k fitftptfmt jltrntdatti Vol. ii. No. 20. MARCH 1893. Price One Penny. JOHN PENRY, (The Welsh Martyr.) OHN PENRY was martyred in England; he was a Welshman notwithstanding, and a patriot of the first order. The tercentenary of his death is about to be observed, and it is fitting that for the present his life and example should be held in front. John Penry was the son of Meredith Penry, of Cefnbrith, a lonely farmhouse on the slope of the Eppynt Mountains, in the parish of Llangammarch, Breconshire. He was born in the year 1559—the second year of the reign of Elizabeth, and when nine¬ teen years of age, entered the University of Cambridge as an undersizar, and took his degree of Bachelor of Arts in the year 1853. At the beginning of his career in the University, he was deeply tinged with Roman Catholicism, but coming into contact with a few earnest Puritans, he espoused their principles; and as those principles were less in favour at Cambridge than at Oxford, he removed to the University of the latter place, and took his Master's degree at St. Alban's Hall, on the 1 ith July, 1586, and soon be¬ came famous as University preacher. His first great concern after being brought to the knowledge of the truth, was to see that truth dissemi¬ nated and preached, as it should be, amongst the natives of his beloved Principality. This desire became in a short time an absorbing passion, and it continued to burn in his breast with ever-increasing strength. In the year 1587, while yet at Oxford, he published a pamphlet upon the subject, by way of petition to the Queen and Parliament to redress the grievances of his native country. " Thousands of our people,'" he wrote, " know Jesus Christ to be neither God nor man—priest nor prophet—almost never heard of Him. O desolate and forlorn condition ! Preaching itself in many parts is quite unknown : in some places a sermon is read once in three months." The spiritual destitution of Wales was attributed by Penry to the fact that so many of the Clergy were thoroughly incompetent for their duties, many of them being ignorant of the truths of the gospel, immoral in their lives, unacquainted with the Welsh language, and in a large number of in¬ stances residing away from the people they were pledged to care for. He expresses his firm conviction that the regeneration of the Welsh, as a people, could not be effected without awakening their consciences, and his belief that nothing but the gospel preached in the language of the people, by men who had them¬ selves felt the gospel power, could bring this about. He suggested that the University should send some of its preachers to the border districts between England and Wales, and he pleaded that an arrangement should be made, by which the Welsh clergy holding English benefices, should be re-called to their native country ; and so eager was be to see the work accomplished, that he pleaded—zealous churchman as he was—that in the event of a sufficient number of Clergymen not being found, some pious laymen, many of whom he affirmed understood theology well, should be requested to assist in the service. In the meantime, he did his best by personal visits to remedy the evil by his own exertions, being the first, according to his own showing, who laboured publicly to scatter the gospel seed amongst the hills of" his native country. He also embodied the substance of his book in a petition to those in authority, and prevailed upon a Welsh member who sympathised with his views, to present the same in the house of Parliament. The effect of the appeal was to attract the attention of Archbishop Whitgift. This prelate, who had laboured in the border country, was in some respects the friend of the Principality, as witness the countenance he gave Dr. William Morgan in transla¬ ting the Scriptures into the Welsh vernacular ; but his ecclesiastical predilections made him resent the sugges¬ tions of Penry for the evangelisation of Wales,—so he caused the book to be withdrawn and the author to be imprisoned ; and when, after a month's confinement, Penry was brought before him to be examined, he denounced the contents of the pamphlet as heresy. " I thank God that I ever knew such heresy," replied Penry. " I tell thee," said the Bishop of Winchester who was present, "that it is heresy, and thou shall recant it as heresy." " Never!" said Penry,—and he kept his word. After further incarceration Penry was liberated; and it was probably about this period he contracted the ma¬ trimonial alliance with Helen Godley, a lady of Puritan sentiments like himself, who resided in the town of Northampton. Penry found in his wife a worthy com¬ panion, and encouraged by her bravery, he pursued the high and holy purpose on which he had set his heart, and in conjunction with a few acquaintances, a printing- press was procured, which Penry purposed using, so far as it should be placed at his disposal, for the advo¬ cacy of the claims of Wales. The step he now took was one of imminent peril, as the Court of High Commission had issued a veto upon all preaching and printing that might be considered derogatory to the Royal authority ; but conscious of a righteous cause, Penry persevered. The printing-press was set up in the first instance, at the house of Mrs. Crane, at Mouldsey, Surrey, under the control of one Waldegrave; and it was here, at Mouldsey, that Penry spent three weeks in the summer of 1588, supervising the printing of his second pamphlet, which he published under the title—" A survey of the public defects ad disorders in Wales, with a public petition to Parliament to reform the same." The spirit that breathes throughout this production, which was issued with the author's name appended, is one of uncompromising earnestness and severity. The disorder and spiritual destitution of Wales were such as admitted of no honeyed expres¬ sions, and no one to whom responsibility could in any degree be attached, is spared from exposure. At the same time there is in the petition such a blending of sweetness and tenderness, such a depth of piety, such depreciation of himself, and such respect and interces¬ sion for those in authority, and such abject imploring to be heard in the matter, that it is hard to conceive of the work being read without it producing the impres¬ sion desired.