Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
P7 DAVIS, John. Tystiolaeth y Sant. (Testimony of the Saint.) Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, Printer, 1850.
1 p. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 44.
Apparently A welcome hymn (P6), composed and published by John Davis in honor of Apostle John Taylor’s second visit to Wales in June 1850, was well received by Welsh Saints. Two more poems were published almost immediately afterwards. Both Testimony of the Saint and The days of Noah (P8) are dated 28 June 1850.
Testimony of the Saint consists of eight four-line stanzas in which “the Saint” (Davis) declares his joy at having come out of the darkness of the world (the other religions) into the light of the restored gospel (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Despite the jeers of former colleagues, he considers himself favored of the Lord to have been able to receive the privilege of true baptism and an understanding of life that removes fear of death.
For a long time I lived in darkness,
Knowing but little of the radiance of my God;
I was ever led at random,
In the kingdom of darkness, by the lamps of the world.
But, gratefully, the sunlight rose up,
As earlier it enlightened each one to the same place;
I am now in its light, seeing my privilege,
For I know that at last I am with the Saints.
Some ignorantly believe that the sunlight is the moon,
And also that warmth is that which is cold;
And thus they scorn the light of their God,
Remaining in darkness and cold to live.
But I received light in time,
And a religion that is far more valuable than the world;
I received godliness—I denied not its strength,
And its gifts and its powers give great pleasure to me.
I fled from the darkness by the radiance of the star,
And I met the gatekeeper at the gate of the kingdom of the Lord;
I was received an old man, and I was buried alive, A
nd I rose from my baptism a child of God.
I received of the Spirit that gives release,
And I learned soon to exclaim, “My Father;”
And He with such great love for his child,
Until he puts down his childish toys.
I am pleased, and happy, with my bliss nearby;
I have left in the darkness my fright and my fear:
I do not fear death,—I do not fear the grave,
All that I shall have there is to sleep in peace.
My Father calls me; “Come out,” he says;
Now I shall leave you, as I start toward home.
The world mocks me—they have scorned their part,
Soon I shall go over to Zion and escape their noise.
Merthyr, June 28, 1850. J. DAVIS.