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FOR MAY, 1832.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. DAVID JONES,
DAVID JONES was born at Llanuwchllyn, Merionethshire, in the month of October, 1770. His mother died when he was a child, and the family soon after removed to Bala. After serving his apprenticeship with a cooper in that town, and working for some time as a journeyman, he set up business on his own account at Llanuwchllyn, and was much respected wherever he was known. When about eighteen, a sermon, preached by the late Rev. W. Thomas, of Bala, from Eccles. xi. 9, made a deep impression on his mind. He at once felt that he was a guilty, helpless sinner; and, concluding that he could never obtain forgiveness, gave himself up to despondency and grief; considering and representing himself as one doomed to perish. His friends, in the spirit of love and meekness, and with much Christian sympathy, did all in their power to relieve his mind, and to remove his fears; and in the summer of the year 1790, induced by their encouragements, he joined the congregational church at Bala; but his spirits, for a long time after,
continued so depressed, as materially to injure his health and constitution. Unable to find comfort in the closet or the sanctuary, and fearing that the enjoyment of gospel ordinances would only tend to aggravate his condemnation, he was often tempted to withdraw entirely from church-fellowship, to neglect all religious duties, to doubt the faithfulness of the Saviour, to disbelieve the testimonies of the Bible, and to try if he could find either peace or pleasure in "the ways of the world." These inward workings of unbelief and despair were principally occasioned by some definitions of " the sin against the Holy Ghost," which he had previously read or heard: definitions quite at variance with the express declarations of gospel truth-definitions which could have no sanctifying influence on the mind, and calculated to promote neither the happiness of man, nor the praise of the Redeemer.
After being thus grievously harassed by the tempter, and violently tossed on waves of sorrow, for about four years, his attention was direct,
ed to the descriptions given in the Bible and other books of the trying temptations and inward conflicts of believers in every age of the world; and he speedily found that they, when tried and cast down, derived all their consolations and support from the gracious promises of a faithful, forgiving, and compassionate Saviour; that they, when heavy laden and perishing, found rest and help in him; and that they, though sinful and helpless, triumphed in his strength and through his blood. He at once perceived that the Christian life is a continual warfare; that no victory can be expected where there is no conflict; that the rest remaineth for those that labour; and that the crown is laid up for them that conquer. This attention to the history and experience of others led to a fuller contemplation of the perfections of a divine Redeemer, to a firmer reliance on his infinite atonement, to a stronger attachment to his cause, to greater devotedness in his service, to constant pantings after humility and holiness; and thus his perplexing fears were gradually dispelled, and peace and comfort followed.
About this time his friends at Bala, in conjunction with the late Rev. Dr. George Lewis-induced by the decided tone of unaffected piety that evidently characterised his whole deportment, together with his constant assiduity in acquiring scriptural knowledge, and his usefulness in the church-directed his thoughts to the work of the ministry. With much anxiety, and after considerable hesitation, he yielded to their solicitations, and preached his first sermon, Feb. 9, 1796, from John xiv. 6, and continued through life to preach Christ to perishing sinners as "the way, the truth, and the life."
The affecting views which he then had of the purity of the divine law,
and of the love and wisdom displayed in the gospel plan of salvation through Christ, were such as frequently to overwhelm his feelings, both while studying his sermons, and while endeavouring to tell sinners of the dear Saviour he had found, of the rich provisions of sovereign mercy, and of the danger of such as reject the offered pardon.
In May, 1797, an application to the supporters of the North Wales Academy was made on his behalf, and in the September following, he entered upon his preparatory studies at Wrexham, under the care of the late Rev. Jenkin Lewis. A few of the reflections, resolutions, and desires, recorded by him whilst a student, may assist the reader in forming an estimate of his character, and cannot prove uninteresting to young Christians, especially to such as are preparing for the work of the ministry.
REFLECTIONS."I find, from experience, that the way of piety is also the way of knowledge, as well as the way of peace. The neglect of religion can be of no advantage to the cause of science. The acquisition of knowledge can in no way be promoted by forgetting the Lord. I never feel happy in the pulpit unless prepared for its duties by previous meditation and prayer. A contrite heart renders public duties both instructive and delightful. I find it best to apply the various parts of my discourses as proceeding, while the remarks are fresh in the recollection of the hearers; and think that young ministers should aim more at awakening the careless, and winning the young, than at edifying the aged. Previous to any remarkable success, there must be a proportionable enlargement of soul; and, previous to any such enlargement of soul, there must be deep humiliation, constant watchfulness, strict self-examination, and fervent prayer. I never find it well on common days when not so on Lord's days; never well abroad when not so at home; never well at the domestic altar when not so in my private devotions. The more
pray, the better I study. Devotion leads to serenity of mind; serenity of mind sweetens meditation; and meditation, thus sanctified by prayer, fits the mind for public duties. How awful if, after preaching Christ to others, I have no personal interest in him; if, after encouraging others, I be found at last on the left hand, doomed to suffer everlasting
punishment. My own heart is more to be feared than all the allied powers of earth and hell; for outward foes could never prevail were it not for vain desires and inbred corruptions. A good conscience I find to be the best medicine, and a contented mind the best companion. I have just witnessed the happy death of an interesting child in his ninth year; and think we should speak oftener to children about the love of Christ and the joys of heaven. I have also lately visited a dear afflicted relative, who wept almost every day for the last twelve months because she had not consecrated her youthful days more entirely to the Lord. Oh, how important the advantages of early religion !"
RESOLUTIONS." Let me carefully study the history of Christ, sit at his feet, contemplate his sufferings, adore his love, and glory in his cross. Let me pray without ceasing,
and trust in the Lord even when he withdraweth the joys of his salvation. Let me never preach without endeavouring to feel the importance of my subject. Let me never encourage any trifling in going to or returning from the service of the sanctuary. Let me judge rashly of no one, and envy no one's prosperity; but wish well to all, and speak well of all. Let me rise early, do all things in season, redeem time, avoid delays, and be moderate at meals and in all recreations. Let me always have a subject prepared for useful conversation when in company, and for devout contemplation when alone. Let me be continually disposed to do good and to receive good Let my reading, conversation, and study, be subservient to practical religion and ministerial usefulness. Let me never be scheming about future events, and indulging in any discouraging forebodings, whilst I ought to be attending to present duties and watching against present temptations."
DESIRES." May I always feel grateful for the important advantages which a kind providence has afforded me. May the resolutions I make be so impressed upon my heart as never to be forgotten. May I be well acquainted with the Bible, and with my own heart. May I be made wise to win souls and to comfort mourners. May I have much religion, much devotedness, and much to do with Christ."
In April, 1801, he received an invitation from the church at Holywell to become their minister; but, having received similar applications from other quarters, his mind, for several weeks about this time, seems to have been subject to considerable anxiety. His heart's desire was to follow the leadings of providence, and to be useful in his Master's vineyard; and his decision
in favour of Holywell was influenced as much by the advice of friends as by his own feelings. The ordinances of the sanctuary always interested his mind, and proved at this time peculiarly refreshing. The services of a Sabbath spent at Denbigh, with the late excellent Dr. Edward Williams, a few days. after the death of the Rev. Daniel Lloyd; the services of another spent at Bridgenorth with his amiable friend the late Rev. William Evans, afterwards of Stockport ; the services of another spent at Holywell with his beloved tutor the late Rev. Jenkin Lewis; and of another spent at the same place with the late revered and affectionate John Whitridge, of Oswestry,
were long remembered by him. He also refers to two ordination services, and to his last interviews with the students and other friends when leaving Wrexham, as having deeply impressed and greatly affected his mind. He left the academy May 29, 1801, and the inscription recorded on the Ebenezer then raised by him is, "I have this day ten thousand reasons to bless the Lord-to bless him for the precious advantages granted to one so unworthy, and for upholding one so helpless and sinful. May I in future be more humble, more holy, and more devoted to his service and glory."
He commenced his stated labours at Holywell on Sunday, May 31, 1801, and preached in the morning from Rom. xv. 30, "Now I beseech you brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed." In the afternoon and evening he preached from Jude 24, and Psalm xxxi. 21.
On the 15th of July, 1802, he