Welsh Journals

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FEBRUARY, 1879. THE CAMBRIAN REMEMBRANCER. 91 FEBRUARY 1st, 1879. The Holy Scriptures in Welsh.—4. The Bible of 1630. This edition is in duodecimo, or, as some call it, small octavo; far better fitted, therefore, for the people than if it had been printed on larger paper, saying nothing of the cost of pro¬ duction and nothing of the means whereby it could be conveyed in large numbers to the unfrequented parts of the Principality. Mr Strype states that this volume had been printed at the sole charge of Mr Rowland Heylin, a London alderman; but he is wrong there, for Sir Thomas Myddleton had a hand in the work, and Mr Griffith Jones thought that others had been joined with him in the under¬ taking. Rowland Heylin, according to Mr Williams, was a native of Montgomeryshire who had settled in London, of which city he became an alderman and sheriff. He evidently took a warm interest in the welfare of the Welsh, for he caused to be printed in Welsh " The Practice of Piety," and a Weleh dictionary. He died in 1634, when his es¬ tates passed into the family of the Congreves, a son of which house had married one of his daughters. Thomas Myddleton, who in 1613 was chosen Lord Mayor of London, the fourth son of Richard Myddleton,of Galch Hill, near Denbigh, is supposed to be the patriotic gentleman who had joined Hey¬ lin in paying the cost of this edition of the Bible. Others think it was his son Thomas who did so; but, as I shall explain later on, it is another edition, of the same kind in all respects, that he contributed to. These Myddletons were distinguished not only for their love of country but for their attachment to their countrymen, and we can very well under¬ stand, therefore, that when this gentleman had his attention called to the spiritual destitution under which his countrymen laboured, he would very cheerfully contribute out of his abundance to pro¬ vide them with the bread of life. Thus between the two, and with the help of others possibly, six thousand copies of the Bible were sent to Wales for free distribution, and the small beginning of a great end was thus accomplished whereby the woefully neglected Cambrians were set upon the narrow way which led such multitudes of them afterwards to the golden city, there to dwell for ever with their Saviour and Lord. 5. Th< Bible o/1654. Four and twenty years had passed before another edition of the Scriptures was printed in the Welsh language, if we omit copies of the New Testament, which according to good authority had been printed in 1641, 1643, 1647, and 1653; but as I have never seen them, my purpose will be best served by making no further reference to them now. This edition again consisted of six thousand copies, and was published in the first year of Cromwell's protectorate. I am inclined to think that the Bible of 1630 was almost wholly distribute* in South Wales, although I have heard it said that Sir Thomas Myddleton paid for one thousand copies which were distributed in Den¬ bighshire. This gentleman sided with the Parlia¬ ment against the king, and was appointed major- „ general of the Parliamentary forces in North Wales. He was for the commonwealth, not Cromwell, and sat for some time in Parliament for Denbighshire. The movers in this publication are admitted to be Walter Cradoc and Vavasor Powel, and I must shortly describe them. Walter Cradoc was a Monmouthshire man by birth, and educated at Oxford, being intended for the Church. He heard Mr Wroth, rector of Llanvachas, preach in 1620, and was convinced of sin under the sermon. When he had taken orders he served as curate to Mr Eberery, at St. Mary's Church, Cardiff, and when there he was cited before Laud for refusing to read the Book of Sports. Now it is remarkable how the archbishop thus forced men into Nonconformity ; the best ministers in the Church of England felt how insulting a thing it was, both to God and men, that so vile a book a» the one in question should be read in the churches, and they refused to submit to this ordinance; but conformity to the king's commands stood higher in the opinion of| the archbishop than submission to God's law, and thus he fairly drove the best of men out of the Church, and compelled them to be¬ come practical Nonconformists. Mr Cradock was suspended from his curacy. Then we meet with him again at Wrexham, at Llanfair- Waterdine, at Llanvaches (where he succeeded Wroth), and lastly at All-hallows, London, where he remained till his death in 1659. Vavasor Powel was born in Radnorshire, 1617, educated at Jesus College, Oxford, and began his public life as curate to his uncle at Clun, Shropshire, where he also set; up a school. He was a very different man to Cradoc, for he had the courage of a Crusader and the faith of a saint. He was no half-hearted Christian, who loved God in secret and then publicly tried to keep in favour with the powers that be, but an out-and.out Puritan, who followed his convictions at all risks, and willingly suffered persecution for Christ's sake. Episcopacy he detested with all his heart, and thus found himself free to itinerate all the land over, putting the authorities at defiance, but the while spreading the knowledge of salvation far and wide, and preparing the way for that revival of re- ligon which must necessarily follow such apostolic labours. When theRepublican party came into power he became a leading man in Wales, exerting his in¬ fluence somewhat harshly to the prejudice of the clergy, just as he afterwards did to the prejudice of Cromwell (who was no Republican), and. as he also did against Charles the Second at the Restoration. I must be allowed to say that, differ¬ ing wholly from his political views, deploring his many mistakes, and questioning as I do his wisdom, he stands out in my mind as one of the most apostolic men we can mention as a Christian minister. Imprisoned time after time, persecuted in the most shameful manner, and wrongfully defamed as a monster of iniquity, he held fast to his faith and sealed his affection