I am re-reading the The Awakening in Wales. I have been deeply impressed by many of the first hand accounts that are related to the reader in this tiny little book about the conditions for Revival and the condition of the spiritual life of the church before the Lord brought revival.
The Introduction by J. Cynddylan Jones is especially instructive. He was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales.
Interesting that a Presbysterian minister would put such a bold emphasis on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, yet he witnessed personally the life and character of the Church before and after the Holy Spirit baptized 10s of thousands.
The Holy Spirit does not respect denominational lines when people are crying out to Him for revival.
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?
The entire book with first hand accounts of the Welsh Revival are here:
Excerpt from the Introduction by J. Cynddylan Jones.
That memorable Revival in the roll of the years spent its force. For the last ten years THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IN OUR CHURCHES WAS BECOMING MORE AND MORE DEPRESSED. Our best spirits were lamenting the impending lapse of our fatherland into barbarism. Earnest crying was made unto heaven. For months we felt there was a vague, indefinite, mysterious something in the aira going in the top of the mulberry trees. The godly mothers and maidens were the first to feel the return of the tide, which for the last few months have swept all before it. The story of this fourth Revival will be told in the following pages by one in complete sympathy with all spiritual movements, and possessing the advantage of understanding thoroughly the generous impulses of the Celtic heart and the subtle windings of the Celtic brain. BUT I MAY BE ALLOWED TO INDICATE TWO OR THREE OF ITS OUTSTANDING FEATURES.
1. It is independent of all human organisations straight from heaven. Missions are revivals. MEN CAN ORGANIZE THE FORMER, NOT THE LATTER, and it is a pity the distinction should be so often over-looked. MAN'S METHOD of SAVING THE WORLD is by COSTLY and COMPLICATED MACHINERY-SALVATION by MECHANICS; but Gods method is by vital energy-salvation by dynamics. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power, the dynamic, of God unto salvation (Romans i.16). St. Paul, the missionary, relying upon prayer and the dynamic power of the Gospel, changed the face of the Roman Empire. And in Wales to-day all is spontaneous. The dynamite is working, explosion follows explosion , and already scores of thousands of rough, hard stones have been loosened from the quarry of corrupt humanity, and where explosion frequent and powerful take place, is it to be wondered at that there is tumult and confusion? BETTER THE CONFUSION OF THE CITY THAN THE ORDER OF THE CEMETERY.
2. Much importance is attached to the work of the Spirit, at least in its initial stages. Heretofore the work of Christ has been the all-important truth, to the exclusion to a large extent of the doctrine of the Spirit. Much emphasis has been laid on receiving Christ, scant stress on receiving the Spirit. Now, however, the question is coming to the forefront, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? (Acts xix. 2). There were thousands of believers in our churches, who like the disciples St. Paul met at Ephesus, had received Christ, but had never received the Holy Ghost. The mark of Christs blood was upon them, but where was the mark of the Spirits anointing? SAVED THEMSELVES, THEY MADE NO ATTEMPT TO SAVE OTHERS. The present Revival, however, whilst not obscuring the doctrine of the Cross, has brought into prominence the doctrine of the Spirit. Thousands of Christians, who had received the Christ, have now received the Holy Ghost, and as a consequence they are filled with the spirit of serviceno task seems to them too hard for Christs sake.
Whilst this doctrine is by no means new to theology, in the present movement it has assumed a new forms at least in experience. Orthodoxy has always conceded that conscience speaks within us; but in practice we have effected too wide a separation between conscience and the Holy Spirit. This Revival has again united these. Something tells me to do this and avoid that, says the man. Some Thing, answers the young Revivalist, why dont you be honest? Why dont you say Some One? And the Revivalist is right. A Thing can never speak. It is not Some Thing but Some One who speaks, none other than the Third Person in the Holy Trinity. Does not this invest conscience with grand sacredness? We all believe in the need of the Spirit to regenerate and sanctify to accomplish the great tasks of life, the works which we know no human power can effect; but alas! we are not in the habit of introducing the Spirit into the common acts of our every day life. But the Scripture teaches us to seek the Spirits guidance in all thingsHe is the source of all prudence and wisdom.
3. The third feature is enthusiasm, a feature common to all Revivals. Many Christians who love gentility and moderation would like to receive the baptism of the Spirit without the baptism of Fire. But what God has joined cannot be sundered. He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire (Matt. iii. II) ; there is the versewhat will you do with it? There is only one preposition in the original, not two as in the English, to show the identity of the two baptisms, or rather that there is but one. Wherever the Spirit descends He brings fire in His train. There appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Hearts of Fire and Tongues of Flame. Is enthusiasm permissible in every department of life, but forbidden in church life? A thousand times, No. How speaks the Apostle ? Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Fervent, literally, boiling. Boiling in spirit. Let none be ashamed of boiling in the service of the Saviour. At all events I prefer the congregations that boil over to the congregations that will not boil at all. The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Literally, the boiling prayer. The cold prayer even of a good man will avail nothing in heaven or on earth, but the boiling prayer of a righteous man has ere now performed wonders, and will perform them again.
HOW VERY COLD AND FORMAL THE PRAYRES OF THE CHURCH HAVE BEEN FOR MANY A LONG YEAR! But for the last four months there has been everywhere a marked changethe prayers have been boiling and whole multitudes have been thrown into a state of extraordinary fervour. It rejoices me to see the rising generation boiling with a great enthusiasm in the service of Christthe mark of the boiling will be on them as long as they live. None are the same after boiling as before. Hundreds of our young men and women had been brought up religiously in the home and the church; but their religion was cold, format, following routine. Hardly any of them had courage enough to bow the knee in public; prayer, with the inevitable consequence that only aged men engaged publicly in the weekly prayer-meetings.
Behold the difference! Now our young people flock to the services, prayers flow spontaneously from their lips like water from the spring, praise ascends to heaven like the carol of birds in spring. No forcing, no inviting spontaneity characterises the proceedings from beginning to end. No one is ashamed of confessing Christ as his or her Saviour rather the shame is on the other side. All the chapels are crowded, the valleys and mountains ring with praise. The following story will show how gamblers refuse money won by bets made before conversion, how prize-fighters are now soul winners, how thieves restore stolen goods, how husbands return to their deserted homes, how enemies are made friends. Scores of pages can be filled with as striking conversions as any in the annals of the Christian Church.
Do we justify the extravagances? Not more than Paul justified them at Corinth (I Cor. xiv.)! We know what they mean, are able to interpret the tongues. Out of the confusion will emerge order and beauty and life. All criticisms are met by the prophets question, What is the chaff to the wheat? (Jer. xxiii. ~8).
J. CYNDDYLAN JONES.