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 Notes of the Revival Assam, India 1905

Rev. J. Pengewern Jones wrote:

The revival began in Cherrapunji in March. At first it was manifested in penitential weeping and sobbing, the whole congregation in tears, confessing their sin, agonizing in prayer for mercy, pleading for salvation, etc. This went on for weeks; then came a time of trial, and the faith of many were put to the test, but they came out as victors. Then the prayers became more fervent, and a deep longing for another wave of blessing came over the people, and just three months after the first pentecostal shower a second flood of blessing came, this time as a fulness of joy, and this has taken possession of all classes. There are two outlets for this joy, or, rather, it is manifested in two ways: by singing, and by the changed faces of the Christians. Such singing ! It is doubtful whether such singing can be heard anywhere outside Wales, if even in Wales itself. The people sing not only with their voices, but with all their bodies; and why should not men praise God with their hands and the their feet as well as with their tongues?After attending a service in Cherrapunji, one can understand why men should say at Pentecost that the apostles were full of wine. That would be the first impression at Cherrapunji, but only for a moment. Just look at the faces! Are they the faces of drunkards? Their bodies sway to and fro. But look at their hands lifted up toward heaven; they are surely receiving some invisible gifts from God. What is that fire in the eye, that intense earnestness in the face? Even when they dance there is joy in every step, in every movement no, no, it can not be drunkenness! What is it, then ? Is it excitement ? There is excitement, but it must have some cause, and the cause must be very powerful and holy to create such a change in the very features of the people. Can it be anything else but the Holy Spirit of an Omnipotent God ?

If I give my impression of the services further, I would say that the intense joy has been caused by a sense of victory over sin. The day reminded me of a day of rejoicing after a great and decisive victory in war. Whenever they came across a line in a hymn, where Satan or sin is spoken of as affected, the people became delirious with joy, and they repeated the line or lines scores of t:mes. The same can be said of the cross; whenever they went to Calvary, they seemed determined to stay there; they would not leave the place. Hundreds of times they would repeat any lines about the death of Christ. The doctrines of the cross must have been written indelibly on their hearts.

I have already referred to the changed features in many of the people. I sometimes asked myself the questions, "Are they human beings?" "Are they in the flesh?" There was a spirituality about them that I shall never forget.

I was also greatly impressed by the way the missionaries have allowed the Spirit of God to lead them. All the missionaries would have condemned this frenzied joy a year ago. If God had consulted them as to the form the revival should take, not one would have suggested the form it has taken, and I believe they would have voted against it. Dancing in the house of God? The idea would have been repugnant; but the Holy Spirit came, and took His own way of working. He gently led the missionaries and the good old Puritan deacons, and, almost unknown to themselves, they begin to enjoy the wild, exciting scenes as much as the young people do. There was a visible willingness to follow the lead of the Spirit, and I feel certain that they will be guided again by the same Spirit to lead the people to still higher joys. When the Spirit is poured on all India, may we, as missionaries in other parts, be similarly led to accept the Holy Spirit in whatever form He appears.

The revival in this present form can not last, nor is it necessary that it should do so. But the effect of it will never be effaced - never. It will be a glorious handle with which God and man can lay hold of men, who have felt the power, to bring them again to the path of righteousness, when they are inclined to go astray. To many it will be a power that will grow stronger every day as they get nearer the homeland, but to some who have rejected the Spirit's power the consequences will be terrible.

I witnessed the return of an old prodigal who had left his Father's house over thirty years ago. I heard of another old man who was received into the Church in one of the villages near. When the elders began to question him, he asked permission to pray before answering, and he prayed so powerfully that no one wanted any answers afterward.

May this revival spread throughout all India. There never has been such praying for India, and never such hungering and thirsting for the Spirit in India as there is to-day! The people in the Khassia Hills are praying for all India. When a telegram was received at one of the services of a revival in South Arcot (Madras), the joy of the Khassias was unbounded; they felt that God was answering their prayers.


J. Pengewern Jones: The Revival at Cherrappunji, Assam. In: The missionary review of the world. October 1905. (Old Serie: Vol. XXVIII, No. 10; New Series: Vol. XVII, No. 10), p. 776-777.


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Thomas

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