Carmel Baptist Chapel - Troedyrhiw (1905)



It was with open arms that Mr Evan Roberts was welcomed today at Troedyrhiw, a prosperous mining township a few miles below Merthyr. Pretty well all the chapels of the place were thrown open all day, and, although the evangelist was not expected to be present, the morning services were well attended, and were of a particularly fervent character. People were preparing to go to the meeting as early as eight o’clock in the morning. In the afternoon and evening again the various chapels were crowded. Mr Roberts’s reception was more than cordial – it was affectionate. The fact of his having been assailed was often more or less directly referred to, and had evidently created widespread sympathy with the young missioner. This warmly sympathetic feeling, indeed, was reflected in the services, particularly in the prayers. Advantage was taken of a meeting held at Carmel Baptist Chapel in the morning of passing a resolution of strong protest against the strictures of the Rev. Peter Price of Dowlais, the author of an article strongly criticising the revival. Mr Roberts attended at Carmel Baptist Chapel in the afternoon, and, though not the slightest indication was given as to where he would attend, the building was soon crowded. It was evident from the very commencement that this was no ordinary meeting, even for a revival meeting. The whole congregation was swayed with great feeling; the prayers were sublime in their eloquence, and the singing was thrilling – expressive now of penitence and sorrow, and then a massive overpowering outburst of thanksgiving and praise, and Mr Robert’s arrival was the signal for increased fervour. The evangelist was accompanied by Miss Annie Davies and Miss Mary Davies. Presently, Mr Roberts stood up, not to speak much, but to make the declaration that someone had “decided,” and all that was necessary was that he should be asked to stand up, and immediately a convert as announced. A man was praying that God should save that afternoon, “Oh, He is saving,” rejoined the missioner; “there is another one who has yielded,” and at one came the announcement of another convert. “Diolch iddo” (“Thanks be to him”) then rang out. The evangelist, as it startled by having just made some discovery, stopped the singing. “There is another one; there is another here,” he exclaimed quickly, and immediately came the reply, “Here she is.” “Yes, that’s right; diolch iddo,” he gleefully rejoined, and a peal of praise followed. His countenance soon assumed a serious aspect. He buried his face in his hand, and was evidently engaged in prayer, and he again interrupted the singing with the declaration that another soul had “decided for Christ.” This time the response was not immediately forthcoming. “Oh!” he cried, with emotion, to the Church members, “I pray you don’t be idle. He has yielded; you have only to ask him.” There was a period of suspense. A man in the gallery said that one man there was on the verge of making the “decision,” but Mr Roberts insisted that the person he referred to had already decided. Someone started singing, but Mr Roberts almost peremptorily remarked, “There is to be no singing; it is too terrible to sing. I must have this burden removed.” Then came the announcement of the convert, and the people are carried away with joy. Next time he intervened to announce that there was a soul to travail, but ere long his face list up as he told of another conversion. And he was right. It was in this way that the service proceeded, amidst increasing excitement, for some time, until a score of converts were declared. The evening meeting was held at Saron Welsh Congregational Chapel, the largest building at Treodyrhiw, which was crowded to overflowing as early as five o’clock. Prior to Mr Evan Roberts’s arrival in the evening again there were many fervent prayers offered on his behalf in view of the recent attack upon him, but with a delicacy, which was greatly to their credit, the painful topic was scrupulously eschewed by the people in the evangelist’s presence. Mr Roberts arrived about seven o’clock, accompanied by two young ladies and immediately asked all members to stand, and there was witnessed a repetition of the marvellous scene enacted in the afternoon, the evangelist predicting in rapid succession about a dozen converts. The people had been evidently greatly perturbed by what they had just witnessed, and were completely carried away with ecstatic delight. Practically the whole congregation en masse gave free expression to their emotions. They prayed and they praised God almost literally with one accord. Hundreds prayed at the same time. How long this continued it is difficult to say, but ultimately it all culminated in a pean of praise, “Duw mawr y fhyfeddodau maith” (Great God of countless wonders”) being sung with grand effect. Mr Roberts laughed aloud with joy; his face, however, would often evidence intense mental pain, but the transition from pain to joy was remarkably rapid in that expressive countenance – one moment contorted with feeling and the next moment beaming with smiles. From, 'The Western Mail', 1st February 1905.


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