Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by William Allen
JOHN THOMAS, of Haverfordwest, Pembroke circuit, was born in the county of Cardigan, South Wales, about the year 1777. Of his parents and early life but little is known, further than that his parents were irreligious, and himself addicted to all the frivolities of youth, Being of a lively disposition, and fond of amusements, he was often led into youthful excesses. But being afterwards taken into the service of a pious master, who was an occasional preacher amongst the Calvinistic or Welsh Methodists, he was brought to attend a chapel and other means of grace; but still he did not for some time give up indulgence in the pleasures of sin.
But God had mercy upon him; the Holy Spirit operated powerfully upon his mind on a singular occasion. He had gone to a chapel, in order to meet with a young woman to whom he was attached, and as he entered it, he saw her on her knees crying for mercy, in great agony of soul. His attention was directed to the state of his own soul; his fears were aroused, and conviction there and then fastened upon his youthful heart. He at once resolved to seek the Lord. He earnestly wrestled in prayer for mercy, and soon obtained the favour and peace of God. He then joined the Society, and continued a steady and consistent member until he was balloted into the militia.
In this unfavourable situation he lost much of his relish for the things of God; but never fell into open sin, or entirely lost a sense of the Divine favour. His comparative darkness and deadness distressed his soul, and sometimes led him to exclaim, “O wretched man that I am.” He afterwards volunteered into the regular service, and was thereby placed in the midst of temptations to which he had hitherto been a stranger. But when in Ireland, some of his comrades invited him to the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, where he received much spiritual good; with which community he then united, and continued therein until some time after his discharge from the army, about twenty-seven years ago, when he became a resident in Haverfordwest.
He punctually attended all the means of grace, and entered heartily into all the operations of the society. As a prayer-leader, and as a visitor of the sick, he made himself very useful. His warm and zealous manner of worshipping God, so characteristic of his country, sometimes disturbed those of a different temperament. His loud “Amens,” and oft-repeated shouts of “Glory,” occasionally gave offence to those who were less zealous than he, while his broken English would “grate on ears polite.” But he pursued his way, notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances. He had been forgiven much, and he loved much. He was always ready to give a reason of the hope within him. His whole soul was intent on one thing,—to glorify God below, and find his way to heaven. His religion was Christianity in earnest. A person who was then a local preacher once publicly rebuked him; but John cried so much the more; and when his reprover fell from grace, he gloried not, but often prayed for his restoration.
About this time the Primitive Methodists missioned Haverfordwest; John went to hear them. The doctrines they preached were those he had long believed. His soul was drawn towards them; and that he might worship with greater freedom, he cast in his lot with this section of God’s Israel, and never did he regret this step. His labours amongst them as a prayer-loader, local preacher, and visitor of the sick, were unremitting for more than twenty years. This love for souls and his zeal for God’s glory carried him through all opposition, A remarkable influence attended his word a, He was a man of much prayer and of strong faith, and many were benefited by his labours. He had a good character among his neighbours; both pious and profane would say, “Old John, the soldier, is a good man,” His love for our cause induced him to take a room, and fit it up for Divine worship, hoping it would be a blessing to the neighbourhood; but he was permitted to worship in it only a few times before his health declined.
His disease rapidly increasing, he was soon confined to his house; but God was with him. Persons of every religious denomination in the town visited him, and none retired without feeling benefited thereby. His affliction was at times very painful; but he clung to the cross of his Saviour. Like Job, he would say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” His conflicts with Satan were frequent and severe; but he conquered by faith, and often shouted his favourite word, “Glory.” When his end drew near, being ripe for heaven, Death, in his view, assumed an angel’s face, and in the last struggle he cried in triumph, “O, Death, where is thy sting?” Then, without one lingering sigh, he departed to be with Jesus. Thus lived and thus died John Thomas, a good soldier of Jesus Christ. His death took place, April 26th, 1850.
I have not been able to identify John in online records. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1850/581
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers