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Hugh Evans

Hugh Evans was born in Radnorshire, but removed in his youth to the city of Worcester, where he lived some years. About the commencement of the civil wars, he left that city and went to reside at Coventry. There he found a society of baptists, when he soon embraced their sentiments, and was admitted a member of their church. This was about the year 164S. He approved himself a very pious, sensible, and hopeful young man. His brethren soon perceived that he was endowed with promising gifts for the ministry, and encouraged him to cultivate and exercise them; which he did to their abundant satisfaction. He now began to pity the state of his native country; and, considering its deplorable condition as overspread with gross darkness, and destitute of the means of knowledge and salvation, he felt a strong desire to devote himself to the laudable, but arduous work of enlightening and converting his countrymen. There were then not above one or two gathered churches in all Wales, and very few preachers of the gospel. His friends approved and countenanced his benevolent inclination, but judged it advisable that he should first have some further literary advantage and instruction. Accordingly, he was placed for some time under the care and tuition of Mr. Jeremiah Ives, a baptist minister of considerable respectability. Having continued with Mr. Ives, and enjoyed the benefit of his instructions for a considerable time, he, according to his original intention, returned into Wales. This, it appears, was about the year 1647.

* Crofton's Funeral Sermon and Life of Mr. Frost.

Mr. Evans entered upon the. ministerial work as one sensible of its importance, and deeply impressed with the worth, of souls. It soon appeared that his labours were both acceptab e and useful. 1 he good people among whom he pi eached warmly solicited and pressed him to contmue with them, which, he did to the end of his days. Though, at the commencement of his ministry, he does not appear to have been above thirty years of age, he was unwearied in all his labours to promote their best interests, and to extend the boundaries of the Redeemer's kingdom. He presently succeeded in gathering a.respectable congregation, which, as our author observes, has continued by a succession of new members down to the present time. After having spent about ten years, withexemplary diligence, unwearied perseverance, and eminent success in promoting the gospel among his countrymen, he finished his course in the prime of life, and in the height of his usefulness, to the unspeakable regret of his numerous friends, by whom he was exceedingly respected and beloved. His ministry was chiefly exercised m Radnorshire and Breckv nockshire. Dr. Walker enumerates him among the popular itinerants of Wales, and charges him with having received a. salary for itinerant preaching in both those counties.* If he did so, it only proves his great activity and uncommon labours. When one man does the work of two, it is fit he should receive double wages. There is reason to think, says our author, that he was for some time the only, baptist minister in Wales. Some of the other preachers, and Mr. Vavasor Powell among the rest, were probably baptized by him. His people, it is added, were all baptists, and do not appear to have admitted mixt communion, though some of the neighbouring churches did; nor did they practise singing in their public worship, except, perhaps, at the Lord's, table. The church afterwards increased, and spread into several branches; and now forms three or four distinct and respectable churches, assembling in the counties of Radnor, Brecon, and Montgomery.

Mr. Evans had, doubtless, many enemies; but his principal opponents are said to have been the Quakers; who virulently opposed him from the press, as well as otherwise, conceiving a very strong and unreasonable antipathy against him. A book was published agamst him, about the time of his death, by one John Moon, who called Mr. Evans "the blind Welsh priest of Radnorshire," and attempted, very-'

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• Walker's Attempt, part i. p. 158.

illiberally, to asperse and vilify his character and memory. His two friends, Mr. John Price and Mr. William Bownd, answered the Quaker, and successfully vindicated their deceased brother; and, from their own intimate knowledge of him, expressed the highest opinion of his integrity and piety, as well as the truest respect and veneration for his memory. The amiableness and respectability of his character may be safely inferred from the strong attachment' of his pious and numerous friends. He died about the year 16.5 7, and probably not more than forty years of age. But he lived long afterwards in the affectionate recollection of those who had attended on his faithful and edifying ministry.* Mr. Henry Gregory, who had been a member of Mr. Evans's church, was his successor in the pastoral office.i