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Jonas Clark Patriot Preacher

As the pastor of the church at Lexington, he typically gave four sermons a week, written out and orally presented—nearly 2200 sermons in his lifetime. His preaching was vigorous in style, animated in manner, instructive in matter, and delivered with uncommon energy and zeal, with an agreeable and powerful voice. His sermons were rarely less than an hour, often more, and in theological opinions he was considered amongst the Trinitarians and Calvinists. The spirit and temper of his life were just what the Gospel was designed to produce. He was a Christian in the highest and best sense of the term, shown to be such by a long and exemplary life and a faithful practice of the virtues he had preached to others. He was considered a patriot of the most ardent and decided character.

  He witnessed the first outbreak of the War for Independence at Lexington. “It can be regarded only as a singularly happy circumstance that, as Lexington was to be the place where resistance to the power of England was first to occur, and the great act of a declaration of war first to be made by the act of the people in the blood to be there shed, making the place forever famous in history, the minister of Lexington should have been a man of the principles, character, courage, and energy of Mr. Clark. “He was eminently a man produced by the times,—more than equal to them; rather a guide and leader. All his previous life, his preaching, his intercourse and conversation among his people had been but a continued and most effectual preparation for the noble stand taken by his people on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775. The militia on the Common that morning were the same who filled the pews of the meeting house on the Sunday morning before, and the same who hung upon the rear of the retreating enemy in the forenoon and throughout the day. They were only carrying the preaching of many previous years into practice.

 “It would not be beyond the truth to assert that there was no person at that time and in that vicinity,—not only no clergyman but no other person of whatever calling or profession, who took a firmer stand for the liberties of the country, or was more ready to perform the duties and endure the sacrifices of a patriot, than the minister of Lexington.

 “When the struggle actually commenced, the people were ready for it, thoroughly acquainted with the reasons on which the duty of resistance was founded, and prepared to discharge the duty at very hazard. No population within the compass of the Colonies were better prepared for the events of the 19th of April, than the people of Lexington; no people to whom the events of that day could more safely have been entrusted; none more worthy of the duties that fell to their lot; or who better deserved the honours which have followed the faithful performance of them. No single individual probably did so much to educate the people up to that point of intelligence, firmness, and courage, as their honoured and beloved pastor.”

 It was a heavy day to the pastor, who, on the retreat of the British, visiting the grounds directly under the windows of his church, found eight of his beloved parishioners lying dead, and many others wounded.