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Ife (itpto jltmttfaiti Vol. ii. No. 22. MAY 1893. Price One Penny. GENERAL ASSEMBLY: REV. WILLIAM JAMES, Manchester, Retiring Moderator. (By Rev. David Charles Edwards, M.A.) "/^>OD made the country, man made the town." ( C-r To enquire how far that be true would give ^^ opportunity for an investigation most interest¬ ing in itself, and leading to all kinds of philosophical and kindred questions. A discussion of the corollary to this problem, whether town or country produces the most God-like men, would be equally interesting and instructive. Confining ourselves to our own denomi¬ nation, it is a remarkable fact that almost without exception, men of transcendent powers and influence have been country-born and country-bred. Howell Harris has cast a halo of sacredness on the farm of Trevecca Fach ; Rowlands has immortalized the name of the insignificant hamlet of Llangeitho; Williams, the finest hymn writer the world has known, lived in the highland farm of Pantycelyn ; Charles was born at the farm of Pantdwfn, in Carmarthenshire, and made the little townlet of Bala the Jerusalem of North Wales; Ebenezer Morris was a farmer in South Cardiganshire ; and—but time would fail us to speak of Elias, Rees, Jones, Talsarn, Edward Matthews, and the host of men of consecrated genius, who during the past century and a half have changed the very charac¬ ter of our nation. These reflections occurred to us from observing the strange fact, that all the Ministers of our Church, at present located in the large towns, hail originally from the villages, townlets and rural districts of Wales. Why this is so, our space does not permit us to enquire, but that it is so is undeniable. Among these, and, in many respects, the " finest" man of the lot is the re¬ tiring Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rev. W. James, B.A., of Manchester. Mr. James was born at Ty'nrhos, a farm in the parish of Penygarn, Cardi¬ ganshire, in the county and in the district of that county that has surpassed all other parts of Wales as a nursery of great men. His grandfather was a mem¬ ber of the Church of England, and Mr. James was baptized by a clergyman of that Church ; but when the Methodists started a cause at Penygarn (where we have now one of the largest Chapels in Cardiganshire), the family attended the services, and old Mr. James was chosen Treasurer of the church even before he became a member. This is a sufficient index to the esteem in which he was held by his neighbours. Mr. James, therefore, was brought up under the influence ot Methodism, and received as sl qhild the Christian nurture on which so great stress is laid by his denomi¬ nation. In early manhood he began to preach, and soon found his way to Bala College, where he was the dux of his class for four years. He afterwards studied at Univ. Coll., London, for three years, and graduated B.A. in the University of London in 1862. The following year he married Miss Watkins, the step-daughter of the late Dr. Charles, Principal of Trevecca College, and settled down as the Pastor of the Welsh Church in Grosvenor Square, which soon afterwards built the fine edifice at Moss Side, which is an ornament to that suburb of Manchester, and worthy of the denomination to which it belongs. Mr. James has now been pastor of that church for over 27 years. There is an ominous restless¬ ness among the Nonconformist Churches in England, that tends to bring about an era of short pastorates among them. This is a sign of weakness and ill-health in their constitutions. Depend upon it, given a devoted Minister, a Christian people, and above all good and wise deacons, this morbid restlessness will disappear. Mr. James has been fortunate in his church and deacons, and by his own sterling merits as a pastor, and as a man he has sustained himself and approved himself as a Minister of God, "by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost." To speak of Mr. James as a preacher, we cannot do better than transcribe the following description of him from the pen of a Manchester deacon, which appeared last year in the columns of a religious paper which, alas, like all good children has died young :—" His chief characteristics as a preacher are—originality, thoroughness, logical treatment of his subject, and most careful exposition. His sermons are always based fairly on his text, his language precise, words and sentences well selected to express just what he means ; not a word more or less than is absolutely necessary. Although not what is understood as a popular preacher for the million, he is thoroughly appreciated and greatly enjoyed by the thoughtful portion of his audience. He has preached now for over 25 years to the same four congregations ; notwithstanding this, he never repeats himself, nor does he fall to the same old lines. His sermons are all quite distinct. Each part of his sermon is so closely connected with the others, that the listener must follow attentively from the very beginning every word and sentence, in order to understand and fully appreciate the solid matter usually contained in them. One quaint old member of one of our congregations, once compared the sermons of him and another preacher to two steamers ; the latter's were like a small coasting boat calling at various small ports on the way; one could drop off and enter in at any part of the sermon without losing much, but the former sermon was like one of the great Atlantic liners, sailing majestically along! Once she has started there is no chance of getting in; and those who have entered before she started, are landed safely at the place of destination." It goes without saying that Mr. James has filled almost every post of honour the denomination has to give, and on committees especially he has done yeoman service in opposing cliquism, and upholding all that was fair and honourable. After occupying the chair of the Moderator of the General Assembly, he will now be considered one of our veterans, and we trust that he will be spared many years yet, to lead the denomina¬ tion by the wisdom and sagacity that is so prominent a feature of his character.