Rock Chapel (1790-1829)




1790-4 Trelech, Carmarthenshire. ‘Morgan Jones was ordained minister in Trelech on the 13th of March 1790 [Not 1789 as given in HEAC iii. 396 & 401]. He was a thin pale looking man at the time. Many believed he was not long for this world. But he lived to serve his God for close to 46 years in the same place. But did he prosper? There were early signs in Trelech and Capel Iwan that the right man had come to the right place. The people clave to him at once and he cared for the people also. A spirit of prayer and action came over the churches generally... A revival of a particular sort took place at once after Morgan Jones came to Trelech, namely a quiet revival in the spirit of the members themselves. It cannot be measured or its worth known; but its signs and effects are seen. Mr. Jones understood at once the nature of the task, perceived the need of the area and saw the direction the pillar of fire was leading. It was a pillar of fire, because it was night at that time in Trelech. He grasped the reins with a strong hand. The commotion ended. A spirit of prayer came in its place; for there is no place in the Church of God for a spirit of contention and a spirit of prayer. We see from Mr. Jones’ “Register”, that some of those who had gone out with Mr. Owen Davies returned one by one to the old fold, and they were received in Capel y Graig “as those from the world.” Among them was the daughter of Mr. Owen Davies himself. During the first 5 years of his ministry 336 souls were received and readmitted to the two churches.’ [D.G. Williams, Y Tadau Anibynnol. Rhif x. Y Parch. Morgan Jones, Trelech, Caernarfon [1899],p.160-3; Congregational Magazine, xxii (1829), p.510, Holy Art of Winning Souls, pp.?]

1805-7 Trelech, Carmarthenshire. ‘He had a good time of it again in the fifth, sixth, and seventh year of this century. He received from the start of 1805 to the end of 1807 some 378 members. This was the period Mr. Jones set up new chapels and he saw the propriety of establishing gradually in these chapels three branch churches in different parts of his field.’ [Williams, Morgan Jones, Trelech, p.163]

1818-9 Trelech, Carmarthenshire. Morgan Jones received 98 members in 1818, and 51 the following year (Williams, Morgan Jones, Trelech, p.163)

1822-3 Trelech, Carmarthenshire. Morgan Jones received 181 members in 1822 though only 19 by August 17th. But that Sabbath he gave the right hand of fellowship to 46 in Capel y Graig alone. The following year he received 164 (Williams, Morgan Jones, Trelech p.163; Congregational Magazine, xxii (1829), p.510)

‘REVIVAL OF RELIGION IN WALES.

To the Editor.

Taunton, June 10, 1823

DEAR SIR,

I think the encouragement afforded by the relation in the foregoing letter , to pray for the peculiar influence of the Holy Spirit, is such as may be grateful to the pious readers of your useful Magazine.

T. LUKE. Trelech, May 11, 1823.

“In the beginning of the last year I endeavoured to impress the minds of our members with the necessity of praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: the importance of doing so was felt, and in the course of a few months this feeling became general; several prayer meetings were formed, and several members of some years standing in the church were much affected in such meetings, and evidently began to pray with greater energy and fervour, whilst others soon became equally affected. The dwellinghouses in which these meetings were established, soon became too small to contain the numbers that assembled on such occasions. Barns during the summer months were converted into houses of prayer; and, when convenient, in the evening we assembled at the chapel, which was crowded. Many of the young people who had attended our Sabbathschools, began to manifest a strong desire to make a full profession of attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ. In the praying societies, at times, thirteen or fourteen would succeed each other in addressing the Throne of Grace with truly Christian simplicity. You might hear some pleading for the exhibition of divine mercy to their parents, to their brothers and sisters, to the members of those families at whose houses such meetings were held, &c. There are hitherto no extravagancies, no jumping, not so much singing as we have witnessed in former revivals; but more praying, and some possessing uncommon gifts. Scarcely an evening passes without a meeting for prayer in some place or another. We have admitted into communion since last August, 230; besides several now before our societies, under examination; and the work seems to proceed in a still greater degree in the branches of our church. We are not the only people so favoured; there has been a great revival at Neuaddlwyd, under the Rev. T. Phillips; there is also at Glynarthen (a branch of the Church under the pastoral care of the Rev. T. Griffiths) such a revival, that I am informed there were sixty candidates for church fellowship at one time; and at Henllan 27. May our Jesus ride triumphantly in the Gospel chariot!

With Christian love,

I remain yours most cordially.

M. J.”’

(EM 1823, pp.338-9, translated in Y Diwygiwr 1840, pp.143-4)

1829 Trelech, Carmarthenshire. Morgan Jones received 556 converts in 1829 (See Williams, Morgan Jones, Trelech p.163-4 for further details; also Congregational Magazine, xii (1829), pp.510-1 [NB All place names have been modernised.]:

REVIVAL OF RELIGION IN WALES.

Forty years ago the Rock Chapel, Trelech. Carmarthenshire, was the only Independent Society in that neighbourhood. In 1790, the Rev. M. Jones was ordained pastor over that people, and members were united to the church belonging to Llwyn-yr-hwrdd, Blaenycoed, Ffynnonbedr, and Chapel Iwan. In a few years these so much increased, that for their accommodation chapels were built at three of these places, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was successively introduced amongst them. The work of God having prospered in the church at Trelech and its branches, by successive revivals, (1792, 1793,) and especially in 1822, when 300 members were added to the church, it became necessary to have further ministerial assistance. The Rev. E. Jones, son of the pastor, was therefore chosen to the copastorate, and in 1824 was ordained at Trelech accordingly.

This Society has been cordially engaged in instructing the young in Sabbath Schools, not only to read, but also in the great truths of the Gospel, and so numerous has the attendance been for years, that few can be found in that neighbourhood unable to read.

In the beginning of the present year, a religious concern began to pervade a branch Sunday School, in the parish of Clydey [NB actually the parish of Cilrhedyn, but the parish church is in Clydey—DGJ], belonging to the church at Trelech. About one half of the school had previously professed religion, but now a concern for their souls became the one thing needful with persons of all ages in the school, so that, in a short time, all who were in the school came forward to propose themselves for church fellowship, except two, and one of these, who had been a scoffer, and was deeply afflicted afterwards, joined himself to the people of God.

The revival in that school was preceded by a remarkable degree of sincerity and impartiality in the advice and reproofs of the teachers, who were also very diligent in instructing the children in those things which belong to their peace. A day for prayer and humiliation was set apart and observed at each of the chapels, when the congregations were crowded; the prayers for divine influences fervent; great seriousness prevailed, and saving impressions were revived in the hearts of some, and wrought in the minds of many. These solemn services were again renewed on the 17th of April, (Good Friday.)

Meetings of inquiry were publicly held with those who were under religions concern and these exercises were highly beneficial. Some who presented themselves had been under convictions for many years, others had received them during the preceding year, but most within a few months.

The work of conversion extended through the Sunday Schools at Trelech, Glanrhyd, Llanwinio, and Crugiwan. At the latter place there was also preaching, but the meetings were so thinly attended, that an old disciple said, “we are too, cold,—we shall have no revivals here.” But shortly after there was an evident impression on the minds of those who assembled, accompanied with weeping and confession of their coldness. At the next service the house was crowded; much weeping prevailed; there was scarcely an individual present unaffected. The old disciple referred to, remarked the next day, “last night was wonderful—generally we hear the people talking in every direction, and at great distances as they go home, but last night all was silence, sadness was felt by all.” Although this work has greatly prospered in the Sunday Schools, yet it has not been confined to them, for many, of all ages, in these and neighbouring places, were impressed, attended the inquiry meetings, and at length proposed themselves for church fellowship.

At Chapel Iwan numbers have professed their faith in Jesus, and numbers more are coming forward.

Before Llwyn-yr-hwrdd felt the blessed influence of revival, many of the young people met together in the evenings, for trifling mirth and idle conversation, but these meetings were entirely abandoned, through a religious concern, which was generally diffused, and many were added to the church.

Peterwell, or Ffynnonbedr, was left unvisited by the revival of 1822, and the branch of the church there was consequently feeble, and fears were entertained lest the present revival should not extend thither; but soon after the prayer-meetings for the outpouring of the Spirit was held, a feeling was apparent in the meetings at the chapel and in the neighbourhood; members from the Sunday Schools, and many householders were united to the church, and are remarkable for their delight in religious conversation, and for their diligence and zeal in the cause of Jesus.

That the reader may judge of the results of this blessed visitation, it is necessary to report, that since the 19th of April last, four hundred and seventythree persons have been added to the church at Trelech and its branches, as under:— Trelech 219

Chapel Iwan 68

Llwyn-yr-hwrdd 69

Blaenycoed 65

Ffynnonbedr 52

473

On this happy visitation, the Rev. M. Jones, the senior pastor, has favoured us with the following remarks:-

“1. In this revival I have observed great solemnity possessing the minds of the hearers in general, especially amongst those who proposed themselves for church fellowship.

“2. It followed a day set apart for prayer, that the Holy Spirit might be shed forth, and which was kept at each of our places; we also observed Good Friday, and have since held similar meetings monthly.

“3. It has been with great power, for some who had been impressed with the importance of religion, at times, for many years, and have shifted their convictions, could withstand no longer, and backsliders, who have been long separated, one ten years, and another thirtyfive years, were restored to the church.

“4. This revival has, in a great degree, changed the face of things in our neighbourhood, in a moral point of view.

“5. Although this revival has occurred amongst the Welsh, who are said to be proverbially impassioned, yet it is not the result of any excitation produced by awful providences, strange ministers or even by meetings of ministers; but it is the effect of an instrumentality, which the people have possessed for years and which for years had not produced any visible effects upon their minds!”

What encouragement does this afford to every pastor, to gird up the loins of his mind with renewed energy, and to seek, by prayer and labour, similar blessings.” (Also Holy Art of Winning Souls, pp.?; HEAC iii. 396)

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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