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Neither earth nor Hell's own vastness
Can Thy mighty power defy.
Every foe withdraws in fear,
Whensoever Thou art near.* The unusual militant strain in this pæan of conquest soon disappears, and the gentler aspects of Christ's atoning sacrifice occupy the writer's mind and pen.
“IN EDEN-O THE MEMORY!"
Yn Eden cofiaf hyny byth! The text, “He was wounded for our transgressions,” is amplified in this hymn, and the Saviour is shown bruising Himself while bruising the serpent. The first stanza gives the key-note,
In Eden-O the memory!
My crown, my glory fell;
On this my songs shall dwell; and the multitude of Williams'succeeding"songs" that chant the same theme shows how well he kept *The following shows the style of Rev. Elvet Lewis' translation:
Blessed Jesus, march victorious
With Thy sword fixed at Thy side;
The God-Warrior in His ride.
F THE HYMNS A
384 STORY OF THE HYMNS AND TUNES. his promise. The following hymn in Welsh (Cymmer, Jesu fi felr ydwyf) antedates the advice of Dr. Malan to Charlotte Elliott, “Come just as you are”—
Take me as I am, O Saviour,
Better I can never be;
I can never
But within Thy wounds be saved; -and another (Mi dafla maich oddi ar fy ngwar) reminds us of Bunyan's Pilgrim in sight of the Cross:
I'll cast my heavy burden down,
Remembering Jesus' pains;
A crown of thorns He wore,
Be cleansed forevermore; Williams was called “The Sweet Sing:r of Wales” and “The Watts of Wales” because he was the chief poet and hymn-writer of his time, but the lady he married, Miss Mary Francis, was literally a singer, with a voice so full and melodious that the people to whom he preached during his itineraries, which she sometimes shared with him, were often more moved by her sweet lymnody than by his exhortations. On one occasion
the good man, accompanied by his wife, put up at Bridgend Tavern in Llangefin, Anglesea, and a mischievous crowd, wishing to plague the “Methodists,” planned to make night hideous in the house with a boisterous merry-making. The fiddler, followed by a gang of roughs, pushed his way to the parlor, and mockingly asked the two guests if they would “have a tune.'
“Yes,” replied Williams, falling in with his banter, "anything you like, my lad; ‘Nancy Jig' or anything else.”
And at a sign from her husband, as soon as the fellow began the jig, Mrs. Williams struck in with one of the poet-minister's well-known Welsh hymns in the same metre,
Gwaed Dy groes sy'n c' odi fyny.
Calvary's blood the weak exalteth
More than conquerors to be *
-and followed the player note for note, singing the sacred words in her sweet, clear voice, till he stopped ashamed, and took himself off with all his gang. *A less literal but more hymn-like translation is:
Jesu's blood can raise the feeble
As a conqueror to stand;
Let the breezes
Blow from Calvary on me. Says the author of Sweet Singers of Wales, 'This refrain has been the passe word of many powerful revivals."
O'Llefara! addfwyn Jesu,
Speak, O speak, thou gentle Jesus,
-recalls the well-known verse of Newton, “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds." Like many of Williams' hymns, it was prompted by occasion. Some converts suffered for lack of a “clear experience,” and complained to him. They were like the disciples in the ship, “It was dark, and Jesus had not yet come unto them.” The poetpreacher immediately made this hymn-prayer for all souls similarly tried. Edward Griffiths translates it thus:
Speak, I pray Thee, gentle Jesus,
O how passing sweet Thy words,
Peace which never earth affords,
All th' enticing tones of ill,
Are subdued, and all is still.
Grant me an assurance clear,
Still my doubting, calm my fear.
Besides his Welsh hymns, published in the first and in the second and larger editions of his Hallelujah, and in two or three other collections, William Williams wrote and published two books of English hymns,* the Hosanna (1759) and the Gloria (1772). He fills so large a space in the hymnology and religious history of Wales that he will necessarily reappear in other pages of this chapter.
From the days of the early religious awakenings under the 16th century preachers, and after the ecclesiastical dynasty of Rome had been replaced by that of the Church of England, there were periods when the independent conscience of a few pious Welshmen rose against religious formalism, and the credal constraints of “established" teaching-and suffered for it. Burning heretics at the stake had ceased to be a church practice before the 1740's, but Howell Harris, Daniel Rowlands, and the rest of the “Methodist Fathers," with their followers, were not only ostracised by society and haled before magistrates to be fined for preaching, and sometimes imprisoned, but they were chased and beaten by mobs, ducked in ponds and rivers, and pelted with mud and garbage when they tried to speak or sing. But they kept on talking and singing. Harris (who had joined the army in 1760) owned a commission, and once he saved himself from the fury of a mob while preachingwith cloak over his ordinary dress—by lifting his cape and showing the star on his breast. No one dared molest an officer of His Britannic Majesty.
"Poosibly they were written in Welsh, and translated into English by bis friend and neighbor, Peter Williams.