Brecon (1836)

1836 Brecon. Revival among the Baptists:


DURING a course of years, a number of persons now connected with the above place worshipped with the Welsh Baptist friends, being occasionally favoured with an English service. This state of things, however, was found to he seriously inconvenient to those who did not understand the Welsh language; hence, after prayerful deliberation, it was determined to form an English Baptist interest. A goodly number favoured the design, and in 18234 a church was formed, and a commodious chapel, with burying ground attached, was built. The Rev. B. Price, now of Newtown, was the first minister. In the close of 1834, the Rev. C. Thompson, the present pastor, accepted the charge.

For several years prior to 1836, this interest was by no means prosperous; it might rather be said to exhibit symptoms of decay. The events connected with its reviva5tl are too interesting to be passed over in silence. On the first Sabbath of that year a sermon was preached from the words, “This year thou shalt die.” This discourse, in connexion with the death of a valued deacon of the church, which shortly afterwards occurred, produced a very deep impression, and led to most important results.

An awakening took place, and several members were added. In the following June, a day was devoted to special prayer for an enlarged revival. On that occasion several neighbouring ministers and a large concourse of people, united in the services, a series of which was held from an early hour in the morning until night, each one increasing in interest, and affording more palpable proofs of the Divine presence. Seldom has it fallen to the lot of a Christian to realize a deeper and holier sense of heavenly principles. Unhappily such seasons are not familiar; there was therefore deep astonishment at the overwhelming presence of God. It was truly “wonder, love, and joy.” From that time things presented a new aspect. Each returning month new candidates appeared, some of whom were wholly unexpected. It may be necessary to state here, that the Baptist churches in Wales are accustomed to hold what are called, “society meetings” after public services. The announcement is made from the pulpit when such a meeting is to take place, which is generally on Sabbath evenings, and persons under religious impressions are invited to remain. This is open to any stranger who may take a seat amongst the members. When any who are not members are observed to be present, they are addressed by the minister with suitable inquiries: thus the convictions or desires of the party become known. They are thenceforward said to be “in society,” attend all subsequent society meetings, receiving suitable counsels, and are in the position of candidates for membership, to which they are introduced at the discretion of the church. It not unfrequently happens that surprise and joy are awakened by the appearance, at one of those meetings, of an individual who was not known to be under serious impressions, or who, from previous alienation, was not expected to take so decided a step. Such scenes were frequently witnessed by us.

In the revival with which we were favoured, a considerable number of young persons gave themselves to the Lord, chiefly from the Sunday school, of whom some were not more than thirteen years of age. These have held prayer-meetings regularly amongst themselves, and have exhibited the most gratifying illustrations of youthful piety and zeal. Within the last twelve months, thirty-five have been added to the church, making a total of forty-four added under the present pastorate. May peace and prosperity continue and abound!’

(Baptist Magazine, xxix (1837), p.260)

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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