Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Son Rise in Wales
The following is taken from "With Christ Among the Miners" (1906) written by H. Elvet Lewis. The book is a particular treasure, illustrating the transformation of churches first, then of communitiees by the sweet presence of the Spirit of God and a consequent loathing of sin.
Faithful mothers hear their errant sons cry out for Jesus in extended prayer meetings. Beautiful Welsh songs soften many hearts. Rough-surfaced men excuse themselves to the dark and distant end of mine corridors to plead through to release from sin and brilliant new life. Simple testimony, so long a part of the Welsh service, contributes to a wonderful harvest.
Consider some early roots of revival:
"Every lover of Mount Snowdon knows Beddgelert and the Vale of Gwynant. In a farmhouse in the vale, one Sunday in August, 1817, a humble “exhorter’ - Richard Williams by name - was expected to take a service. He came but the congregation was scanty. John Elias was preaching that day at Tremadoc, and the fame of the great preacher had, in spite of the distance, reduced the exhorters numbers almost to the lowest point. There was a hardness in the atmosphere too that made the discouraged preacher’s task still more difficult. The people who were present envied those who had gone to hear John Elias. They sat before Richard Williams, but their ears were at Tremadoc. He struggled through the lesson and prayer and then took up the sermon, gradually warming to his task. And then, somewhere in the sermon, the inexplicable happened. Preacher and congregation were transformed. The humble “exhorter” stood forth a prophet of the Most High, in Pentecostal glow, and the house was filled with the Pentecostal cry of awakened souls. And in that Vale of Gwynant, that Sabbath evening, men said awe-stricken: “We never saw it on this fashion.” Within five weeks of that day there was scarcely a house in the vale but the breath of prayer had filled it.
It reached the village of Beddgelert in its own way. On a Sunday in September a class of young girls was reading the crucifixion chapter in St. John’s gospel. The teacher was a young woman of devout, earnest mind. As they read the story, verse by verse in turn, something come into the narrative unfelt before. Silent tears stole down the cheek of each reader, and a sense of awe took them one and all. At the close, when the school was, as usual, being publicly catechized by one of the male teachers, his own spirit suddenly took fire in warning the young people against some local fair of evil repute. A line out of one of Williams of Pantycelyn’s Welsh hymns seemed to possess him, “Gods grasp is the surest”; and as he repeated it more than once, the feeling which had melted and awed the young women’s class affected the whole school. Not many days after, the chapel had become the scene of convictions and conversions. “Some were praying for pardon, kneeling on the floor of the pew; others, standing on a form, were uttering praise for Gods mercy; some were marching to and fro, singing with their whole soul the song of deliverance.” It was a season of rejoicing. One day even, while busy hay making, someone started singing a hymn to himself, another caught it up, and another, until the whole band of haymakers, forgetful for a while of their toil, became a band of praying, singing worshippers. This revival continued for three or four years and its influence on the Snowdon district has been carried on to this day. It spread to other parts, but not generally.
An old survivor, being asked whether he could recall any signs preceding and heralding this revival, replied that he could remember nothing; “except, that the air for months seemed full of brotherly kindness and love.”