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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 materialâ€”writien and. verbalâ€”at the
disposal of the writer. Since its publication in
1882 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 any of
the illustrations are new.
PREFACE TO THE ORIGINAL
Turs 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 Jonesâ€™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: â€œThe sketch came to me as a
glorious finish to my aspirations. I may
never see the book, but from the bright
Happy Land â€”TI 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 â€œclergyman in
Wales Â» who is referred to in Owen's
History of. the Society (volesl 4073), 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,
1st December, 1882.
I.â€”AT THE FooT oF THE MOUNTAIN 3 5 : Il
IlLâ€”Tue One Great Nezp . Â¢ Ã© es 5 24
III.â€”Cominc To THE LIGHT pa eon ieee 30
Veo wor Mines @roPasBIBLE =) Geer
V.â€”FAITHFUL IN THAT WHICH IS LEAST . 70
VILâ€”ON THE Way . Ã© e 5 2 5 . 86
VII.â€”TeEars THAT PREVAIL . E - 6 E - 99
VIII.â€”_THE Work Becun . : : eee: â€˜ 116
Xe Vouter CE PROMISE FULFILLED . - : - 126
- X.-HER Works bo FoLtow HER : 5 5 140
A GLIMPSE OF CADER IDRIS.
AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN.
_ O 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
12 Mary Fones.
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.
_The 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 Natureâ€™s great land-
marks remain, or undergo a change so
gradual as to be almost imperceptible, man,
the tenant of Godâ€™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. 13,
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
14 Vary $ones.
them of their changed garments, lately so
green and gay, whirling them round in eddies
and laying them in shivering heaps along the
_ narrow valley
â€œWan 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.
two or three stools, a rude cupboard, and a
kitchen-tableâ€”these, with the loom, were all
A WELSH COTTAGE.
16 Mary Fones.
. 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.
â€œJ am sorry you cannot go, Jacob,â€ said
she. â€œYou'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.â€ 4 :
â€œVes, wife, and Iâ€™m thankful that I
needn't sit idle, but can still ply my trade,â€
replied Jacob Jones. â€œThereâ€™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.â€
â€œTm waiting for that child, and sheâ€™s gone
for the lantern,â€ responded Mary Jones,
whom her husband generally called Molly, to
distinguish her from their daughter who was
At the Foot of the Mountain.. 17
Jacob smiled. â€œThe lantern! Yes,â€ said
he; â€œyou'll need it this dark night. "Twas â€”
a good thought of yours, wife, to let Mary
take it regular as you do, for the child
wouldnâ€™t be allowed to attend those meetings
otherwise. And she does seem so eager
after everything of the kind.â€
â€œYes, she knows already pretty nearly all
that you and I can teach her of the Bible,
as we learnt it, donâ€™t she, Jacob? Sheâ€™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.â€
Little Mary raised a pair of bright dark _
eyes to her motherâ€™s face.
â€œYes, mother,â€ she replied, â€œI was long
because I ran to borrow neighbour Williamsâ€™s
18 Mary Fones.
lantern. The latch of ours wonâ€™t hold, and
thereâ€™s such a wind to-night, that I knew we
should have the light blown out.â€
â€œ Thereâ€™s a moon,â€ said Mrs. Jones, â€œand
I could have done without a lantern.â€
â€œYes, but then you know, mother, I Bion
have had to stay at home,â€ responded Mary,
â€œand I do so love to go.â€
â€œYou neednâ€™t tell me that, child,â€ laughed
Molly. â€œThen come along, Mary; good-bye,
â€œGood-bye, father dear! I wish you
could come too!â€ cried Mary, running back
to give Jacob a last kiss.
â€œGo your way, child, and mind you re-
member all you can to tell old father when
you come home.â€
Then the cottage door opened. and Mary
â€˜and her mother sallied out into the cold
The moon had disappeared now penal a
thick dark cloud, and little Maryâ€™s borrowed
lantern was very acceptable. Carefully she
At the Foot of the Mountain. 19
held it, so that the light fell upon the way
they had to traverse, a way which would
have been difficult if not danecious, without
its friendly aid.
â€œThy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a
light unto my path,â€ said Mrs. Jones, as she
took her little daughterâ€™s hand in hers.
â€œYes, mother, I was just thinking of that,â€
replied the child. â€œI wish I knew ever so
many verses like this one.â€
â€œ How glad I should be if your father and
I could teach you more; but itâ€™s years since
we learned, and we've got no Bible, and our
memories are not as good as they used to
be,â€ 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, and the exercises
had begun, but kind farmer Evans made
room for them on his bench, and found for
20 Mary Fones.
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 childâ€™s
shoulder, saying :
â€œWell, 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.â€
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. 21
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.
â€œWhy haven't we a Bible of our own,
mother ?â€ asked Mary as she trotted home-
ward, lantern in hand.
â€œBecause Bibles are scarce, child, and
we're too poor to pay the price of one.
A weaverâ€™s is an honest trade, Mary, but we
donâ€™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.â€
â€œ] suppose you can wait, mother, because
22 Mary Sones.
you've waited so long that you're used to it,â€
replied the child; â€œbut itâ€™s harder for me.
Every time I hear something read out of
the Bible, I long to hear more, and when |
can read it will be harder still.â€
Mrs. Jones was about to answer, when
she stumbled over a stone, and fell, though
fortunately without hurting herself. Maryâ€™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
â€œ Ah, child! it's the present duties after
all that we must look after most,â€ said Molly,
as she got slowly up; â€œand 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, canâ€™t save us from
many a tumble if we donâ€™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.â€
At the Foot of the Mountain. 23
And little Mary did remember this, and
her after life proved that she had taken the
lesson to heartâ€”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.
CEES Esker ale
THE ONE GREAT NEED.
For this I know, whateâ€™er of earthly good
Fall to the portion of immortal man,
Still unfulfillâ€™d in him is Godâ€™s â€˜great plan,
And Heavenâ€™s richest gift misunderstood,
Until the Word of Lifeâ€”exhaustless store
Of light and truthâ€”be his for evermore.
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
take the entire charge of a
younger brother and sister, while
many children of that age run
The One Great Need. 25
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.
26 Mary Fones.
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. 27
More and more vividly the whole scene
would grow upon the childâ€™s fancy, until the
picture seemed to be almost a reality, and
she could imagine that she heard the patri-
archâ€™s voice borne faintly to her ear by the
. breeze that fanned her cheekâ€”a voice that
replied pathetically to his sonâ€™s question, in
the words, â€œ My son, the Lord will provide
Himself a lamb for the burnt-offering.â€
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 wordâ€”leav-
ing even His disciples whom He so loved,
there was Jesusâ€”alone save for the Eternal
Father's presenceâ€”praying, and- refreshing
thus His weary spirit, after the work and
trials and sorrows of the day.
â€œIf I'd only lived in those days,â€ sighed
little Mary, sometimes, â€œhow I should have
loved Him! and He'd have taught me,
28 Mary Fones.
perhaps, as He did those two who walked
such a long way with Him, without knowing
that it was Jesus; only I think JZ should
have known Him, just through love.â€
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 watersâ€”
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. 29
seen, therefore, that upon Maryâ€™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 farmerâ€™s wife, a kind, motherly, and
in some respects superior woman, who was
looked up to and beloved by many of the
â€œGood day to you, neighbours!â€ she said,
30 Mary Fones.
cheerily, her comely face all aglow. â€œJacob,
how is your chest feeling? Bad, Iâ€™m afraid,
as I] havenâ€™t seen you out of late. Molly,
you're looking hearty as usual, and my
little Mary, tooâ€”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 â€˜and the
Giant, or Peter in the Prisonâ€”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
â€œSheâ€™s as fond of anything of that sort
now as she was then,â€ said Jacob Jones,
The One Great Need, oa
pausing in his work ; â€œor rather sheâ€™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
itâ€™s high time she was learning something.
Why, Mrs. Evans, she canâ€™t read yet, and
sheâ€™s eight years old!â€
Mary looked up, her face flushing, her
eyes filled with tears.
â€œOh! If I only could learn!â€ she cried,
eagerly. â€œIâ€™m such a big girl, and itâ€™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
â€œYou forget, Mary, weâ€™ve no Bible,â€ said
Molly Jones, â€œand we canâ€™t afford to buy
one either, so dear and scarce they are.â€
â€œYes,â€ replied Mrs. Evans, â€œitâ€™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
32 Mary Fones
pay for them get them with difficulty, and
only by bespeaking them ; and poor people
canâ€™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 theyâ€™re wanted.â€
â€œBut with all this talk, Mrs. Jones,â€
continued the farmer's wife, â€œI am for-
getting my errand in coming here, and that
was to ask if you'd any new-laid eggs, Iâ€™ve
a large order sent me, and our hens are
laying badly, so that I canâ€™t make up the
number. Iâ€™ve been collecting a few here
_ and there, but I havenâ€™t enough yet.â€
â€œMary knows more about the hens and
eggs than I do,â€ 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 Â©
The One Great Need. . 28
from her low seat, saying, â€œ I'll get what we
have to show you, Mrs. Evans.â€
Presently she came in with a little basket
containing about a dozen eggs. The
farmerâ€™s wife put them into her bag, then
patting Maryâ€™s pink cheeks rose to take her
leave, after paying for the eggs.
â€œ And remember this, little maid,â€ she said,
kindly, when after saying good-bye to Jacob
and Molly, she was taking leave of Mary at
the door. â€˜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 oursâ€”that is, if you can
manage to get so far.â€
â€œItâ€™s only two miles, thatâ€™s nothing!â€ said
sturdy Mary, with a glance down at her
strong little bare feet. â€œIâ€™d walk further
than that for such a -pleasure, maâ€™am.â€
Then she added with a less joyful ring in
her voice, â€œ At least I would, if ever I aid
learn to read.â€ -
34 Mary Fones.
â€œ Never mind, little woman! The likes of
you wasnâ€™t made to sit in the dark always,â€
replied Mrs. Evans in her cheery, comfortable
tones. â€œThe 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!â€ 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. 7 35
â€œDear Lord, who gavest bread to the
hungry folk in the old time, and didst teach
and bless even the poorest, please let me
Jearn, and not grow up in darkness.â€
_ 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
Sa) WY 45
Tail-piece from Coverdaleâ€™s New Test., 1538, in the Library of
the Bible Society.
LLAN-Y-CIL BAY, BALA LAKE,
CHAE ER Sill:
COMING TO THE LIGHT.
O 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,
Nightâ€™s shadows are well-nigh past :
The heart that for light is yearning
Attains to that light at last.
Ã© â€˜WO years had passed away since Mrs.
Evans's visit, as recorded in the pre-
Coming to the Light. au
ceding chapter, and still little Maryâ€™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 childâ€™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
38 Mary Fones.
â€”a village two miles away from Llanfihangel
â€”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 fatherâ€™s face â€˜and
manner, sprang towards him, and stood before
him, regarding his bright face searchingly.
â€œWhat is it, father ?â€ she said, her own
dark eyes flashing back the light in his.
â€œ Something pleasant has happened, or you
wouldnâ€™t look like that!â€
â€œWhat a sharp little girl it is!â€ replied
Jacob, fondly, drawing the child nearer and
seating her upon his knee. â€œ What a very
sharp little woman to find out that her old
dad has something to tell !â€
â€œAnd is it something that concerns me,
Coming to the Light. 39
father ?â€ asked Mary, stroking Jacobâ€™s face
â€œTt zs something that concerns you most
of all, my chick, and us through you.â€
â€œ What can it be?â€ murmured Mary, with
a quick, impatient little sigh.
â€œWhat is it, father?â€ asked Mrs. Jones;
â€œwe both want to know.â€
â€œWell,â€ replied Jacob, â€œwhat 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 ?â€
â€œQh, father !â€ Ã©
The exclamation came from Mary, who
in her excitement had slipped from Jacobâ€™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 :
â€œYes, child, there zs a school to be opened
at Abergynolwyn, and a master is chosen
40 _ Mary Fones.
already ; and as my little Mary thinks nought
of a two milesâ€™ walk, she shall go, and learn
all she can.â€
â€œ Oh, father!â€
â€œWell,â€ rejoined Jacob, now laughing out-
right, â€˜how many â€˜Oh fathers!â€™ 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?â€
There was a pause; then Maryâ€™s reply
came, low spoken, but with such deep con-
tent in its tones.
â€œPleased, father? Yes, indeed, for now
I shall learn to read the Bible.â€
Then a thought struck her, and a shadow
came across the happy face as she said :
â€œBut, mother, perhaps you wonâ€™t be able
to spare me?â€
â€œSpare you? Yes, I will, child, though
I canâ€™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.â€
Coming to the Light. 41
â€œDear, good mother !â€ cried Mary, putting
an arm about Mollyâ€™s neck and kissing her.
Â« But I donâ€™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.â€ 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.
in darkness. Â©
Presently Jacob went on :
â€œT 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 Iâ€™d never
seen he and I was glad to set he on him
â€œWhat may he have looked like, Lae ta
â€œ 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 CHARL
(From the painting in the Bib
Coming to the Light. 43
a fine big forehead which doesnâ€™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 isnâ€™t anything so very special till he
smiles, but when he does itâ€™s like sunshine,
and goes to your heart, and warms you right
through. Now Iâ€™ve seen him, and heard him
speak, I can understand how he does so much
good. I hear heâ€™s going about from place to
place opening schools for the poor children,
who would grow up ignorant otherwise.â€
â€˜Like me,â€ murmured Mary, under her
â€œAnd whoâ€™s the master thatâ€™s to be set over
the school at Abergynolwyn ?â€ asked Molly.
â€œJ heard tell that his name is John
Ellis,â€ replied Jacob; â€œa good man, and
right for the Bee so they say; and I
hope it'll prove so.â€™
â€œAnd how soon is the esa to open,
Jacob ?â€ asked his wife.
A4 Mary $ ones.
â€œTn about three weeks, I believe,â€
answered Jacob. â€œAnd now, Mary my
girl, if you can bring yourself.to think of
such a thing as supper, after what Iâ€™ve been
telling you, suppose you get some ready,
for I haven't broke my fast since noon.â€
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.
â€œTf Â¢hzs is the way itâ€™s going to be, Jacob,â€
said Molly to her husband one evening, â€œI
shall wish there had never been a thought of
school at Abergynolwyn. The childâ€™s so off
her head that she goes about like one in
a dream; what itll be when that school
begins, I darenâ€™t think.â€
Coming to the Light. 45
â€œDonâ€™t you fret, wife,â€ replied Jacob
smiling. â€œItll all come right. Donâ€™t you |
see that her poor little busy brain has been
longing to grow, and now that thereâ€™s a
chance of its being fed, sheâ€™s all agog.
But you'll find, when she once gets started,
she'll go on all right with her home work as
well. Sheâ€™s but ten years old, Molly, after
all, and for my own part, Iâ€™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 sheâ€™s always been!â€
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 inan incredibly short
space of time she began to read and write.
46 Mary Fones.
The master, who had a quick eye for
observing the character and talents of his
pupils, soon remarked Maryâ€™s peculiarities,
and encouraged her in her pursuit of such
knowledge as was taught in the school; and
the little girl repaid her masterâ€™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 Maryâ€™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. 47
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 oneâ€™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 Maryâ€™s
provisions found their way to the smaller
â€˜ The other scholars looked on, feeling
48 Mary Fones.
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 Maryâ€™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 milesâ€™
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 fellowâ€™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. | 49
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
â€œWhat is it, Robbie dear?â€ said she in
her old-fashioned way and tender, low-toned
voice. â€œOh, I see, youâ€™ve got to do that
sum! I maynâ€™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.â€
So saying, Mary fetched her little in of
wet rag, and washed the slate, and then got
an old knife and sharpened the pencil.
â€œNow,â€ said she, smiling cheerily, â€œsee,
I'll put down the sum as it is in the book ;â€
50 Mary Fones.
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, â€˜â€œ Please, maâ€™am, might I speak to
you a moment ?â€
Coming to the Light. 5!
â€œ Surely, my child,â€ replied the good
woman, turning her beaming face on little
Mary, â€˜ what have you got to say to me?â€
â€œTwo years ago, please maâ€™am, you were
so kind as to promise that when Iâ€™d learned
to read I should come to the farm and read
â€œâ€œT did, I remember it well,â€™ answered
Mrs. Evans, â€˜Well, child, do you know
how to read ?â€
â€œYes, maâ€™am,â€ responded Mary; â€œ and
now Iâ€™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 weekâ€”perhaps Saturday,
when Iâ€™ve a half-holidayâ€”I could never
thank you enough.â€
â€œThere'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!â€
Mrs. Evans held Maryâ€™s hand one moment
with a cordial pressure; then she got into her
52 Mary Fones.
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.
CHAPTER IV. | :
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 opâ€™ning hand is the life of all,
For Thou preparest them corn.
farm was a
house was a
ling building, -
queer ups and
54 Mary Fones.
shaped windows in all sorts of unexpected
' places. And yet there was an aspect of
â€˜homely comfort about the house not always
to be found in far finer and more imposing-
looking residences. At the back were the
out-buildingsâ€”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 heâ€”as too many farmers are in
Tae Ene ie: (gs
the habit of doingâ€”repine at Providence,
and find fault with Godâ€™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, â€œ Shall we receive good at the
hands of the Lord, and shall we not receive
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
56 Mary Sones.
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 Maryâ€™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 Brble. 57
â€œCome in, little one,â€ 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.
â€œThere, get warm, dear,â€ said Mrs. Evans,
â€œand 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
â€œYes, thank you, maâ€™am, I brought them
with me,â€ 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,
58 Mary Fones.
whenever he had a spare half-hour, liked
nothing better than to study the sacred book,
and seek to understand its teachings..
â€œ Thereâ€™s no need to tell you to be careful
of our Bible, and to turn over the leaves
gently, Mary, Iâ€™m sure,â€ said Mrs, Evans ;
â€œyou 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 oe kitchen and have some
tea before you go.â€
Then the good farmerâ€™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, .
â€œ Search the scriptures; for in them ye think
ye have eternal life : and they are they which
testify of Me.â€
Two Miles to a Bible. 59
â€œT will! I will!â€ she cried, feeling as if
the words were spoken directly to her by
some Divine voice. â€œI will search and learn
all I can. Oh, if I had but a Bible of my
own!â€ 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 childâ€™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 resultsâ€”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
60 Mary Fones.
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.
â€œT. must have a Bible of my own!â€ she
said aloud, in the earnestness of her purpose.
â€œT must have one, if I save up for it for ten
years!â€ 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. 61
to pick up sticks and brushwood in the
woods for fuel; or tohelp 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,
ona shelf where Mary could reach it, and it
was a real and heartfelt joy to her when she
could bring her dayâ€™s earningsâ€”some little
copper coins, perhapsâ€”and drop them in,
longing for the time to come when they
would have swelled to the requisite sumâ€”a
large sum unfortunatelyâ€”for buying a Bible.
It was about this time that good Mrs.
Evans, knowing the childâ€™s earnest wish,
and wanting to encourage and help her,
made her the present of a fine cock and
two hens. ee
62 Mary Fones.
â€œNay, nay, my dear, donâ€™t thank me,â€
said she, when Mary was trying to tell her
how grateful she was; â€œ Iâ€™ve done it, first
to help you along with that Bible youâ€™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,â€ 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. 63
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.
â€œAh! good evening, Mary je said
he; â€œIâ€™ve had such a loss! Coming home
from market I] dropped my purse, and
[ve just found a purse, sir,â€ said Mary;
â€œis this it?â€
â€œYou've found a purse?â€ exclaimed the
farmer, eagerly. â€œYes, indeed, my dear,
that is mine, and Iâ€™m very much obliged to
you. No, stay a moment,â€ he called after
her, for Mary was already trudging off again.
â€œT should like to give you a trifle for your
honâ€”â€” I mean just some trifle by way of
As he spoke, his finger and thumb closedâ€™
on a bright shilling, which surely would not
64 Mary Fones.
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. 65
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
this before. ;
â€œOur Molly ought to be home, Jacob,â€
said Molly, breaking a silence disturbed
only by the noise of Jacobâ€™s busy loom.
â€œItâ€™s got as dark as dark, and thereâ€™s no
moon to-night. The wayâ€™s a rugged one,
if she comes the short cut across the hill,
-and sheâ€™s not one to choose a long road if
she can finda shorter, bless her! Sheâ€™s more
than after her time. I hope no harmâ€™s come
to the child,â€ and Molly walked to the
window and looked out.
â€œDonâ€™t be fretting yourself, Molly,â€ replied
Jacob, pausing in his work; â€œ Maryâ€™s out on
66 | Mary $oues.
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.â€
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.
â€œWell, child, what have you learned to-
day?â€ questioned Jacob. â€œHave you studied
your lesson for the Sunday school ?â€
â€˜Â« Ay, father, that I have, and a beautiful
lesson it was,â€ responded the child. â€œIt
was the lesson and Mr. Evans together that
kept me so late.â€ .
Two Miles to a Bible. 67
â€œ How so, Mary?â€ asked Molly. â€œWe've
been right down uneasy about you, fearing
lest something had happened to you.â€
â€œYou neednâ€™t have been so, mother
dear,â€ replied the little girl, with some-
thing of her fatherâ€™s quiet assurance.
â€œGod 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
Iâ€™ve a Bible of my own. But to-day- Iâ€™ve
brought pom a big bit of the farmer's Bible
.â€œ What do you mean, Mary? How could
you do such a thing?â€ Se Molly in
, amazement. 3
. oa in my _ head, moder dear, of
course,â€ replied the child; then in a lower
voice she added, â€œand my heart.â€
â€œAnd what is the bit ?â€ asked Jacob..
â€œTtâ€™s the seventh chapter of Matthew,â€
said Mary. â€œOur Sunday lesson was from
the first verse to the end of the twelfth verse.
68 Mary Fones.
But it was so easy.and so beautiful, that I
went on and on, till Iâ€™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, Iâ€™ll repeat you the chapter.â€
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 fatherâ€™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
â€œMark my words, wife,â€ said Jacob that
night, when Mary had gone to bed, â€œthat
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, â€˜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 sheâ€™s set
her heart on, and which I doubt not sheâ€™s
praying for often enough when we know
nothing about it. And the Lord He will
give it her some day. Of that Iâ€™m moral
certain. Yes, Molly, our Mary will have
â€œ The Word of the Lord endureth for ever.â€
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, O Lord and Father,
And make one talent many.
â€”â€”â€” â€”â€”â€”â€” | 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 which 7s 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-
72 Mary $ones.
â€˜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 pone
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 ata prayer-
meeting, when a Mr. Jones, of Mathafarn,
was reading and expounding the fifth Se
of the Epistle to the Romans.
Laithful in that which 1s Least. 73
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), â€œIf
Jesus Christ asked you to do some.work for
Him, would you do it?â€ His answer gives
_ us the key to his success: â€œOh yes; whatever
Jesus required of me I would do at once.â€
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
74 Mary Fones.
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 dayâ€™s schooling in his
life, and could hardly read a word correctly,
the thought of teaching others seemed, â€˜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 manâ€™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
â€œThe March of the Men of Harlech.â€
Faithful in that which is Least. 75
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 â€œAuld Lang
Syneâ€ 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
76 Mary Fones.
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 rs Least. ; 7
struction of phrases, or for the correct pro-
nunciation of words occurring in his next
dayâ€™s or weekâ€™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 â€œstand at
ease,â€ and â€œattention!â€ 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 membersâ€™ meeting to be
held at Abergynolwyn, arrived at Bryncrug
the evening before, and spent the night at
78 Mary Fones.
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 ; â€œ but,â€ added the schoolmaster,
â€œas I hear that he himself cannot read, I
can hardly understand how he is able to
â€œâ€˜Tmpossible !â€ eiclauaed Mr. Charles.
â€œ How can any one teach what he does not
himself know ?â€
â€œStill, they say he does so,â€ 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 a that which ts Least. 79
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.
â€œWell, my young friend,â€ said Mr. Ghaces
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, â€œthey
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 ?â€
â€œYes, sir, far more than I am able to
teach,â€ replied Lewis Williams.
â€œAnd do they learn a little by your
teaching ?â€ asked Mr. Charles, as kindly as
ever, but with a quaint smile lurking round
â€œJT think some of them learn, sir,â€ re-
sponded the young teacher, very modestly,
and with an overwhelming sense of his own
ignorance â€”â€”a consciousness that showed
80 Mary Fones.
itself painfully both in his voice and
â€œDo you understand any English?â€
questioned Mr. Charles.
â€œOnly a stray word or two, sir, which I
picked up when serving in the militia.â€
â€œDo you read Welsh fluently ?â€
â€œNo, sir, I can read but little, but I am
doing my very best to learn.â€
â€œWere you at a school before beginning
to teach ?â€ asked Mr. Charles, more and
more interested in the young man who stood
so meekly before him.
â€œNo, sir. I never had a dayâ€™s eae
in my life.â€
â€œAnd your parents did not teach you to
read while you were at home?â€
â€œNo, sir, my parents could not read a
word for themselves.â€
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. 81
Slowly, hesitatingly, and with several mis-
takes, the young man complied, stumbling
with difficulty through the first verse. i
â€œ That will do, my lad,â€ said Mr. Charles ;
â€œbut how you are able to teach others to
read, passes my comprehension. Tell me
now by what plan you instruct the children.â€
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 BC; the lessons
given to himself by Betty Evans; the read-
ings and discussions of the grammar-school
boys; and the scholars playing at â€œlittle
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
82 Mary Fones.
had earnestly endeavoured to improve his
one talent, and work, with it in the Masterâ€™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
schoolmastersâ€™ places under Mr. Charles's
special control and management. And we
are 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 1s Least. 83
His earnest desire was gratified at last, for
in the year 1799â€”that is, when he was about
twenty-five years of ageâ€”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
Masterâ€™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 seve full of
84 Mary Fones.
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 Godâ€™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. â€œBut
the time will come,â€ she had added, â€˜â€˜ when
I shall have my Bible. Yes, though I have
waited so long, the time will come.â€ Then
on her knees beside her little bed she had
prayed aloud, â€œDear Lord, let the time
As may be supposed, Mary was the great
Faithful in that which is Least. 85
pride and delight of her parents. She was
more useful, more her motherâ€™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.
mi AS = g as
â€œTf aman love me, he will keep my words.â€
Tail-piece from Coverdale's New Test. (1538) in the Society's Library. :
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. Iâ€™m so
happy 1 don't know
what to do.â€
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 the Way. 87
â€œTs it really so, Mary? After six yearsâ€™ â€”
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,â€ and Jacob laid a hand solemnly
upon his daughter's head, adding in a lower
tone, â€˜â€˜and she shall be blest!â€
â€œ But tell me, father dear,â€ said Mary after
a little pause, â€œwhere am I to buy the
Bible? There are no Bibles to be had here
or at Abergynolwyn.â€
â€œT cannot tell you, Mary, but our preacher,
William Huw, will know,â€ replied Jacob;
â€œyou will do well to go to him to-morrow,
and ask how you're to get the book.â€
Acting upon her fatherâ€™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
88 Mary Fones.
Bala ; and he added that he feared lest all the
Bibles received by Mr. Charles from London
had been sold or promised months ago.
â€˜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. Charlesâ€™s possession; and if
so, that Bible should be hers. ~
The long distanceâ€”over twenty-five miles
â€”the unknown road, the far-famed, but to
her, strange minister, who was to grant her
the boon she cravedâ€”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;
â€œfor,â€ said good Jacob to his wife, â€œif itâ€™s the
Lord answering our prayers and leading the
child, as we prayed He might, it would ill
become us to go against His wisdom.â€
On the Way. 89
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 Maryâ€™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 girlâ€™s
hand, and bade her good-bye with a hearty
â€˜God speed you!â€
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 daysâ€”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 shoesâ€”far too precious a
90 Mary Fones.
possession to be worn on a twenty-five mile
walkâ€”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 Godâ€™s blessing
on their childâ€™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 dayâ€”a day which lived
in her remembrance till the last hour of her
long and useful life.
She set out at a good paceâ€”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 wentâ€”the bonniest, blithest
maiden on that sweet spring morning in all
On the Way. 91
the country round, Never before had every-
thing about her looked to Mary as it looked on
that memorable morning. The dear old moun-
92 Mary Fones.
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, â€˜â€˜ Good
morning, Mary; good luck to you!â€ And
the girlâ€™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 childâ€™s hopes and
expectations were this day fixed, and who
therefore, in Maryâ€™s eyes, must be the
greatest and most important personâ€”for the
timeâ€”in the world.
But apart from the ideas and opinions of
On the Way. 93
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 â€œthe 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. .
_ At 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
94 Mary Fones.
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
Schoolsin Wales. The organization of these,
the selection of paid teachers, the periodical
visiting and examination of the various
schools, made Mr. Charlesâ€™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,â€”the darkness that
On the Way. 95
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 manâ€”and such his
work up to the time of Mary Jonesâ€™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 hourâ€™s quiet rested her thoroughly,
96 Mary Fones.
then she jumped up, slung her wallet over
her shoulder again, and recommenced 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 farmerâ€™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 Maryâ€™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. 97
questioned her as to her motive in coming so
far, but ended by telling her that owing ta
Mr. Charlesâ€™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.
â€œ But,â€ added the kind old man, seeing his
young visitors disappointment, â€œyou 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.â€
. With grateful thanks Mary accepted the
hospitality offered. her, and after a simple
_ supper, she was shown into the little prophetâ€™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 Fones.
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 dayâ€”the God whom they loved
and trusted, and underneath them were the
A CORNER OF BALA LAKE.
TEARS THAT PREVAIL.
Often tears of joy and sorrow meet ;
Marahâ€™s bitter watÃ©rs turnâ€™d to sweet..
ALA is even now a quiet little town,
situated near the end of Bala Lake, on
100 _ Mary Fones.
the north side of a wide, cultivated valley. :
- A hundred years ago, it was more quiet and
rural still, The scenery is pastoral in its
character, hilly rather than mountainous, but
well wooded and watered. The town is a
favourite resort of people fond of shooting
and fishing. Altogether it is a pretty, cheer-
ful, healthy spot, but wanting in the imposing
grandeur and rugged beauty of many other
parts of North Wales.
Such, then, was the place to which our little
heroineâ€™s weary feet had brought her on the
preceding evening, and such was the home
â€”for the greater part of his lifeâ€”of Thomas
Charles of Bala.
Maryâ€™s deep, dreamless sleep was not
broken until her host knocked at her door
at early dawning.
â€œWake up, Mary Jones, my child! Mr.
Charles is an early riser, and will soon be at
work. The dawn is breaking ; get up, dear!â€
_ Mary started up, rubbing her eyes. The
time had really come, then, and in a few
102 Mary Fones.
minutes she would know what was to be
the result of her long waiting.
Her heart beat quicker as she washed and
dressed, but her excitement calmed when she
sat down for a minute or two on the side of |
her bed, and repeated the 23rd Psalm.
The sweet words of the royal singer were
the first that occurred to her, and now, as
she murmured â€œ The Lord is my shepherd, I
shall not want,â€ she felt as though she were
of a truth being watched over and cared for
by a loving Shepherd, and being led by Him.
She was soon ready, and David Edwards
and his guest proceeded together to Mr.
â€œThereâ€™s a light in his study,â€ said the
good old preacher. â€œOur apostle is at his
desk already. There are not many like him,
Mary ; always at work for the Master The
world would be better had we more such men,â€
Mary did not reply, but she listened in-
tently as David Edwards knocked at the
door. There was no answer, only the tread
Tears that Prevail. 103
of a foot across the floor above, and the next
moment the door opened, and Mr. Charles
himself stood before them.
â€œGood morning, friend Edwards! And
what brings you here so early? Come in,
do,â€ said the genial, hearty voice, which so
many knew, and had cause tolove. Then, as
David Edwards entered, Mr. Charles noticed
the little figure behind him in the doorway.
A rather timid shrinking little figure it
was now, for Mary's courage was fast ebbing
away, and she felt shy and frightened.
A few words of explanation passed be-
tween the old preacher and Mr. Charles;
then Mary was invited to enter the study.
â€œNow, my child,â€ said Mr. Charles,
â€œdonâ€™t be afraid, but tell me all about your-
self, where you live, and what your name is,
and what you want.â€
At this Mary took courage and answered
all Mr Charlesâ€™s questions, her voice (which at
first was low and tremulous) strengthening as
her courage returned. She told him all about
104 Mary Fones.
her home and her parents, her longing when
quite a child for a Bible of her own, then of
the long years during which she had saved
up her little earnings towards the purchase
of a Bibleâ€”the sum being now complete.
Then Mr. Charles examined her as to her
Scripture knowledge, and was delighted with
the girlâ€™s intelligent replies, which showed
how earnestly and thoroughly she Â° had
studied the Book she loved so well.
â€˜But how, my child,â€ said he, â€œdid you
get to know the Bible as you do, when you
did not own one for yourself?â€
Then Mary told him of the visits to the
farm-house, and how, through the kindness
of the farmer and his wife, she had been
able to study her Sunday-school lessons, and
commit portions of Scripture to memory.
As she informed Mr. Charles of all that
had taken place, and he began to realize
how brave, and patient, and earnest, and
hopeful she had been through all these
years of waiting, and how far she had now
Tears that Prevail. 105,
come to obtain possession of the coveted
treasure, his bright face became over-
shadowed, and, turning to David Edwards,
he said, sadly, â€œI am indeed grieved that
this dear girl should have come all the way
from Llanfihangel to buy a Bible, and that
I should be unable to supply her with one.
The consignment of Welsh Bibles that I
received from London last year was all
sold out months ago, excepting a few copies
which I have kept for friends whom I must
not disappoint. Unfortunately the Society
which has hitherto supplied Wales with the
Scriptures declines to print any more, and
where to get Welsh Bibles to â€˜satisfy our
_ countryâ€™s need I know not.â€
Until now, Mary had been looking up
into Mr, Charlesâ€™s face, with her great, dark
eyes full of hope and confidence; but as he
spoke these words to David Edwards, and
she noticed his overclouded face, and began
to understand the full import of his words,
the room seemed to her to darken suddenly,
106 Mary Fones.
and, dropping into the nearest seat, she
buried her face in her hands, and sobbed
as, perhaps, few girls of her age had ever
It was all over, then, she said to herself.
â€”all of no useâ€”the prayers, the longing,
the waiting, the working, the saving for six
long years, the weary tramp with bare feet,
the near prospect of her hopes being ful-
filled, all, all in vain! And to a mind so
stocked with Bible texts as hers, the lan-
guage of the Psalmist seemed the natural
outburst for so great a grief, â€œ Hath God
forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in
anger shut up His tender mercies?â€ All
in vainâ€”all of no use! And the poor little
head, lately so erect, drooped lower and
lower, and the sunburnt hands, roughened
by work and exposure, could not hide the
great hot tears that rolled down, chasing
each other over cheeks out of which the
accustomed rosy tint had fled, and falling
unheeded through her fingers.
Tears that Prevail. 107
There were a few moments during which
only Maryâ€™s sobs broke the silence ; but those
sobs had appealed to Mr. Charlesâ€™s heart with
a pathos which he was wholly unable to resist.
_ With his own voice broken and unsteady, he
said, as he rose from his seat, and laid a hand
on the drooping head of the girl before him :
â€œMy dear child, 1 see you must have a
Bible, difficult as it is for me to spare you
one. It is impossible, yes, simply impossible,
to refuse you.â€
In the sudden revulsion of feeling -that
followed these words, Mary could not speak ;
but she glanced up with such a face of
mingled rain and sunshineâ€”such a rainbow
_ smileâ€”such a look of inexpressible joy and
thankfulness in her brimming eyes, that the
responsive tears gushed to the eyes of both
Mr. Charles and David Edwards.
Mr. Charles turned away for a moment
to a book-cupboard that stood behind him,
and opening it, he drew forth a Bible.
Then, laying a hand once more on Maryâ€™s
108 Mary Fones.
head, with the other he placed the Bible in
her grasp, and, looking down the while into
the earnest, glistening eyes upturned to him,
he said :
â€œTf you, my dear girl, are glad to receive
this Bible, truly glad am I to be able to
give it to you. Read it carefully, study it
diligently, treasure up the sacred words in
your memory, and act up to its teachings.â€ ~
And then, as Mary, quite overcome with
delight and thankfulness, began once more to
sob, but softly, and with sweet, happy tears,
Mr. Charles turned to the old preacher, and
said, huskily, â€œ David Edwards, is not such
a sight as this enough to melt the hardest
heart? A girl, so young, so poor, so intelli-
gent, so familiar with Scripture, compelled
to walk all the distance from Llanfihangel to
Bala (about fifty miles there and back) to
get a Bible! From this day I can never
rest until I find out some means of supply-
ing the pressing wants of my country that
cries out for the Word of God.â€
MR. CHARLESâ€™S HOUSE AT BALA.
110. Mary -Fones.
Half an hour later, Mary Jones, having
shared David Edwardsâ€™s frugal breakfast,
set off on her homeward journey.
The day was somewhat cloudy, but the
child did not notice it; her heart was full
of sunshine. The wind blew strongly, but
a great calm was in her soul, and her young
face was so full of happiness that the simple
folk she met on the way could not but
notice her as she tripped blithely on, her
bare feet seeming hardly to press the ground,
her eyes shining with deep content, while the
wallet containing her newly-found treasure
was no longer slung across her back, but
clasped close to her bosom.
The sun rose and burst through the
clouds, glorifying all the landscape; and
onward steadily went Mary, her heart, like
the larkâ€™s song, full of thanksgiving, and her
voice breaking out now and again into melody,
to which the words of some old hymn or of
a well-known and much-loved text set them-
selves, without an effort on the girlâ€™s part.
Tears that Prevatl. 111
On, still on, she went, heeding not the
length and weariness of the way; and the
afternoon came, and the sun set in the
western heavens with a glory that made
Mary think of the home prepared above
for God's children; that heaven with its
walls of jasper, and its gates of pearl, and
its streets of gold, and its light that needs
nor sun nor moon, but streams from the
Life-giving Presence of God Himself,
That evening Jacob and his wife were
seated waiting for supper and for Mary,
What news would the child bring? How
had she sped? Had she received her Bible ?
These were some of the questions which the
anxious parents asked themselves, listening
the while for their daughter's return after the
fatigues and possible dangers of her ae
But the worthy couple were not long ss
in suspense. ,
Presently the light step which they knew
so well, approached the cottage; the latch
112 Mary $ones.
_was lifted, and Mary entered, weary, foot-sore,
dusty and travel-stained indeed, but with
happiness dimpling her cheeks and flashing
in her eyes. And Jacob held out both arms
to his darling, and as he clasped her to his
heart, he murmured in the words of the
prophet of old, â€œIs it well with the child?â€
and Mary, from the depths of a satisfied
heart, answered solemnly, but with gladness,
â€œTt is well.â€
We sometimes seeâ€”and particularly in
the case of young peopleâ€”that great eager-
ness for the possession of some coveted
article is followed by indifference when the
treasure is safely in their hands. It was not
so, however, with Mary Jones. The Bible for
which she had toiled, and waited, and prayed, â€”
and wept, became each day more precious to
her. The Word of the Lord was indeed nigh
unto her, even in her mouth and in her heart.
Chapter after chapter was learned by heart,
and the study of the Sunday-school lessons
became her greatest privilege and delight.
Lears that Prevatt. 113
If a question were asked by the teacher,
which other girls could not answer, Mary was
always appealed to, and was invariably ready
with a thoughtful, intelligent reply, while in
committing to memory not only chapters, but
whole books of the Bible, she was unrivalled
both in the school and neighbourhood.
Nor was this all. For though to love,
and read, and learn the Bible are good things,
this is not the sum of what is required by
Him who has said â€˜If ye love Me, keep My
Maryâ€™s study of the Word of God did not
prevent the more than ever faithful discharge
of all her duties. Her mother, who had at
one time feared that Maryâ€™s desire for book
learning, and longing to possess a Bible of
her own, might lead her to the neglect of her
practical duties, was surprised and delighted to
see that, although there was a change indeed
in the girl, it was a change for the better.
The holy truths that sank into her heart, â€”
were but the precious seed in good ground,
114 Mary Fones.
which brings forth fruit an hundredfold ; and
the more entire the consecration of that young,
heart to the Lord, the sweeter became even
the commonest duties of life, because they
were done for Him.
Not very long after Maryâ€™s visit to Bala,
she had the great pleasure of seeing again
the kind friend with whom, in her memory,
her beloved Bible would now always be
Mr. Charles, in the course of his periodical
visits to the various villages where his
circulating schools were established, came to
Abergynolwyn, to inspect the schoo] there
under the charge of Lewis Williams, and by
examining the children personally, to assure
himself of their progress.
Among the bright young faces upturned
to him, his observant eye soon caught sight
of one countenance that he had cause to
remember with special and with deep interest ;
and the interest deepened still more, when
he found that from her alone all his most
Tears that Prevail. 115
difficult questions received replies, and that
her intelligence was only surpassed by the
childlike humility which is one mark of the
true Christian. .
We may be very sure that Mr, Charles
did not miss this opportunity of saying a few
kind words to his young friend; and that
Mary in her turn treasured them up, and
remembered them through the many years
and the various events of her after-life.
THE WORK BEGUN.
Henceforward, then, the olive-leaf plucked off,
Carried to every nation,
Shall promise be of re-awakening life,
Our sinful worldâ€™s salvation.
E have seen that the incident recorded in
the last chapter made a deep impression
upon the mind and heart of Mr. Charles. The
thought of that bare-footed child, her weary
journey, her eagerness to spend her six
The Work Begun. Tie
yearsâ€™ savings in the purchase of a Bible;
then her bitter tears of disappointment, and
her sweet tears of joyâ€”all these came back .
to his recollection again and again; came
blended with the memory of the ignorance
and darkness of too many of his countrymen,
and with the cry that was ascending all over
Wales for the Word of God.
The girlâ€™s story was only an illustration of
the terrible sense of spiritual death that pre-
vailed during this famine of Bibles ; and none
could know so well as this good manâ€”whose
influence was, from the nature of his work,
very widely diffusedâ€”how deep a want lay
at the root of the peopleâ€™s degradation and
_ impiety, against which he seemed, with all his
earnest striving, to be making such slow pro-
gress. What wonder, then, that the question
how to secure the publication of sufficient
copies of Godâ€™s Word for Wales, occupied his
mind almost without cessation ?
In the winter of 1802, Mr. Charles visited
London, full of his one great thought and
118 Mary TF ones.
purpose, though not as yet seeing how it
was to be accomplished.
It was while revolving the matter in his
mind one morning, that the idea occurred
to him of a Society for the diffusion of the
Scriptures, a society having for its sole object
the publication and distribution of Godâ€™s
Consulting with some of his friends who
belonged to the Committee of the Religious
Tract Society, he received the warmest
sympathy and encouragement, and was in-
troduced at their next meeting, where he
spoke most feelingly and eloquently about
Wales and its poverty in Bibles, bringing for-
ward the story which forms the subject of our
little book, and which gave point and pathos
to his appeal on behalf of his countrymen.
Nor was the appeal without effect. A
thrill of sympathy with a people that so
longed and thirsted for the Word of God,
ran through the assembled meeting. An
earnest desire took possession of Mr.
The Work Begun. 119
Charlesâ€™s hearers to do something towards
supplying the great need which he so
touchingly advocated; and the hearts of
many were further stirred, and their sym-
pathies quickened, when one of the secretaries
of the Committee, the Reverend Joseph
Hughes, rose, and in reply to Mr. Charles's
appeal for Bibles for Wales, exclaimed
enthusiastically: â€œMr. Charles, surely a
society might be formed for the purpose ;
and if for Wales, why not for the world ?â€
This noble Christian sentiment found an
echo in the hearts of many among the
audience, and the secretary was instructed to
prepare a letter inviting Christians every-
where, and of all denominations, to unite in
forming a society having for its object the
diffusion of God's ore over the whole
Two years passed. in making known the
purpose of the Committee, and in necessary
preliminaries, but in the month of March,
1804, the British and Foreign Bible Society
120 Mary Fones.
was actually established, and at its first
meeting the sum of Â£700 was subscribed.
Unfortunately Mr. Charles was unable to
be present at this meeting. He was hard
at work at home in Wales, but he heard the
news with the greatest joy ; and it was owing
to his exertions and to those of his friends,
as well as to the efforts of.other Christian
workers who deeply felt the great need of
the people at this time, that the contributions
in Wales amounted to nearly Â£1,900; most
of this sum consisting of the subscriptions and
donations of the lower and poorer classes.
In the foundation of the Bible Society all
denominations met, and were brought thus
into sympathy by a common cause, and an
earnest wish to serve one common Master.
Hence we see representatives of all Christian
Churches working together for the good and
enlightenment of the world.
- Meanwhile, wherever Mr. Charles was at
work, wherever his influence extended, there
was awakened the longing, and thence arose
MONUMENT TO MR. CHARLES AT BALA. |
122 â€” â€” Mary Fones.
the petition, for the Word of Life; and
wherever he told the story, either on Welsh
or English platforms, of the little maiden of
Llanfihangel, the simple narrative never failed
to carry home some lessons to the heart of
- Great was the joy and thankfulness of this
single-minded and hard-working minister of
Christ, when he learnt that the first resolution
of the Committee of the Bible Society was
to bring out an edition of the Welsh Bible
for the use of Welsh Sunday schools ; and
his delight was greater still when the first
consignment of these Bibles reached Bala
Among the most useful workers in the
early years of the Bible Society was the
Reverend John Owen, who soon became one
of its secretaries, and proved a most earnest
and able promoter of the glorious enterprise.
Associated also with this time of the great
Societyâ€™s childhood are the honoured names
of Steinkopff, of Wilberforce, and of
The Work Begun. 123
Josiah Pratt;. while in Wales, among its
earliest supporters, were Dr. Warren, Bishop
of Bangor, and Dr. Burgess, Bishop of St.
Davidâ€™s, who united cordially with Mr.
_ Charles and others in the good work. As to
Mr. Charles himself, he evinced the deepest
interest in the new spheres of labour and
usefulness opening in all directions,â€”an
interest which showed itself in many practical
ways up to the time of his death.
But in following the operations of the
Bible Society, we must not forget our friend
Mary Jones, who during this time had passed
from early girlhood to womanhood.
On leaving school, she worked as a weaver,
and we conclude that she was still living with
_ her parents.
Of one thing we may be sure; that her
precious Bible was as dear to her as ever,
and that she was intensely interested in the
founding of the Bible Society, and in the
news of the first edition of Welsh Bibles
having been received at Bala.
124 Mary Fones.
But in addition to her weaving, and the
household help she gave her mother, who
was not so well or strong as formerly, Mary
had developed a talent for dressmaking, which |
stood her in good stead when she wished to
earn a little extra money.
All who could afford it came to her to cut
out and make their dresses, and though Mary
never wasted a moment, she sometimes found
it quite difficult to do during the day all that
she had planned.
As for Jacob, he was more and more a
martyr to asthma, and when the winter winds
and fogs caine his sufferings were very
great, though they never exceeded the quiet
patience and fortitude with which he bore his
afflictionâ€”bore it, as he said, â€œfor the dear
Lordâ€™s sake,â€ who had borne so much for him.
Occasionally Mr. Charles would visit
Abergynolwyn, and every now and- then
Llanfihangel, and at such times he and Mary
Jones met again, and she would learn from
him how the Society in London was going
The Work Begun. 125
onâ€”that great London which was a strange,
distant, untried world to her, such vague ideas
had she of its size and its distance from the
little, quiet, secluded place where she lived. _
And so, up in London, the great tree of
life went on spreading, and growing, while
the root from which it had sprung remained
in Wales unperceived almost beneath the
soil. And thus we see in this life that God
has need of the high and the lowly, the great
and the small, the gold and the baser metal ;
and oud of all, and Â¢hrough all, and zw all, He
works His wondrous way, and permits His
creatures to join, as it were, with Him in the
turning of the world from clases, to His
(From a Bible in the Societys Library.)
(The Burial-place of the Rev. Thomas Charles.)
YOUTHFUL PROMISE FULFILLED.
Nurtured and nursed of Heaven, the blossom bloomâ€™d,
Until an open flower
â€˜With buds around it, gazed upon the sun, Â°
Or drank the shower ;
Nor did forget, in this the blooming time,
The fragrance due
To Him who gives to Nature all her wealth,
To flowers their hue.
Wi next we glance at our heroine
of Llanfihangel, she is Mary Jones no
Youthful Promise. Fulfilled. 127
longer. A great change has come over her
surroundings, and her school work and her
old home life with her parents are things of
the past. For she has married a weaver,
Thomas Lewis by name, and is living at the
village of Bryncrug, near Towyn, not very
far from Llanfihangel. But the difference in
circumstances has not changed the character
of Mary, save as the advancing summer may
be said to change the fruit by ripening it.
So dutiful and devoted a daughter as
Mary had ever proved herself, would hardly
have left her parents while she could minister
to the wants of their declining years, work
for them, and be their great joy and comfort.
So it is only reasonable to suppose that ere
she married, both good old Jacob and his
wife had been laid to rest, and that Mary, in
casting in her lot with Thomas Lewis, whom
possibly she had known for many years, .
would be neglecting no duty that could be
required from a loving daughter.
But here, at Bryncrug, with a husband
128 Mary Sones
and children of her own, and the care of
a home for which she alone was responsible ;
with new duties, and fresh cares, Maryâ€™s love
for her Bible had grown, not diminished.
Other things had changedâ€”companion-
ships, home influences, claims, interestsâ€”but
the Sacred Word remained to her unaltered,
except that every day it grew more into her
heart, and became more one with her life,
yielding her, in answer to careful study, and
earnest prayer for Godâ€™s Spirit of enlighten-
ment, deep meanings of truth and sweetness
which had hitherto been unperceived.
If Maryâ€™s life was a busy one during the
years spent at Llanfihangel, doubly so was
her life here at Bryncrug. But the same
quiet energy and steadfastness of purpose for
which she had ever been remarkable still
pervaded all that she did, making every
duty, however humble and homely, a service
for Christ, while by her consistent Christian
walk and example she influenced for good
all that were about her.
BRYNCRUG, NORTH WALES,
130 Mary Fones.
If a nÃ©ighbourâ€™s child wished to have a
Sunday-school lesson explained, she invariably
came to Mary, who could always spare a few
minutes to give the instruction that had been
so precious to her in her youthful days. And
her intimate knowledge of the Bible gave her
a very clear way of explaining its truths,
while her insight into character, and her
sympathetic nature, made her a wise coun-
sellor and an acceptable teacher.
If, again, a friend wanted a hint or two in
the making of a new dress, or advice as to
the management of her bee-hives, Mary was
always the authority appealed to, as being
the most capable, as well as the kindest of
neighbours, and ever ready to lend a helping
hand, or speak a helpful word.
Thus in Bryncrug she was winning for
herself the love and confidence of her fellow-
creatures, and showing forth in life and
character the glory of that Saviour whose
faithful handmaid she tried to be.
We have just alluded to the fact of her
Youthful Promise Fulfilled. 131
being an authority in the management of
bees, and she was justly considered so,
as her success with her own bee-hives
That success was simply remarkable, por
as to the large number of hives, and their
profitable results. .
The attracting power and influence which
Mary seemed to exercise over people ap- â€”
peared to extend even to her bees; but, be
this as it might, we are told that whenever
she approached the hives, her reception by
her winged subjects was nothing less than
royal, such was the loyalty and enthusiasm
of these sensible, busy little honey-makers.
The air would be thick with buzzing
swarms, and presently they would alight
upon her by hundreds, covering her from
head to foot, walking over her, but never
attempting to sting, or showing any. feeling
but one of absolute confidence and friendli-
ness. She would even catch a handful of |
them as though they had been so many
132 Mary Fones.
fliesâ€”but softly, so as not to hurt themâ€”and
they never misunderstood her, or offered her
the slightest injury. In short, there seemed
to be a sort of tacit agreement between
Mary and her bees, and they were apparently
proud and pleased that a part of what they
were the means of earning should go towards
the support of Godâ€™s work in the world.
For Mary divided the proceeds thus :
The money brought by the sale of the
honey was used for the family and house-
hold expenses, but the proceeds of the wax
were divided among the societies which, poor â€”
as she was, Mary delighted to assist.
Among these, foremost in her estimation
stood the British and Foreign Bible Society,
with the establishment of which she had been
so closely connected, and she was never
happier than when she could spare what for
her was a large sum, to help in sending the
Word of Godâ€”so precious to her own
heartâ€”over the world.
Mary was also much interested in the
Youthful Promise Fulfilled. mee
Calvinistic Methodist Missionary Societyâ€”
a Society founded by the denomination to
which she had, for so many years, belonged ;
and many a secret self-denial could have borne
witness to her generosity in giving of her
substance for the furtherance of the Gospel.
On one occasion we are told that, when
a collection was made at Bryncrug for the
China Million Testament Fund, in the year
1854, a ten-shilling gold piece was found
in the collection plate, neatly wrapped up
between half-pence, and thus hidden until
the money came to be counted.
This was Maryâ€™s gift, the outcome of a
loving, generous heart touched by Godâ€™s
love and the spiritual wants of her fellow-
Mary was sitting at her cottage door one
day, when a neighbour, Betsy Davies, came
up. â€˜Good day, Mary,â€ said she; â€œmay I
come and sit with you for an hour. this
afternoon? Iâ€™ve adress I must alter for my
eldest girl, and I don't see how to begin, so _
134 Mary Fones.
I thought EN be you'd be good enough
to show me.â€™
- â€œYes, that I will, with pleasure,â€ replied
Mary. â€˜ My children are all at school, and
my husband has gone to Towyn, so I have
a quiet hour or two before me. Let me see
your work, Betsy.â€
Betsy Davies laid the garment over Maryâ€™ s
knee, and Maryâ€™s eyes, quick and intelligent
as ever, saw in'a moment or two what was
â€œThatâ€™sâ€™ not a difficult job,â€ said she
pleasantly, â€œnor yet a long one. Just
unpick that seam, Betsy, and I'll pin it for
you as it ought to be; then if you let down
the tuck in the skirt, you'll have it long
enough, and as for the rent in the stuff, I
think Pve got some thread about the right
colour with which you can darn itup. I will
show you, my dear, how I darn my little
Maryâ€™s dresses when she tears them, as she
does very often, playing with her brothers.
Yours can be mended just in the same way,
Youthful Promise Fulfilled. | 135;
and you'll see the ese will ay show
When the two women had settled down to
their work, Betsy said, â€œI wish you'd tell
me, Mary, how you manage to get on as you
do. You canâ€™t be rich people, your husband
being only a weaver like mine and like most
of the others here, and yet you never get into
debt, and you always seem to have enough
for yourselves, and what's more wonderful
still, you've enough to give away-something
too; I must say I canâ€™t understand it !â€
â€œJT don't think thereâ€™s anything very hard
to understand,â€ said Mary, smiling. â€œIf by
great care and a little self-denial we can
contribute something of our substance to help
on Godâ€™s work, it is surely the greatest joy
â€œYes, thatâ€™s all very well,â€ replied Besy
â€œbut I never have anything to contribute;
and yet I havenâ€™t as many children as you,
and so my family and housekeeping doesnâ€™t
cost so much.â€
136 Mary ones.
â€œTtâ€™s like this, Betsy dear,â€ said Mary,
â€œwe ask ourselvesâ€”I mean my husband, and
my children, and I, all of usâ€”â€˜ What can
we do without ?â€™ And one and another is
willing to give up some little indulgence, and
so we save the money. . This we put into
a box which we call the treasury, and when-
ever we add anything to what we keep there,
we think of the widow who cast into the
treasury of the temple her two mites, and of
our Lordâ€™s kind, tender words about her.â€
â€œBut what sort of things can you give
up ?â€ asked Betsy. â€˜â€œ We poor folk, it
seems to me, donâ€™t have any more than just
the necessaries of life, and one canâ€™t give up
eating and drinking, or go without clothes to
â€œYet I think if you consider a bit, you'll
see there are some trifles which are not really
needful, though they may be pleasant,â€ replied
Mary. â€œNow for instance, Thomas had
always been used to a pipe and a bit of
tobacco in an evening after his work was
Youthful Promise Fulfilled. . 137
done ; but when we were all wondering what
we could give up for our dear Lordâ€™s sake
he said, â€˜ Well, wife, I'll give up my smoke
in the evenings.â€™ And I tell you, Betsy, the
tears came into my eyes when J heard that,
knowing that my husbandâ€™s words meant a
real sacrifice. Then our eldest son, wishing
to imitate his father, cried out, â€˜And Iâ€™ve
still got that Christmas box my master gave
me last winter, and [ll give that.â€™ And
Sally, she gave up the thought of a new hat
ribbon Iâ€™d promised her, and she sponged
and ironed her old one instead, and wore it,
feeling prouder than if it had been new.
And as for little Benny, he was all one day
picking up sticks in the wood to earn a
_ penny, and that was his gift.â€
â€œAnd you yourself?â€ asked Betsy, with
â€œI? Oh, I have the wax that my bees
make ; and the money that I got by selling
that went into the treasury, as well as any
other small sum I did not actually need.
138 Mary Fones.
And this I must say, Betsy, we have never
really suffered for the want of anything we
have given to God; and He repays us with
such happiness and content as He alone can
- â€œThat i can well believe,â€ rejoined Betsy,
â€œfor I never hear you grumble, or see you
look cross or discontented like the rest
of the neighbours, and as I do myself only
too often. Well, Mary,â€ she continued, â€˜I
mean to try your plan, though it will come
very hard at first, as Iâ€™m not used to that
sort of saving.â€
â€œT think I got used to it when I was a
child, putting away my little mites of money
towards buying a Bible,â€ rejoined Mary,
â€œFor six years I put by all my little earn-
ings, and since then it has come natural.â€
â€œYou did get your Bible, then ?â€
â€œYes, indeed; this is the very one,â€ and
rising from her seat Mary took the much
prized volume from the little table in the
cottage, and put it into her visitorâ€™s hands.
Youthful Promise Fulfilled. 139
Betsy looked at it, inside and out, then
handed it back saying, â€œI really believe,
Mary, that this Bible is one of the reasons
why you are so different from all the rest of
us. You've read and studied and learnt so
much of it, that your thoughts and words
and life are full of it.â€
And Mary turned her bright dark eyes,
now full of happy tears, upon her companion,
and answered in a broken voiceâ€”
â€œO Betsy dear, if there is a little, even a
little truth in what you kindly say of me, I
thank God that in His great mercy and love
He suffers me, poor and weak and simple
as I am, to show forth in my small way His
glory, and the truth of His blessed Word.â€
â€œ Never in
(from a Bible in the Society's Library.)
RUINS OF MARY JONESâ€™S COTTAGE,
HER WORKS DO FOLLOW HER.
O mighty tree, oâ€™ershadowing all the earth,
In loneliest wilds thy seedling had its birth.
OW our narrative nears its close. The
last glimpse of our friend Mary shows
us an aged woman clad in the curious old
She holds in one hand a staff for the
support of her trembling limbs, once so
MARY JONES IN HER LATER YEARS.
142 ~ Mary Fones.
active and nimble; while with the other she
clasps to her side her beloved Bible, the
companion of so many years, the consoler
and comforter, the guide and teacher of
How much of joy or of sorrow, of trial or
of what the world calls success, had fallen to
Maryâ€™s lot during her long life of eighty-two
years, we know not. We learn that she had
eight children, several of whom may have
died in early life. One son, we believe,
is living now , having made his home
Little as we know, however, of Maryâ€™s
actual experiences, it was impossible that
during her married life she should not have
learned what deep sorrow meant, as it is
almost certain that she survived several of
her children, and quite certain that her
husband too died before she did.
Still, since we are taught that Godâ€™s
children do not sorrow as those without
hope, so we are sure that the childlike,
Fler Works do Follow Wee 143
trusting spirit of this handmaid of the Lord
was as ready to suffer as to do the will of
the Divine Master, and that however deep
the affliction, there was no bitterness in
the grief, no despair in the tears that
watered the graves of loved ones gone
Feeble and tottering was now our once
bright, bonny, blithe maiden, but it was only
physically that Mary was altered. She was
still the same brave, simple-hearted, earnest,
faithful follower of Christ. Time with its
changes, in parting her from most of those
whom she loved on earth, had not separated
her from the love of Jesus, or taken away
her delight in the Word of the Lord that
endureth for ever. |
Indeed she loved her Bible better even than
of old, for she understood it more fully, and had |
proved its truth beyond all doubting, again
and again, in her daily life for. so many years.
Can we doubt, then, that when the. sum-
mons came, and she heard the voice which
144 Mary Fones.
she had known and loved from childhood,
saying to her â€œCome up higher!â€ she had
no fears, no shrinking, but felt that surely
since goodness and mercy had followed her
- all the days of her life, she should dwell in
the house of the Lordâ€”that house above,
not made with handsâ€”for ever.
Mary Jones died December the 28th,
1866, at the good old age of eighty-two. We
have no particulars of her last moments, save
that on her death-bed she bequeathed her
precious Bible to the Rev. Robert Griffiths,
who in his turn bequeathed it to Mr. Rees.
This Bible, which is now in the possession
of the British and Foreign Bible Society, is
a thick octavo, of the edition published by
the Society for the Promotion of Christian
Knowledge, in 1799â€”the last edition of the
Welsh Bible previous to the establishment
of the Bible Society.
The volume contains, in aeaition to the
actual text of the now recognized and
authorized Scripture, John Cannesâ€™ marginal
Fler Works do. Follow Fler. 145
references, the Apocrypha, the Book. of
Common Prayer, a metrical version of the
Psalms by Edmund Prys, and various Church
tables. It also contains, in Mary Jones's
handwriting â€”in perhaps the first English
that she had learned a a note that she
bought it in the year 1800, when she was
sixteen years old. - ao
So, full of days, and like anes of old,
TTA ee ICs |
ne ie ual a am |
fae ines tains re FY lagi
armas fare ae :
y ara cm allaadiva Fa npr
my A PAT conan meson rar in ee cae nae FUO!
FAC-SIMILE OF WRITING ON THE BIBLE
ler Works do Follow Her. 147
of good works, Mary Jones passed away
from earth to the rest that remaineth for the
people of God; a sheaf of ripe corn safely
garnered at last in the heavenly granary.
She was buried in the little churchyard at
Bryncrug, and a stone has been raised to her
memory by those who loved to recall the
influence of her beautiful life, and the im-
portant if humble part she had taken in the
founding of the great work â€˜of the British
and Foreign Bible Society.
As it is only by a view of the mighty-
stemmed, wide-spreading oak that we can
judge of the acornâ€™s potency, its wealth of |
hidden and concentrated power, so we can
hardly appreciate the great importance of the
simple narrative which here stands recorded,
unless we cast a brief glance over some of
the details of the glorious work that arose |
from the small beginnings which form the
subject of our story.
It is an'undeniable fact that the idea of the
establishment of the British and Foreign
ia Noto) Ms Sah \\
Peas anUed BRYNCRUG
eae reer a= es ateretes
aia slole at lekoh (Mal T ioe iiaito] ti glam aA gee ned
PANT tae hig Al M tO
actA ccna to Nae a a Le Cnet ag
PIN Aroa aia Tate eA i oelae a mH
i FELY.GYMRAES FECHAN, lIEMORYAS THE WELSH GIRL
CAN aa rOy NOSE MARY JONES. Re
AGERDOODDO Feet HO WALKED FROM ABERGYNOL-|
(USA y Ver Washes OA ott Orn CAC SNH HIM aL diel
PANYNIGOFD;:/GEISIO BIBLâ€™ WHENIG-YEARS OF AGE ,
Be Mn acti st ar =A =\ Mol aia ge
AOL MSE UO =a
Leo) Sn Nes an ba
CALA SSIM LaLa g
GRAVE OF MARY JONES.
(Probably the age should be given as 80, since Mary Fones appears to have
been born in 1784.
fler Works do Follow Ie 149
Bible Society laid fast hold of the public
mind in Great Britainâ€”a hold which extended
with marvellous rapidity, as will be seen
when we say that while during the first year
the money expended in the operations of the
Committee amounted to 691Z. ; in the eleventh
year its expenditure had grown to 81,000/,
swelling in the fifty-first year to 149,000/,
while in 1890 the sum reached the enormous
proportions of nearly 228,0004.
During the first three years following the
â€˜establishment of the Society, it circulated
81,000 Bibles and Testaments, while in the
year 1890 its distribution of Bibles, Testa-
ments, and single books of Scripture, amounted
When the Society was founded, the Bible
existed in less than fifty languages. Since
then, by its agency, versions have been pub-
lished in no less than 291 languages.
But these figures bewilder the mind, and
it may be more interesting to see how the
books have been distributed.
150 Mary Fones.
When from any fresh place the request
comes for a supply of the Scriptures, special
inquiries are instituted and all possible
information obtained. The most accurate
and trustworthy is supplied by missionaries
labouring in the country whence the petition
has been sent. It is the missionaries, too,
who are for the most part the best qualified
to translate the Divine Word, and the most
ready to undertake this difficult but honour-
able task. When the translation is complete,
the Society prints and sends over, free of
cost, as many copies as are necessary for the
The thankful eagerness with which the
Scriptures have been received by the South
Sea Islanders, has been as pathetic as it
was surprising. The natives would put
down their names, months in advance, in the
mission list, to bespeak a copy, willingly
giving a dollar, or even two, for a Bible,
showing thus their anxiety to possess the
Fler Works do Follow Hey 151
Frequently it has been the case, as in
Madagascar, that the deadly power of perse-
cution has silenced the voice of the teacher.
But persecution was of no avail. â€˜The
Lord gave the word, and great was the
company of the preachers!â€ Here a book, -
and there a chapter, and there again a verse
â€”mute yet eloquent teachers, carrying the
Gospel of our Divine Lord into the very
heart of the cruel: idol-lands.
Thus, while the martyrsfell in their Masterâ€™s
work, and the few godly men that remained
were ready to wail with Elijah of old, â€œLo I,
even I only am left, and they seek my life to
take it away,â€ the silent messengers were
passing from hand to hand, the great work
was going forward unseen, and the kingdom
of God came once more, not with observation,
but with a quiet, all-pervading power, turning
chaos into order, and darkness into light.
It is a matter for deep thankfulness that in
some countriesâ€”for instance Russia, where
missionaries are not allowed to workâ€”the
152Â° Mary Fones.
Bible is welcomed by the people. Some
touching incidents are recorded of the war
with Turkey, showing clearly with what
eagerness and gratitude the eouPnrs were
An agent for the Bible Berea, residing
at Warsaw, used: to visit the infirmaries,
accompanied by his daughters, and every-
where joy greeted their approach. â€
Â«We often saw the poor soldiers sitting
at the window,â€ this gentleman writes,
Â« waiting for us, and saluting us at a great
distance ; and the moment we entered the
passage, â€œwe were hemmed in by a crowd of
men that had not been supplied with Bibles.
Even those who were struggling between
life: and death, and had apparently Jost all
interest in surrounding matters, would try and
stretch out a hand to obtain a copy of the
Scriptures ; and when my daughters stooped
down to them, asking â€˜ Shall I read a few
words to-you?â€™ a smile would often light up
their countenances, and they would whisper,
Her Works do Follow Her. â€˜153
- Yes, read, dear sister, and leave us the copy
as a remembrance in case we recover.â€™â€
During this war, too, the colporteurs of
the Society followed the army on to the battle-
fields, selling thus about 15,000 volumes of
the Scriptures, the soldiers buying copies to .
send home to loved ones whom they might
never see again.
Then again, at the great fair of Nijni
Novgorod, where the merchant and trade
world of Russia assemble yearly for business
transactions of every description, the Society
has a stall, and at the fair of 1889 nearly
8,000 copies were sold
As further proof of the power of the Bible
and of its influence even where unaided by
missionary zeal and enterprise, we give the
following touching narrative.
A native of a little town on the shores of
the Adriatic was obliged to leave home and
go to Naples. There he was led to a
knowledge of the truth through a Waldensian
minister, and having embraced it, he joined
154 Mary Fones.
the Church over which the minister presided.
Afterwards he removed to Florence, and
thence he sent a Bible to a friend of his at
home, accompanied by a letter containing
these words :
â€œ This book has greatly benefited my soul ;
read it, and it will bring a blessing to yours.â€
That man took his friendâ€™s advice, read
the book, and finding in it the truths his soul
needed, gathered his friends and acquaintances
around him to read it with them.
We must not detail the many obstacles
thrown in his way by the enemies of the
Gospel, but need only say that notwithstand-
ing these, numbers continued to come and
hear the reading of Godâ€™s word, and that
when, a few months later, the pastor of the
Naples church went there, he found a number
of people who believed the Gospel, and were
ready to make a profession of their faith at
whatever cost. They proved as good as
their word, and a short time afterwards
Signor Pons of Naples returned there to
Her Works do Follow Her. 155
celebrate the Lordâ€™s Supper. He thus
narrates the scene :â€”
â€œThe event which took place at â€”â€”
last week, is one which I can never cease to
rememberâ€”one of those consolations which
rarely fall to the lot of Godâ€™s servants, but
_which more than compensate for the toils
and privations of a lifetime. I found our
friends awaiting me with the greatest eager-
ness, and hardly had I come among them when
I was asked, â€˜This time we shall celebrate
the Supper of the Lord, shall we not, sir?â€™
â€œI did my best to set before them the
solemnity of this step, but all my objections
seemed only to quicken their ardour.
â€œSeveral days were spent conversing,
until, deeming that the time had arrived for
administering the Lordâ€™s Supper to them,
I proceeded to examine the candidates as to
their knowledge of divine things. Thirty
came forward, and most of these gave full â€”
â€œThe scene at the Lordâ€™s Supper was
156 Mary Fones.
most moving. As I prayed before partaking,
sobs burst from every part of the room, and
not a cheek was dry.
â€œAt the end of the service, one of the
communicants rose and said, â€˜I can neither
read nor write, but, by the grace of God, I
feel that whereas before I wallowed in the
mire and was blind, I am now in a glorious
hall, illuminated by the blessed light of day.
I can say no more.â€™â€
Nardini, the colporteur at Padua, tells an
interesting story, which further illustrates the
reforming and life-giving power of the Bible
under the blessing of Almighty God. We
will let him relate it himself.
â€œHaving heard,â€™ he says, â€œthat in a
village not far from Vicenza a knife-grinder
had died, giving a most encouraging testi-
mony to the truths of the Gospel, I went
to the place, to learn precisely the facts of
â€œT found that his name was Batista, and
that being unmarried, he had for several
Her Works do Follow Her. 157
years lived with his brothers. He was
converted to the Lord solely by means of a
Bible which he had bought, it is supposed,
from some passing colporteur Before the
time of his conversion, in 1872, he had been
a very profane and immoral man, but after-
wards his conduct became blameless, and he
urged all whom he knew to believe the
Gospel. In the evenings, especially in winter
and on the Lordâ€™s day, he invited others to
join him in reading the Bible and talking of
its precious truths. Batista died in July, 1877,
(at the age of forty) with his Bible under his
pillow. His life and death produced a deep
impression on his neighbours, and his memory
is fragrant in the village. As the result of .
his labours, two men who were dyers by trade
have come firmly to believe the Gospel. He
himself was never in a Protestant church in
his life, nor did he even know a minister
as member of one.â€ ;
To the subject of colportage a brief. space
may not inappropriately here be given, as
158 Mary Fones.
a means of good, the importance of which it
would be impossible to over-estimate.
As probably every one knows, a colporteur
is a man who carries something on his back.
He may really be called a creation of the
Bible Society, and though not so conspicuous
as the missionary, he does a right noble
One of these godly and earnest men sold
in Holland during about forty years of labour
among the people, 139,000 copies of the
Scriptures ; and when he lay dying, his room
was visited by numbers who wished for the
privilege of hearing the brave old Christianâ€™s
testimony to the truth, and of seeing how
firmâ€”even now at the lastâ€”was his faith
in the Word of the Lord, which nearly all
his life long he had been trying to circulate
among the people. 7
One important work done by the colporteur
is not to be accomplished by any other
agency. Hetakes the Bible to those regions
most remote from the great centresâ€”to
Fler Works do Follow Her. | 159
wild, thinly-populated neighbourhoods where
the hum and bustle of traffic and mart,
the cry of the crowded city, never penetrate.
For instance, in Norway, many of the
peasantsâ€™ homes are forty or fifty miles from
any book-shop, and the people would never
obtain the Scriptures, were it not for these
devoted men, who toil up and down the
mountains, and follow the fiords into the
very midst of the country, carrying over
land and by water the Word of Life.
Then again, the colporteurs are often
the means of overcoming in the peopleâ€™s
minds their unwillingness to purchase the
Scriptures, and to listen to the truth
They are earnest faithful Christians who
love the Bible, and in telling what it has done Â©
for them, they bear testimony to what it can â€”
do for others. Often too they are men of
wonderful memory and ready wit, and they
can frequently arrest the attention of the
careless by the quotation of some suitable
passage, or startle the lethargic soul from
160 Mary Fones.
its death-like stupor by the trumpet-blast
of inspired warning.
We record the following instance, showing
that the work of the colporteur is not confined
to the mere porterage and sale of books. As
it is taken from a German colporteurâ€™s journal,
we give it in his own (translated) words :
â€œOne day, just after the dinner hour, |
entered the house of a carpenter. When I
. found that he was taking his afternoon nap,
my first thought was not to disturb him.
But I could not feel easy in leaving him,
so after a moment's hesitation I went up
to where he lay, awoke him, and said â€˜ Will
you buy a Bible?
â€œ<Â«J am a Catholic, he replied, â€˜and de
not want one;â€™ and he turned round to
â€œÂ« That is what you say, I answered, â€˜but
God says â€œ Awake, thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give
thee light ?â€â€™ The man started and sat up.
â€œÂ«T woke you purposely,â€™ I continued,
Her Works do Follow Her. 16r .
â€˜without caring whether you liked â€˜it or not =
and in like manner, God, through His Word,
is awaking you from your spiritual sleep.â€™ |
â€œ Â« But we are forbidden to read that book
of yours,â€™ he said.
â€œ* Nay,â€™ I rejoined, â€˜what right has a
priest to forbid what God commands ?
Obey Him rather than man.â€™
â€œThe man was silent. At last he said,
â€˜A thing I had long forgotten comes to my
memory. Twenty-five years ago I was
working as a journeyman in Hamburg,
and a friend of mine used every night,
when we reached â€˜our lodgings, to read his
Bible; and he told me just what you have
been saying, to obey God rather than man.
I can hear his warning voice now; and
perhaps you have been sent to revive the
impression before it is too late. Yes, I will
read it. Death may soon come. Only the
other day a ladder fell with me om it, and it
was a miracle that I was not killed ; but it may
have â€˜been Godâ€™s will I should ee sparÃ©d to
162 Mary Fones.
awake as you have urged me todo.â€™ With
that. he bought a Bible, with the words,
â€˜Ah, I wish I had done this long ago!â€™â€
Another striking story is told of one of the
colporteurs in Bohemia.
He was coming to the end of a long day's
work, sorely discouraged by the rebuffs with
which he had met. . There remained in the
small town but one cluster of houses un-
visited, and he was disposed to pass these by,
especially as he knew one of them to be
occupied by a gentleman who was an open
enemy and mocker of the Bible. But his
conscience was not easy. His instructions
bade him, except for sufficient reason, call
at every house; and besides. this, to-day
the words had been haunting him, â€œ Behold,
I stand at the door and knock.â€ In a
â€˜humble sense those words described his
own calling; and he felt he must be true
to it, â€œUp, faint heart, and knock!â€ he said
to himself ; â€œ who knows but thy fears shall
' be removed ! ie
Fler Works do Follow Her. 163
So he plucked up courage to go to the
door of this very man; and when it was
opened, and the master of the house appeared,
he could think of nothing to say but just
this â€œBehold, I stand at the door and
The owner was taken aback, as the stranger
added in a hurried, entreating tone: â€œI am
not a common hawker; to-day Jesus Himself
is standing at the door of your heart. You
may turn me away, but oh, do not reject Az.
Only believe His Word; I bring it to you.
He will not cast you out.â€ He paused, afraid
at his own boldness, but not a word of rebuke
The gentleman called his wife and daughter
sayingâ€” We must not let this good man go ;-
let him sup with us.â€
He was led into the sitting-room, where
they listened eagerly to him as he poured out
freely all that was in his heart; and when
they sat down to the evening meal, a
looked to him to give thanks.
164 Mary Fones.
As to what the Society is doing at home,
these pages are too brief to give any sort of
record of the great work that is going on.
There is hardly a school, or a hospital, or an
asylum that has not been helped by it again
and again, while out of it (just as from the
ever-rooting boughs of the banyan-tree new
growths arise) numbers of branch Bible
Societies have sprung, each a centre of use-
fulness and of union in its own sphere.
Andâ€”speaking of union and sympathy in
a common causeâ€”it has been suggested, and
â€˜with perfect truth, that even if the Bible
Society had never circulated a single copy
of the Scriptures, it would yet have done a
noble work in affording a meeting-ground for
â€˜Christian people of all ranks and stations,
and of every denomination. For whatever
the differences of opinion on some points,
believers can unite as brothers in honouring
Godâ€™s Word, and speeding it forward over
the whole earth. \ 3
Of the reality and genuineness of this
Fler Works do Follow fer. 165
sympathy and union, the great work.done
is perhaps the best testimony that could be
offered. Happy, nay, thrice blest are all
those who have a share in it. â€”
And by these we do not mean only ok
as can give largely, or serve the Society in
great and conspicuous ways. Let no one-say
that what he can give is but as a drop in the
bucket, and therefore of no value. It is by
the tiny rills, that like a thread of silver wind
adown the hill-sideâ€”by the silent night dews,
by the softly-falling rains, by the quiet springs
that swell among the peaty uplandsâ€”it is by
these that the river is formed; by these that
it is fed and sustained in its mighty flow, in
the force and depth of the current that bears
great ships on its bosom, down, down to the
ocean. Nota drop is lost, nothing is value-
less; all goes to-make up an inestimably
precious whole. |
And now, in conclusion, dear friends young
and old, if but one heart is moved by the
perusal of these pages to more earnest work
166 Mary Sones.
for the Master, to self-denial and loving ser-
vice in the spread of His truth; to a more
eager study of Godâ€™s Word, and a greater
zeal in circulating and making it known
athong othersâ€”then indeed this little storyâ€™
of the poor Welsh girl and her Bible will not
have-been written in vain.
THE CASE IN THE BIBLE HOUSE.
The Gresham jPress,
CHILWORTH AND LONDON.
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WARNING CODE 'Daitss::Anomaly' The element type "div" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "