Letter from William Howells to Orson Pratt, dated March 19, 1849, at Aberdare, in praise of Capt. Dan Jones. (Vol 11:119-121)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Aberdare, March 19th, 1849.
Dear sir and brother,--St. Paul commands all to "render honour to whom honour is due," &c. Many are the false assertions, circulated by calumny about our beloved brother Cap. D. Jones, since he first commenced his glorious mission in Wales; all proceeding from slanderous accusers, who love darkness rather than light. You will therefore excuse me, if I leave my pen to describe the impression his holy conduct has made upon my heart; and I can assure you, thousands in Wales, besides.--Solomon said that there was a time for every thing; if he had known Cap. D. Jones, he would certainly have said, with one exception. He had no time but for the building of Zion, and he brought every moment subservient to this, as the principle thing that would tend to exalt and glorify the name of God for ever. Like John the Baptist, he was a "burning and shining light," confuting error by solid, clear, short, and convictive arguments, with one object always in view; the good pleasure of God, doing good, rather than gain applause. In truth, it can be said of him that he was a man of observation and reflection; with soberness, righteousness, and godliness, continually assimilating his mind with ardent love and ambitious zeal to fulfil the soelmn duties of his exalted station, so that he might be approved by his master, as a good and faithful servant. His sublime, generous, diligent spirit, applied itself with new exertion continually, as circumstances and
experience opened an enlarged field for duty; and the prosperity that followed his labours in the Lord, creating holy delight, filling his heart with satisfaction and firm hope, that the kingdoms of the world, will soon become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Sacred scriptures, immediate revelations from God, supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit, were the source, standard, and rule of his sentiments, so that his religious principles shone before the multitude that attended his lectures, with such argumentative force and clear reasoning; that the traditional vail, which blinded the understanding was rent in twain; and truth, the "treasure of the holiest," revealed to the astonished view, rejoicing in victory over blind zeal, prejudice, and bigotry. His clear head, good heart, solid sense, and serious piety, removing all obstacles, so that the arrows of truth pierced the heart with conviction. His mind calm and dispassionate, viewing his theme in every light, collecting his best thoughts upon it, clothing them with the simplest, yet powerful words of "Iaith ei fam" (mother's language) to answer the comprehension of the lowest of his auditors; drawing the attention also of the learned to the astonishing convincing effects of his hidden might and power. Remarkable for aptness, in the illustration of his subjects, by sensible images, &c; always exhibiting the fulness of the Gospel through the merits and compassion of an
unchangeable Saviour, to all who would believe, repent, and be baptized for the remission of their sins; holding forth to the obedient, self-evident knowledge, of the purest and noblest kind; inspiring the young converts in the midst of persecurting foes, with resignation and fortitude; spreading before them the conflict on one hand, victory and a crown of everlasting life and boundless happiness on the other. He was particularly successful in acquiring with his audience, Authority, disposing his principles with clear method, solid arguments, adorned with words well chosen proper and expressive; a quality belonging to the Welsh langauge beyond all others, according to the testimony of many learned men. Cool in the rational, easy in the familiar, earnest in the persuasive, &c., such qualities, with Divine inspiration, naturally gave him authority which astonished his hearers.
In conversation, free, friendly, easy, and unreserved, like the magnet attracting the mind towards the "sides of the north, as the honoured place, where the city of the Great King should be built in the mountain of his holiness, beautiful for situation, soon to be the joy of the whole earth as the chosen Zion of the Lord; having desired it for his habitation, and his rest for ever, where he will abundantly bless her provision, satisfy her poor with bread, clothe her priests with salvation, and cause his saints to shout aloud for joy. Nothing so seasonable, important, and entertaining, to the temper of his mind, as a conversation with those who "were asking the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward."
Our beloved brother's affection and humility on one hand, his resolution and courage on the other; bearing the contempt of the world with dignity and appulse with decency; had gaianed the affection of the members of the church of Jesus Christ; particularly those holding the priesthood, to such a degree, that the thought of parting for a short time, would cause a sensation, not to be described by words. It would be a difficult matter to find in Wales, among from three to four thousand Saints, one, where some kind office, useful instruction, &c., had not been received; particularly the children of adversity; who can testify, that his kind sympathy and consoling advice always cheered the soul; "when hungry," he, with our beloved sister, his consort, "fed them; thirsty, gave them drink; naked, clothed them; sick, visited them, &c." The poor officers in coming to my house, one would say, "I was without a hat, but brother Jones gave me this (exhibiting my brother's best;) another, I was without clothes, but the Captain gave me this suit; riddle with me where my brother kept his American store; as "give him, give her, give them," was his language, and never did I hear him say, "give me." At last I remembered that his store was in Heaven; and that his Father "supplied all his need according to his riches in glory."
In counsel, at the head of his brother officers, his goodness, wisdom, and benevolence, shone in a courteous, free, condescending, affable, open, unreserved, and friendly manner--to all, without affectation, or stiff, morose, conceit towards any. In connection with the public, he took great care that his doctrines and language should answer the capacity of his hearers; his ambition, whilst treating of the highest subjects, to be comprehended by the lowest understanding. His knowledge of them, not so flattering as that of the learned "Cambray," who said, "that there are always three-quarters of an ordinary congregation who do not know those first principles of religion, in which the preacher supposes every one to be fully instructed."
The difficulties he met with in the execution of his office were not few, nor far between; having by hard labour, night and day, worn out the strength of his constitution, so that the weakness of his body greatly troubled his mind. The great men of Wales at first despised and looked with scorn upon the obscure Mormon missionary; and all the religious camps thought themselves secure under the instructions of their learned theologians; but their peace was not of long duration; the arrows of truth sent forth by our brother, began to pierce and cleave the heart, so that many asked, "what shall we do?" and, of course, the same answer delivered formerly by a sent servant of God, was applicable to the same question now; therefore, without wresting the scriptures of truth, and thinking himself wiser than God, his answer at all times was, "repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." And the little band who flocked under his standard of truth, soon exhibited the signs of being called, "chosen and faithful." The little one, also soon became a thousand, to the total destruction of the peace of the numerous religious sects of Wales. Then the stir was made, and the general cry to conflict was, forward; and all the camps. who were formerly in battle array, one against another, now joined in a covenant of everlasting peace. "Pilot
and Herod made one;" and the heroes and champions of learning appeared in front, making a grand array with the multitude on one hand--the little Mormon missionary on the other; shewing a contrast far more wonderful than that of Goliah and the youthful shepherd, David. And amongst the number of the multitude I shall set myself in the hindmost rank. But what astonished me, was, that the armour I then wore, was nought but the traditional perplexing doctrines of the learned, which were blown like chaff before the Euroclydon of truth, that proceeded from the Mormon missionary. In the midst of this great perplexity, my comrades resorted to the lying tower of the prince of darkness for amunition; and brought forth all manner of lies, calumny, &c., when somethousands left the camp of villany and joined the Mormon legion; and we soon found out the benefit of the change; not only in getting into better company, but getting the whole armour of God, with the power of the everlasting priesthood concentrated in the gift of the Holy Ghost. So that with indescribable joy we can say, that our "souls have been plucked as brands out of the fire, and our strings fallen in pleasant places." The first engagement was not the only victory; the Mormon missionary went on, from conquering to conquer, until the offensive camps were soon constrained to turn into a defensive state; and the loud cry for the American false publications, "come over and help us."
And surely the devil has a faster skiff than any of the Atlantic steamers, for in the short space of a few weeks, the well filled black ship, with the glorious treasure arrived; and the varied characters of Hogarth and Punch could not equal the varied visages of the enemy, while pursuing with avidity the quack exiles of life, contained in these devil's charms; and the great men, who had for their motto, "no addition to the word of God," made wholesale additions, and exceeded the American father of lies. As you know, newspapers and journals are combustible things; so stock being so great, was overheated; the camps took fire, and are burning ever since; and hundreds continually flocking to the despised Mormon city of refuge; and the wonderful letters begin to form themselves into the position of "Babylon the great is fallen." And the Mormon missionoary, the hero of the day, to the great astonishment of thousands, has now returned to the camp of Israel with the first fruits of his victory, to the glory of God and eternal shame of the devil.
Dear sir and brother,--The false assertions of the sectarian churches in Wales induced me to pen the foregoing reflections; doubtless they may give you half an hours amusement.--They proceed from an honest heart, but a very young scribe; therefore, excuse the attempt which is far below doing justice to the exalated character of my adored father, Captain Dan Jones.
My beloved brother, Mr. Wm. Phillips, president, sends his kind respects to you, &c., "Elija's mantle has fallen upon Elisha," this is the pass word with all the Saints.
I do thank my heavely Father for continual promises that obstacles shall be removed, and that I shall soon commence my mission in Brittany, &c. I have in the course of the last twelve months, baptized about one hundred, which I consider a fair commencement.
Your obedient servant and brother in the new and everlasting covenant,