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%\it Christian j^tatt&arit. Vol. i. No. ii, MAY, 1892. Price One Penny. II ■m JMv JOHN ELIAS- ^EN the late Dr. Owen Thomas was young he used to hear John Elias preach very often, and as the great orator held forth upon his favourite themes, a life-long impresssion was made upon the mind of the child as he looked up at the preacher with simple awe and wonder. In like manner, when John Elias was young, did he also listen to the preachers of his day, and from them derive an impression that formed his character, gave a turn to his ambition, and made him what he afterwards became. He was the son of Elias Jones, and his paternal grandfather was called John Elias—a play upon names then customary in the Principality, according to which the father's Christian name became the surname of his son. But at first— for the custom was begin¬ ning to die out—our subject was simply John Jones. He was born May 6th, 1774, in a small tenement known as Bryn-llwyn-bach, in the parish of Abererch, near the town ef Pwllheli, in the promontory of Lleyn, in the county of Carnarvon, North Wales ; and was one of six children, three of whom were boys, and the remaining three of course girls. His father held the office of clerk in the parish church, but depended for his support upon his calling as a weaver, the mysteries of which he had acquired from his father, and also transmitted to his own son John, thus forming at least three generations of weavers —a trade at that period, when all Wales clothed themselves in home-spun, much more respectable than in the present day. The early life of John Elias Jones, was a departure from the ordinary rule—for instead of being indebted to the influence of his father he was brought up under the care and tuition of his grandfather. His father, it is said, was not a professor of religion—and yet he must have professed it in some way or he could not have led the responses in the parish church— but the grandfather was a professor, that is, he was a member with the Methodists, and it was under his oversight that young John Elias was reared. The old Elias John would take the young John Elias by the hand to church and chapel; he had him to sit at his side at the family devotions, when he would read a chapter and the notes from Peter Williams's Bible ; and then they would go on their knees together while the old man read one of the beautiful prayers composed for family worship by Griffith Jones, of Llanddowror; and as soon as the child was capable.lhe taught him to read the Bible for himself, a task which he diligently pursued, when he was suddenly interrupted at seven years of age, by an attack of small-pox. The old man bent yearningly over the child, ■■•-:.'' - ' - - , - •• - ■wlWSsB ..: :*-'-, ■. n ■ttS&nSSm '^P ^?-ig*Ssss2!i •m* ^iflllil l^sfjfl -»-,. f #v v^-:.vy■>- -w* Slti v£W£.: : - • ■ • .. • •-.■ and at the first abatement of the delirium asked, " Do you remember, my son, where we left off reading ? " " Yes, grandfather," was the response, " it was at such a chapter in Jeremiah," and the godly man rejoiced more that the lad remembered the lesson than he did at the prospect of his recovery from the jaws of death. There were otker books that he also taught him to love, such as the book of Common Prayer, the works of Bunyan, and the writings of Elijah Cole, and thus did the old Christian endeavour to foster the love of good books and good men, and especially of good and i great preachers in the mind of the boy. Had he spoken about military affairs and battles, John Elias would have become a general, but [as it was he imbibed a love ifor preaching. He would jwalk ten miles on Sunday morning to hear a good sermon, and nearly as many miles for an afternoon and evening sermon again, and that without fatigue. When about sixteen years of age, he had proposed walking to Llangeitho to hear the far- famed Daniel Bowlands. One Sunday morning he turned in to the Indepen¬ dent Chapel at Pwllheli, to hear the Rev. Benjamin Jones,and when the minister announced his text, which was 2 Samuel iii. 28, — " Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel," and went on to remark that he had selected those words because he had just heard that Daniel Rowlands was dead, young Elias was so overcome with grief and disappointment, that he burst out into tears. When he was eighteen years of age he joined a company on a pilgrimage to the Bala Association. The time was beguiled on the road by singing and praises and spiritual conversation. When the company halted at Festiniog, John Elias was asked to read and pray. "And it was such a prayer," said the narrator, " that I never heard the like before or after." In fact John Elias was mighty in prayer. " I marvelled more at his prayers," wrote the late Dr. Lewis Edwards, " than at his sermons." When young Elias was eighteen years of age he found it necessary to leave home to seek employment, and engaged himself to one Griffith Jones, of Ynys-y-pandy.^ near Tre- madoc; and it was while he was in the service of this excellent man, who was a Methodist exhorter, that he cast in his lot with the Methodist society at Hendre Howel, and became a member of a Christian Church. His extraordinary gifts and ability at once brought him into notice, and when he was twenty years of age he was urged by the members and deacons to offer himself for the work of the ministry, and in order to obtain the necessary sanction, he travelled towards Brynyrodyn, near Carnarvon, where a. monthly meeting of the county was to be held on Christmas day, sail . ■ i -.■ ■