Jones, Griffith

, a pious divine and great benefactor to his country, Wales, was born in 1684, in the parish of Kilredin in the county of Carmarthen, and educated at Carmarthen school, where he made great proficiency in Greek, Latin, and other studies, but does not appear to have been at either university. Having, however, qualified himself for the ministry, he received deacon’s orders from bishop Bull in Sept. 1708, and priest’s orders from the same prelate in Sept. 1709. His learning and piety having recommended him to sir John Phillips, of Picton castle, bart. he was preferred by that gentleman to the rectory of Llanddowror, in Carmarthenshire. He was soon after fixed upon by the “Society for propagating the gospel in foreign parts,” as a person every way qualified to be sent as a missionary amongst the Indians, and at first gave his consent, but circumstances occurred which prevented his country from being deprived of his services. In his parish he soon became popular by his fervent and well digested discourses, delivered with a voice and action tranquil, easy, yet strongly impressive; and by his affectionate discharge of the other duties of his station in risking, catechizing, &c. But he was principally distinguished for his zeal in procuring subscriptions for the support of what were called circulating Welsh schools, to | teach poor Welsh men, women, and children to read their native language; and such was his diligence, and the effect of his superintendence of these schools, that he could enumerate 158,000 poor ignorant persons who had been taught to read; and equal care was taken to catechize and instruct young people in the principles of the Christian religion. Having applied to the “Society for promoting Christian knowledge,” of which he was a corresponding member, that body caused to be printed two large editions of the Welsh Bible, of 15,000 copies each, which were sold cheap for the benefit of the poor in Wales. He likewise wrote and published several instructive treatises in the Welsh as well as the English language; and was enabled by the assistance of some charitable friends to print editions of from 8000 to 12,000 of these useful manuals, which were distributed throughout all Wales. His own charitable exertions were extensive, and having studied medicine in a certain degree, he laid in a large stock of drugs, which he made up and dispensed to the poor gratis, taking that opportunity also to give them spiritual advice. This truly good man died April 8, 1761, lamented as a father to his flock, and a general benefactor to the whole country. 1


Sketch of his Life and Character, 1762, 8vo.