Llanfyllin (1780)

1780-2 Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire. ‘At the beginning of the year 1780, Mr John Griffith, a student at the Carmarthen Academy, came here, and received a call from the small decaying church in the place. He was ordained to fulfil the work of the ministry July 5th 1780. There were many famous Welsh and English ministers present on this occasion, and who took part in the service; such as Messrs R. Gentleman, Principal of the Academy in Carmarthen; S. Lucas, Shrewsbury; Edward Williams (Dr Williams afterwards), of Oswestry; R. Tibbott, of Llanbrynmair; A. Tibbott, of Anglesey; T. Davies of Llanuwchllyn; and others. Mr Griffith was only here for two years, but during that short space of time he was remarkably hardworking and prosperous in the work of the lord. He was instrumental in reviving the cause there and extending the boundaries of the Saviour’s kingdom throughout the surrounding country. Large numbers thronged to hear him in the fields and on the mountains, and his ministry, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, proved to be the power of God unto the salvation of many souls. There was something grand and authoritative in his appearance; he was a corpulent man, and comely, his voice remarkably sweet, and his address tender and affectionate. He was able to sing so that his persecutors were pacified when there rage was most stirred, and often said when he started praying “more of your singing please stranger, and none of your praying or preaching.” Many times he was in danger of his life, but the hand of the Lord was with him and he prospered greatly. In 1782 he received a call from Caernarfon, and to the sorrow of his friends and the great loss of Montgomeryshire he accepted the invitation.’ [HEAC i. 263]

‘There is a pleasant anecdote told of one of them, Gryffyth of Caernarvon, how he had to preach one night. Before preaching, staying at a farmhouse on the spot, he desired permission to retire before the service began; he remained in his room a con­siderable time; the congregation had assembled, still he did not come; there was no sign of his making his appearance. The good man of the house sent the servant to request him to come, as the people had been for some time assembled and waiting. Approaching the room she heard, what seemed to her to be a conversation, going on between two persons, in a subdued tone of voice, and she caught from Mr. Gryffyth the expression, “I will not go unless you come with me.” She went back to her master, and said, “I do not think Mr. Gryffyth will come to­night; there is some one with him, and he is telling him that he will not come unless the other will come too; but I did not hear the other reply, so I think Mr. Gryffyth will not come to-night.”

“Yes, yes,” said the farmer, “he will come, and I warrant the other will come too, if matters are as you say between them; but we had better begin singing and reading until the two do come.” And the story goes on to say that Mr. Gryffyth did come, and the other One with him, for they had a very extraordinary meeting that night, and the whole neighbourhood was stirred by it and numbers were changed and converted. It was Williams of Wern who used to tell this pleasing anecdote; it is an anecdote of one man, but, so far as we have been able to see, it illustrates the way in which they all prepared themselves before they began to speak.” [Paxton Hood, Christmas Evans: The Preacher of Wild Wales, London, 1883, pp.11-12

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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