Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/129

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Davies
Davies
117

cumstances, had originally intended him for the bar; but his own deep religious impressions led him to choose a ministerial career. Having commenced to preach in August 1848, he settled in 1852 as pastor of a bilingual church at Builth, and was fully ordained at the Llanelly Association on 4 Aug. 1852. After two years and a half (November 1853 to March 1856) spent in Liverpool, as pastor of the English church in Windsor Street, he resumed his old charge at Builth till May 1858, when he removed for a year to Newtown (1858-9), and thence to the Welsh church at Jewin Crescent, London (1859-76). In 1876 he removed to Bangor to take charge of the English church at Menai Bridge. Repeated efforts had been made to induce him to undertake educational work at one of the connexional colleges, notably in 1861, when he was offered a tutorship at Trevecca, and in 1873 when invited to succeed Dr. John Parry at Bala. Eventually, in 1888, he accepted the principalship of Trevecca, but his tenure of the post lasted only three years, for he died on 26 Sept. 1891, at his house at Bangor, and was buried on the 30th at the cemetery, Aberystwyth. He married, in May 1857, Jane, third daughter of Ebenezer Cooper of Llangollen, who survived him, but he left no issue.

For many years Davies occupied a somewhat unique position, not only in his own denomination, but among Welsh nonconformists generally, owing to his rare analytical powers and a faculty for abstract reasoning unrivalled among his contemporaries, to which he also added an intimate acquaintance with modern speculation and criticism in philosophy and theology. Though not an eloquent speaker, his style was terse and lucid, his arguments always logical, and his exposition, though sometimes inclined to excessive minuteness, was so simple and methodical that he rarely failed either to carry conviction or to render intelligible the abstrusest doctrines. Powerful though his influence was, especially in the direction of reconciling the teachings of science and philosophy with Christian principles, it would have been far greater but for his shyness of disposition, for throughout his life he was more of a student than a man of affairs. This perhaps accounts for the fact that some of his best work was prepared for the press not by himself but by friends or old pupils, in some cases from shorthand notes taken at his lectures.

The following were his chief contributions to Welsh theological literature: 1. 'Yr Eglwys' ('The Church'), Wrexham, 1862. 2. 'Darlithiau Athrofaol,' or Lectures on the Inspiration of the Bible delivered at Bala in 1871, Holywell, 1872; 2nd edit. 1878. 3. A series of lectures (in Welsh) on 'Christianity in its various Aspects and Associations,' delivered before the Young Men's Society, Jewin Street, London, 1879-83, and published in 'Y Traethodydd' for 1881-8, from the notes of Mr. Vincent Evans, who edited them. 4. ' Nodiadau Eglurhaol ac Ymarferol ar yr Epistol at yr Ephesiaid,' or a Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, published serially in 'Y Lladmerydd,' Dolgelly, between 1885 and 1896. 5. ' Nodiadau ar Epistol Cyntaf loan,' or Notes on the First Epistle of St. John, reprinted from 'Y Llusern,' Carnarvon, 1889. The following were published posthumously : 6. 'Llyfr y Psalmau,' a collection of sermons and exegetical notes on the Psalms, edited by E. Wynne Parry, Wrexham, 1897. 7. 'lawn ac Eiriolaeth Crist' ('Christ's Atonement and Intercession'), reprinted from 'Yr Arweinydd,' 1862-4, under the editorship of the Rev. D. E. Jenkins, Portmadoc, 1899. A Welsh biography of Davies, written by E. Wynne Parry, together with a selection of his unpublished sermons, was issued in 1896 (Wrexham, 8vo).

Davies is to be distinguished from a namesake, David Christopher Davies (1827-1885), a native of Oswestry, who, though humbly born and self-educated, attained some distinction as a mining engineer and geologist, and was the author of the following among other works: 1. 'Christ for all Ages, and other Lay Sermons,' preached on the North Wales Border, London, 1871. 2. 'A Treatise on Slate Quarrying : Scientific, Practical, and Commercial,' London, 1878; 2nd edit. 1880. 3. 'Metalliferous Mines and Mining,' London, 1879; 4th edit. 1888. 4. 'Earthy and other Minerals and Mining,' London, 1884; 2nd edit, 1888. At the time of his death at sea in September 1885 he was engaged on what he intended to be his chief work 'The Geology of North Wales.' Among his more important professional engagements had been the opening up of quarries in the south of France, in Germany, and Norway (Bye-Gones, vii. 292; Allibone, Dict. Suppl. p. 455).

[The chief authorities for the life of D. Charles Davies are his Memoir (ut supra), by E. Wynne Parry; Y Drysorfa for 1891, pp. 441–7; Y Traethodydd for 1893, pp. 181, 878 (being articles on his work as principal at Trevecca); Ceninen Gwyl Dewi, 1892; Bye-Gones, 2nd ser. ii. 180; Evans, Hist. of Welsh Theology.]

D. Ll. T.