Thursday, June 14, 2007

Griffith Jones, Llanddowror: A Wider Ministry

Although his actions in visiting the parishes of others had caused him some embarrassment at the court of the Bishop of St. David's, Griffith Jones continued to preach beyond the boundaries of his parish, provided he was invited. It must not be imagined that Jones preached in the open air, except when small country churches could not contain the numbers who came to hear him. Nor would he preach in another man's Parish unless he was invited by the incumbent or churchwardens - he was too good an Anglican for that. Yet he was a popular preacher, as his earliest biographer notes:

"As he had in his time frequent Invitations to reach in other Churches besides his own, he would willingly comply, and he often went to several Parts, that abounded with much Ignorance, where he would address himself to the Ignorant in a very plain style, and yet adapt his Language to the very lowest Capacity; yet it was the Simplex munditiis, such elegant plainness, as very well consisted with the Character of a Gospel-Minister. - He earnestly inculcated the Whole of the Truth in the Course of his Ministrations.- Be the truth never so disagreeable to some, or ever so contrary to the worldly Interest of Pleasures of others, they were sure to hear of it. -He endeavoured indeed to shew it in as lovely a Light, and make it aimiable as he could, but nothing could prevail upon him to conceal or disguise it."

He was not only a passionate preacher, setting forth the whole counsel of God, but a doctor of souls, skilled to bind up as well as to wound:

"He was diligent to inquire into the State of Peoples Souls, like a wife and tender Physician, whether they were furnished with a competent knowledge in the way of salvation.-He was likewise a good Casuist, to resolve the Doubts of tempted Souls, and to encourage the Hopes of the Desponding."

Griffith Jones was not simply a preacher - vital as that work is - he was a Pastor, a doctor of souls. His preaching was much blessed to the conversion of sinners. And one sinner was to prove greater than the preacher, as our next post will show.



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