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SETH AND FRANK JOSHUA
T. Mardy Rees
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DR. CHALMERS, in an address on Religious Biographies, exhorted his hearers to acquaint themselves with the memoirs of pure minds, of noble lives, of hearts warm with all the fervour and sunshine of the Gospel, and to do homage to the saints, conquerors, and soldiers of our Lord. This biographical volume is an attempt to do homage to the late Revs. Frank and Seth Joshua by one who enjoyed their friendship for many years, and who always regarded their marvellous ministry with profound admiration. Their life work demands something more than the brief obituary notices which appeared in the Press at the time of their passing. The brothers were Great-hearts, and the record of their incessant labour should inspire the spirit of emulation. Both were equally successful as Evangelists and Ministers, but the name Evangelist had for them a special charm. They did not build upon the foundation of any previous workers, but erected from the, bare ground, first an altar, and then a magnificent temple. The marvel of it all fills one with wonder and delight.
Happy ‘‘Frank” and “Hallelujah” Seth, as they were affectionately called by their first converts, have won for themselves a distinguished position in the roll of eminent Methodist reformers, and their fame can never die. They captivated our affection young and held it to the last. There was something so bracing and genial in both; and as for Seth he was a kind of Wil Bryan with holy unction. He was unspoilt by success, and “ true to nature “ in all conditions. Wil Bryan’s advice to Rhys Lewis when he began to preach was a favourite quotation, and quite in Seth’s style:
“Use your common sense, man, if you have common sense; and if not, do not talk about preaching. I confess you must mind your ‘ Begs ‘ and ‘ Pegs,’ and centre of gravity; but don’t be as if you lived in a clock-case. You needn’t be like a cockerel walking over the snow, for such a thing is not true to nature, and I can never believe that grace is contrary to nature —that is nature without sin. . . .. “Trust in God and keep your powder dry,’ said old Cromwell, and he was no duffer. If you attempt to carry out everybody’s advice you will have to work overtime every day, and it will be ‘Hic jacet’ and ‘Alas, poor Yorick’ with you soon.”
Realising the treasures of Welsh literature Seth applied himself to the study of Welsh grammar at Newport, and acquired considerable proficiency in the language.
Our first intention was to publish a short biography of Frank and twelve of his sermons, but the death of Seth altered our plan, and it seems fitting to include in one volume the accounts of both brothers, who laboured together so long, and who were called hence to their reward within a period of five years. Their lives intermingled below, and their memory is for ever interwoven—a challenge and an example to this and future generations.
We gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to Mrs. Seth Joshua for the loan of diaries and manuscripts; to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Williams for valuable information concerning Frank Joshua; to Messrs. Tom Phillips, A. L. Morgan) Tom Thomas, Evan Rees, the officers of the Forward Movement Hall, Neath, the Revs T. M. Lloyd and R. J. Rees, M.A., the Editor of the “ Cymro,” Mr. Alyn J. Rees, B.Sc, for preparing the Index, and several other friends.
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Electronic Copyright © 2002-2004 Tony Cauchi, unless otherwise stated. Copying, printing, or any other reproduction of this electronic version is prohibited without express permission from Tony Cauchi, the publisher.
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