The "Western Mail," a popular newspaper during the Welsh Revival, assigned various reporters to chronicle its progress each day. The principle reporter was Mr. T. Davies, commonly known by his pen name ‘Awstin.’
These reporters were eyewitnesses and were generally very sympathetic to the movement. Their articles were collected into six 32-page pamphlets of which this is the first. These pamphlets make very fascinating reading as they follow the ministry and travels of Evan Roberts.
They are essential reading for all those studying the grass-roots activities of those glorious days.
Please note that this booklet is NOT in the public domain. The Western Mail newspaper still holds the copyright. It is used here with their kind permission.
We have included 5 of the 26 brief chapters of the first pamphlet. All six are available for instant download at the shop.
The first public reference to the 1904 revival in Wales was made in the following paragraph, which appeared in the “Western Mail” on November 10
A WONDERFUL PREACHER
GREAT CROWDS OF PEOPLE DRAWN TO LOUGHOR
CONGREGATION STAY TILL HALF PAST TWO IN THE MORNING
A remarkable religious revival is now taking place at Loughor. For some days a young man named Evan Roberts, a native of Loughor, but at present a student at Newcastle-Emlyn, has been causing great surprise by his extraordinary orations at Moriah Chapel, that place of worship having been besieged by dense crowds of people unable to obtain admission. Such excitement has prevailed that the road in which the chapel is situated has been lined with people from end to end.
Roberts, who speaks In Welsh, opens his discourse by saying he does not know what he (will be led) to say, but that when he is in complete harmony with the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit (will lead) and he will be simply the medium of His wisdom. The preacher soon after launches out into a fervent and at times impassioned oration His statements have most stirring effects upon his listeners, many who have disbelieved Christianity for years again returning to the fold of their younger days. One night so great was the enthusiasm invoked by the young revivalist that after a sermon lasting two hours the vast congregation remained praying and singing until half-past two o’clock next morning. Shopkeepers are closing earlier in order to get a place in the chapel, and tin and steel workers throng the place in their working clothes. The only theme of conversation among all classes and sects is “Evan Roberts.” Even the taprooms of the public houses are given over to discussion on the origin of the powers possessed by him. Although barely in his majority, Roberts is enabled to attract the people for many miles around.
He is a Methodist, but the present movement is participated in by ministers of all the Nonconformist denominations in the locality Brynteg Chapel, Gorseinon, is to be the next scene of his ministrations.
This remarkable message indicated such an unusual state of religious fervour that the 'Western Mail' despatched a special correspondent to Loughor to make inquiries, and his vivid report showed that the long-expected revival had really arrived. The special correspondents will now tell their own stories.
LLANELLY, Friday, November 11.
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, and each of them is continued well into the early hours of 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 the fact 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 profession of their conversion. During my visit to Loughor I found that the “revival” was on everyone’s tongue, Colliers and tin-platers, shopkeepers and merchants—in fact, all classes of the community are to be found among the auditors of this fervid young enthusiast, who declares that the message which he brings to the people is that which 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 4.30 a.m., after I had gone through a unique seven hours’ experience. In answer to my questions Mr. Roberts said that the only explanation of what was now 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 exclusively to mission work in the future, Mr. Roberts said that in that matter he was in the hands of God.
The meeting at Brynteg Congregational Chapel on Thursday night was attended by those remarkable scenes which have made previous meetings memorable in the life history of so many of the inhabitants of the district. The proceedings commenced at seven o’clock, and they lasted without a break until 4.30 o’clock this (Friday) morning. During the whole of this tune the congregation were under the influence of deep religious fervour and exaltation. There were about 400 people present when I took my seat in the chapel, about nine o’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 these nightly vigils are telling upon 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 a blessing from the Throne of Grace.
A young woman rose to give out a hymn, which was sung with deep earnestness. While it was being sung several people dropped down in their seats as if they had been struck, and commenced crying for pardon. Then from another part of the chapel could be heard the resonant voice of a young man reading a portion of 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 live a better life henceforward. All this time Mr. Roberts went in and out among the congregation offering kindly words of advice to kneeling penitents. 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, er mwyn Jesu Grist, Amen” (“Send the Holy Spirit now, 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 joyously sing:
Diolch, iddo, diolch iddo,
Byth am gofio llwch y llawr.
I suppose this occurred scores of times during the nine hours over which the meeting was 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 in his behalf. The story told by, another young 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 duties, the Spirit had come upon her, bidding her to speak. And she did speak! —Her address being remarkable for one who had never spoken before in public. Yet another woman made public confession that she had come to the meeting in a spirit 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 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 by which God opened your hearts.”
One of the most remarkable utterances of this remarkable night was that of a woman who gave a vivid description of a vision, which she had seen on 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 feared that the plank would not support me. But at that moment I gave myself to God, and there, came over me a great wave of faith, and I crossed I safely.”
At 2.30 o’clock I took a rough note of what was then proceeding. In the gallery a woman was praying, and she fainted. Water was offered her, but she refused this, saying that the only thing she wanted was God’s forgiveness. A well-known resident then rose and said that salvation had come to him. Immediately following 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 4.25 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 in their lives. They had come prepared with lamps and lanterns, the lights of which in the early hours of darkness were weird and picturesque. In the course of a conversation with our representative on Friday afternoon Mr. Roberts said that he believed we were on the eve of one of the greatest revivals that Wales had 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 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 converts 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 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 not been experienced.
The revival 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 speaker, arose in the midst of the congregation, and in a clear voice, intense and pathetic, 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 houses, wherever entrance could be got. In all the neighbouring villages and towns people were everywhere electrified by the intense passion of the meeting.
LOUGHOR, Sunday, November 13th.
The publication given to the, great “revival” in progress at Loughor and the surrounding district has been the means of attracting thousands of people to the various chapels at which these remarkable gatherings are held. I described the meeting held on Thursday night, which did not conclude till close upon five, o’clock on Friday morning. Friday’s meeting was equally protracted, while the meeting on Saturday night even exceeded this length, the lights in the chapel not being extinguished until after five o’clock.
All the gatherings were alike in that they were marked by the same ecstatic fervour, as distinguished the meeting already described. By this time Mr. Evan Roberts who is the guiding spirit of this wonderful mission, has come to dispense with the address with which, in the earlier days of the movement, he commenced each gathering. His impassioned oratory has done its work, and now the conduct of the proceedings is left almost altogether in the hands of the congregation. How thoroughly they enter into it may be gauged by the length to which each, meeting is carried on.
As might have been expected, some extraordinary incidences are taking place each day outside the chapel walls. On Friday afternoon, for instance, a young man engaged on a farm in the vicinity was sent by his master with a cartload of turnips to Loughor. Earlier in the week he had come under the spell of the missioner, and might be described as one of his converts. When nearing Loughor he was approached by a woman in deep distress, who, with tears in her eyes, besought him to come and pray for her husband. Like the disciples of old, he forthwith “left all,” and followed the woman to her house. Over an hour elapsed when his employer came to town, and found his horse and cart in charge of two young children. He was directed to the house, and the scene that presented itself there so affected him that he remained to join his prayers with those of the woman and his servant.
During the whole of Saturday prayer meetings were held in various houses, these being continued up to the time of the evening meeting at Moriah Chapel. On Saturday afternoon two young women who are prominently identified with the revival, went on a preaching mission to Gorseinon. They were joined by other enthusiasts and they preached and sang outside several public houses. Crowds quickly gathered. Here again there were heard heart-broken outbursts of contrition among the listeners—men and women sobbing like children.
But, perhaps, the most remarkable service of the day was that held in the middle of a, large gipsy encampment on Kingsbridge Common. The dwellers in tents received the missioners with a degree of suspicion, which augured ill for the success of the service. Before the meeting had been long in progress, however, this suspicion gave way to wonderment, and later on to devout awe. Then came paroxysms of grief from the female members of the encampment, some of them tearing their hair in their self-denunciations. When the meeting came to a close a collection was made on behalf of the poor gipsies, and a promise was given them that another service would be held on Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday night Moriah Chapel was besieged by a tremendous crowd anxious to obtain admission. Hundreds of people had some from Llanelly, Swansea, Gowerton, Gorseinon, and other places, and after the chapel had been filled to its utmost capacity there was yet a surging mass of people in the roadway. Mr Roberts, seeing this, ordered the old chapel, which is close by to be opened, and services were then simultaneously held in the two buildings. The scenes that I described on Saturday were re-enacted at these two meetings. On all hands it could be seen that the people had been moved to their very heart core. What could not fail to impress even the most callous was the impassioned eloquence of men and women who up to this juncture in their lives had never uttered a word in public. It was thrilling to see young colliers—uneducated, ignorant, if you like—rise from their pews and speak as if inspired. Mr. Roberts was joined on this occasion by a fellow-student. Mr. Evans roused his hearers to new enthusiasm with his account of the revival in Cardiganshire.
Mr. Evans described his visit to Cardigan Fair, and how the crowd at first refused to hear the message, preferring to go on with their business. By-and-bye, however, the people gathered around, and they had a most successful meeting.
The high-water mark of fervour was reached at the meeting in the old chapel, where, after a young woman had asked the audience to pray for her brother, a man rose in the gallery and, speaking with passionate eloquence, described the vision which appeared to him on the previous evening. He said that he was alone in his bedroom, when he suddenly felt that, he was not alone. At the same time a voice seemed to be calling upon him to pray, but he could not pray. This command was thrice repeated, and he fell on his knees, but not a word escaped him. Then, however, the voice bade him to “Throw out the lifeline” ‘upon this the entire audience rose as by some common instinct and sang as it has been rarely sung before the well-known hymn of which those words are the refrain.
The experience of a young man engaged as a clerk in an Llanelly office is worthy of notice. Like many others, his curiosity was attracted by these meetings, and he determined to be present on Saturday evening. “By reason of the throng” it was nearly three hours before he gained admittance. Seated next to him was a man who’s prayer so affected him that he implored the prayers of the congregation in his own behalf, and later on he rose and spoke as a newly made convert.
TRECYNON, Monday, November 14.
Modest almost to the point of despair was the beginning made by the Evan Roberts revival mission at Trecynon this evening, and the omens pointed to orthodox quietness rather than to a repetition of the exuberance of emotional fervour, which has characterised in such a remarkable degree the revival services at Loughor. When the service was timed to commence at Ebenezer Chapel the empty pews were more numerous than the people assembled, and there was coldness in the atmosphere, which boded ill for a successful meeting. Those who know Trecynon—a little village which nestles closely on the borders of Aberdare—with its traditions of religious zeal, will be most surprised to know that Ebenezer was not besieged on such an occasion, and, perhaps, at the same time, they will best appreciate the laconic remark of a village stoic that “the fair at Aberdare was a powerful counter-attraction.”
Instead of finding an eager throng outside the gates of the chapel I was surprised to see only some half-dozen small groups of miners and their wives and sons gathered together, just as is their wont on the occasion of the ordinary weekly prayer meeting. Later in the evening the reason for this sparse attendance became obvious. The service commenced so early that workmen had not been given sufficient time to go to their homes from their work and to change their working clothes for those which they considered to be better befitting a religious service. While the few who had seated themselves in the chapel were waiting for the arrival of the young revivalist an elderly man sitting beneath the gallery offered up a prayer, and a young man who was sitting in another part of the building recited the words of the popular Welsh hymn, “Disgwyl ‘rwyf ar hyd yr hirnos,” the last two lines of which were being repeated when the five young ladies from Loughor who have played so prominent a part in the mission with their speech and song walked up the aisle and seated themselves in the “set fawr.” One of them, possessing a sweet mezzo-soprano voice of singular tenderness, sang Happy Day,” and the early coldness was already beginning to thaw under the influence of the intensifying fervour with which the refrain was sung and sung again. The melody was in full swing when Mr. Roberts took his seat beneath the pulpit. Before uttering a word he approached the old man who had been the first to pray, and grasped his hand. The building by this time was filling rapidly. Evan Roberts looked pale, but was full of animation. While another hymn was being sung he walked up and down the aisle, swinging his arms and clapping his hands. At times lie gave a, short, sharp spring off his right foot, and smiled joyously upon the people around him. There was no conventionality, no artificiality or affectation in his manner. The expression on his open, attenuated, and distinctly intellectual face was that of a man with a mission, and reminded one of the portraits to be seen in so many Welsh homesteads of men who were leaders in the two previous religious revivals in Wales.
Speaking in Welsh, He discarded the stereotyped preface so commonly in vogue among preachers in the Principality, and straightway declared the faith that was in him. He had not come there, he said, to frighten them with a discourse on the terrors of everlasting punishment. His belief was that the love of Christ was a powerful enough magnet to draw the people. That was his own personal experience, and he had found a joy, which was far beyond human expression. No one but the true believer knew in reality what it was to have a light heart and unalloyed happiness. Denominationalism did not enter into his religion. Some people had said he was a Methodist. He did not know what he was. Sectarianism melted in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and all men who believed became one happy family. For years he was a faithful member of the Church, a zealous worker, and a free giver. But he had recently discovered that he was not a Christian, and there were thousands like him. It was only since he had made that discovery that a new light had come into his life. That same light was shining upon all men if they would but open their eyes and their hearts. Reverting to sectarianism, he said that whilst sect was fighting against sect the devil was clapping his hands with glee and encouraging the fight. Let all people be one, with one object—the salvation of sinners. Men refused to accept the Gospel and confess because, they said, of the gloom and uncertainty of the future. They looked to the future without having opened their eyes to the infinite glories of the present. They talked about the revival of 1859. Why, there would be a perpetual revival if men would only keep their hearts open instead of closing them to every influence. If anyone had come there that evening with the intention of making an impression, he advised him or her to refrain. Unless they felt that they were moved to speech or song, let them keep their peace. He did not come there to glorify himself. Glad tidings had come from Loughor concerning a mission among the gipsies in their encampment near that place. The soul of a gipsy was of no less value than that of any other human creature.
Such was the substance of Mr. Roberts’s address. He spoke for an hour and a quarter under evident restraint, and in a quiet, confident style. He made no attempt at rhetoric, and was never at a loss for a phrase or a word. Those who might have come to scoff and did not remain to pray must, at any rate, have been deeply impressed with the profound earnestness of the young man, and there is no doubting his absolute sincerity and conviction.
Immediately he had resumed his seat two elderly women rose simultaneously, one speaking in Welsh and the other in English. The voice of her who spoke the latter language rang out clearly, and a common thrill trembled through the assembly as a. breath of wind runs across the sea. Her last words were, I love my Master because I know what He has done for me,” and then she fell back in the pew. A young woman came forward with the Bible in her hand and was preparing to read, when Mr. Roberts asked the people to sing “Duw mawr y rhyfeddodau maith,” the stirring words of which were repeated several times. After reading a portion of Scripture the young woman knelt down in prayer, and an impassioned fervour spread into all parts of the crowded chapel.
During the remainder of the night many men and women broke forth in prayer and song, and a meeting, which had opened so coldly, was in a white heat of religious enthusiasm before the last word had been said.
TRECYNON, Tuesday, November 15th.
The indications of the spread of a religious revival in Wales are increasing in force as well as spreading over a larger area, and the fact that the movement is not due to the overpowering fervour and eloquence of any great preacher or preachers only proves that the country seems to be ripening for manifestations of the “hwyl” in a rising tide which thousands are apparently waiting, watching, and praying for. The gatherings at Trecynon, Aberdare, conducted by Mr. Evan Roberts, of Loughor, and the five young singing evangelists who accompany him are attracting crowds, not only from the immediate neighbourhood, but mixed companies of the sceptic, the doubtful, the curious, the zealous, the enthusiastic, and the stern believer in the advent of the revival from distant towns and villages; and when the silver-tongued orators of Welsh pulpit and pew shall have caught the infectious spirit of these pioneers of the movement there can, in the present state of expectancy, only be one result—an upheaval of religious forces which will undoubtedly electrify the Principality.
Ebenezer Chapel, where today’s proceedings were conducted by Mr. Evan Roberts, is the Welsh Congregational Chapel so famous in connection with what was known as Edwards Morgan’s revival in 1859, and although Aberdare does not appear, as yet, to have particularly joined Trecynon, there can be no doubt that before the week is out similar services will be held there.
Perhaps the greatest mystery of the whole movement at present is that the central figure of the revival, Mr. Evan Roberts, is not gifted with the remarkable eloquence, which is generally the attribute of a man who sways multitudes. As I heard a man remark, wonderingly, “We have plenty of better speakers, and, possibly, abler men, but they do not seem to be imbued with the same power as he wields in drawing these immense crowds and keeping them together. At present I can only account for it by the fact that he comes from the midst of the Loughor fire.”
That is just it. He neither preaches nor harangues; he simply talks, pleads, exhorts, explains; tells his own story simply and winningly, and smilingly invites. He does not even give out the electrifying Welsh hymns with the effect which many can impart to the stirring words; but he is evidently sincere, and he prays with the fervour of a man whose heart is deeply moved. The young ladies who accompany him are not professional singers; but they are manifestly touched with the spirit of singing pilgrims, and, in summing up the strangeness of the power thus introduced, one can only be reminded of the story of the humble origin of the disciples of old, as “the fishermen of the Sea of Galilee.” But the spontaneous striking up of a hymn or the starting of an address in Welsh or English, or the uttering of a devout prayer by men or women in the congregation, in the body of the chapel, or the gallery, from pulpit, big pew, or anywhere that may be occupied by the person who rises, naturally tends to infuse enthusiasm and decentralise the work.
The prayer meeting held at Ebenezer this morning is described as a wonderful one, lasting from ten o’clock until 1.15. Men had remained home from work in order to attend it. People who had come long distances the previous day had remained in the village overnight in order to join.
Who conducted it?” I asked.
No one,” was the reply; “but Evan Roberts prayed.”
The “Holy Spirit led.” declared Evan Roberts himself.
At the night meeting, announced for seven o’clock, there, was a full chapel before the time fixed, and Evan Roberts, now and then rising and pacing the “set fawr,” seemed agitated with expectancy. He got up at five minutes to seven and gave out a hymn of the Church Militant— “Mae’r Iesu’n myn’d I ryfel,” and, after it had been sung, took the words for the text of an address lasting nearly half an hour. Then he invited the congregation to sing: -
“Marchog Iesu yn llwyddianus,
Gwisg dy gleddyf ar dy glun.”
And the tide of feeling seemed to rise gradually as the meeting proceeded. One of the young ladies in the big seat started singing: -
“O happy day that fixed my choice,
On Thee, my Saviour and my God,”
And the congregation joined heartily in the refrain, which was repeated again and again. The singer stopped, and stated that she had that day visited some gipsies, and that two of them had accompanied her to that meeting. It was a happy day for her, and she could not help singing “Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away,” and she commenced singing again, and the “repeats” were more fervent than before, indicating clearly the influence of the words and the music, as well as the feeling, upon the congregation.
A man in the gallery afterwards prayed. Mr. Roberts then delivered a brief address. He remarked that it was not for ministers or deacons to do the work of the Churches alone, but for all to work together, and then the revival—of which they were now only opening the gates—would come. Would any “backslider” get up and re-join the Lord’s Church? They need not be afraid of the term “backslider.” Coming back was the great thing. Promptly came the response, A man rose in the congregation, and spoke a, few words in a low voice, and spontaneously the crowded congregation sang: -
“Gwaed y Groes sy’n codi fyny,
‘Reiddil yn goncwerwyr mawr;
Gwaed y Groes sydd yn darostwng
Cewri cedyrn fyrdd i lawr.
Byth am goflo llwch y llawr.”
Without repeating the full verses, the now thoroughly roused congregation sang the refrain of the next verse: -
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.”
An old lady rose in the body of the chapel and delivered an impassioned Welsh appeal to all to join the people who could sing “O happy day,” and a man—seemingly a workman—at the lower end of the chapel, gave out, voluntarily, the hymn, “Ni fuasai genyf obaith,” which led to fervent singing of the well-known “repeat”: -
“O rhyw anfeidrol gariad
I gofio am danaf fi,”
—’The eloquent words and music with which the late Gabriel Williams, of Treherbert, thrilled the vast audience in St. James’s Hall, London, on a memorable occasion some years ago. By this time the pulpit, or, rather, rostrum, of the chapel was filled, as well as the pews, and while the conductor of the meeting was walking about quietly, now in the gallery, now in the aisles, four local ministers sat in the rostrum, thoroughly enjoying the service and joining heartily in the singing.
Presently there was a moment’s silence, and a North Walian rose and shouted, “Thank God for Llwynffortun, the only man who in days gone by took an interest in the gipsies,” and then proceeded to speak at some length, raising and lowering his voice in the cadences of the Welsh “hwyl,” as the old lady already referred to had done. ‘While he was proceeding a girl’s sweet voice rang out with the words and music of
“Gwaed y groes sy’n codi fyny,”
And the congregation joined magnificently.
Into the “big seat,” and, at the earnest invitation of others, on to the rostrum went a clerical-looking gentleman — the Rev. T. 0. Thomas, formerly schoolmaster of Bedlinog — who, without announcing’ or being announced, read a portion of Scripture, and fired his hearers by declaring that he had just come from Loughor, where he had been “in the midst of the fire.” He had spent Sunday there, and could testify to that which was being done. He was, he said, keenly interested in it. He remembered an old woman praying for this revival before this young man (pointing to Mr. Evan Roberts) was born — in the words (which he sang) —
“O anfon Di yr Ysbryd Glan,
Yn enw Iesu mawr,
A’i weithrediadau megys tan,
O anfon Ef i lawr”
Needless to say, the touch of the “fire” kindled a kindred fire in the congregation, and the service was still further strengthened when Mr. Roberts once more declared that the revival was coming — that they were only “opening the gates,” and he asked them to sing: -
“Duw mawr y rhyfeddodau maith.”
He interspersed maxims and exhortations, even in giving out the hymn, and then came the deep roll of the resounding bass on the lines: -
“Ond Dwyfol ras, niwy rhyfedd yw
Na’th holl weithredoedd o bob rhyw,” &c.
Thus were the proceedings continued until a late hour.
Part 1. Welsh Religious Revival, 1904
Part 2. The Scenes at Loughor
Part 3. The Revival Spreads
Part 4. Meetings at Trecynon
Part 5. Full Day of Noble Work
Part 6. Crowds at Pontycymmer
Part 7. The Wesley of Wales
Part 8. Greatest Day of His Life
Part 9. Bridgend and Abergwynfi
Part 10. At Mountain Ash
Part 11. A Voice from Macedonia
Part 12. "Sweeping Like a Wave"
Part 13. Second Day at Ynysybwl
Part 14. Temporary Indisposition
Part 15. Every Chapel Filled
Part 16. The Revivalist Jubilant
Part 17. Converts at Treorky
Part 18. Drunkards Reformed
Part 19. An Idle Stipendiary
Part 20. Unexpected Features
Part 21. Enthusiasm at Pentre
Part 22. In Fresh Fields
Part 23. "Fire" at Senghenydd
Part 24. The Rhondda Re-visited
Part 25. Service in a Coal Mine
Part 26. Welsh Methodists and the Revivalist, by Rev. Cyndlylan Jones, D.D.