Clayton, John (1), Am

Clayton, John (1), A.M., a minister of the Church of England, and one of the Oxford Methodists, was the son of a Manchester bookseller, and was born in 1709. He was educated by the Rev. John Richards, A.M., at the Grammar School of Manchester; entered Brazenose College in 1726; became Hulme's exhibitioner in 1729, and in 1732 a college tutor. In this year he was first introduced to John Wesley. Up to the time of Clayton's admission among the Oxford Methodists the Bible had been their sole and supreme authority in faith and morals, their views were evangelical, and their lives free from the practice of monkish follies. At Clayton's suggestion .they resolved to fast twice a week, and other extreme high-church tendencies began to manifest themselves at this time, chiefly through his influence. "They sought salvation by the practice of piety, good works, self-examination, prayer, sacramental attendance, fasting, diligence, kindness to the poor." In 1733 Clayton became minister of Salford Church. In 1736 Darcy Leaver, Esq., sheriff of Lancashire, made him his chaplain. The friendship still continued between Clayton and Wesley, and when the latter was about to go to Georgia, he advised with Clayton, as well as with his brother Samuel, and William Law. After Wesley's conversion in 1738 we hear no more about friendship between Clayton and him. In 1745 Clayton. became a Jacobite, in consequence of which he was suspended from his office as minister, and silenced for a time. In 1748 he resumed his ministerial duties. In the period of his silence he had established a classical school at Salford, which was very successful, many of its students becoming graduates of Oxford. For twenty years he was chaplain of the Collegiate Church of Manchester, and in 1760 was elected a fellow of it. He died Sept. 25, 1773. Perhaps as faithful a portrait of character as can be found is upon the monument erected to his memory in Collegiate Church by his old pupils, which describes him as of "manly cheerfulness, strict integrity, diffusive charity, heroic forgiveness, and serenity of temper under disappointments;" guarding with judicious fidelity against the dangers of vice and the follies of ignorance by forming the man, the scholar, and the Christian in every mind. submitted to his cultivation; a man of ardent zeal for true religion, warm attachment to the: Church of England, and unwearied in the discharge of all the labors of a conscientious parish priest." See Tyerman, The Oxford Methodists, p. 24.

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