These newspaper articles are provided to encourage Christians throughout the world to pray for, and to live expectantly of, a new revival in our day and age. As a young Christian living in South Wales I avidly read these Western Mail accounts and visited the locations of the scenes described, and my heart leapt at the prospect that God would do it again. It is my prayer that you too will know such encouragement from reading these accounts. However, these articles were, for the most part, written by unconverted men, and read in isolation will give you a one-sided view of the revival. There is a danger of outright rejection that this was a move of God, or a blind acceptance of the emotional, with no spiritual discernment of the true, life changing work of Grace that rocked a nation. Either reaction would be a great loss to the furtherance of the work of God, so please read these few words with an open and a warm heart, and then be astonished and full of praise at the things our God did for the people of Wales in 1904.
November 12th. 1904.
REVIVAL SCENE AT LOUGHOR
Magnetic Preaching of Mr Evan Roberts.
Religious Ecstasy - All Night Services.
Our Llanelly reporter writes :
The ancient township of Loughor near Llanelly is just now in the throes of a truly remarkable 'revival'; the influence of which is spreading to the surrounding districts. Meetings are being held every night attended by dense crowds, each of them is continued well into the next morning.
The missioner is Mr Evan Roberts, a young man who for some years worked at the Broadoak Colliery. He has spent the whole of his life in the place, and was always known as a man with strong leanings towards religion. He is now preparing for the ministry at a Preparatory School at Newcastle Emlyn. Whatever the source of his power may be, there can be no mistaking that he has moved the whole community by his remarkable utterances, and scores of people who have never been known to attend any place of worship are now making public confession of their conversion.
During my visit to Loughor I found that the 'revival' was on everyone's tongue. Colliers and Tinplaters, Shopkeepers and Merchants; in fact, all classes of the community are to be found among the auditors of this fervid young man, who declares that the message he brings to the people is revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.
At the close of the remarkable service, which is described below, I had a short interview with Mr Roberts. This was at the unearthly hour of 4:30am after I had gone through a unique seven hour experience. In answer to my question, Mr Roberts said that the only explanation of what was taking place in Loughor, was that the Spirit of God was working among the people. Recently death in a very terrible form has come home to the people of Loughor in the wrecking of the express train, and I inquired of Mr Roberts whether that might account for their readiness to receive the message. He did not, however, think that was at all likely. Asked as to whether he intended devoting himself to mission work in the future, Mr Roberts said that in that matter he was in the hands of God.
A MEETING NOT CONCLUDED TILL 4:30 AM.
The meeting at Brynteg Congregational Church on Thursday night was attended by those remarkable scenes which have made previous meetings memorable in the life history of so many inhabitants of the district. The proceedings commenced at seven o' clock and they lasted without break until 4:30am on Friday morning. During the whole time the congregation were under the influence of deep religious fervour and exaltation. There were about 400 hundred people present in the Chapel when I took my seat at about nine 0' clock. The majority of the congregation were females, ranging from young misses of twelve, to matrons with babies in their arms.
Mr Roberts is a young man of rather striking appearance. He is tall and distinguished looking, with an intellectual air about his clean shaven face. His eyes are piercing in their brightness, and the pallor of his countenance seemed to suggest that those nightly vigils are taking their toll of him. There was however no suggestion of fatigue in his conduct of the meeting. There is nothing theatrical about his preaching. He does not seek to terrify his hearers, and eternal torment finds no place in his theology. Rather does he reason with the people and show them by persuasion a more excellent way.
I had not been many minutes in the building before I felt that this was no ordinary gathering. Instead of the set order of proceedings to which we are accustomed at the orthodox religious service, everything here was left to the spontaneous impulse of the moment. The preacher too did not remain in his usual seat. For the most part he walked up and down the aisles, open bible in hand, exhorting one, encouraging another, and kneeling with a third to implore blessing from the Throne of Grace.
PEOPLE DROP AS IF STRUCK.
A young woman rose to give out a hymn which was sung with deep earnestness. While it was being sung, several people dropped down from their seats as if they had been struck, and commenced crying for pardon. Then from another part of the Chapel would be heard the resonant voice of a young man reading a portion of the scripture. While this was in progress, from the gallery came an impassioned prayer from a woman crying aloud that she had repented of her ways and was determined to lead a better life henceforward. All the time Mr Roberts went in and out among the congregation offering kindly words of advice to kneeling ............... He would ask them if they believed; the reply in one instance being, "No I would like to believe, but I can't. Pray for me!" Then the preacher would ask the audience to join him in the following prayer: "Anfon yr Yspryd yn awr, ermwyn Iesu Grist, Amen." ("Send the Holy Spirit for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.") This prayer would be repeated about a dozen times by all present, when the would be convert would suddenly rise and declare with triumph, "Thank God I have now received salvation, never again will I walk in the way of sinners." This declaration would create a new excitement and the congregation would joyfully sing:-
Diolch iddo, diolch iddo,
Byth am gofio llwch lawr.
I suppose this occurred scores of times over the nine hours that the meeting protracted. A very pathetic feature of the proceedings was the anxiety of many present for the spiritual welfare of members of their families. One woman was heartbroken for her husband, who was given to drink. She implored the prayers of the congregation on his behalf. The story told by another woman drew tears to all eyes. She said that her mother was dead and that her father had given way to sin, so that she was indeed orphaned in the world. She had attended the meetings without feeling her position, but on the previous day, while following her domestic chores, the Spirit had come upon her bidding her to speak. And she did speak, her address being remarkable for one who had never spoken in public before. Yet another woman made public confession that she had come to the meeting in an attitude of idle curiosity, but, that the influence of the Holy Ghost worked within her causing her to go down on her knees in penitence.
It was now long past midnight, but still there was no abatement in the fervour of the of the gathering. Fresh fuel was added to the religious fire by Mr Roberts who described what had appeared to him as a vision. He said that when he was before the Throne of Grace he saw appearing before him, a key. He did not understand the meaning of this sign. Just then, however, three members of the congregation rose to their feet and said that they had been converted. "My vision is explained", said Mr Roberts ecstatically; "it was the key with which God opened your hearts."
ECSTASY AND EMOTION.
One of the most remarkable utterances of this remarkable night was that of a woman who gave a vivid description of the vision which she had seen the previous evening: "I saw" she said, "a great expanse of beautiful land, with friendly faces peopling it. Between me and this golden country was a shining river, crossed by a plank. I was anxious to cross, but afraid that the plank would not support me. But at that moment I gave myself to God, and there came a great wave of faith and I crossed in safety."
At 2:30 o' clock, I took a rough note of what then was proceeding. In the gallery, a woman was praying and she fainted. Water was offered her, but she refused this, saying the only thing she wanted was God's forgiveness. A well know resident then rose and said that salvation had come to him. Immediately a thanksgiving hymn was sung, while an english prayer from a new convert broke in upon the singing. The whole congregation then fell upon their knees, prayers ascending from every part of the edifice, while Mr Roberts gave way to tears at the sight. This state of fervency lasted for about ten minutes. It was followed by an even more impressive five minutes of silence, broken only by the sobs of strong men. A hymn was then started by a woman with a beautiful soprano voice. Finally Mr Roberts announced the holding of future meetings and at 4:24 o' clock the gathering dispersed. But even at this hour the people did not make their way home. When I left to walk back to Llanelly I left dozens of them about the road still discussing what is now the chief subject of their lives. They had come prepared with lamps and lanterns, the lights of which in the early hours of darkness were weird and picturesque.
GENERAL REVIVAL ANTICIPATED.
In the course of a conversation with our representative, on Friday afternoon, Mr Roberts said that he believed we were on the verge of one of the greatest revivals that Wales has ever seen. All the signs of this were present. It was time for us to get out of the groove in which we had walked for so long. He himself was converted twelve or thirteen years ago, and ever since then he had been praying for the Holy Ghost to come upon him. That it had come he was certain. It was one thing for a man to be converted, and quite another to receive the baptism of the Spirit. The meetings they had were glorious experiences. When they opened a meeting they had no idea when it would conclude. Only one thing could be said, and that was, that it would not conclude until some definite point had been gained. Asked how many convents had been made, Mr Roberts said that he did not call it conversion, nor did he believe in the counting of heads. Some people had said that he was doing a good work. It was not his, however, he was simply an instrument in the hand of God, and he wanted men to receive the joy of religion, as he had found it. Our fathers had their religion, and too often it made them gloomy. In those cases the joy of religion had never been experienced.
CARDIGANSHIRE RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL.
It is reported that striking scenes have occurred in country chapels on the coastline of Cardiganshire. The movement began in a little chapel near New Quay, and it is said that at the present moment churches and chapels for miles around are nightly filled with people who assert their belief that another Welsh Revival has begun.
HOW "THE FIRE" AROSE.
Our New Quay (Cardigan) correspondent says:-
The religious revival now spreading over Cardiganshire and penetrating remote parts of Wales and England originated in the Calvinistic Methodist Church, New Quay. The fire broke out on the morning of the second Sunday in February last, in a crowded Christian Endeavour Meeting after the morning service when a young lady, moved by the words and appeal of a lay preacher, arose in the midst of the congregation, and, in a clear voice, intense and pathetic testified: "I love Jesus with all my heart." Her soul seemed to be in every word. Unaccountable power accompanied her simple testimony, and seemed to overwhelm the people. After this the meetings multiplied and some were held in private homes, wherever entrance could be got. In all the neighbouring villages and towns people were everywhere electrified by the intense passion of the meeting. Members of the New Quay Christian Endeavour Society have been away several days visiting Closygraig, Newcastle Emlyn and Cardigan, at which places powerful meetings were reported to have been held. A young lady left for a situation in London and carried her seal with her to the church to which she was transferred. A glowing report has been received from there. Really wonderful conversions have crowned Christian Endeavour work. I could name one man who, with his family, has been converted, the sight of whose changed personality brings tears to the eyes. There can be no question of the reality of the visitation.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon