The first essay in our soon-to-be-released book, God's Glory in Baptist History: A Memorial Volume for Terry Wolever, edited by Michael A. G. Haykin, is "John Clarke and the Rhode Island Charter," written by Andre A. Gazal.
An excerpt from the essay: "John Clarke’s life and ministry showed him to be a reformer of the commonwealth. His work was prophetic in that through word and deed he identified the Christian state as the greatest enemy of the Christian faith. This was because the state as a means of force can only coerce its subjects to a particular course of action. . . . Purifying the Christian faith and the Christian church along with it requires severing them altogether from the state. Doing so will place the Church and every truly regenerate Christian under the kingly rule and Lordship of Christ who alone prescribes the order and actions of both. . . . Religious liberty will then enable the development and exercise of a true faith that is freely and willingly apprehended by a sincere conscience. Such faith nourished by the gospel alone, will manifest itself in loyalty to the magistrate as it exercises itself for the good of the commonwealth. Amid much trial, hardship, and opposition, Clarke’s revolutionary principles were eventually codified in the Rhode Island Charter, which prescribed the government of a commonwealth defined fundamentally by religious liberty."
The portrait is believed to be that of John Clarke (1609-1676).