« VorigeDoorgaan »
ordinary attainments, well versed in the rity as a wrestler; and in that feat he was learned languages, possessing a high the first in the school for several years. literary taste, and a mind imbued with
It does not appear that he excelled in the spirit of poetry.
His few Welsh
any branch of learning. indeed there were compositions, mostly of a pastoral kind, only two branches taught in the school. — exceed everything in the language as to the Classics and Divinity: but more par: elegance and the charm of rhythm. His ticularly the first, for the other could habits were quite primitive. He was a hardly be said to have been taught, as bachelor, and lived with his mother who the pupils were only directed to certain kept a small public house, and was the books, and were left to pursue their own most dutiful of sons.
His influence over studies. There was a tolerably good his pupils was unbounded, -he was feared, library attached to the school-room, venerated, and loved, being both a strict which was then the parish church, a part and a paternal disciplinarian. His au- of the west end having been separated thority was founded on his superior for that purpose. There was nothing in attainments,-firmness, good sense, judg- the inside to shew that it was a church ment and native kindness. Mr. Jones except the pulpit. It had four classes, entertained the highest esteem for him, two on each side; and at the east end partaking much of veneration. He did there was a space for the younger chilnot think him very clear in the peculiar dren, who were learning to read and to doctrines of the Gospel ; but a religious write ; and at the table which stood in man, he used to say, in his way; having the middle of this space sat the usher or more of the spirit of the law than of the the assistant, while the master sat geneGospel.
rally in the library. The desks were “ Mr. Jones' continued in this school rough hewn, shaped and formed more by until he was ordained, which was about nine the axe than by the plane. A ruder years. During this time there were inter- workmanship could have hardly been vals of seriousness, but nothing remarka- witnessed, and yet by these desks were ble. Soon after he entered, the Rev. Daniel learnt many a lesson both in Greek and Rowlands, the celebrated Whitfield of Latin ; and not a few had their minds Wales, came to preach at Bontrhydfendi- imbued with the learning of the ancients, gaid, a village about two or three miles from and were trained for useful spheres in Ystradmeirig. He went to hear him, and life. The seeds of future improvements his attention was arrested in no ordinary were here sown which afterwards sprung degree. When speaking of this event, up, at least in some instances, for the he once made the following remarks to benefit of mankind. What our friend the writer, -'I used to go to church, gained here was the foundation of his stay there during the service, and return future usefulness.” home without taking the least notice of
At the time of his ordination to a what was said there. It was the remarkable manner of Rowlands that drew my
Welch curacy, in 1774, Mr. Owen attention. I have now a perfect recollec
thus speaks of Mr. Jones:tion of his manner though not of his “ Probably the following is a correct sermon. He had the highest opinion of account of him at this time : • Indifference Rowlands, having afterwards occasionally and levity, without any vice, formed his heard him; and when grown up, and in general character, interrupted by occaorders, he became acquainted with him ; sional thoughts of deep seriousness. He and once, as he told the writer, assisted was, naturally, as to his mind, very quick him at Langeitho in administering the and active, and as to his disposition, very sacrament. The simple and plain por
social and cheerful, and had a turn for trait of Rowlands he had, through life, what is witty and humorous : and had it hung up over his mantlepiece; and, as he not been for some restraint within, some osten said, he frequently looked at it misgivings at times as to his spiritual while preparing his sermons or compos
state, he must have been led astray into ing his works, as the recollection of him worldly society, and eventually into distended much to elevate his mind and en- sipation and vain amusements. liven his feelings.
straining power of divine grace, even in “ It may be supposed, from Mr. its weak beginning, is often very extraJones's natural vivacity, that the re- ordinary. According to his own account, creations of the school were things in he was all this time wholly inconsistent, which he took an active part : and such vacillating between the world and reliwas the case. He was strong, lively, gion, mostly with the world, and yet havand vigorous, and possessed great dexte. ing occasionally very serious thoughts.
All that he could remember some years religious state of his new sphere of ago (in 1829 ) of the state of his mind at duty :his Ordination was, that he prayed that he might not be admitted into Orders, if
Speaking of Herefordshire, Mr.
• Darkness filled the land. he was not designed by God for the ministry : a good prayer no doubt, but very
The inhabitants of that country in those inadequate to the state
and exigencies of days, had sunk into a state of ignorance one undertaking an office so weighty and They had no idea of religion in any form;
and profligacy little short of heathenism. important.'
“ But he had through life, even after they only retained the name of Christians he seemed to have gained the main qua
without any feature of Christianity.' lifications, a deep sense of his own unfit
Then referring to his parish, he says,
• The Sabbath was nearly lost among ness for the ministry ; which is, perhaps, one of the best evidences of fitness, and them, and the church was deserted. The necessary as a stimulus to seek higher banished. There was death in the or
Bible was laid aside, and morals were attainments. I have had many times,' he once observed to the writer, ‘very
chard, and drunkenness in their dwellings. desponding thoughts respecting the mi
They were in one word, a sordid, sottish nistry. I have frequently felt disposed
set, without any concern for the world to to give it up altogether, being ashamed of my poor preaching. But my support The state of the place may easily has been that comfortable saying, “Ac be inferred, from the following decording to what a man hath. I have scription : frequently found wonderful relief from that text. Oh! it has often been a
Finding but very few people at church sweet text to me.' "
on the Sundays, and not many in the
streets, I was convinced that they had His first essay in attacking the un retired from the village for some purpose godliness and immorality of his parish or other. I went one Sunday after seris very interesting, and furnishes no vice in quest of them, and at about a slight encouragement and example to
mile distant from the village, on entering ministers who may find themselves
a large secluded meadow, I found a complaced in similar circumstances :
pany of at least three hundred persons,
of all ages, engaged in all manner of “ The first thing that I had to attempt diversions, such as cricket, foot-ball, etc. was to humanize my parishioners, to On seeing we entering the gate into the suppress some of their barbarous and field, they all fled, some in every direcheathenish customis. They were notorious tion, so that in a few minutes not one above most in that country for cock was to be seen. This had no other good fighting. On the first great day they as effect than to disperse them for that day. sembled for this purpose, I took pos- They turned not from their evil ways. session of the pit before them. I had And during the year and half I spent previously failed to persuade them to de with them, no kind or degree of reforsist : and now I argued on the ground mation appeared to have taken place." the matter with the furious multitude, and at length prevailed on them to dis For some wise reason, Mr. Jones perse. And what was rather remarkable, had here no ministerial success; and cockfighting wholly dropped at once, and at length, displeased with the preachI never learnt that it was revived. The ing of the truth, his people prevailed next heathenish custom I had to attack upon his Vicar to dismiss him, at the was Sunday dancing, which had prevailed short warning of a month : on which among them from time immemorial. Mr. Jones remarks,This also with some difficulty was put down and never revived, together with
“ I believed that it was God's will to several other practices of a similar na remove me from a people that so entirely ture. When we got rid of these barba- rejected Divine truths, and would bave rous customs, something like civilization nothing to do with religion." appeared. which gradually increased with time.'
From this place he removed to a
curacy in Shropshire; and it was here In 1779, Mr. Jones left Wales for that the seed of Divine truth, which an English curacy, and a most fearful for a long season had been sown in his description is given of the moral and own heart, began to spring up and
manifest that it was of God's own of Mr. Jones at his final earthly restplanting :
ing-place,–Creaton. "The half-year I was there, was the
Invited to assist Mr. Riland, of time I began really to feel the importance Birmingham, he there met, at a cleof religion. I have comfort sometimes rical meeting, with Simeon and Roin thinking that it was God's doing, and maine ; and Mr. Jones thus records not man's. I had none there to assist
the arrangement which then took me: they were all heathens."
place :His next curacy was Oswestry; and “ Simeon, after having been with the state of religion there, at that
Riland in another room, came into the time, may be imagined by the follow room where I was, and laying hold of my ing passages :
hand by his two hands, asked, “Will you
go to Creaton, Mr. Jones?' --'Where is “ Besides a host of lawyers, there
Creaton ?' said I.-In Northamptonwere about ten clergymen residing in the
shire, a pleasant village, situated on an town, who had churches in the country,
elevated part of the country. I preached which they served in the morning only,
there last Sunday to a very nice people.' and they generally attended at our church
After dinner I asked the company's in the afternoon. Some of these very
advice respecting two situations-Creasoon began to be offended at my doctrine;
ton, and a Chapel in Yorkshire. Ro. especially one, Mr. John Jones, who was
maine said, 'You must go to Creaton, a Rural Dean. He tried at first to cure
Mr. Jones.' Contented with inis, I said me by gentle means, but soon
nothing more ; and I went there without plained that I was obstinate. He then
delay, (he was at the time he said this on became violent; and one day he had his
a visit at the sea side ;) and ihere I have stick over iny head, to try what that
been until now. Mr. Siineon made the would do, when all other kinds of argu
motion, and Mr. Romaine seconded it.'" ments had failed him. All this, and a great deal more of the same kind of
We must pass over much that is insult I endured with patience and com
deeply interesting in the volume, preposure, though I was but a stripling, and viously extracting the following pasthis kind of rough treatment was quite sages on the character and success new to me.'”
of Mr. Jones's ministry :“One day,' he says, 'the Rev. Mr.
“ His connection with Creaton was Trevor, my vicar, who resided on another
from September 10th. 1785. to the end living, came to the door of my lodging,
of December, 1833, the term of fortyand addressed me, as nearly as I can re
seven years and four months, and in the collect in these words,'— Mr. Jones, I
capacity of a curate, with the exception am concerned to tell you, that I find it of the five last years. In the year 1810, necessary to give you notice to quit my
he had also the curacy of Spratton, curacy in this town, though I am very which he held for eighteen years, that is sorry to part with you.' "Then,' said I,
till the year 1828. 'why do you part with me, for I am will "To retain a good congregation, ing to stay ?' To which he replied, “You
full church,' for so long a period, and have given such vmbrage to my parishi especially when there was a Dissenting oners,
with whom I have lived in peace Chapel of long standing in the place, is for a great nuinber of years, and shall
of itself a proof that there was there a not quarrel with them now on your ac very efficient ministry. count. To this I answered, • I certainly * It was not distinguished by what is do not wish you to have any uneasiness
commonly called eloquence, though there on my account: when do you wish me
was in it eloqucnce of the best kind, the to leave ?' He said, “In a month's time.'
eloquence of a heart warm with the subVery well, sir, in a month's time I shall ject' It had no learned, no recondite be off the ground.''
disquisitions, but truths plainly told, After an ineffectual attempt on the
deeply interesting to all who felt the impart of Sir R. Hill, to procure for Mr.
portance of eternal things. It had no Jones the ving of Loppington, which
elegance of words, nor the round periods
of declaimers, but the simple words of terminated by Lord Thurlow's swear
sobriety and truth, such as made a Felix ing that a Methodist should never have
to tremble. It dealt not in matters of it, there then commenced the nego minor importance, not essential to the ciations which ended in the settlement salvation of men, but in the prominent
doctrines of the Gospel. It was dogmatic to converse with this daughter of Abrain the highest degree, without being pre- ham; and he declared, many years after, sumptuous; and bold, without being ar- that he never enjoyed a conversation rogant. · Thus saith the Lord,' was the more. Through the kindness of God we authority, and not, Thus say I, or, Thus had not a few such characters in our saith the church. It was the ministry of circle.'" one, who came not in his own name, nor for the purpose of displaying his own
The forty-seven years of Mr.Jones's talents, but of one who came as God's
ministry at Creaton were passed in the ambassador, with a message from hea
most abundant labours in his Master's ven, and whose object it was to honour service, which were as abundantly God, to exalt the Saviour, and to save owned by Him who has declared that the souls of men. It was also, and in an His “word shall not return unto Him especial manner, the ministry of one who void.” The early part of Mr. Jones's deeply felt, that though it was his duty life and ministry was cast in times of to be faithful and diligent, yet the success peculiar deadness in spiritual things, depended wholly and exclusively on the especially within the Church of Engfavour and blessing of Him who doeth land; he had however, as comforters all things according to the pleasure of and hearty fellow labourers, in disHis own will.”
seminating the light of life, such men In reading the account of Mr. as Venn, Simeon, Haweis, Robinson, Jones's ministry at Creaton, in days Gillbee, Richmond, and others,-outin which there was a spiritual dark- living whom, he thus speaks in 1830: ness which might be felt, it is inte
“ Affections are strong things, not resting to see the influence which always under our control. I cannot yet Mr. Jones's hearers—who came for
wean mine even from some of the dead, the heavenly bread from the sur- they cleave to the dust of Richmond, rounding villages — had upon their Gillbee, Robinson, and of others, in fellow-parishioners :
whose bosom I lived for years." ««• Those who came;' he says, * from
It was not until 1828, at the age of parishes around us, proved like so many seventy-six, that the illness comlamps, that let their lights shine before menced which rendered Mr. Jones men; and by their means, the light incapable of exercising the ministry. spread to a considerable distance. Much
After resigning the living of Creaton was done by the zealous and faithful individuals of eminent piety. As many
in 1833, we find him in the following candles may be lighted from one, so one
year refusing a generous offer made pious and faithful soul may become a
by his friend Mr. Ramsden, to build ihousand. There is the greatest possible
a house for him near his own resiencouragement to be sincere and dili
dence in Nottinghamshire. He says, gent in the work of the Lord. Laymen, " . Nothing could be more kind and as well as ministers, may win souls to generous than the offer you make to Christ.' And he adds the following build me a House; for which I ought to anecdote :
empty my heart of thanks. I have for “I cannot forbear mentioning one some years back given directions to good woman who for many years kept a John Crisp to get my house ready, and turnpike gate, and who was constantly shewed to hiin where to build it. It is speaking to all, who came fairly in her to be a very small dwelling, only one way, about redemption and mercy, sal- room, without a door or a window. If vation and immortality; and God blessed such be the house appointed for all living, her faithful exertions to many a poor it is indeed a humiliating lesson; yet sinner. The good Mr. Shaw, of Kil- man can be proud and vain though he is keny (Ireland) preached three times one but dust, and must soon lie down in dust. Sunday at Creaton ; and this good wo- How very wondertul that the great and man heard him every time. Next morn- eternal God should provide such a maning he drove up to the gate she kept, sion as heaven for such beings, and to and was going io pay her, but she said, bring them there in such a wondrous • O Sir, you have nothing to pay; you way. It may well be said, Great is the payed me yesterday most abundanily.' mystery of Godliness. Great indeed it Mr. Shaw was struck with this novel is; for the Son of God has been made to conduct, and stopped a considerable time sin for us, that we might be made the what he saw :were not very abundant, unsolicited and unknown to him, made up a subscription " I attended a chapel which was 'the for him of one hundred and twenty-five very image of the Beast;' it being fitted pounds a year. It was a noble testimony up in so gaudy a manner, like a theatre. to his worth. Nothing could have been He then gives us this account of the a stronger proof of the estimation in
righteousness of God in him ; and it doth subscribers. But he refused this sum, not yet appear what we shall be. If I and said that it was too much, as he had understand how things are with me now a little of his own, which might possibly in the days of my resting on the shelf, be enough for him. He consented in my chief desire is, that God inay be glo- the first instance to receive nearly half rified in me, whether it be by life or by the sum, sixty pounds: and for the year death. My earthly concerns are of very
1834, a sum about this amount was little moment; and through the goodness transmitted to him. In the year 1835 of God I leave them very quietly in his he seemed anxious to know the names of tender and safe hands, knowing that he his benefactors. When these were made careth for us. There is enough in the
known to him, he fixed on four out of promises which he has made in Christ. the fourteen who had subscribed, and And who will think it a great trouble to reduced the sum still lower. One of draw on his Banker, when he has plenty these contributed fifteen pounds and there?'"
another twenty pounds, until he died.
The whole ainount at last was about Although compelled from illness
thirty-five pounds. But the reduction in and increasing infirmities to give up every instance was his own act and deed. the regular duties of the ministry, The original sum, had he himself conMr. Jones did not allow the remaining sented, would have no doubt been conyears of life to rust out in idleness. tinued to him, and joyfully too, to the “During this period, the space of
end of his life; that is, for the eleven about sixteen years, though he did not
years that he lived after the resignation exercise the public ministry, he was yet
of Creaton. The writer hesitates not to engaged in almost all the other duties of say this, from what he knows of the chahis past life. The annual Clerical Meet- racter of the subscribers. The Lord will ing was still kept up; the Clerical Edu- never fail to provide for those who trust cation Society was carried on; he took
in Him. Let our chief care be to serve part in the Bible and Missionary Socie- Him, and He will surely care for us." ties; he became more than ever the But we must hasten to conclude oracle of his brethren, and the coun. this too lengthened notice, which the sellor and adviser of his pious friends : he exercised his influence in supply, ing nature of Mr. Owen's narrative,
worth of the subject and the interesting churches in the neighbourhood, and
has extended far beyond our usual elsewhere, with suitable curates; and a
limits. Spared to see a great revival great part of his time was occupied in writing. He published during this period of religion throughout the land geneseveral books, and especially two, which rally, and more particularly within have been very useful and much ap
the borders of his own beloved Church, proved, “The True Christian,' and · The Mr. Jones was also destined to see the Fountain of Life.' These were the oc- fruits of that sowing of the great cupations of a man between seventy-six enemy, which has in our own day ended and ninety-three.”
in the open apostacy to Rome of so The following statement reflects many of our brethren. So late as 1840, equal honour upon Mr. Jones and
when nearly 90, he went with a friend his attached friends, who were deeply to Ryde, and there witnessed the seranxious to testify their affectionate
vices in one of those Romanizing chainterest in the temporal welfare of this pels which have since so widely spread venerable man of God:
their baneful influences throughout “When he resigned the living of Crea
the country. In a letter to his friend ton, his friends, knowing that his means
Miss Plumptre, he thus describes
service: which they held his past services. The " • The morning service lasted three individual who was commissioned to con- hours : the organ takes up one hour of vey to him this intelligence was not au- the three. It says, Amen, for the people, thorized to disclose the names of the every time it occurs in the service. A