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MEMOIR OF THE LATE Rev.B. Davies, to what denomination of Christians
his parents were zealous members
of a Baptist church, yet he himself [Extracted from “Greal y Bedyddwyr” for seemed to think that infants ought January 1829.]
to be baptized, and that the BapMR. BENJAMIN DAVIES, the tists withheld from their children fourth son of Thomas and Susan- an ordinance which belonged to nah Davies, was born March 13, them. He often told the writer, 1775, at a place called Ffynonfoida that no one ever sought for infant in the parish of Llangan, in the baptism with a stronger desire to county of Caermarthen; his parents find it than he did ; indeed, he was were pious persons, both members so undecided upon the subject, of the Baptist church at Salem, in that he determined not to unite the above county. Being deeply himself to any religious denominaconcerned to train up their chil- tion, until he should obtain more dren in the fear and admonition of satisfaction respecting the ordithe Lord, they withheld no privi- nance of baptism. With a view lege from them which contributed to this, as well as of obtaining in any way to the enlightening of greater advantages for general their minds, and the forming of improvement, he entered a very their character; with this view respectable grammar school they furnished them with such edu- Glandwr, conducted by the late cation as suited their rank in life. Rev. J. Griffiths, minister of the But their son Benjamin, who from Independent church at that place; a child was of a peculiarly mild and here, by attending closer to and tractable disposition, mani- the subject, considering more mafested an ardent desire for the ac- turely the arguments on both sides quisition of knowledge, which in the question, and especially by duced his father to allow him to being a frequent spectator of the pursue those studies to which he administration of infant baptism, shewed so strong an attachment; he became thoroughly convinced consequently his earlier days, for of the futility of the practice, as the most part were spent at differ- wholly unscriptural, and of the ent schools, and the progress he propriety of believers' baptism, as made in learning, and the profi-enjoined in the New Testament. ciency he acquired in useful know. Soon after, he made a public proledge was soon evident to all that fession of religion, was baptized, knew him.
and received a member of the When he became the subject of church at Salem ; and though he religious impressions, and the de- and his esteemed tutor differed in sire was excited to unite with the their views on the subject of bappeople of God, he suffered consi- tism, yet their mutual regard for derable embarrassment of mind, as each other suffered no diminution. VOL. IV. 3d Series.
Mr D. was often heard to speak temper, yet this he could manage in terms of high commendation of to the best advantage to himself Mr. G.'s abilities, both as a minis- and others; in a word, the excelter and a tutor.
lencies of our friend, both as a man Whilst at Glandwr, Mr. D. ap- and a Christian, were far above plied himself very closely to his mediocrity; as he excelled the studies, and acquired a grammati- generality of men, so also he excal knowledge of the English lan- celled the generality of Christiaus. guage, and also made a consider- As to the time when Mr. D. beable progress in Latin and Greek. came the subject of religious imBy his assiduity at this time, he pressions, and the means which promade that progress in literature duced them, we cannot now speak which proved a blessing and an precisely ; but it must have been honour to bim through his future at an early period, for he was baplife; and so intimate was his ac- tized in 1795, the 18th year of his quaintance with the different topics age, and called by the church to of his studies, that they appeared exercise his gifts in the ministry more like the original store of his the same year; a proof of the high own mind than the acquirements of opinion which his brethren entererudition. Owing to the close- tained of his piety and talents. ness of his application, and some His light shone bright in the morn, degree of self-neglect, bis consti- ing of his day, and so it continued tution was undermined, the effects to shine brighter and brighter, until of which followed him through he entered the happy land where life ; and he frequently said, "I the nations of them which are saved dov't know which is the greatest, walk in the light of the Divine the loss I sustained, or the gain I glory. acquired at Glandwr, but the fault Mr. D.'s experience, like that of was with myself; if I were to have most other christians, was subject the same opportunity again I would to frequent variations. In the early take better care.”
part of his life, as may be inferred Mr. D.’s constitution was natu- from his diary, it assumed much rally strong, his bodily appearance of the fearful and doubtful charather weak ; still he was not really racter, but for years
before so weak as he was generally thought his death, he realized a happy deto be; indeed, many were asto- gree of confidence, though not nished, judging from his emaciated wholly to his own satisfaction : appearance, that he had lived so yet oftentimes his soul seemed to long. His thinking powers were partake much of a heavenly frame, stronger than common, and were and he appeared waiting and longconsiderably expanded by early ing for fellowship with the “spirits cultivation. It may be said with of the just made perfect;" and so propriety of him, that he received he passed the time of his sojournfive talents, and gained besides ing here, “ looking for and hasthem five talents more. His un- tening unto the coming of the day derstanding was quick, his imagi- of God." He was particularly sonation lively, his memory reten- licitous of maintaining an uniformity tive, and his judgment solid and of character, and his conversation correct. His disposition was seri- at all times, was as becometh the ous, yet his seriousness never made gospel of Christ;" he never occahim stern nor gloomy; there was sioned grief to his friends nor ridiconsiderable warmth in his natural cule to his enemies; but the most
profane were constrained to con- | the way of the Lord more perfess, “ that if there was a godly fectly;” and to “make them wise
on earth, Mr. Davies of unto salvation, through the faith of Ffynon must be one." Like Enoch Jesus Christ." Though he could of old “ he walked with God.” not speak so strongly nor so loudly As a christian he lived, as a chris- as some, yet there was so much tian he died, and his memory is force in wbat he said, that it geblessed.
nerally reached the conscience ; As Mr. D. possessed such powers and if there was no melody in his of mind, and was endued with a voice to tickle the ear, yet he large portion of knowledge, both seldom failed to satisfy the mind, theological and experimental, it and not often could the most elocannot be expected but that in him quent speakers please a congreshould be fouud the ornament and gation better than Mr. Davies. the usefulness of the minister, es- It may be safely affirmed of him pecially when it is remarked that that he ranked among the best the best energies of his youth were ministers in the principality, and consecrated to the service of the that through the whole course of sanctuary. His sermons were for his ministrations, he “watched the most part, wliat we conceive upon himself;" and “ did the work sermons ought to be, plain, useful, of an evangelist.” and evangelical; as to their ar- Mr. Davies was ordained to the rangement, they were natural, tex- pastoral office, over the church at tual, and methodical; his method Ffynon, in 1797, being the 22d of thinking was in a great measure year of his age; the church at original, and peculiar to himself. that time was small, consistiog of He possessed the skill of treating about forty members, but he was his subject with a particular de- soon favoured with strong proofs gree of accuracy, which very gene- that his labours were not in vain ; rally excited the admiration of his many bad their faces turned tomost judicious hearers; and of all wards Sion, seeking for a name in the excellent preachers in the prin- the house of God, and a place cipality, perhaps none of them among his people. During the excelled Mr. D. in this respect; thirty-one years of Mr. D.'s minishe had the peculiar facility of de- terial labours at Ffynon, he bapducing the most profitable things tized 379 persons, whom he fed from his subject, while they es- with the sincere milk of the word, caped the notice of many acute happily blended with strong meat observers. The general tendency for such as were accustomed to the of his ministry was to enlighten word of righteousness. As a pasand instruct the mind in scriptural tor, he studied to shew himself an knowledge, rouse the conscience example to the flock committed to from its natural lethargy, and bring his charge; he exercised the most man to act virtuously and godly. vigilant care over his people; their He never preached as if his hearers best interest was as near his heart were all understanding, but con- as his own; they seldoin assemsidered them also, as having affec-bled together on any occasion eitions; he generally addressed him- ther on sabbath or week days, self to the different classes of his without his being among them, and hearers, and his principal object whoever should be late, he was appeared to be, to “ teach them sure to be in time.
His evangelical sermons, his occupying important stations as seasonable admonitions, together pastors of churches, owe in a great with his meek deportment, will be measure their respectability and long remembered by the bereaved usefulness to his instructions. church. If any minister since the Mr. D. was
never many sabdays of the Apostles has possess- baths prevented from engaging in ed the qualifications recommended his beloved work, which he always by aul in his epistles to Timothy regarded as a particular privilege, and Titus, surely the subject of especially considering that during this memoir possessed them to an the greater part of his life he was eminent degree. Mr. D.'s views much annoyed with a cough, by of the economy of human redemp- which his rest at night was distion were correct and scriptural ; turbed, and frequently he was in forming his ideas of divine truths, obliged to rise out of bed for an he appeared to act strictly upon hour or two : he would often cough the maxim enjoined by the Saviour, for twelve or fifteen minutes after not to call any man master in the preaching, but strange as it may things of God. Mr. D. never ap- appear, it seldom affected him in peared as an author except in one the pulpit, though it often preventinstance, when at the request of ed him from associating with his the quarterly meeting with which friends. He had the happiness of he stood connected, he published not being laid aside from his mi“A Scriptural Catechism on all nisterial labours, but while in the the points of the Christian Faith,” midst of his usefulness he entered which has passed through three into the joy of his Lord; he preached editions in Welsh and one in En-twice the last sabbath of his life, glish.
and it was remarked by many of Though the health of our friend his hearers on that morning, that at best was but delicate, yet he delivered himself with more than for thirty-two years he conducted his usual animation; but on the a large school, and in this capacity way to the afternoon service the he manifested the most disinterested messenger of death arrested him; benevolence; his school might al- yet he preached and also adminismost be styled a charity school, tered the Lord's Supper for the last for he taught the children of the time. His text in the morning at poor gratis, and many such he Ffynon was Ezek. xxxvii. 3, 4. always had under his care: it was and in the afternoon at Glanrhyd evident to all who knew him, that (a branch of Ffynon,) Heb. vi. 7, 8. it was not the love of gain that From that day his illness increased induced him to engage in the la- rapidly, and though the best mediborious employment of school- cal aid was afforded him, yet he keeping, but a pure desire for the sank under it. He bore all his welfare both temporal and spi- afflictions, for his whole life may ritual, (for he never neglected be considered a life of affliction, his scholars' spiritual concerns) with peculiar resignation ; no murof the youth of his neighbour-muring expressions escaped his hood.
lips, but he often thanked God that Young ministers also found it it was not worse. advantageous to spend some time His last illness was extremely with him for their general improve- painful, yet he manifested much ment, and several who are now Christian fortitude under it, and
frequently expressed himself thus: mournful procession reached Ffy“ The days of thy mourning are non meeting house, Brother D. ended-pain and sorrow shall flee Wilcox, Cwmfelin, prayed; and away-O the pain! but thanks be Brother T. Williams, Salem, preachto God, it is not a pain to conti-ed from Job xix. 25, 26, 27; after nue.” He could speak but little, which the remains of dear Brother and that with much difliculty. Davies were consigned to the grave, When asked if he wished to reco-opposite the pulpit, where he had ver again, “O no,” said he, faint- so faithfully and for so many years ly, “I have given myself to Him, published the glad tidings of salvato live or to die." Friday morn- tion, to the inexpressible delight of ing, the day previous to his death, hundreds of attentive hearers. when his beloved partner stood by “ Remember them which have had his bedside, he looked sorrowfully the rule over you, who have spoat her, and said, “Give yourself ken unto you the word of God; to the Lord, and he will care for whose faith follow, considering the you and the children." About one end of their conversation.” o'clock, he said that his pain began to move, when it was intimated to him he might again recover: No, on the Introduction of Prizes in not until the resurrection,” was his THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS. reply. In the evening of that day to the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. a brother minister visited him, to whom he said, “I have myself
SIR, prayed hundreds of times for EVERY true friend of the Denostrength to live, will you pray for mination to which we belong, must me for strength to die?" One of feel gratified with the present conthe deacons of his church asked dition of its academical institutions. how he felt; he answered, “ I must A fresh interest in their welfare wait the time. Keep near to one appears to have been awakened, another as a church, beware of and the many important improvepride and fashion,” &c. then add-ments which they have recently ed, “I can say no more. He undergone, have placed them on spoke but little after this, but sunk higher ground than they ever ocdeeper and deeper in the swellings cupied before, and appear well of Jordan, faintly exclaiming adapted to promote the design of “ Blessed, blessed!" At this time their establishment, the training up he expressed a wish to rise, and of a respectable and efficient miwhilst in the act of rising he ex- nistry. But in all attempts at pired, on Saturday morning, Au- improvement, there is danger, withgust 16, 1828, leaving a wife and out great caution, of their being two children, and a numerous carried to excess; and the introchurch, to lament their great loss. duction of prizes into those semi
On the 19th, the day of the fu- naries, a measure it is understood neral, a large concourse of friends which has of late been much conand neighbours assembled to pay templated, affords, in the opinion of their last tribute of respect to one the writer, a powerful illustration of whom they so highly regarded. this fact. No one can for a moment Brother T. Jones, of Rhydwyliin, suspect, that the advocates of this delivered an excellent address at measure are actuated by any other the dwelling-house, previous to the motive,than a laudable desire to culremoval of the corpse. When the tivate the growth of intellect in