Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Griffith Jones, Llanddowror: Called Home

The work of the Circulating Schools thrived into the 1750s, with visitors coming from as far afield as Rusia to examine the schools. As the 1760s drew on, the reports of the schools, Welsh Piety, indicated that Griffith Jones could see the end drawing near. In in report for 1759-60, Griffith Jones gave a clear indication that he was aware of his mortality:

"You ared servant in this employment is setting up his Ebenezer, praising God that hitherto the Lord hath helped us. He that perfecteth strength in weakness hath enabled him, under frequent sickness and many infirmities, as it were, dying daily, to proceed therein, with the utmost fidelity in his power, and with all possible frugality, in the distribution of your charties.... I do intend, through God's assistance, and with the concurrence of our charitable friends, to go on again in this service of love. And when the time of my dissolution cometh (which cannot but come very soon), I have now a comfortable prospect that it will be prosecuted by a truly religious person, of competent fortune, and unexceptionable character, acquainted with the method of carrying it on, having been already very assisting to me in this charitable undertaking."

The person Griffith Jones mentioned was Madam Bevan, and it was her house, on 8 April, 1761, that Griffith Jones died. To the end, the praises of God were on the lips of this great and saintly man. Speaking to a fellow minister from his death-bed, Jones gave witness to the greatness of God:

"I must bear witness to the goodness of God. Oh, how wonderful is the love of God to me, that I am now, even now, free from that troublesome distemper, the athsma, which I was subject to in my younger days, that I could not walk the length of this room but with the greatest difficulty. Howwonderful is the love of God to me, that I am not blind, as I was for three weeks in my childhood, when I had the small-pox, and that I am not a blind beggar going from door to door! How wonderful is the love of God, that I have such a good friend to take care of me, when I cannot help myself. How wonderful is the love of God, that I now feel so little pain, but that I am likely to go to my grave with ease. How wonderful is the mercy of God, that I can clearly see what Christ has done and suffered for me, and that I have not the least doubt of my interest in my all-sufficent Saviour...."
As the aged saint passed into eternity, God granted him a sweet sight of the Promised Land, and as Griffith Jones passed over to his eternal reward, he felt few pangs. He was laid to rest in his own church, and a magnificent monument erected to him. But a greater monument by far remained. The Charity Schools, would they survive?



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