Open main menu

Clarke, Samuel (1684-1750) (DNB00)


CLARKE, SAMUEL, D.D. (1684–1750), theological writer, was born, 16 Dec. 1684, at Chelsea. His father, Benjamin Clarke (1653–1722), was the youngest son of Daniel Clarke (1609–1654), vicar of Kirk Burton, Yorkshire, a brother of Samuel Clarke (1599–1683) [q. v.] His mother was his father's cousin, Elizabeth (1656–1736), daughter of Samuel Clarke (1626–1701) [q. v.] Through reading the works of his great-grandfather, Clarke's mind received deep religious impressions, and he went through a course of preparation for the ministry. Though offered preferment in the church of England, he declined it on conscientious grounds. He became the pastor of a nonconformist congregation at St. Albans, where he was greatly esteemed for his consistent character and faithful labours. The first charity school in connection with a dissenting congregation was instituted by Clarke, giving gratuitous education in reading, writing, and arithmetic to thirty boys and ten girls. Though Clarke published some sermons, the work for which he is remembered is his ‘Collection of the Promises of Scripture,’ arranged systematically. It is a mere compilation, but it has been often reprinted, and is still a popular religious volume. Clarke was on intimate terms with Doddridge, Watts, and Orton, and of the same theological school. Doddridge was his special friend; it was in going to preach Clarke's funeral sermon that he caught the illness which caused his death (4 Dec. 1750). It is said that Clarke suggested to Dr. Doddridge some of the books which he published; in particular, his ‘Principles of the Christian Religion.’ Clarke married Sarah Jones, of St. Albans (1701–1757), by whom he had a son, Joseph (1738–1807), and other issue.

[The Saints' Inheritance; being a collection of the Promises of Scripture, arranged by Samuel Clarke, D.D., with notice of the author prefixed; Burke's Landed Gentry, i. 241.]

W. G. B.