Welsh Presbyterian Chapel - Liverpool (1905)

Mr. Evan Roberts’s success reached high water mark at Liverpool last night, for at the service which he conducted in Princes-road Chapel no fewer than 212 converts were enrolled, and the scene with which the meeting closed was the most extraordinary instance of prediction yet witnessed in connection with the Revival here or elsewhere. Arranged specially to give preference to non-adherents, the meeting answered its purpose in that respect to a greater extent than any yet held in Liverpool, and I do not know that any meeting yet held in connection with this great movement anywhere has secured that object so fully. The opening part of the proceedings was, although quiet, marked by fervour in prayer and enthusiasm and volume in the singing. The “lead” was taken by the Rev. Dr. Owen Evans, ex-president of the Welsh Congregational Union, and there was a large attendance of other ministers in the “big pew,” including the Rev. J. R. Wood, ex-president of the Baptist Union, and Dr. Pan Jones. When Mr. Evan Roberts arrived at twenty minutes past seven the congregation was singing- “Ni fuasai genyf obaith, Am ddim ond filamau syth,” “Of nothing could I ever hope But of the flames of hell.” And the repeats of “O ryw anfeidrol Gariad i gofia am danaf fi,” were frequent. Presently the women’s prayers became numerous, and while one was describing herself as a “pechadures fawr” (a great sinner), another young woman with a sweet, tender voices sang the solo, “For you I am praying,” and the congregation joined in the refrain, but singing just a trifle too strongly, when a great wave of simultaneous prayer broke over the meeting. It was a woman’s voice that led the way, and the pleading for the prodigals was certainly pathetic in its earnestness and eloquence, culminating in a wonderful outburst of the hymn, “Dyma Geidwad i bechadur” (“Here’s a Saviour unto sinners”) with its better known refrain, “Diolch iddo”; and it is notable that the doubling of the “Diolch” which began at Mardy, in the Rhondda Fach Valley, has evidently taken the fancy of the Liverpool people. Of course, “Pen Calfaria, Nae aed hwnw byth o’m cof,” “Calvary’s summit Let it e’er my thoughts engage,” followed, and gave Mr. Evan Roberts his text. He rose, and said they had heard and sung thousands of times of Calvary’s hill and (“Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof”). They could change the words and sing “Nid aiff hwnw byth o’m cof” (“‘Twill never from my memory fade”), but some might say it would fade from the memory of the ungodly. No, it would not. The memory of it would follow the ungodly to destruction, while to the believer it would be an eternal feast. It was glorious there that night; everyone there could have life at Calvary, although Jesus lost His life there. No one could say that he had fallen too low for the eternal arms to reach him, but the sinner must consent. There was only death down and only life up. Was there anyone there who wished for life? Yes; many a soul craved for the love of God by instinct. There were souls seeking God there, and if there were God-seeking souls, so there was also a soulseeking God. But was there anyone present to whom salvation had never yet been offered? If so, they now offered that person or these persons a Saviour for time and eternity. While the evangelist was speaking a young woman in the body of the chapel sang a touching solo, “Mae son ar led fod Iesu” (“I’ve heard the news that Jesus”). A prayer followed. Mr. Evan Roberts gladly accepted the interruption and resumed his seat. The Rev. John Williams urged all Christians to pray, if they had ever prayed in their lives. There were hundreds present who were not members of any churches, and many who had not been in any place of worship for years. Miss Mary Roberts delivered a pithy Welsh address based on the words “for God so loved the world,” and Miss Annie Davies sang as a solo, “Y Gwr wrth Ffynon Jacob” (“The man at Jacob’s well”), and while prayers were proceeding the Rev. John Williams began the “testing” of the meeting. The scenes witnessed became extraordinary. Time after time did the evangelist predict the coming of a convert, and immediately voices would respond. “One here,” “Another here,” and “Pedar yma” (“Four here”). “Mae un yu barod” (“There is one ready”), went on the evangelist, and prompt and sure came “Diolch, diolch, iddo,” and the joyful excitement grew as the numbers increased. In one instance, so emphatic was the evangelist that he said, “As certain as I am on this platform there is another ready, if someone only offers Jesus to him or her.” “Here is one,” chimes in a woman’s voice, and out rang that triumphant “Diolch iddo.” Now, listen! While Evan Roberts was silently praying a man shouted out, “Here’s one who has come after being out for 23 years,” and “Amen” and murmurs of applause and “Diolch” come from many directions. Then the Rev. John Williams, with tears in his eyes, exclaimed “There’s another in answer to his mother’s prayers. It was only this morning that she wrote to me about him.” And again rang out that song of victory, “Diolch, diolch iddo,” with prayers of thanksgiving following, and more and more pleading for the salvation of others. At the request of the evangelist for prayers of thanksgiving for the salvation of so many souls the Rev. D. Meredith, Wesleyan Minister, offered up a marvellously effective prayer, after which Mr. Evan Roberts read what he described as a warning, not only to workers, but to those who were hesitating to accept salvation. Then Mr. Evan Roberts led the congregation in reciting “Cred yn yr Arglwydd Iesu Grist a chadwedig fyddi” (“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”). This was thrice repeated. A voice asked for it in English. Mr. Roberts, however, replied, “No, not in English; not now at any rate. No English friends will come to-night.” “Wrth gofio’i riddfanau’n yr ardd” (“His groanings when I call to mind”) was sung by the congregation. Just then the Rev. John Williams stated that already the names of the converts received that night numbered 137, and the moment the announcement was made “Diolch iddo” rang out as, surely, it had never previously been sung in Liverpool. When silence was restored after a while cries of “Nine more names,” “Five more here,” &c., came , and again there was singing, when suddenly, at the suggestion of the evangelist, the Rev. J. Williams asked the congregation to sing “Lead, kindly Light,” in English, and there was a prompt response. Almost immediately afterwards the number had come up to 200, and Mr. Evan Roberts asked all to remember the new converts in their prayers that night and in the morning. “There,” he said, “There is another coming, not in the gallery, but in the floor of the chapel,” and promptly came the reply, “One here.” The Rev. J. Williams wanted to lead with a verse, but Mr. Roberts said “Not yet,” and the responses of converts came so as to intervene, but presently Mr. Williams managed to get in his verse, and recited “O Gariad, O Gariad, anfeidrol ei fraint” (“ O love that’s infinite in its scope”), and this was sung, Mr. Evan Roberts striking it up. The meeting was then brought to a close with the Benediction by the Rev. J. Williams, the number enrolled up to then being 211. Before Mr. Williams had finished, however, Mr. Evan Roberts appeared uneasy. At the close of the Benediction he said, “There is another ready to come; offer him Jesus.” And a wonderful instant followed. “He is a Welshman,” continued Mr. Roberts, “And I think he is in the gallery,” and he pointed to the farthest gallery. “That is where I am being attracted, at all events,” he said. A test of the gallery in question was taken by the Rev. J. D. Evans, English Congregational Minister, who stood among the people there. “There is no one here that we can see,” said Mr. Evans. “One man came in about five minutes ago,” said another. Mr. Evan Roberts, however, repeated that the man was in the gallery, and added, “The service has been kept on for this one man. Those of you who want to go can go, but I cannot go.” Another test by asking the people to hold up their hands was taken in the same gallery, but still came the same reply, “We cannot see anybody with hand down.” “But, perhaps,” said Mr. Morris, “They are not all members.” Before these word were fully uttered Mr Evan Roberts said, “Are you all honest there? I do not think you are all honest in that gallery. Don’t lift your hands if you are not members,” and instantly there came a reply from the Rev. J. D. Evans, “Now there is one brother here who held up his hand before, but has not done so this time.” “That’s the man,” said Mr. Evan Roberts. “Is he coming? Does he yield?” “He is coming,” cried one. “He has come,” added the Rev. J. D. Evans, and many people clapped their hands in rapturous applause, while others, with tears streaming down their cheeks, gazed at each other in wonder, almost amounting to awe. Mr. Evan Roberts and the Rev. J. Williams smiled joyously, the evangelist, however, not forgetting to say, “Now, ‘Diolch iddo,’” and at the end of the singing he said, “Now we can finish the meeting.” The converts and canvassers were, however, asked to remain for a while, and Mr. Evan Roberts again delivered a brief address. He declared that he had never seen such workers, and thanked God for them. Such work was needed every where. While this second meeting was proceeding a man (an Englishman) under the influence of drink entered, and declared that he had been in and out of the other meeting and had gone to a public-house to have another glass of beer, but was unable to drink it. So he had come away and left it on the counter. He declared himself a covert. Thus there were 212 converts at the first service, all Welsh, and one Englishman at the after service, making in all 213 for the night-a record even for Mr. Evan Roberts’s wonderful services. From, 'The Western Mail', 9th April 1905.