man," with a full resolution to (tab yon, but God has . prevented me. This was occasioned by your terrifying. sermon yesterday. But, if you please to forgive me, I shall, by the grace of God, never attempt any such thing again." Mr. Clark freely pardoned the offence; and, after giving him suitable advice, dismissed him.*

In the year 1590, Mr. Clark removed from Oundle, and succeeded Mr. Edward Lord, another worthy puritan, in the pastoral charge at Woolston in Warwickshire. He was chosen to the pastoral office by the people, and received a presentation to the living from Sir Roger Wigston, when he waited upon Bishop Overton for his institution. Bnt the bishop, designing the living for one of his chaplains, endeavoured to persuade Mr. Clark to relinquish it, promising that he would bestow upon him some other preferment. Mr. Clark, considering his clear call to the place, and hoping that the Lord had there some work for him to do, told his lordship, that he could not give it up with a good conscience, and, therefore, requested his institution. The bishop, being disappointed, gave orders for the ablest of his chaplains to examine him, and dispute with him; hoping, by this means, to obtain some grounds of exception. His lordship, meeting with another disappointment, still refused to grant his institution; and Mr. Clark, after several unsuccessful journies, was under the painful necessity of threatening the bishop with a prosecution, before it could be obtained. His lordship did not forget, however, to recompense him for the affront, by sending spies to watch him, and by citing him, on the most trivial occasions, to appear in the ecclesiastical court. This was disagreeable and expensive to Mr. Clark; though he was not much interrupted by these molestations from attending to the duties of his ministry.

The angry prelate did not desist, but seemed determined, .if possible, to ruin him; therefore he went himself to Woolston, to hear him preach on a sabbath morning. Though Mr. Clark saw him in the church, he was not m the least discouraged, but went through the service, and dispensed the word of life with his usual zeal and fervency. During the sermon, his lordship was much displeased, which he manifested by shifting from place to place, as if he sat upon thorns. A person observing his extreme uneasiness, without knowing who he was, fetched a cushion for him to .

sit upon, then another to recline upon; but he still appeared uncommonly restless. The public service was no sooner «nded, than the bishop declared openly before the congregation, saying, " This is indeed a hot fellow, but I will cool him." To this Mr. Clark replied, " My lord, if I have not faithfully delivered the truth of God, I beseech you to declare what I have said amiss, that I may defend myself before the people." But the bishop only answered as before, " You are indeed a hot fellow, but I will cool you," and so departed. His lordship was as good as his word: for not long after he caused the good man to feel the effect of his angry spirit. He first suspended him from preaching; then Mr. Clark expounded the scriptures. He next suspended him from expounding; then Mr. Clark catechized. And when the bishop suspended him from cate* chizing, he appointed a pious man, at the usual time of sermon, to read a chapter; and at the end of every verse the man asked him the meaning of it, and what uses and instructions flowed from it. This so enraged the bishop, that he immediately excommunicated him. The character given of this prelate, therefore, appears very correct. " He was sufficiently severe," it is said, " to suppress those whom hev suspected of nonconformity."* Mr. Clark, in conse

Sjuence of these tyrannical oppressions, laid his case at the eet of the Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained his absolution, and so went on in his ministry.

This, indeed, irritated the bishop more than ever; and he could never feel easy till he had again caught this reverend divine in the snare. The persecution of the nonconformists being now very hot, Mr. Clark prayed in the public congregation, though in very modest terms, that the Lard would forgive the queen her sins ; one of the bishop's spies being present, immediately laid the information before his lordship, who caused him to be apprehended, and for this significant crime, charged him with treason, and committed him to the common jail at Warwick, where he remained till the next assize. Previous to the trial, the bishop, it. is said, took care to exasperate the judge; and accordingly, in the time of his trial, he urged the jury to find him guilty. A worthy and honourable justice on the bench, at this juncture stood up and declared to the judge, that before any wrong should be done to Mr. Clark, he would kneel for him before the queen. This wrought so effectu

ally upon the minds of the jury, that they gave a verdict of not guilty, and he was acquitted. Mr. Clark again laid his case at the feet of the archbishop, complaining of the hard usage he had met with from the bishop. The archbishop upon this called them both before him; and after an impartial hearing of both parties, he commanded the bishop to go to Mr. Clark's church, and on the sabbath day, the congregation being present, to make a public acknowledgment o? the wrong he had done him, which the bishop performed accordingly. And, remarkable as it may appear, Bishop Overton from that time became Mr. Clark's cordial friend, and so continued as long as he lived.*

Mr. Clark was a zealous, constant, and laborious preacher. In addition to his own parish church, he had a chapel of ease at some distance, at each of which he preached twice every sabbath, and performed all other occasional services. This he continued during the greatest part of his time at Woolston, which was nearly forty-four years. He was peculiarly careful in the management and education of his children; and God was pleased so to bless his endeavours, that he lived to behold a work of grace in all his seven children. Towards the close of life he laboured under a lingering and painful complaint, but was happily resigned to the will of God. As the hour of his dissolution approached, his conversation became more and more heavenly. He finished bis course November 6, 1634, aged sixty-one years. He was a person of great learning and piety, an excellent and useful preacher, and an acute and powerful disputant.t Mr. Samuel Clark of Bennet Fink, and author of the lives of many eminent persons, was his son; and Mr. Samuel Clark, jun. and Mr. John Clark, were his grandsons : all of whom were ejected in 1662. f