Aberaeron (1859)



The awakening influences at length reached the towns of Aberystwyth, Aberayron, Tregaron, and almost every district in the upper and middle parts of Cardiganshire.

The Rev. W. Evans of Aberayron bears the following testimony:

"So far as the externals of religion are concerned, they were never in a more prosperous state than before the dawning of this revival. But, as for the internals—the spiritual temple—these were far from being in a satisfac­tory condition. The spirituality of religion was a strange thing to many who were content with its mere outward profession. But how different is the state of things now amongst us! Language can hardly express the vast good God has graciously done among us! We are at a loss to find words to express our gratitude to Him for such a blessed visitation as we had in this outpouring of His Spirit! A happy change is everywhere observed—our prayer-meetings are become crowded, and a powerful spirit of prayer has laid hold of the Churches. The num­ber of praying and prayerful people has marvellously in­creased.

"One of the most striking characteristics of this move­ment is its effects on young people, and even on children. The words of the prophet are abundantly fulfilled in these days, ‘For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water­courses.' The youth of our congregations are nearly all the subjects of deep religious impressions. Many of them seem as if filled with the spirit of prayer. Very young people, yea, children from ten to fourteen years of age, gather together to hold prayer-meetings, and pray very fer­vently. I have never witnessed so much willingness in candidates for church membership to put on the entire form of the Christian religion, and exercise themselves in all religious duties, as I do now. We have invariably im­pressed on the male candidates the importance of ‘family religion,’ and they invariably and promptly promised to establish family worship. We have never seen such an outburst of feeling as we have in many that have recently been brought under religious impressions. To hear some of them stating what they have passed through is truly affecting; and their earnest, simple, and fervent prayers quite overcome us. Some, after sustaining a severe struggle with their heart-convictions for many days and nights without sleep and without rest, happily at last find peace in Christ to their weary souls, and resolve henceforth to live in Christ and to Him. It has been the practice among us, for some months past, to hold church-meetings after almost every service, to which inquirers have been invited, and are even exhorted to stay with the Church. We have known of many, after mustering all their strength to go out after the sermon or prayer-meeting, finding it too hard to go further than the door, being constrained by their convictions to turn back and join the Church. In a word, in these days something extraordinary has seized upon the mass of the people, for the thing is a wonder to all, a joy to many, and a terror to others.

"Among the fruits of this great revival, the following facts are prominent:— We find many that had led a long life of open rebellion against religion, and everything spiri­tually good, numbered now with the family of God. Some of the worst characters have been made new creatures, con­fessing they never knew the comforts of life till now; and some thank God on their knees that they have enjoyed more happiness in one hour of communion with God, than they had during many years of wasteful life, during which they had expended their thousands in the service of sin.

"It would be a difficult thing for me now to fix upon the probable number of converts. About two hundred have been added to the churches under my care."

Later...

"Prayer-meetings have been, however, the principal means with us of awakening the churches. In many places union prayer-meetings have been very useful in drawing the public mind toward the great question of sal­vation. I have been endeavouring for some time to induce all the congregation, the irreligious as well as the religious portion, to attend the prayer-meetings. In order to this,we held a prayer-meeting for many weeks past, im­mediately before the Sabbath evening service, commencing at half-past five o'clock. By this arrangement we have succeeded in having all the congregation some time to at­tend the prayer-meetings, and great good has been the result. Prayer-meetings have been held on the Sabbath, sometimes without preaching, and have been highly useful, when the people were in some measure prepared for them. In most places prayer-meetings have been held for weeks together; and in no instance have such means been perse­vered in, in the right spirit, without a signal proof of the Divine approbation. But to keep up the interest of the people in such protracted meetings, much depends on their conductors—they must be full of the spirit of prayer them­selves. Prayer, faith in God's word, singleness of purpose, earnestness, and perseverance never fail of their object at a throne of grace; God may be nearer to us than we some­times dare believe."—Rev. W. Evans, Aberayron.

From ‘The Welsh Revival’ by Thomas Phillips


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