This is the day that … Adam Clarke preached his first sermon.
He was about 21 years of age at the time – the date of his birth is uncertain – but this young Irishman had come to faith in Christ through the ministry of some itinerant Methodist preachers.
In 1778 (when he was perhaps 18 years of age) he joined the Methodist Church, led his sister, Hannah, to the Saviour, and found himself as ‘helper’ to Rev. Bredin. “Tomorrow,” said this wise man of God, “you will preach to the Methodists some five miles from Derry.” “I will do the best I can,” replied Adam, “with God’s help.”
Thus it was – on 19 June, 1782 – that Adam Clarke expounded I John 5:19: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”. The congregation was so impressed that they invited him to stay overnight and preach to them again at 5 o’clock the next morning – which he did!
Mr Bredin had seen the potential in this young man and already written to John Wesley in England. Wesley replied that he would be pleased if Adam Clarke came to England to assist in the work there.
The rest is history. Not only did Adam Clarke become one of Wesley’s most loyal preachers and president of the Methodist Conference, in 1806, but his fame lives on in his massive Bible Commentary – the work of 40 years.
He died of cholera on 26 August, 1832.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.