Richard Baxter commended David Clarkson for “solid judgment, healing moderate principles, acquaintance with the Fathers, great ministerial abilities, and a godly upright life” (Reliquiae Baxterianae, 1696, 3:97). Born at Bradford, in Yorkshire, Clarkson was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (1641-45), and became a fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1645. One of his pupils was John Tillotson, later the archbishop of Canterbury.
Clarkson served as rector of Crayford, Kent from 1650 to 1655, and of Mortlake, Surrey, from 1656 to 1661. For about a year, he served as assistant to Samuel Clark at St. Benet Fink, London, until he was ejected for Nonconformity in 1662. For the next decade, he ministered quietly wherever he could and continued studying and writing. Finally, in 1672, after the Declaration of Indulgence, he became pastor of a combined Presbyterian and Independent congregation at Mortlake. In 1682, he became co-pastor with John Owen in Leadenhall Street, London. Upon Owen’s death the following year, Clarkson became sole pastor. He died June 14, 1686. His funeral sermon was preached by William Bates.
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