Thn Baldwin MbraMy
THE STORY OF MARY JONES
AND HER BIBLE.
STORY OF MARY JONES
AND HER BIBLE.
FROM THE BEST MATERIALS AND RE-TOLD BY
M. E. R.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY,
146, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET.
The narrative which follows has been carefully
founded upon facts obtained from the most trust-
worthy material-written and verbal-at the
disposal of the writer. Since its publication in
18 8 2 the little book has been extremely popular :
versions in various languages have been issued:
and at present an American edition is being pre-
pared. It need only be added that the text of
this edition has been read by the accomplished
Authoress, that some statistical information has
been added, and that a considerable number of
the illustrations are new.
PREFACE TO THE ORIGINAL
THIS little book tells how one of the
least of seeds has grown to be greatest of
trees. It was the earnest desire of the late
Mr. William Coles, of Dorking, who was
through life a warm and liberal friend of
the British and Foreign Bible Society, to
learn all he could about its birth. At his
suggestion the trustees of the College at Bala
generously presented Mary Jones's Bible to
the Library of the Bible House in London,
where it may now be seen. He was very
anxious that the story should be re-told
in a way likely to interest the young; and
though he did not live to see this volume
published, he did from his deathbed see
and approve the draft submitted to him.
A few days before his death he wrote as
follows: "The sketch came to me as a
glorious finish to my aspirations. I may
never see the book, but from the bright
Happy Land -I shall be with Christ and
It must not be forgotten that others
besides Mr. Charles helped to found the
Bible Society. The Rev. Thomas Jones,
curate of Creaton, deserves specially to be
mentioned. He was the "clergyman in
Wales" who is referred to in Owen's
History of. the Society (vol. i. p. 3), as
having interested himself for more than
twelve years in calling attention to the
dearth of the Word of God in Wales.
Let due honour be done to him, and to
others like him; but, above all, let Him
be praised who disposed His servants to
establish an organization for distributing
the bread of life to the hungry multitudes
THE BIBLE HOUSE,
Ist December, 1882.
I.-AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN II
II.-THE ONE GREAT NEED 24
III.-COMING TO THE LIGHT 36
IV.-Two MILES TO A BIBLE 53
V.-FAITHFUL IN THAT WHICH IS LEAST .70
VI.-ON THE WAY 86
VII.-TEARS THAT PREVAIL 99
VIII.-THE WORK BEGUN 116
IX.-YOUTHFUL PROMISE FULFILLED 126
X.-HER WORKS DO FOLLOW HER 140
A GLIMPSE OF CADER IDRIS.
AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN.
Q Shepherd of all the flock of God,
Watch over Thy lambs and feed them;
For Thou alone, through the rugged paths,
In the way of life canst lead them.
IT would be hard to find a lovelier, more
picturesque spot than the valley on the
south-west side of Cader Idris, where
nestles the little village of Llanfihangel-y-
Pennant. Above it towers the majestic
mountain with its dark crags, its rocky
precipices, and its steep ascents; while
stretching away in the distance to the west-
ward, lie the bold shore and glistening
waters of Cardigan Bay, where the white
breakers come rolling in and dash into
foam, only to gather afresh, and return
undaunted to the charge.
SThe mountain, and the outline of the bay,
and the wonderful picturesqueness of the
valley, are still much as they were a hundred
years ago. Still the eye of the traveller
gazes in wonder at their wild beauty, as
other eyes of other travellers did in times
gone by. But while Nature's great land-
marks remain, or undergo a change so
gradual as to be almost imperceptible, man,
the tenant of God's earth, is born, lives his
brief life, and passes away, leaving only
too often hardly even a memory behind him.
At the Foot of the Mountain.
And now as, in thought, we stand upon the
lower slopes of Cader Idris, and look across
the little village of Llanfihangel, we find
ourselves wondering what kind of people
have occupied those rude grey cottages for
the last century; what were their simple
histories, what their habits, their toils and
struggles, sorrows and pleasures.
To those then who share our interest in
the place and neighbourhood, and in events
connected with them, we would tell the simple
tale which gives Llanfihangel a place among
the justly celebrated and honoured spots of
our beloved country; since from its soil
sprang a shoot which, growing apace, soon
spread forth great branches throughout the
earth, becoming indeed a tree of life, whose
leaves are for the healing of the nations.
In the year 1792, nearly a hundred years
ago, the night shadows had fallen around the
little village of Llanfihangel. The season
was late autumn, and a cold wind was moan-
ing and sighing among the trees, stripping
them of their changed garments, lately so
green and gay, whirling them round in eddies
and laying them in shivering heaps along the
"Wan and watery, the moon, encompassed
by peaked masses of cloud that looked like
another ghostly Cader Idris in the sky, had
risen, and now cast a faint light across a line
of jutting crags, bringing into relief their
sharp ragged edges against the dark back-
ground of rolling vapour.
In pleasant contrast to the night with
its threatening gloom, a warm light shone
through the windows of one of the cottages
that formed the village. The light was
caused by the blaze of a fire of dried drift-
wood on the stone hearth, while in a rude
wooden stand a rushlight burned, throwing
its somewhat uncertain brightness upon a
loom where sat a weaver at work. A bench,
two or three stools, a rude cupboard, and a
kitchen-table-these, with the loom, were all
A WELSH COTTAGE.
Standing in the centre of the room was a
middle-aged woman, dressed in a cloak and
the tall conical Welsh hat worn by many of
the peasants to this day.
"I am sorry you cannot go, Jacob," said
she. You'll be missed at the meeting.
But the same Lord Almighty who gives us
the meetings for the good of our souls, sent
you that wheezing of the chest, for the
trying of your body and spirit, and we must
needs have patience till He sees fit to take
it away again."
"Yes, wife, and I'm thankful that I
needn't sit idle, but can still ply my trade,"
replied Jacob Jones. There's many a deal
worse off. But what are you waiting for,
Molly? You'll be late for the exercises;
it must be gone six o'clock."
I'm waiting for that child, and she's gone
for the lantern," responded Mary Jones,
whom her husband generally called Molly, to
distinguish her from their daughter who was
At the Foot of the Mountain..
Jacob smiled. The lantern! Yes," said
he; "you'll need it this dark night. 'Twas
a good thought of yours, wife, to let Mary
take it regular as you do, for the child
wouldn't be allowed to attend those meetings
otherwise. And she does seem so eager
after everything of the kind."
Yes, she knows already pretty nearly all
that you and I can teach her of the Bible,
as we learnt it, don't she, Jacob ? She's only
eight now, but I remember when she was
but a wee child she would sit on your knee
for hours on a Sunday, and hear tell of
Abraham and Joseph, and David and Daniel.
There never was a girl like our Mary for
Bible stories, or any stories, for the matter of
that, bless her! But here she is! You've
been a long time getting that lantern, child,
and we must hurry or we shall be late."
Little Mary raised a pair of bright dark
eyes to her mother's face.
"Yes, mother," she replied, "I was long
because I ran to borrow neighbour Williams's
I8 Mary ones.
lantern. The latch of ours won't hold, and
there's such a wind to-night, that I knew we
should have the light blown out."
"There's a moon," said Mrs. Jones, and
I could have done without a lantern."
"Yes, but then you know, mother, I should
have had to stay at home," responded Mary,
"and I do so love to go."
"You needn't tell me that, child," laughed
Molly. "Then come along, Mary; good-bye,
"Good-bye, father dear! I wish you
could come too!" cried Mary, running back
to give Jacob a last kiss.
Go your way, child, and mind you re-
member all you can to tell old father when
you come home."
Then the cottage door opened. and Mary
and her mother sallied out into the cold
The moon had disappeared now behind a
thick dark cloud, and little Mary's borrowed
lantern was very acceptable. Carefully she
At the Foot of the Mountain.
held it, so that the light fell upon the way
they had to traverse, a way which would
have been difficult if not dangerous, without
its friendly aid.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a
light unto my path," said Mrs. Jones, as she
took her little daughter's hand in hers.
Yes, mother, I was just thinking of that,"
replied the child. I wish I knew ever so
many verses like this one."
How glad I should be if your father and
I could teach you more; but it's years since
we learned, and we've got no Bible, and our
memories are not as good as they used to
be," sighed the mother.
A walk of some length, and over a rough
road, brought them at last to the little
meeting-house where the church members
belonging to the Methodist body were in the
habit of attending.
They were rather late, arid the exercises
had begun, but kind farmer Evans made
room for them on his bench, and found for
Mrs. Jones the place in the psalm-book from
which the little company had been singing.
Mary was the only child there, but her face
was so grave, and her manner so solemn and
reverent, that no one looking at her could
have felt that she was out of place; and the
church members who met there from time to
time, had come to look upon this little girl
as one of their number, and welcomed her
When the meeting was over, and Mary,
having relighted her lantern, was ready to
accompany her mother home, farmer Evans
put his great broad hand upon the child's
shoulder, saying :
"Well, my little maid! You're rather
young for these meetings, but the Lord has
need of lambs as well as sheep, and He is
well pleased when the lambs learn to hear
His voice early, even in their tender years."
Then with a gentle fatherly caress the
good old man released the child, and turned
away, carrying with him the remembrance
At the Foot of the Mountain.
of that earnest intelligent face, happy in its
intentness, joyful in its solemnity, having in
its expression a promise of future excellence
and power for good.
"Why haven't we a Bible of our own,
mother ?" asked Mary as she trotted home-
ward, lantern in hand.
"Because Bibles are scarce, child, and
we're too poor to pay the price of one.
A weaver's is an honest trade, Mary, but we
don't get rich by it, and we think ourselves
happy if we can keep the wolf from the door,
and have clothes to cover us. Still, precious
as the Word of God would be in our hands,
more precious are its teachings and its truths
in our hearts. I tell you, my little girl, they
who have learned the love of God, have
learned the greatest truth that even the Bible
can teach them; and those who are trusting
the Saviour for their pardon and peace, and
for eternal life at last, can wait patiently for
a fuller knowledge of His word and will."
I suppose you can wait, mother, because
you've waited so long that you're used to it,"
replied the child; "but it's harder for me.
Every time I hear something read out of
the Bible, I long to hear more, and when I
can read it will be harder still."
Mrs. Jones was about to answer, when
she stumbled over a stone, and fell, though
fortunately without hurting herself. Mary's
thoughts were so full of what she had been
saying, that she had become careless in the
management of the lantern, and her mother
not seeing the stone, had struck her foot
"Ah, child! it's the present duties after
all that we must look after most," said Molly,
as she got slowly up; "and even a fall may
teach us a lesson, Mary. The very Word
of God itself, which is a lamp to our feet,
and a light to our path, can't save us from
many a tumble if we don't use it aright, and
let the light shine on our daily life, helping
us in its smallest duties and cares. Remember
this, my little Mary."
At the Foot of the Mountain.
And little Mary did remember this, and
her after life proved that she had taken the
lesson to heart-a simple lesson, taught by
a simple, unlearned handmaid of the Lord,
but a lesson which the child treasured up in
her very heart of hearts.
THE ONE GREAT NEED.
For this I know, whatever of earthly good
Fall to the portion of immortal man,
Still unfulfill'd in him is God's great plan,
And Heaven's richest gift misunderstood,
Until the Word of Life-exhaustless store
Of light and truth-be his for evermore.
N the homes of the poor,
where.the time of the
elder members of the
family is precious,
They being the bread-
winners of the house-
hold, the little ones
learn to be useful very
early. How often we
have known girls of six to
3 take the entire charge of a
younger brother and sister, while
many children of that age run
The One Great Need.
errands, do simple shopping, and make them-
selves of very real and substantial use.
Such was the case in the family of Jacob
Jones. Jacob and Molly were engaged in
weaving the woollen cloth, so much of which
used to be made in Wales. ,Thus many of
the household duties devolved upon Mary;
and at an age when children of richer
parents are amusing themselves with their
dolls or picture-books, our little maid was
sweeping, and dusting, and scrubbing, and
digging and weeding.
It was Mary who fed the few hens, and
looked for their eggs, so often laid in queer,
wrong-places, rather than in the nest.
It was Mary who took care of the hive,
and-who never feared the bees; and it was
Mary again, who, when more active duties
were done, would draw a low stool towards
the hearth in winter or outside the cottage
door in summer, and try to make or mend
her own little simple garments, singing to
herself the while in Welsh, a verse or two
of the old-fashioned metrical version of the
Psalms, or repeating texts which she had
picked up and retained in her quick, eager
In the long, light summer evenings, it was
her delight to sit where she could see the
majestic form of Cader Idris with its varying
lights and shadows, as the sun sank lower
and lower in the horizon. And in her
childish imagination, this mountain -was
made to play many a part, as she recalled
the stories which her parents had told her,
and the chapters she had heard read at
Now, Cader Idris was the mountain in the
land of Moriah whither the patriarch was
sent on his painful mission; and Mary
would fix her great dark eyes upon the
rocky steeps before her, until she fancied
she could see the venerable Abraham and
his son toiling up towards the appointed
place of sacrifice, the lad bearing the wood
for the burnt-offering.
The One Great Need.
More and more vividly the whole scene
would grow upon the child's fancy, until the
picture seemed to be almost a reality, and
she could imagine that she heard the patri-
arch's voice borne faintly to her ear by the
breeze that fanned her cheek-a voice that
replied pathetically to his son's question, in
the words, My son, the Lord will provide
Himself a lamb for the burnt-offering."
Then the scene would change; night was
drawing near, and Cader Idris assuming
softer outlines, was the mountain where the
Saviour went to pray.
Leaving the thronging multitude who had
been dwelling upon His every word-leav-
ing even His disciples whom He so loved,
there was Jesus-alone save for the Eternal
Father's presence-praying, and- refreshing
thus His weary spirit, after the work and
trials and sorrows of the day.
"If I'd only lived in those days," sighed
little Mary, sometimes, "how I should have
loved Him! and He'd have taught me,
perhaps, as He did those two who walked
such a long way with Him, without knowing
that it was Jesus; only I think I should
have known Him, just through love."
Nor was it only the mountain with which
Mary associated scenes from sacred history
or Gospel narration. The long, narrow
valley in the upper end of which Llanfi-
hangel was situated, ran down to the sea
at no great distance by a place called
Towyn. And when the child happened to
be near, she would steal a few moments to
sit down on the shore, and gaze across the
blue-green waters of Cardigan Bay, and
dream of the Sea of Galilee, and of the
Saviour who walked upon its waters-
who stilled their raging with a word, and
who even sometimes chose to make His
pulpit of a boat, and preach thus to the
congregation that stood upon the shore and
clustered to the very edge of the water, so
that they might not lose a word of the
precious things that He spoke. It will be
The One Great Need.
seen, therefore, that upon Mary's mind a
deep and lasting impression was made by all
that she had heard; and child though she
might be in years, there were not wanting
in her evidences of an earnest, energetic
nature, an intelligent brain, and a warm,
It is by the first leaves put forth by .the
seedling that we discern the nature, and
know the name of the plant; and so in
childhood, the character and talents can
often be detected in the early beauty of
their first unfolding and development,
One afternoon, when Jacob and his wife
were seated at their looms, and Mary was
sewing a patch into an almost worn-out
garment of her own, a little tap at the door
was followed by the entrance of Mrs. Evans,
the good farmer's wife, a kind, motherly, and
in some respects superior woman, who was
looked up to and beloved by many of the
"Good day to you, neighbours !" she said,
cheerily, her comely face all aglow. "Jacob,
how is your chest feeling? Bad, I'm afraid,
as I haven't seen you out of late. Molly,
you're looking hearty as usual, and my
little Mary, too-Toddles, as I used to
call you when you were not much more
than a baby, and running round on your
sturdy pins as fast as many a bigger child.
Don't I remember you then! A mere
baby as I said, and yet you'd keep a deal
stiller than any mouse if your father there
would make up a story you could understand,
more particular if it was out of the Bible.
Daniel and the Lions, or David 'and the
Giant, or Peter in the Prison-these were the
favourites then. Yes, and the history of
Joseph and his brethren; only you used to
cry when the naughty brothers put Joseph
in the pit, and went home and told Jacob
that wicked lie that almost broke the old
"She's as fond of anything of that sort
now as she was then," said Jacob Jones,
The One Great Need.
pausing in his work; "or rather she's fonder
than ever, ma'am. I only wish we were able
to give her a bit of schooling. It seems
hard, for the child is willing enough, and
it's high time she was learning something.
Why, Mrs. Evans, she can't read yet, and
she's eight years old! "
Mary looked up, her face flushing, her
eyes filled with tears.
Oh! If I only could learn!" she cried,
eagerly. "I'm such a big girl, and it's so
dreadful not to know how to read. If I
could, I would read all the lovely stories
myself, and not trouble any one to tell
"You forget, Mary, we've no Bible," said
Molly Jones, "and we can't afford to buy
one either, so dear and scarce they are."
"Yes," replied Mrs. Evans, "it's a great
want in our country; my husband was telling
me only the other day that the scarcity of
Welsh Bibles is getting to be spoken of
everywhere. Even those who can afford to
pay for them get them with difficulty, and
only by bespeaking them; and poor people
can't get them at all. But we hope the
Society for Christian Knowledge in London
may print some more soon; it won't be
before they're wanted."
"But with all this talk, Mrs. Jones,"
continued the farmer's wife, "I am for-
getting my errand in coming here, and that
was to ask if you'd any new-laid eggs. I've
a large order sent me, and our hens are
laying badly, so that I can't make up the
number. I've been collecting a few here
and there, but I haven't enough yet."
Mary knows more about the hens and
eggs than I do," said Molly, looking at her
little daughter, who had not put a stitch into
her patch while the talk about Bibles had
been going on, and whose cheeks and eyes
showed in their deepened colour and light
how much interested she had been in what
had been said.
But now the child started half guiltily
The One Great Need.
from her low seat, saying, I'll get what we
have to show you, Mrs. Evans."
Presently she came in with a little basket
containing about a dozen eggs. The
farmer's wife put them into her bag, then
patting Mary's pink cheeks rose to take her
leave, after paying for the eggs.
And remember this, little maid," she said,
kindly, when after saying good-bye to Jacob
and Molly, she was taking leave of Mary at
the door. Remember this, my dear little
girl; as soon as you know how to read (if
by that time you still have no Bible) you
shall come to the farm when you like, and
read and study ours-that is, if you can
manage to get so far."
It's only two miles, that's nothing !" said
sturdy Mary, with a glance down at her
strong little bare feet. "I'd walk further
than that for such a pleasure, ma'am."
Then she added with a less joyful ring in
her voice, "At least I would, if ever I did
learn to read."
Never mind, little woman The likes of
you wasn't made to sit in the dark always,"
replied Mrs. Evans in her cheery, comfortable
tones. "The Lord made the want, and He'll
satisfy it; be very sure of that. Remember,
Mary, when the multitude that waited on
the Saviour were hungry, the Lord did not
send them away empty, though no one saw
how they were to be fed; and He'll take care
you get the bread of life too, for all it seems
so unlikely now. Good-bye, and God bless
you, my child !" and good Mrs. Evans, with
a parting nod to the weaver and his wife,
and another to Mary, went out, and got into
her little pony-cart, which was waiting for
her in the road, under the care of one of the
Mary stood at the door and watched their
visitor till she was out of sight. Then,
before she closed it, she clasped her small
brown hands against her breast, and her
thoughts formed themselves into a prayer
something like this:
The One Great Need.
"Dear Lord, who gavest bread to the
hungry folk in the old time, and didst teach
and bless even the poorest, please let me
learn, and not grow up in darkness."
Then she shut the door and came and sat
down, resolving in her childish heart that if
God heard and answered her prayer, and she
learned to read His Word, she would do what
she could, all her life long, to help others as
she herself had been helped.
How our little Mary kept her resolution
will be seen in the remaining chapters of this
7'ail-piee fromn Coverdale's Neal Test., 1538, in the Librwy of
the Bible Soiety.
LLAN-Y-CIL UAY, BALA LAKt..
COMING TO THE LIGHT.
0 thou who out of the darkness
Reachest thy trembling hand,
Whose ears are open to welcome
Glad news of a better land;
Not always shalt thou be groping,
Night's shadows are well-nigh past:
The heart that for light is yearning
Attains to that light at last.
TWO years had passed away since Mrs.
Evans's visit, as recorded in the pre-
--~3 =~1 ,
i =-- 1-
Coniitg to the Lzkig.
ceding chapter, and still little Mary's prayer
seemed as far as ever from being answered.
With the industry and patience of more
mature years the child went about her
daily duties, and her mother depended upon
her for many things which do not generally
form part of a child's occupations. Mary had
less time for dreaming now, and though
Cader Idris was still the spot with which
her imagination associated Bible scenes and
pictures, she had little leisure for anything
but her everyday duties. She still ac-
companied her mother to the meetings, and
from so continually coming into contact with
older people, rather than with children of
her own age, the child had grown more and
more grave and earnest in face and manner,
and would have been called an old-fashioned
girl if she had lived in a place where any
difference was known between old fashions
It was about this time that Jacob Jones
came home one evening from Abergynolwyn
-a village two miles away from Llanfihangel
-where he had been disposing of the woollen
cloth which he and Molly had been making
during the past months.
Jacob had been away the greater part of
the day, yet he did not seem tired. His eye
was bright, and his lips wore a smile as he
entered the cottage and sat down in his
accustomed place in the chimney corner.
Mary, whose observant eye rarely failed to
note the least change in her father's face and
manner, sprang towards him, and stood before
him, regarding his bright face searchingly.
"What is it, father ? she' said, her own
dark eyes flashing back the light in his.
" Something pleasant has happened, or you
wouldn't look like that! "
"What a sharp little girl it is!" replied
Jacob, fondly, drawing the child nearer and
seating her upon his knee. What a very
sharp little woman to find out that her old
dad has something to tell !"
"And is it something that concerns me,
Coming to tke Light.
father ?" asked Mary, stroking Jacob's face
"It is something that concerns you most
of all, my chick, and us through you."
What can it be ?" murmured Mary, with
a quick, impatient little sigh.
What is it, father?" asked Mrs. Jones;
"we both want to know."
"Well," replied Jacob, what would you
say, Molly dear, to our little daughter here
becoming quite a learned woman, perhaps
knowing how to read, and write, and cipher,
and all a deal better than her parents ever
did before her ?"
"Oh, father! "
The exclamation came from Mary, who
in her excitement had slipped from Jacob's
knee, and now stood facing him, breathless
with suspense, her hands closely clasped.
Jacob looked at her a moment without
speaking; then he said tenderly:
Yes, child, there is a school to be opened
at Abergynolwyn, and a master is chosen
already; and as my little Mary thinks nought
of a two miles' walk, she shall go, and learn
all she can."
Well," rejoined Jacob, now laughing out-
right, how many Oh fathers!' are we going
to have? But I thought you'd be glad, my
girl, and I was not wrong. You are pleased,
dear, aren't you ? "
There was a pause; then Mary's reply
came, low spoken, but with such deep con-
tent in its tones.
Pleased, father ? Yes, indeed, for now
I shall learn to read the Bible."
Then a thought struck her, and a shadow
came across the happy face as she said :
"But, mother, perhaps you won't be able
to spare me ? "
"Spare you ? Yes, I will, child, though
I can't deny as how it will be difficult for me
to do without my little right hand and help.
But for your good, my girl, I would do
harder things than that."
Coming to the Light.
Dear, good mother !" cried Mary, putting
an arm about Molly's neck and kissing her.
" But I don't want you to work too hard and
tire yourself. I'll get up an hour or two
earlier, and do all I can before I start for
school." Then as the child sat down again
to her work, her heart, in its joyfulness, sent
up a song of thanksgiving to the Lord who
had heard her prayer, and opened the way
for her to learn, that she might not grow up
Presently Jacob went on :
I went to see the room where the school
is to be held, and who should come in while
I was there but Mr. Charles of Bala. I'd
often heard of him before, but I'd never
seen him, and I was glad to set eyes on him
"What may he have looked like, Jacob ?"
"Well, Molly, I never was a very good one
for drawing a portrait, but I should say he
was between forty and fifty years old, with
THE REV. THOMAS CHARLES, OF BALA.
(From the painting in the Bible House.)
Coming to the Light.
a fine big forehead which doesn't look- as
though it had unfurnished apartments to
let behind it, but quite the opposite, as
though he had done a sight of thinking, and
meant to do a great deal more. Still his
face isn't anything so very special till he
smiles, but when he does it's like sunshine,
and goes to your heart, and warms you right
through. Now I've seen him, and heard him
speak, I can understand how he does so much
gbod. I hear he's going about from place to
place opening schools for the poor children,
who would grow up ignorant otherwise."
"Like me," murmured Mary, under her
And who's the master that's to be set over
the school at Abergynolwyn ?" asked Molly.
I heard tell that his name is John
Ellis," replied Jacob; "a good man, and
right for the work, so they say; and I
hope it'll prove so."
And how soon is the school to open,
Jacob ?" asked his wife.
"In about three weeks, I believe,"
answered Jacob. "And now, Mary my
girl, if you can bring yourself. to think of
such a thing as supper, after what I've been
telling you, suppose you get some ready,
for I haven't broke my fast since noon."
The following three weeks passed more
slowly for little Mary Jones than any three
months she could remember before. Such
childishness as there was in her seemed to
show itself in impatience; and we must
confess that her home duties at this time
were not so cheerfully or so punctually
performed as usual, owing to the fact that her
thoughts were far away, her heart being set
on the thing she had longed for so earnestly.
"If this is the way it's going to be, Jacob,"
said Molly to her husband one evening, I
shall wish there had never been a thought of
school at Abergynolwyn. The child's so off
her head that she goes about like one in
a dream; what it'll be when that school
begins, I aren't think."
Coming to he Light.
Don't you fret, wife," replied Jacob
smiling. It'll all come right. Don't you
see that her poor little busy brain has been
longing to grow, and now that there's a
chance of its being fed, she's all agog.
But you'll find, when she once gets started,
she'll go on all right with her home work as
well. She's but ten years old, Molly, after
all, and for my own part, I'm not sorry to
see there's a bit of the child left in her, even
if it shows itself this way, such a little old
woman as she's always been!"
But this longest three weeks that Mary
ever spent came to an end at last, and Mary
began to go to school, thus commencing a
new era in her life.
Fairly hungering and thirsting after know-
ledge, the child found her lessons an unmixed
delight. What other children call drudgery
was to her only pleasure, and her eagerness
was so great that she was almost always at
the.top of her class ; and in an incredibly short
space of time she began to read and write.
The master, who had a quick eye for
observing the character and talents of his
pupils, soon remarked Mary's peculiarities,
and encouraged her in her pursuit of such
knowledge as was taught in the school; and
the little girl repaid her master's kindness by
the most unwearied diligence and attention.
Nor while the brain was being fed did the
heart grow cold, or the practical powers
decline. Molly Jones had now no fault to
find with Mary's performance of her home
duties. The child rose early, and did her
work before breakfast; and after her return
from school in the afternoon she again
helped her mother, only reserving for herself
time enough to prepare her lessons for the
At school she was a general favourite, and
never seemed to be regarded with jealousy
by her companions, this being due probably
to her genial disposition, and the kind way
in which she was willing to help others
whenever she could.
Coming to the Light.
One morning a little girl was seen to be
crying sadly when she reached the school-
house, and on being questioned as to what
was the matter, she said that on the way
there, a big dog had snatched at the little
paper bag in which she was bringing her
dinner to eat during recess, and had carried
it off, and so she should have to go hungry
Some of the scholars laughed at the child
for her carelessness, and some called her a
coward, for not running after the dog and
getting back her dinner ; but Mary stole up
to the little one's side, and whispered some-
thing in her ear, and dried the wet eyes, and
kissed the flushed cheeks, and presently the
child was smiling and happy again.
But when dinner-time came, Mary and the
little dinnerless maiden sat close together
in a corner, and more than half of Mary's
provisions found their way to the smaller
The other scholars looked on, feeling
somewhat ashamed, no doubt, that none but
Mary Jones had thought of doing so kind
and neighbourly an action, at the cost of a
little self-denial. But the lesson was not
lost upon them, and from that day Mary's
influence made itself felt in the school for
In her studies she progressed steadily, and
this again gave opportunity for the develop-
ment of the helpful qualities by which,
from her earliest childhood, she had been
On one occasion, for instance, she was just
getting ready to set off on her two miles'
journey home, when she spied in a corner
of the now deserted schoolroom a little boy
with a book open before him, and a smeared
slate and blunt pencil by its side. The poor
little fellow's tears were falling over his
unfinished task, and evidently he was in the
last stage of childish despondency. He had
dawdled away his time during the school
hours, or had not listened when the lesson
Coming to the Light.
had been explained, and now school discipline
required that he should stay behind when
the rest had gone, and attend to the work
which he had neglected.
Mary had a headache that day, and was
longing to get home; but the sight of that
tearful, sad little face in the corner banished
all thought of self, and as the voices of the
other children died away in the distance, she
crossed the room, and leaned over the small
"What is it, Robbie dear?" said she in
her old-fashioned way and tender, low-toned
voice. "Oh, I see, you've got to do that
sum! I mayn't do it for you, you know,
because that would be a sort of cheating,
but I can tell you how to do it yourself, and
I think I can make it plain."
So saying, Mary fetched her little bit of
wet rag, and washed the slate, and, then got
an old knife and sharpened the pencil.
"Now," said she, smiling cheerily, "see,
I'll put down the sum as it is in the book ;"
and she wrote on the slate in clear, if not
very elegant figures, the sum in question.
Thus encouraged, Robbie gave his mind
to his task, and with a little help it was soon
done, and Mary with a light heart, which
made up for her heavy head, trotted home,
very glad that what she was herself learning
could be a benefit to others.
Not long after the commencement of the
day school, a Sunday school also was opened,
and the very first Sunday that children were
taught there, behold our little friend as clean
and fresh as soap and water could make her,
and with bright eyes and eager face, showing
the keen interest she felt, and her great
desire to learn.
That evening, after- service in the little
meeting-house, as the farmer's wife, good
Mrs. Evans, was just going to get into her
pony-cart to drive home, she felt a light
touch on her arm, while a sweet voice she
knew said, "Please, ma'am, might I speak to
you a moment ?"
Coming to the Light.
Surely, my child," replied the good
woman, turning her beaming face on little
Mary, what have you got to say to me ?"
"Two years ago, please ma'am, you were
so kind as to promise that when I'd learned
to read I should come to the farm and read
"I did, I remember it well," answered
Mrs. Evans. "Well, child, do you know
how to read ? "
"Yes, ma'am," responded Mary; and
now I've joined the Sunday school, and shall
have Bible lessons to prepare, and if you'd
be so kind as to let me come up to the farm
one day in the week-perhaps Saturday,
when I've a half-holiday-I could never
thank you enough."
"There's no need for thanks, little woman,
come and welcome! I shall expect you next
Saturday ; and may the Lord make His
Word a great blessing to you!"
Mrs. Evans held Mary's hand one moment
with a cordial pressure; then she got into her
cart, and -the pony started off quickly towards
home, as though he knew that old Farmer
Evans was laid up with rheumatism, and
that his wife wished to get back to him as
soon as possible.
A Bit of Bala Lake.
TWO MILES TO A BIBLE.
'Tis written, man shall not live alone,
By the perishing bread of earth;
Thou givest the soul a richer food
To nourish the heavenly birth.
And yet to our fields of golden grain
Thou bringest the harvest morn;
Thine opening hand is the life of all,
For Thou prepares them corn.
farm was a
house was a
queer ups and
shaped windows in all sorts of unexpected
places. And yet there was an aspect of
homely comfort about the house not always
to be found in far finer and more imposing-
looking residences. At the back were the
out-buildings-the sheds and cow-houses,
the poultry-pen, the stables and pig-sties;
while stretching away beyond these again
were the home paddock, the drying-ground,
and a small enclosed field, which went by
the name of Hospital Meadow, on account
of its being used for disabled animals that
needed a rest.
With the farmer himself we made ac-
quaintance two years ago at the meeting,
when he spoke so kindly to Mary; and he
was still the same good, honest, industrious,
God-fearing man, never forgetting in the
claims and anxieties of his work, what he
owed to the Giver of all, who sends His rain
for the watering of the seed, and His sun for
the ripening of the harvest.
Nor did he-as too many farmers are in
Two Miles to a Bible.
the habit of doing-repine at Providence,
and find fault with God's dealings if the rain
came down upon the hay before it was safely
carried, or if an early autumn gale laid his
wheat even with the earth from which it
sprang, ere the sickle could be put into it.
Nor did he complain and grumble even
when disease showed itself among the breed
of small but active cattle of which he was
justly proud, and carried off besides some of
his fine sheep, destined for the famous Welsh
mutton which sometimes is to be found on
In short, he was contented with what the
Lord sent, and said with Job, when a misfor-
tune occurred, Shall we receive good at the
hands of the Lord, and shall we not receive
evil ? "
Of Mrs. Evans we have already spoken,
and if we add here that she was a true help-
meet to her husband, in matters both tem-
poral and spiritual, that is all we need say in
This worthy couple had three children.
The eldest was already grown up; she was
a fine girl, and a great comfort and help to
her mother. The younger children were
boys, who went to a grammar school in a
town a mile or two away: they were manly,
high-spirited little fellows, well-trained, and
as honest and true as their parents.
Such, then, was the family into which our
little Mary was welcomed with all love and
kindness. She was shy and timid the first
time, for the farm-house was a much finer
place than any home she had hitherto seen;
and there was an atmosphere of warmth, and
there were delicious signs of plenty, which
were unknown in Jacob Jones's poor little
cottage, where everything was upon the most
frugal, not to say meagre, scale.
But .Mary's shyness did not last long;
indeed it disappeared wholly soon after she
had crossed the threshold, where she was
met by Mrs. Evans with a hearty welcome
and a motherly kiss.
Two Miles to a Bible.
"Come in, little one," said the good
woman, drawing her into the cosy, old-
fashioned kitchen, where a kettle was singing
on the hob, and an enticing fragrance of
currant shortcake, baking for an early tea,
scented the air.
There, get warm, dear," said Mrs. Evans,
"and then you shall go to the parlour, and
study the Bible. And have you got a pencil
and scrap of paper to take notes if you want
"Yes, thank you, ma'am, I brought them
with me," replied Mary.
For a few minutes she sat there, basking
in the pleasant, cheery glow of the fire-light;
then she was admitted to the parlour, where,
on the table in the centre of the room, and
covered reverently with a clean white cloth,
was the precious book.
It must not be thought from the care thus .
taken of it that the Bible was never used.
On the contrary, it was always read at
prayers night and morning; and the farmer,
whenever he had a spare half-hour, liked
nothing better than to study the sacred book,
and seek to understand its teachings.
There's no need to tell you to be careful
of our Bible, and to turn over the leaves
gently, Mary, I'm sure," said Mrs. Evans;
"you would do that anyway, I know. And
now, my child, I'll leave you and the Bible
together. When you've learned your lesson
for Sunday school, and read all you want,
come back into the kitchen and have some
tea before you go."
Then the good farmer's wife went away,
leaving Mary alone with a Bible for the first
time in her life.
Presently the child raised the napkin, and,
folding it neatly, laid it on one side.
Then, with trembling hands, she opened
the book, opened it at the fifth chapter of
John, and her eyes caught these words,
" Search the scriptures; for in them ye think
ye have eternal life : and they are they which
testify of Me."
Two Miles to a Bible.
I will! I will!" she cried, feeling as if
the words were spoken directly to her by
some Divine voice. I will search and learn
all I can. Oh, if I had but a Bible of my
own!" And this wish, this sigh for the
rare and coveted treasure, was the key-note
to a grand chorus of glorious harmony
which, years after, spread in volume, until
it rolled in waves of sound over the whole
earth. Yes, that yearning in a poor child's
heart was destined to be a means of light
and knowledge to millions of souls in the
future. Thus verily has God often chosen
the weak things of the world to carry out
His great designs, and work His will. And
here, once more, is an instance of the small
beginnings which have great results-results
whose importance is not to be calculated on
this side of eternity.
When Mary had finished studying the
Scripture lesson for the morrow, and had
enjoyed a plentiful meal in the cosy kitchen,
she said good-bye to her kind friends, and
set off on her homeward journey, her mind
full of the one great longing, out of which a
resolution was slowly shaping itself.
It was formed at last.
I- must have a Bible of my own she
said aloud, in the earnestness of her purpose.
" I must have one, if I save up for it for ten
years! and by the time this was settled in
her mind the child had reached her home.
Christmas had come, and with it some
holidays for Mary and the other scholars
who attended the school at Abergynolwyn;
but our little heroine would only have been
sorry for the cessation of lessons, had it
not been that during the holidays she had
determined to commence carrying out her
plan of earning something towards the pur-
chase of a Bible.
Without neglecting her home duties, she
managed to undertake little jobs of work,
for which the neighbours were glad to give
her a trifle. Now it was to mind a baby
while the mother was at the wash-tub. Now
Two Miles to a Bible.
to pick up sticks and brushwood in the
woods for fuel; or to help to mend and patch
the poor garments of the family for a worn,
weary mother, who was thankful to give a
small sum for this timely welcome help.
And every halfpenny, every farthing (and
farthings were no unusual fee among such
poor people as those of whom we are telling)
was put into a rough little money-box which
Jacob made for the purpose, with a hole in
the lid. The box was kept in a cupboard,
on a shelf where Mary could reach it, and it
was a real and heartfelt joy to her when she
could bring her day's earnings-some little
copper coins, perhaps-and drop them in,
longing for the time to come when they
would have swelled to the requisite sum-a
large sum unfortunately-for buying a Bible.
It was about this time that good Mrs.
Evans, knowing the child's earnest wish,
and wanting to encourage and help her,
made her the present of a fine cock and
"Nay, nay, my dear, don't thank me,"
said she, when Mary was trying to tell her
how grateful she was; I've done it, first
to help you along with that Bible you've set
your heart on, and then, too, because I love
you, and like to give you pleasure. So
now, my child, when the hens begin to lay,
which will be early in the spring, you can
sell your eggs, for these will be your very own
to do what you like with, and you can put
the money to any use you please. I think
I know what you'll do with it," added Mrs.
Evans, with a smile.
But the first piece of silver that Mary had
the satisfaction of dropping into her box
was earned before she had any eggs to sell,
and in quite a different way from the sums
which she had hitherto received. She was
walking one evening along the road from
Towyn, whither she had been sent on an
errand for her father, when her foot struck
against some object lying in the road; and,
stooping to pick it up, she found it was a
Two Miles to a Bible.
large leather purse. Wondering whose it
could be, the child went on, until, while
still within half a mile from home, she
met a man walking slowly, and evidently
searching for something. He looked up as
Mary approached, and she recognized him
as Farmer Greaves, a brother-in-law of Mrs.
Ah I good evening, Mary Jones," said
he; "I've had such a loss! Coming home
from market I dropped my purse, and------"
I've just found a purse, sir," said Mary;
"is this it ? "
"You've found a purse?" exclaimed the
farmer, eagerly. "Yes, indeed, my dear,
that is mine, and I'm very much obliged to
you. No, stay a moment," he called after
her, for Mary was already trudging off again.
" I should like to give you a trifle for your
hon-- I mean just some trifle by way of
As he spoke, his finger and thumb closed
on a bright shilling, which surely would not
have been too much to give to a poor child
who had found a heavy purse. But he
thought better (or worse) of it, and took
out instead a sixpence and handed it to
Mary, who took it with very heartfelt thanks,
and ran home as quickly as possible to drop
her silver treasure safely into the box, where
it was destined to keep its poorer brethren
company for many a long year.
But the Christmas holidays were soon
over, and then it was difficult for Mary to
keep up with her daily lessons, and her
Sunday-school tasks, the latter involving the
weekly visits to the farm-house for the study
of the Bible. What with these and her
home duties, sometimes weeks passed with-
out her having time to earn a penny towards
the purchase of the sacred treasure.
Sometimes, too, she was rather late in
reaching home on the Saturday evenings,
and now and again Molly was uneasy about
her. For Mary would come by short cuts
over the hills, along ways which, however
Two Miles to a Bible.
safe in the daytime, were rough and un-
pleasant, if not dangerous, after dark; and
in these long winter evenings the daylight
vanished very early.
It was on one of these occasions that
Molly and Jacob Jones were sitting and
waiting for their daughter.
The old clock had already struck
eight. She had never been so late as
"Our Molly ought to be home, Jacob,"
said Molly, breaking a silence disturbed
only by the noise of Jacob's busy loom.
"It's got as dark as dark, and there's no
moon to-night. The way's a rugged one,
if she comes the short cut across the hill,
and she's not one to choose a long road if
she can find a shorter, bless her! She's more
than after her time. I hope no harm's come
to the child," and Molly walked to the
window and looked out.
Don't be fretting yourself, Molly," replied
Jacob, pausing in his work; Mary's out on
a good errand, and He who put the love
of good things in her heart will take care
of her in her going out and in her coming
in, from henceforth, even for evermore."
Jacob spoke solemnly, but with a tone of
conviction that comforted his wife, as words
of his had often done before; and just then
a light step bounded up to the door, the
latch was lifted, and Mary's lithe young
figure entered the cottage, her dark eyes
shining with intelligence, her cheeks flushed
with exercise, a look of eager animation
overspreading the whole of her bright face
and seeming to diffuse a radiance round the
cottage, while it shone reflected in the
countenances of Jacob and Molly.
"Well, child, what have you learned to-
day ?" questioned Jacob. "Have you studied
your lesson for the Sunday school ? "
Ay, father, that I have, and a beautiful
lesson it was," responded the child. "It
was the lesson and Mr. Evans together that
kept me so late."
Two Miles to a Bible.
How so, Mary?" asked Molly. "We've
been right down uneasy about you, fearing
lest something had happened to you."
"You needn't have been so, mother
dear," replied the little girl, with some-
thing of her father's quiet assurance.
"God knew what I was about, and He
would not let any harm come to me. Oh,
father, the more I read about Him the more
I want to know, and I shall never rest until
I've a Bible of my own. But to-day-I've
brought home a big bit of the farmer's Bible
What do you mean, Mary ? How could
you do such a thing? questioned Molly in
"Only in my head, mother dear, of
course," replied the child; then in a lower
voice she added, "and my heart."
"And what is the bit ?" asked Jacob.
It's the seventh chapter of Matthew,"
said Mary. "Our Sunday lesson was from
the first verse to the end of the twelfth verse;
But it was so easy and so beautiful, that I
went on and on, till I'd learned the whole
chapter. And just as I had finished, Mr.
Evans came in and asked me if I understood
it all; and when I said there were some bits
that puzzled me, he was so kind and ex-
plained them. If you like, mother and
father, I'll repeat you the chapter."
So Jacob pushed away his work, and took
his old seat in the chimney corner, and Molly
began some knitting, while Mary sat down
on a stool at her father's feet, and beginning
at the first verse, repeated the whole chapter
without a single mistake, without a moment's
hesitation, and with a tone and emphasis
which showed her comprehension of the
truths so beautifully taught, and her sympathy
Mark my words, wife," said Jacob that
night, when Mary had gone to bed, "that
child will do a work for the Lord before
she dies. See you not how He Himself
is leading and guiding His lamb into green
Two Miles to a Bible. 69
pastures and beside still waters ? Why,
Molly, when she repeated that verse, 'Ask,
and ye shall receive,' I saw her eyes shine,
and her cheeks glow again, and I knew
she was thinking of the Bible that she's set
her heart on, and which I doubt not she's
praying for often enough when we know
nothing about it. And the Lord He will
give it her some day. Of that I'm moral
certain. Yes, Molly, our Mary will have
The Word of the Lord endurethfor ever."
From a Bible in the Society's Library (C. Barker, 1585).
FAITHFUL IN THAT WHICH IS LEAST.
Since this one talent Thou hast granted me,
I give Thee thanks, and joy, in blessing Thee,
That I am worthy any.
I would not hide or bury it, but rather
Use it for Thee and Thine, 0 Lord and Father,
And make one talent many.
E may be sure that
various were the
ing to mould the
character of Mary
Jones during the
years of her school-
life, confirming in
her the wonderful
steadfastness of purpose and earnestness of
spirit for which she was remarkable, as well
Faithful in that whick is Least. 71
as fostering the tender and loving nature
that made her beloved by all with whom
she had to do.
Her master, John Ellis (who afterwards
was stationed at Barmouth), seems to have
been a conscientious and able teacher, and
we may infer that he took no small part in
the development of the mind and heart of a
*pupil who must always have been an object
of special interest from her great intelligence
and eagerness to learn.
But as the years passed, the time came for
John Ellis to change his sphere of labour.
He did so, and his place was taken by a man,
a sketch of whose story may perhaps not
inappropriately be given here, as that of the
teacher under whom Mary Jones was being
instructed at the time when a great event
occurred in her history, an event the recount-
ing of which we leave for the next chapter.
The successor to John Ellis was Lewis
Williams, a man who from a low station in life,
and from absolute ignorance, rose to a posi-
tion of considerable influence and popularity;
from an utterly heedless and godless life, to
be a God-fearing and noble-minded Christian.
He was a man of small size, and from all
that we can learn of his intellect and talents
we can hardly think that they were of any
high order. But what he lacked in mental
gifts he made up in iron resolution, in a
perseverance which was absolutely sublime
in its determination not to be baffled.
He was born in Pennal in the year 1774 ;
his parents were poor, but of them nothing
further is known;
Like other boys at that time, and in that
neighbourhood, he was wild and reckless,
breaking the Sabbath continually, and other-
wise drawing upon himself the censure of
those with whom he was acquainted.
But when he was about eighteen years old
he chanced on one occasion to be at a prayer-
meeting, when a Mr. Jones, of Mathafarn,
was reading and expounding the fifth chapter
of the Epistle to the Romans.
Faithful in that which is Least.
The word of God, thus made known to
Lewis Williams in perhaps a fresh and
striking manner, was the means of carrying
home to his hitherto hard heart the con-
viction of sin; and a change was from that
time observed in him, which gradually deep-
ened, until none could longer doubt that
he had become an earnest and consistent
On the occasion of his requesting to be
admitted to membership in a little Methodist
church at Cwmllinian, he was asked (pro-
bably as one of the test questions), "If
Jesus Christ asked you to do some.work for
Him, would you do it?" His answer gives
us the key to his success: "Oh yes; whatever
Jesus required of me I would do at once."
Such was the commencement of the
religious life of this most singular man.
Some years after, when in service at a
place called Trychiad, near Llanegryn, he
could not but notice the ignorance of the
boys in the neighbourhood, and, burning
with zeal to perform some direct and special
work for his Heavenly Master, he resolved
to establish there a Sunday school, and a
week-night school besides, if possible, in
order to teach the lads to read.
This would have been praiseworthy, but
still nothing remarkable in the way of an
undertaking, had Lewis Williams received
any sort of education himself. But as he
had never enjoyed a day's schooling in his
life, and could hardly read a word correctly,
the thought of teaching others seemed, to
say the least, rather a wild idea.
But how often the old proverb has been
proved true, that where there is a will there
is a way; and once more was this verified in
the experience of Lewis Williams.
Owing to the young man's untiring energy
and courage, his school was opened in a short
time, and he began the work of instruction,
teaching, we are told, the alphabet to the
lowest class by setting it to the tune of
"The March of the Men of Harlech."
Faithful in that which is Least.
Dr. Moffat, we know, tried the same plan
of melody lessons forty years later, with a
number of Bechuana children, teaching them
their letters to the tune of "Auld Lang
Syne" with wonderful facility and success.
But Lewis Williams, if he set up for a
schoolmaster at all, could hardly confine his
instructions to the lowest class in the school;
yet in undertaking the teaching of the older
boys, he was coming face to face with an
obstacle which might well have seemed in-
surmountable to any one whose will was less
strong or courage less undaunted.
The master could not read, or at least he
could neither read fluently nor correctly, yet
he had bound himself to teach reading to the
lads in his school.
Painfully mindful of his deficiencies, he
used, before commencing his Sunday-school
exercises or his evening classes, to pay a
visit to a good woman, Betty Evans by
name, who had learned to read well. Under
her tuition he prepared the lessons he was
going to give that day or the next, so that
in reality the master of that flourishing little
school was only beforehand with his scholars
by a few hours.
At other times he would invite a number
of scholars from an endowed high school in
the neighbourhood, to come for reading and
With quiet tact and careful foresight he
would arrange that the subject taken for
reading and discussion should include the
lesson which he would shortly have to give.
While the reading and talk went on, he
listened with rapt attention. The discus-
sions as to the meaning or pronunciation of
the more difficult words was all clear gain to
him, as familiarizing his mind with what he
desired to know.
But none of these youths meeting thus
had an inkling that the man who invited
them, who spoke so discreetly, and listened
so attentively, was himself a learner, and
dependent upon them for the proper con-
Faithful in that which is Least.
struction of phrases, or for the correct pro-
nunciation of words occurring in his next
day's or week's lessons.
The school duties were always commenced
with prayer, and as the master had a restless,
unruly set of lads to do with, he invented
a somewhat peculiar way of securing .their
attention for the devotions in which he led
Familiar with military exercises through
former experiences in the militia, he would
put the restless boys through a series of
these, and when they came to stand at
ease," and "attention!" he would at once,
but very briefly and simply, engage in
While Lewis Williams was thus hard at
work at Llanegryn, seeking to win hearts to
the Saviour, and train minds to serve Him,
it happened that Mr. Charles of Bala, intend-
ing to preside at a members' meeting to be
held at Abergynolwyn, arrived at Bryncrug
the evening before, and spent the night at
the house of John Jones, the schoolmaster of
In the course of conversation with his
host, Mr. Charles asked him if he knew of
a suitable person to undertake the charge of
one of his recently established schools in the
neighbourhood. John Jones replied that he
had heard of a young man at Llanegryn,
who taught the children both on week-nights
and Sundays ; but," added the schoolmaster,
" as I hear that he himself cannot read, I
can hardly understand how he is able to
Impossible !" exclaimed Mr. Charles.
"How can any one teach what he does not
himself know ?"
Still, they say he does so," replied John
Mr. Charles at once expressed a wish to
see this mysterious instructor of youth, who
was reported as imparting to others what he
did not himself possess. The next day,
accordingly, summoned by John Jones, our
Faithful in that which is Least.
young schoolmaster made his appearance.
His rustic garb, and the simplicity of his
manner, gave the impression of his being
anything but a pedagogue, whatever might
have been said of him.
Well, my young friend," said Mr. Charles,
in the genial pleasant way that was natural
to him, and that at once inspired with con-
fidence all with whom he had to do, "they
tell me you keep a school at Llanegryn
yonder, on Sundays and week-nights, for
the purpose of teaching children to read.
Have you many scholars ? "
"Yes, sir, far more than I am able to
teach," replied Lewis Williams.
"And do they learn a little by your
teaching ? asked Mr. Charles, as kindly as
ever, but with a quaint smile lurking round
"I think some of them learn, sir," re-
sponded the young teacher, very modestly,
and with an overwhelming sense of his own
ignorance a consciousness that showed
itself painfully both in his voice and
Do you understand any English ? "
questioned Mr. Charles.
Only a stray word or two, sir, which I
picked up when serving in the militia."
"Do you read Welsh fluently ? "
"No, sir, I can read but little, but I am
doing my very best to learn."
"Were you at a school before beginning
to teach ?" asked Mr. Charles, more and
more interested in the young man who stood
so meekly before him.
No, sir. I never had a day's schooling
in my life."
"And your parents did not teach you to
read while you were at home? "
"No, sir, my parents could not read a
word for themselves."
Mr. Charles opened his Bible at the first
chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and
asked Lewis Williams to read the opening
Faithful in that which is Least.
Slowly, hesitatingly, and with several mis-
takes, the young man complied, stumbling
with difficulty through the first verse.
That will do, my lad," said Mr. Charles;
"but how you are able to teach others to
read, passes my comprehension. Tell me
now by what plan you instruct the children."
Then the poor young teacher described the
methods to which he had recourse for receiv-
ing and imparting instruction; he gave an
account of his musical A B C; the lessons
given to himself by Betty Evans; the read-
ings and discussions of the grammar-school
boys; and the scholars playing at "little
As Lewis Williams proceeded with his
confessions (for such they appeared to him),
Mr. Charles, with the discernment which
seems to have been one of his characteristics,
had penetrated through the roughness and
uncouthness of the narrator to the real force
of character and earnestness of the man. He
saw that this humble follower of the Saviour
had earnestly endeavoured to improve his
one talent, and work with it in the Master's
service, and that he only needed help in the
development of his capacity, to render him
a most valuable servant of Christ. He re-
commended him therefore to place himself
for a time under the tuition of John Jones,
and thus fit himself for efficient teaching in
During the following three months, Lewis
Williams followed the advice of Mr. Charles;
and this was all the schooling that he ever
His self-culture did not, however, cease
with the help gained from John Jones.
Every hour he could spare was devoted to
study, in order to fit himself for one of the
schoolmasters' places under Mr. Charles's
special control and management. And we
a're told that in order to perfect himself
further in reading, he used to visit neighbour-
ing churches, to study the delivery and
reading of the ministers presiding there,
Faithful in that which is Least. 83
His earnest desire was gratified at last, for
in the year 1799-that is, when he was about
twenty-five years of age-he was engaged by
Mr. Charles as a paid teacher in one of his
schools. He was removed to Abergynolwyn
a year later, and here, among his pupils, was
our young friend Mary Jones.
In his subsequent years of work he was
the means of establishing many new schools,
and of reviving others which were losing
their vitality; and at length he even became
a preacher, so great was his zeal in his
Master's service, and so anxious was he that
all should know the truth and join in the
work of the Lord.
He died in his eighty-eighth year, followed
by the sincere gratitude and deep love of the
many whom he had benefited.
Our story now returns to Mary Jones, who
at the time that Lewis Williams became
schoolmaster at Abergynolwyn, was nearly
sixteen years old.
She was, an active, healthy maiden, full of
life and energy, as earnest and as diligent
as ever. Nor had her purpose faltered for
one moment as regarded the purchase of a
Bible. Through six long years she had
hoarded every penny, denying herself the
little indulgences which the poverty of her
life must have made doubly attractive to one
so young. She had continued her visits to
the farm-house, and while she there studied
her Bible lessons for school, her desire to
possess God's Holy Book for herself grew
almost to a passion.
What joy it would be, she often thought,
if every day she could read and commit to
memory portions of Scripture, storing her
mind and heart with immortal truths. "But
the time will come," she had added, when
I shall have my Bible. Yes, though I have
waited so long, the time will come." Then
on her knees beside her little bed she had
prayed aloud, "Dear Lord, let the time
As may be supposed, Mary was the great
Faithful in that vJhich is Least. 85
pride and delight of her parents. She was
more useful, more her mother's right hand
than ever; and her father, as he looked
into her clear, honest, intelligent dark eyes,
and heard her recite her lesson for school,
or recount for his benefit all the explanations
to which she had that day listened, thanked
the Lord in his heart, for his brave, God-
fearing child, and prayed that she might grow
up to be a blessing to all with whom she
might have to do in the future.
If a man love me, he will keep my words.''
Tail-fiecefrom Coverdale's New Test. (1538) in the Society's Libra y.
ON THE WAY.
A strong, brave heart, and a purpose true,
Are better than wealth untold,
Planting a garden in barren ways,
And turning their dust to gold.
MOTHER! O father!
onlythink! Mrs. Evans
has just paid me for
that work I did for her,
and it is more than I
expected; and now I
find I have enough to
buy a Bible. I'm so
happy I don't know
what to do."
Mary had just come from the farm-house,
and now as she bounded in with the joyful
news, Jacob stopped his loom, and held out
On th/e Way.
Is it really so, Mary? After six years'
saving! Nay then, God be thanked, child,
who first put the wish into your heart, and
then gave you patience to wait and work to
get the thing you wanted. Bless you, my
little maid," and Jacob laid a hand solemnly
upon his daughter's head, adding in a lower
tone, "and she shall be blest!"
But tell me, father dear," said Mary after
a little pause, "where am I to buy the
Bible? There are no Bibles to be had here
or at Abergynolwyn."
I cannot tell you, Mary, but our preacher,
William Huw, will know," replied Jacob;
"you will do well to go to him to-morrow,
and ask how you're to get the book."
Acting upon her father's suggestion, Mary
accordingly went the next day to Llechwedd
to William Huw, and to him she put the
question so all-important to her. But he
replied that not a copy could be obtained
(even of the Welsh version published the
year before) nearer than of Mr. Charles of
Bala; and he added that he feared lest all the
Bibles received by Mr. Charles from London
had been sold or promised months ago.
This was discouraging news, and Mary
went home, cast down indeed, but not in
despair. There was still, she reflected, a
chance that one copy of the Scriptures yet
remained in Mr. Charles's possession; and if
so, that Bible should be hers.
The long distance-over twenty-five miles
-the unknown road, the far-famed, but to
her, strange minister, who was to grant her
the boon she craved-all this, if it a little
frightened her, did not for one moment
threaten to change her purpose.
Even Jacob and Molly, who at first, on
account of the distance, objected to her
walking to Bala for the purchase of her
Bible, ceased to oppose their will to hers;
for," said good Jacob to his wife, if it's the
SLord answering our prayers and leading the
child, as we prayed He might, it would ill
become us to go against His wisdom."
On the Way.
And so our little Mary had her way, and
having received permission for her journey,
she went to a neighbour living near, and
telling her of her proposed expedition, asked
if she would lend her a wallet to carry home
the treasure should she obtain it.
The neighbour, mindful of Mary's many
little acts of thoughtful kindness towards
herself and her children, and glad of any way
in which she could show her grateful feeling
and sympathy, put the wallet into the girl's
hand, and bade her good-bye with a hearty
"God speed you! "
The next morning, a fresh, breezy day in
spring, in the year 1800, Mary rose almost
as soon as it was light, and washed and
dressed with unusual care; for was not this
to be a day of days-the day for which she
had waited for years, and which must, she
thought, make her the happiest of girls, or
bring to her such grief and disappointment
as she had never yet known ?
Her one pair of shoes-far too precious a
possession to be worn on a twenty-five mile
walk-Mary placed in her wallet, intending to
put them on as soon as she reached the town.
Early as was the hour, Molly and Jacob
were both up to give Mary her breakfast of
hot milk and bread, and have family prayer,
offering a special petition for God's blessing
on their child's undertaking, and for His
protection and care during her journey.
This fortified and comforted Mary, and,
kissing her parents, she went out into the
dawn of that lovely day-a day which lived
in her remembrance till the last hour of her
long and useful life.
She set out at a good pace-not too quick,
for that would have wearied her ere a quarter
of her journey could be accomplished, but
an even, steady walk, her bare brown feet
treading lightly but firmly along the road,
her head erect, her clear eyes glistening, her
cheek with a healthy flush under the brown
skin. So she went-the bonniest, blithest
maiden on that sweet spring morning in all
On the Way.
the country round. Never before had every-
thing about her looked to Mary as it looked on
that memorable morning. The dear old moun-
tain seemed to gaze down protectingly upon
her The very sun, as it came up on the
eastern horizon, appeared to have a smile
specially for her. The larks soared from the
meadow till their trilling died away in the
sky, like a tuneful prayer sent up to God.
The rabbits peeped out at her from leafy
nooks and holes, and even a squirrel, as it
ran up a tree, stopped to glance familiarly at
our little maiden, as much as to say, Good
morning, Mary; good luck to you !" And
the girl's heart was attuned to the blithe
loveliness of nature, full of thankfulness for
the past and of hope for the future.
And now, leaving our heroine bravely
wending her way towards Bala, we will just
record briefly the history of that good and
earnest man on whom the child's hopes and
expectations were this day fixed, and who
therefore, in Mary's eyes, must be the
greatest and most important person-for the
time-in the world.
But apart from the ideas and opinions of
On the Way.
a simple girl, Thomas Charles of Bala was in
reality a person of great influence and high
standing in Wales, and had been instru-
mental in the organization and execution of
much important and excellent work, in places
where ignorance and darkness had hitherto
prevailed. Hence the name (by which he
often went) of "the Apostolic Charles of
He was now about fifty years of age, and
had spent twenty years in going about
among the wildest parts of Wales, preaching
the Word of Life, forming schools, and using
his great and varied talents wholly in the
service of his Master.
SAt the age of eighteen he had given him-
self to the Saviour, and his first work for the
Lord was in his own home, where he was the
means of instituting family worship and
exerting an influence for good none the less
powerful that it was loving and gentle.
His education was begun at Carmarthen,
and continued at Oxford, and we learn that
the Rev. John Newton was a kind and good
friend to him during a part of his student
life, and that on one occasion his vacation
was spent at the house of this excellent
The Rev. Thomas Charles became an
ordained minister of the Church of England
in due course, but owing to the faithful and
outspoken style of his preaching, many of his
own denomination took offence and would not
receive him; so he seceded from the Church
of England and joined the Welsh Calvinistic
Methodists; but his greatest work hitherto
had been the establishment of Day and Sunday
Schools in Wales. The organization of these,
the selection of paid teachers, the periodical
visiting and examination of the various
schools, made Mr. Charles's life a very busy
one. But as he toiled on, he could see
that his labour was not in vain. Wherever
he went, carrying the good news, proving it in
his life, spending all he was and all he had
in the service of Christ,-the darkness that
On the Way.
hung over the people lifted, and the true
light began to shine.
The ignorance and immorality gave place
to a desire for knowledge and holiness, and
the soil that was barren and stony became
the planting-place of sweet flowers and
Such, in brief, was the man-and such his
work up to the time of Mary Jones's journey
About the middle of the day Mary stopped
to rest and to eat some food which her
mother had provided for her. Under a tree
in a grassy hollow not far from the road, she
half reclined, protected from the sun by the
tender green of the spring foliage, and cooling
her hot dusty feet in the soft damp grass that
spread like a velvet carpet all over the hollow.
Ere long too she spied a little stream,
trickling down a hill on its way to the sea,
and here she drank, and washed her face and
hands and feet, and was refreshed.
Half an hour's quiet rested her thoroughly,
then she jumped up, slung her wallet over
her shoulder again, and recommended her
The rest of the way, along a dusty road
for the most part, and under a warm sun, was
fatiguing enough ; but the little maiden
plodded patiently on, though her feet were
blistered and cut with the stones, and her
head ached and her limbs were very weary.
Once a kind cottager, as she passed, gave
her a drink of butter-milk, and a farmer's
little daughter, as Mary neared her destina-
tion, offered her a share of the supper she
was eating as she sat in the porch in the cool
of the evening; but these were all the adven-
tures or incidents in Mary's journey till she
got to Bala.
On arriving there, she followed out the
instructions that had been given her by
William Huw, and went to the house of
David Edwards, a much respected Methodist
preacher at Bala.
This good man received her most kindly,
On the Way.
questioned her as to her motive in coming so
far, but ended by telling her that owing to
Mr. Charles's early and regular habits (one
secret of the large amount of work which he
accomplished), it was now too late in the day
to see him.
But," added the kind old man, seeing his
young visitor's disappointment, "you shall
sleep here to-night, and we will go to Mr.
Charles's as soon as I see light in his study-
window to-morrow morning, so that you may
accomplish your errand in good time, and be
able to reach home before night."
With grateful thanks Mary accepted the
hospitality offered her, and after a simple
supper, she was shown into the little prophet's
chamber where she was to sleep.
There, after repeating a chapter of the
Bible, and offering an earnest prayer, she lay
down, her mind and body alike resting, her
faith sure that her journey would not be in
vain, but that He who had led her safely thus
far, would give her her heart's desire.
98 Mary Yones.
And the curtains of night fell softly about
the good preacher's humble dwelling, shadow-
ing the sleepers there; and the rest of those
sleepers was sweet, and their safety assured,
for watching over them was the God of the
night and the day-the God whom they loved
and trusted, and underneath them were the
*r ^ L .. _____--
A CORNER OF BALA LAKE.
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