Wales Christianity in

Wales Christianity in The ancient British Church having been founded at a very early period and entirely independent of the Church of Rome, the Roman and Anglo-Saxon churches were hostile towards the Christian Britons, who were obliged to take refuge in the mountainous districts of Wales, where they gradually diminished in numbers and finally became extinct. For centuries following ignorance and superstition over spread the entire principality, until the Reformation in the 16th century reached Wales through England. Gospel truth spread rapidly among the mountaineers, and its benefits were noticeable among all classes. But in the time of the Stuarts the Welsh peasantry, who had once been characterized by a simple scriptural piety, began to degenerate both in religion and morals. Ignorance and vice prevailed to a melancholy extent. Hardly any of the peasantry could read. Both clergy and laity were at once ignorant and immoral. When John Wesley visited Wales, he declared the people to be "as little versed in the principles of Christianity as a Creek or Cherokee Indian." But he also declared them to be "ripe for the Gospel, and most enthusiastically anxious to avail themselves of every opportunity of instruction." The Church of England was fully organized, but seemed utterly incapable of accomplishing the work of elevating the masses above the low condition into which they had fallen. Rev. Griffith Jones, however, by establishing a system of education-now known as the Welsh circulating schools-began a moral revolution, which has accomplished great good. He was instrumental in establishing 3495 schools, in which 158, 237 scholars were educated. For the further progress of the work, see Skeats, Hist. of the Free

Churches of England, p. 392 sq. SEE WELSH CALVINISTIC METHODISTS.

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