October 11

John Clark (not John Clarke) was born in 1758 near Inverness, Scotland. His father was a wealthy farmer, which meant that John was given a good education, including Latin and Greek. To the consternation of his mother, John left school and eventually became a sailor. After several voyages, he signed on to be the second mate on a pirate ship bound for the West Indies. When his ship was captured during the American Revolution, he spent several months as a prisoner of war. Following a prisoner exchange he was placed on a British man-of-war patrolling the coast off Charleston, SC, but he and a friend decided to jump ship. When the war ended Clark remained in America, teaching school for a while. When two Methodist circuit riders took rooms in the same boarding house with Clark, he heard their message, was convicted of his need of Christ, was born again, and became a Methodist Bible teacher, eventually becoming a circuit riding preacher.
Later as he compared Methodism with his Bible, he learned about the believer’s eternal security in Christ which ran contrary to most Methodists, and then he began to disagree with their Episcopal form of church government. Finally, on a long circuit into Kentucky and down to Louisiana, he recognized that infant baptism was unscriptural. After some time, he was immersed and joined a Baptist church.
John Clark was a tireless servant of God, often traveling 1,200 miles or more on single trips – of which there were many. He would preach Christ in every home opened to him. On one occasion, when he was 70 years of age, he had an appointment on the opposite of the Missouri River at Lofton’s Prairie. He walked 8 miles to his usual crossing point, but a storm had destroyed the ferry, so he walked all night, 18 miles east to St. Louis, crossed there and then walked 18 miles back. He reached his appointment at 2:00 the next day. Not having slept for more than 48 hours, he preached to a large crowd, and God richly blessed – with several responding to the gospel. Hearing what it took for him to keep his appointment, some friends bought him a gentile riding horse, but he used it only once, telling his friends that he preferred walking and talking to the Lord.
John Clark went to be with his Saviour on this day in 1833 at the age of 75.