Samuel Clarke (congregationalist)
Samuel Clarke (1684–1750) was an English Nonconformist pastor and theological writer, known for his collection Promises of Scripture. He is not to be confused with his near contemporary Samuel Clarke (1675–1729), also a clergyman but an Anglican.
He was born on 16 December 1684 at Chelsea into an extended family of clergy. 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), the Puritan biographer. His father married his cousin Elizabeth (1656–1736), the daughter of another Samuel Clarke (1626–1701), annotator of the Bible. After reading the works of the older Samuel Clarke, who was his great-uncle on one side and great-grandfather on the other, 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. The first charity school in connection with a dissenting congregation was instituted by Clarke, giving free education in reading, writing, and arithmetic to thirty boys and ten girls (see Dissenting academies).
Clarke was on intimate terms with Philip Doddridge, Isaac Watts, and Job Orton, and of the same theological school. Doddridge was his special friend; it was in going to preach Clarke's funeral sermon that he supposedly caught the illness which caused his death (4 December 1750). It is said that Clarke suggested to Doddridge some of the books which he published; in particular, his Principles of the Christian Religion.
Clarke published some sermons, but is remembered for his Collection of the Promises of Scripture, arranged systematically. It is a compilation, often reprinted, and was an enduring popular religious volume.
Clarke married Sarah Jones, of St. Albans (1701–1757), by whom he had a son, Joseph (1738–1807), and other children.
- Other titles: The Scripture Promises, A Collection of the Promises of Scripture, Clarke's Scripture Promises, Clarke's Bible Promises, Book of Promises, Precious Bible Promises. Online text.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Clarke, Samuel (1684-1750)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.