Revivals in Wales 1649-1794
While the efforts of the Reformers from Popery were exerted to spread abroad the blessed light of the Reformation throughout England and Scotland, the principality of Wales seems to have been comparatively neglected. This may have been owing to the difference of language and the difficulty of access to a population scattered over a mountainous country.
Shortly after the meeting of the famous Westminster Assembly, public attention was directed to the spiritual condition of Wales. It was found on inquiry that the inhabitants were in a most destitute state as regarded the means of religious instruction: the few clergymen they had were ignorant and idle, and the people had neither Bibles nor catechisms in their own language. The Parliament, taking their case into consideration, on the 22nd February, 1649, passed an Act for the better propagation of the Gospel in Wales; and, for carrying the Act into effect, appointed commissioners to visit the country, and ascertain the destitution, and apply an immediate remedy. Such was the diligence of the commissioners in this good work, that in the short space of three years they settled one hundred and fifty pious ministers in the thirteen Welsh counties; and in every market town they had placed one schoolmaster, and in the larger towns two, all of them men who had received a university education. In the prosecution of their work, the commissioners found great difficulty in procuring a succession of ministers able to preach in the Welsh language. And in order to meet the exigency of the case, they appointed thirty preachers to itinerate over the country; these, however, were found insufficient for overtaking the destitution, and to supply the deficiency, they permitted persons of approved piety to go amongst the people to read to them the Bible, and converse with them about those things that pertained to their everlasting peace.
Mr. Hugh Owen
These exertions on the part of the government ended with the restoration of Charles the Second; and the further improvement of Wales was left very much to the individual exertions of persons specially raised up by Providence for the work. One of those instruments was Mr. Hugh Owen. He was a candidate for the ministry when the Act of Uniformity came forth, and not feeling himself at liberty to comply with its terms, he settled down in Merionethshire, upon an estate of his own in that county, and occupied his time in preaching the Gospel to the poor ignorant people: his manner was affectionate and moving, and many were much benefitted by his preaching.
He went about declaring the Gospel of salvation throughout Merionethshire, and the neighbouring counties of Montgomery and Caernarvon. He had stations in all these places, some of them twenty and thirty miles from his own residence. He performed his circuit in about three months, and then began again. Great numbers attended his ministry. He laboured indefatigably, and impaired his health by riding often during the night, and in cold stormy weather, over the mountains. He was a primitive apostolical Christian, meek and humble; and would often style himself less than the least of all the ministers of Jesus Christ. He died, after a life of much usefulness, in 1697, aged 62.
Mr. Thomas Gouge
Another benefactor to Wales was Mr. Thomas Gouge. He was ejected from St. Sepulchre’s, London, by the Act of Uniformity. Prevented by this odious enactment from exercising his ministry, Providence directed his attention to Wales; and at the advanced age of between 60 and 70 years, he began itinerating through that country, preaching the Gospel; and although much opposed, he remembered the injunction of his Master, “when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” Not content with preaching to the old, he set about providing means of instruction for the young, and was instrumental in establishing free Schools in many of the towns he visited. He also got printed an edition of eight thousand copies of the Scriptures in the Welsh language; one thousand of which he gave gratis to those who were unable to pay, and the rest were sold at a reduced price. In addition to this, he got printed for the schools, a catechism and several other useful books, all in the native tongue.
From an account, published in 1675, of his labours, we find that he had established schools in fifty-one of the chief towns in Wales, and that in these schools there were upwards of one thousand children under instruction. To support these schools, Mr. Gouge was much assisted with funds by the friends of religion in London and elsewhere. In this good work he employed all his time, and engaged in it with his whole heart; and though in his seventy-fifth year, he still, once a-year, and sometimes even oftener, travelled over the greater part of Wales. Such was his love and zeal for the salvation of souls, and diligence and activity in the prosecution of his work, that all the pains and difficulties he had to encounter seemed nothing, if he could only follow the example of his Master in going about doing good.
Rev. Griffith Jones of Llandower
Nothing particular occurred in the way of exertion to promote religion in Wales, till the beginning of the last century, when it pleased God to raise up and qualify the Rev. Griffith Jones of Llandower, Carmarthenshire, who at this period showed himself a true friend to his countrymen, by the faithfulness of his preaching, and unbounded charity and benevolence. He was instrumental in procuring for Wales, two editions of the Bible, and in establishing Free Schools for the children of the poor in many parts of the principality. From the year 1737 to 1760, he published an annual account of their progress, and in the last-mentioned year, their number had amounted to 215 Schools, attended by 8,687 Scholars. Mr. Jones was an animated, faithful, and laborious minister, well versed in the Scriptures, and was honoured with much success. He did not confine his labours to his own flock, but frequently itinerated throughout the neighbouring parishes. It has been said that Mr. Howel Harris was one of the fruits of his ministry.
Mr. Howel Harris
This gentleman was a native of Trevecca, in Brecknockshire. He intended to enter the ministry in connection with the Established Church, and with this view entered himself a Student in one of the colleges at Oxford. He soon became disgusted at the conduct he witnessed there, and returned to his friends in Wales. He was not long at home before he ventured to go from house to house in his native parish, to speak to the people about their everlasting interests. He gradually extended his labours to the adjoining parishes: his fame soon spread over the whole country, and great multitudes attended his meetings.
It is said that such was the power and authority with which he delivered his exhortations, that many could not refrain from crying out aloud, being overpowered by a sense of their own sinfulness in the sight of a holy God. Family worship was now setup in many a house which hitherto had never heard the voice of prayer. The enemy could no longer remain inactive, and offered every opposition in his power by means of mocking, derision, and threatening. Nothing daunted by these annoyances, Mr. Harris persevered in his labours of love. About the year 1736, he established a school at Trevecca, to which many of the youth came to be more largely instructed in the things which concerned their souls. The success which attended his labours among the young in Trevecca, encouraged Mr. Harris to establish in several other places, regular meetings of serious persons for prayer and religious conversation. This was the commencement of the private societies which have ever since formed a principal feature by which the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists may be distinguished from other denominations of professing Christians in that country. The number of these meetings rapidly increased; for in the short space of three years there were no less than 300 Societies in South Wales, all of them owing their origin to Mr. Harris’s exertions.
Referring to this period in a letter to the Rev. George Whitefield, Mr. Harris thus writes. “I have most glorious news to send you from Wales of the success attending brother Rowlands and many others. They are wounded by scores, and flock to hear the word by thousands. There is another clergyman coming out sweetly and united to us, and another young curate not far from Mr. Griffith Jones under strong drawings and convictions. There are now in Wales ten clergymen who are wonderfully owned of, by the Lord Jesus Christ—five beneficed and five settled in curacies.”
Daniel Rowlands of Llangeitho
The first minister of the Establishment who ventured to assist Mr. Harris in promoting the spread of religion in Wales, was the Reverend and justly renowned Daniel Rowlands of Llangeitho. Such was this minister’s popularity and eloquence, that persons have been known to come the distance of 100 miles to hear him preach, and attend the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper. Under his ministry there were several awakenings to a considerable extent. The first took place when he was at prayer in the church; the effect was astonishing: the people were melted into tears and wept loudly. This awakening spread throughout the three parishes under his pastoral care, and many were savingly impressed. The next commenced at a prayer meeting in Llangeitho chapel. Six or seven of these Revivals took place during the life-lime of Mr. Rowlands, some of them occurring at intervals of seven years. Speaking of this period, Whitefield remarks, in his own warm energetic language, “Blessed be God, there seems to be a noble spirit gone out into Wales. People make nothing of coming twenty miles to hear a sermon, and great numbers there are who have not only been hearers but doers also of the word, so that there is a most comfortable prospect of the spreading of the Gospel in Wales.” At one of these awakenings, it is said many hundreds, and even thousands were understood to be savingly impressed.
Rev. Thomas Charles of Bala
One of the happy fruits of Mr. Rowland’s ministry was the Rev. Thomas Charles, afterwards of Bala, a memoir of whom has been published by the Rev. Edward Morgan, and to which we are indebted for the narrative of the revival of religion at Bala under Mr. Charles’s ministry. We shall give the narrative of Mr. Charles’s reception of the truth in his own words: —
“On January 20, 1773, (in his eighteenth year,) I went to hear Mr. Rowland preach at Newchapel; his text was Heb. iv. 15. This is a day much to be remembered by me as long as I live. Ever since that happy day I have lived in a new heaven and a new earth. The change which a blind man who receives his sight experiences, does not exceed the change which at this time I experienced in my mind. It was then I was first convinced of the sin of unbelief, or of entertaining narrow, contracted, and hard thoughts of the Almighty. I had such a view of Christ as our High Priest, of his love, compassion, power, and all-sufficiency, as filled my soul with astonishment, with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; my mind was overwhelmed and filled with amazement.
The truths exhibited to my view appeared for a time too wonderfully gracious to be believed; I could not believe for very joy; I had before some ideas of the Gospel work floating in my head, but they never powerfully and with divine energy penetrated my heart till now.” Two years after this remarkable event in Mr. Charles’s history, Providence very unexpectedly opened a way for his being educated for the ministry at Oxford, where he remained till 1778, when he was ordained to preach the everlasting Gospel. Few men have entered into the ministry more deeply impressed with the solemn responsibility attached to the right performance of its duties; and here we cannot resist quoting from the memoir formerly referred to, Mr. Charles’s views and feelings on this interesting occasion:
“I felt an earnest desire that the Lord would enable me to devote myself wholly to his service during the remainder of my days on earth, and was not a little impressed with the sense of the great importance of the charge I had taken upon me, and of my inability to discharge it faithfully. That solemn exhortation and charge in Acts xx. 28, sounds in my ears, day and night. Is the church so dear and precious to Christ, that he purchased it with his most precious blood? What bowels of compassion and mercy then should I exercise towards everyone, even the meanest individual in it! How solicitous should I be about their welfare, how anxious about their salvation! May God of his infinite goodness enable me to be faithful, and may the Spirit of Jehovah rest upon me for evermore.’’ Acting under such views, Mr. Charles entered upon the performance of his duties, and officiated as curate in several parishes, till 1784. Such, however, was the hatred at this time manifested to the doctrines he preached, by those in power in the church, that he was forced to resign his charges one after another, and was at last literally driven to exercise his ministry beyond her communion. The detail of his life during this trying period is deeply interesting, and will amply repay an attentive perusal. His active mind would not allow him to be wholly unemployed. The ignorance which prevailed among the young people at Bala, Merionethshire, where he had now fixed his residence, excited his sympathy. He invited them to his house on the Sabbath evenings to catechise them, and give them religious instruction. His manner was peculiarly kind and affectionate, and the love and tenderness with which he addressed them, melted them into tears. His house soon became too small to contain those who attended, and he was offered the use of their chapel by the Calvinistic Methodists, who were then, and for a long time after, connected with the Established Church. This offer he gladly accepted, and instructed and catechised the large number of children who attended. This work was the delight of his heart, and was the commencement of Sabbath school instruction in that part of the country.
Many, depressed under a sense of their sinfulness, were made to rejoice in the salvation of their God, being filled “with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” The scene at times was most interesting and affecting: hundreds melted into tears; some mourning with a godly sorrow for sin; others weeping for joy, and exulting in a glorious Saviour; some with their countenances betraying the deepest grief, becoming those who were crying out, “what must they do to be saved.”
Shortly after this, Mr Charles began preaching regularly in connection with the Whitefield or Calvinistic Methodists, and it was at this time that his active labours in Wales commenced. He was now about thirty years of age, and not a novice either in religion or in the ministry. Twelve years had elapsed since the time at which he dates the beginning of his acquaintance with the true nature of the Gospel, and he had now been more than seven years in the ministry. He had passed through a series of mental conflicts with the evil of his own heart not often experienced, and had also been favoured with comforting views of divine things not commonly enjoyed.
The field of labour on which Mr. Charles now entered was very unpromising. True religion, says his biographer, had, for the most part, forsaken the country. Those who possessed a knowledge of the Gospel were few, when compared with the mass of the people around them, who were sunk to the lowest depths of ignorance and immorality. The Bible was almost an unknown book, and in many parishes, not even ten persons could be found capable of reading it. In the summer of 1785, Mr. Charles attended the Annual Association at Llangeitho, then the principal place of resort to all the religious people throughout the principality. He preached before the Association, and the great and venerable Rowlands formerly mentioned was one of his hearers. This aged servant of Christ had great penetration, and instantly perceived that Mr. Charles was no common man. His remark on the occasion was, “Charles is a gift from the Lord to North Wales;” and had he been a prophet, he could not have uttered a more correct prediction. God soon began to follow with a remarkable blessing, the labours of Mr. Charles. In September of the same year, he preached at Loufudr, Caernarvonshire. Many were deeply impressed during the discourse. No less apparent was the power which accompanied his preaching soon after, at an association held at Bontuchel, near Ruthin, Denbighshire. A divine unction seemed to accompany the word. Convictions of the strongest kind were produced. The most hardened sinners were broken down, and made to weep loudly, and to abhor themselves in dust and ashes.” Many, depressed under a sense of their sinfulness, were made to rejoice in the salvation of their God, being filled “with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” The scene at times was most interesting and affecting: hundreds melted into tears; some mourning with a godly sorrow for sin; others weeping for joy, and exulting in a glorious Saviour; some with their countenances betraying the deepest grief, becoming those who were crying out, “what must they do to be saved.” The faces of others again, though bedewed with tears, were glistering with expressions of joy and thankfulness. These effects were produced, not by any fanciful or exaggerated statement, but by the words of truth and soberness; and, no doubt, accompanied by the power and demonstration of the Spirit of God.
The establishment of Christian schools
Mr C. had an active and inquisitive mind, always planning and contriving something to forward the interests of true religion. The present manner of exercising his ministry, afforded him opportunities of becoming acquainted with the condition of the country; and the result of his inquiries disclosed a state of things most appalling. Ignorance of religion prevailed to an extent scarcely conceivable in a country professedly Christian. Having thus acquired a knowledge of the religious state of the country, he felt anxious to provide a remedy, and the plan he thought of, was the establishment of circulating schools, moveable from one place to another as circumstances required; but Mr. Charles had two difficulties to surmount in the prosecution of his design, — to raise money to support the schools, and to procure teachers. We shall give the account of the commencement and prosecution of this benevolent undertaking in Mr. Charles’s own words in writing to some friends on the subject: —
“In my travels through different parts of North Wales, about twenty-three years ago, I perceived that the state of the poor of the country in general, was so low as to religious knowledge, that in many parts not one person in twenty was capable of reading the Scriptures, and in some districts hardly an individual could be found who had received any instruction in reading. This discovery pained me beyond what I can express, and made me think seriously of some remedy, effectual and speedy, for the redress of this grievance. I accordingly proposed to a few friends to set a subscription on foot to pay the wages of a teacher, who was to be moved circuitously from one place to another; to instruct the poor in reading, and in the first principles of Christianity by catechising them. This work began in the year 1785. At first only one teacher was employed. As the funds increased, so in proportion the number of teachers was enlarged, till they amounted to twenty. Some of the first teachers I was obliged to instruct myself; and these afterwards instructed others sent them to learn to be schoolmasters.”
Not content with imparting instruction to the young, Mr. Charles urged upon all of every age the duty of being able to read for themselves the word of God. and he had the gratification of seeing parents sitting down with their children in the same school, and learning to read that blessed book which maketh wise unto salvation. As to the progress of the schools, and the effects produced by them, we give the following quotation: —
“The spirit of learning has rapidly spread among young people and children in large populous districts, where hitherto it had been wholly neglected. Their usual profanation of the Sabbath, in meeting for play, or in public-houses, has been forsaken, and the Sabbaths are now spent in the schools, or in religious exercises. We have also this year held associations of the different schools. They meet in some central place to be publicly catechised. On one occasion, the effect that followed an examination of these schools was very remarkable. In a town, which seemed to grow worse and worse, increasing daily in all kinds of wickedness, the people, young and old, running into all manner of excesses, especially at the annual wakes, Mr. Charles, lamenting this state of things, made up his mind to attempt to storm this stronghold of Satan. About two months before the wakes, he sent to the teachers of the Sabbath schools, requesting them to get the children to search the Bible for texts which prohibit directly or indirectly such evil practices as dancing, drunkenness, sensual indulgences, &c., and to commit them to memory, saying, that they might expect him there at the feast to catechise the children.
The young people set to work, and there was a great deal of talk in the town and neighbourhood about the subject. When the time arrived, Mr. Charles went there, and most of the people of the place, led by curiosity in a great measure, went to hear what the children had to say on these subjects. The meeting began, as usual, with singing and prayer. Then Mr. C. began to ask them questions on the points given them to learn. Is drunkenness set forth as bad and sinful in Scripture? Yes, said one, and repeated these words, “Woe unto them that follow strong drink, that continue until night, until wine inflame them, and the harp and the viol, the tabret and the pipe, are in their feasts; but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands,’’ Isaiah v. 11, 12. In this way he proceeded with them concerning the other sins, and the answers were given with great propriety and seriousness.
The people began to hold down their heads, and appeared to be much affected. Observing this, he addressed them in the kindest manner, and exhorted them by all means to leave off their sinful practices, to relinquish the works of darkness, to come to Christ, who was waiting to be gracious, to learn the word of God, after the example of their children, and to try to seek superior pleasures, and a better world. The effect was so great that all went home, and the houses of revelling were completely forsaken. The following day the harper was met going home by a person on the road, who, surprised to see him leaving the place so soon, asked him what was the reason, ‘Some minister,’ said he, ‘has been catechising there, and persuaded the young people not to attend the feast.’” Such are some of the effects of these interesting schools, which, along with the faithful preaching of the Gospel, prepared the way for the great revival of religion which took place in North Wales, beginning in the year 1791, for the particulars of which, we again quote from Mr. Charles’s Letters:—
And here, at Bala, we have had a very great, powerful, and glorious outpouring of the Spirit on the people in general, especially on the children and young people. Scores of the wildest and most inconsiderate of young people of both sexes have been awakened. Their convictions have been very clear and powerful; and in some instances so deep as to bring them to the brink of despair.
“You inquire about the state of the churches in Wales. I have nothing but what is favourable to communicate. We had lately a very comfortable association at Pwllheli. Some thousands attended; more than ever was seen before. And here, at Bala, we have had a very great, powerful, and glorious outpouring of the Spirit on the people in general, especially on the children and young people. Scores of the wildest and most inconsiderate of young people of both sexes have been awakened. Their convictions have been very clear and powerful; and in some instances so deep as to bring them to the brink of despair. Their consolations have also been equally strong. If the Lord should be graciously pleased to continue the work, as it has prevailed some weeks past, the devil’s kingdom will be in ruins in this neighbourhood. Ride on, ride on, thou King of glory, is the fervent cry of my soul, day and night. I verily believe that the Lord means to give the kingdom of darkness a dreadful shake; for he takes off its pillars. Those that were foremost in the service of Satan and rebellion against God, are now the foremost in seeking salvation through the blood of the Lamb. It is an easy work to preach the Gospel of the kingdom here at this time. Divine truths have their own infinite weight and importance on the minds of the people. Beams of divine light, together with divine irresistible energy, accompany every truth delivered. It is glorious to see how the stoutest hearts are bowed down and the hardest melted. I would not have been without seeing what I have lately seen, no, not for the world.
“These are the blessed things I have to relate to you, my dear brother, respecting poor Wales. The charity schools here are abundantly blessed. Children that were aforetime like jewels buried in rubbish, now appear with divine lustre and transcendent beauty. Little children from six to twelve years of age, are affected, astonished, and overpowered. Their young minds, day and night, are filled with nothing but soul concerns. All I say is matter of fact. I have not exaggerated in the least degree, nor related more than a small part of the whole. The Lord hath done great things for us, and to him be all the praise.”
One of the ministers of Edinburgh having seen this Letter, wrote Mr. Charles in March, 1792, mentioning the Revivals which took place in Scotland in 1742, and requesting further information, to which, Mr. Charles, in May of the same year, sent the following reply:—
“That it was the work of God I am not left to doubt in the least degree. It carries along with it every scriptural, satisfactory evidence that we can possibly desire; such as deep conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment,— great reformation of manners,— great love for, and delight in, the Word of God, in prayer, in spiritual conversation, and divine ordinances. These, even in young persons, occupy the place and employ the time that was spent in vain diversions and amusements. No harps, but the golden harps, of which St. John speaks, have been played on in this neighbourhood for some months past. The craft is not only in danger, but entirely destroyed and abolished. The little stone has broken in pieces, and wholly destroyed these ensnaring hindrances.
“But I am far from expecting that all those who have experienced these impressions are savingly wrought upon and really converted. If that were the case, all the country must have been converted; for at one time there were but very few who had not felt awful impressions on their minds, producing foreboding fears respecting their future existence in another world. It was a most solemn time indeed! I never saw a livelier picture of the state of men’s minds at the day of judgment, according to their respective conditions. That awful dispensation lasted but for a few weeks. But the ministration of the Word is still lively and powerful; and fresh awakenings take place, though not so numerous as at first. Perhaps it will not be known till the day of judgment how many of these new converts are actually brought into a state of salvation, nor who they are. But. hitherto we have every reason to be thankful for the good progress they continue to make. Among so many there must be great variety; and we may have better hopes of some than others; but hitherto none have turned away from feeding beside the Shepherd’s tents.
“As to the further spread of the work, the prospect in our country is in general very pleasing. In Caernarvonshire and Anglesea, the congregations are very numerous. Thousands flock together at the sound of the Gospel trumpet, and hear with great earnestness and attention. Awakenings also are frequent. The report of what had been going on in this place awakened the attention of the whole country, and filled the churches everywhere with the spirit of thanksgiving and prayer. The beginning was so glorious that I cannot think but that it precedes great things. The churches everywhere are prepared; they are praying; they are waiting and longing for His coining. He has indeed done already great things in this principality. Within these fifty years there have been five or six very great awakenings.
“Your saying that a similar work took place in your country about fifty years ago, has enkindled a spirit of prayer in me for the return of your jubilee. I am persuaded, that except we are favoured with frequent revivals, and a strong and powerful work of the Spirit, we shall in a great degree degenerate, and have only a ‘name to live;’ religion will lose its rigour; the ministry will hardly retain its lustre and glory, and iniquity will of course abound. I am far from supposing this to be the case in your country. I am only speaking of the thing itself. Scotland, I know, in ages past, has been a highly-favoured country. I hope it still continues so: but I am perfectly ignorant of the present state of religion in it. May the good Lord hasten that blessed time, when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and his Christ.”
In January, 1794, in writing to the same clergyman, whose name we regret his biographer has not given, he thus further details the progress of the work. “In the course of last year, the almighty power of the Gospel has been most gloriously manifested in different parts of our country. There was a very general awakening through a very large and populous district of Caernarvonshire. In the space of three months, some hundreds were brought under concern about their souls.
Oh! my dear Sir, it is a melodious sound, yes, in the ears of God himself, to hear poor perishing sinners crying out, ‘what must we do to be saved?’ The effects on the country at large are a general reformation of manners, the most diligent attention to the means of grace, private and public, and thirst after divine knowledge. Here at Bala, through mercy, we go on well, and have much cause for thankfulness, though not favoured with the wonderful scenes with which we were gratified two years ago. There is a work going on among us still, though not so powerfully as at the period alluded to. In some of the Schools we have had general awakenings among all the children. We take great care that the teachers be men of piety and of zeal, for the conversion of sinners. We have but one point in view in these institutions, that is the salvation of souls. We endeavour to set this point before them in all its infinite importance, as far surpassing all other matters whatever. This is what we aim to do; but ah! how little would all avail were it not for the powerful agency of the Holy Spirit. Blessed be God, we see him evidently and gloriously at work among us, never more so than at the present time, taking the country at large. Bless the Lord on our behalf, and pray for a continuance of his loving kindness.”
Rev. John Newton’s letter on the revival at Bala
The sentiments of the late Rev. John Newton of St. Mary, Woolnoth, London, respecting this revival, are very pleasing, bearing as they do, on revivals generally. It is contained in a Letter to the Edinburgh minister, so often referred to, and dated London, 20th February, 1792. “The revival at Bala demands thankfulness; the Lord, according to his sovereign pleasure, now and then vouchsafes such seasons of refreshment, as draw the attention of many. But hitherto they have been local and temporary. I remember one in Scotland, about fifty years ago, the most extensive I think took place in America, about the same time, and was first observed under Dr. Edwards’ ministry at Northampton. There is generally much good done on such occasions of power, but we must not expect that every appearance will answer our wishes. There are many more blossoms in Spring than apples in the Autumn; yet we are glad to see blossoms, because we know that if there be no blossoms, there can be no fruit. Yet when sudden and general awakenings take place among people who are ignorant and unacquainted with Scripture, they are more or less attended with blemishes and misguided zeal. The enemy is watchful to sow tares among the wheat. Thus it has always been. It was so in the Apostles’ days, offences arise, and they who watch to find something at which they may stumble and cavil by the righteous judgment of God, have what they wish for. But they who love the Lord and have a regard for precious souls, will rejoice in the good that is really done, and can account for the occasional mixture from the present state of our nature. That the good work at Bala may flourish and extend to London and Edinburgh if the Lord pleases, is my sincere prayer, and I doubt not it is yours.”
Mr. Charles continued his most useful labours in the vineyard for twenty years longer with great success. Re-established and conducted for several years a religious magazine for diffusing intelligence respecting the state of religion at home, and missionary operations abroad. He also assisted in the formation of the Bible Society, and in preparing a new edition of the Welsh Bible published by that Society. He closed a most laborious life in promoting the best interests of his countrymen, on the 5th October, 1814, in the 59th year of his age.
Thus we have given a brief but imperfect sketch of several of the instruments raised up by the great Head of the Church, for advancing the interests of vital religion in Wales; and although for the most part the statements have been more general in their character than could be wished, yet enough has been said to encourage Christians to the continued exercise of believing prayer “that God would arise and have mercy upon Zion, that the time to favour her, yea, the set time, may come.”
This article is a chapter from Narratives of Revivals of Religion in Scotland, Ireland and Wales published in 1839.