Caenarfon Association Meeting (1818)

Caernarfon Association September 1818

‘But the one who had most influence of all at this time was Ebenezer Morris. His sermon in the Caernarfon Association, in the year 1818, was one of the most remarkable things delivered by any man ever. His text was—”For it is the blood [lit. this blood] that maketh an atonement for the soul.” He preached last at ten, the morning of the great day of the feast. That Association was held on a hill above the town, called Twthill. The preacher showed the worth of the soul, this soul had become guilty—all and everything earthly is insufficient to make an atonement for it. There was a superhuman authority in the form and words of the preacher. John Evans, New Inn, had preached before him, and had given a fearful description of the wretchedness, under the name Tophet, by referring to that verse—”Tophet is ordained of old... the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” [Isaiah 30:33] Great power accompanied the sermon, and the groans of the crowd terrible as if the “stream of brimstone” was flowing across the field. And when the preacher turned to show the way of avoiding going there and said that he was confident that there were thousands on the field before him who would never go there, and they could shout out,—”Farewell, Tophet, forever,” there broke out one general shout, so that the preacher had to finish. There were some there despite this who called themselves gentlemen riding on their horses on the outskirts of the crowd, and deriding it all. But when Ebenezer Morris as he preached referred to them saying,—”Gentlemen! will you be so good as to be quiet for a little while to listen to the words of the Lord? I am going to speak about the soul, and of the way to make an atonement for it, and you also have souls!” There was such authority in his face and words as to quieten the gentlemen. As he proceeded to show the worth of the blood, it was more like the speech of the other world than the speech of a man. His shouts penetrated not only through the crowd but all through the town. It penetrated the streets, the taverns, the shops, the cobblers’ workshops, the carpenters, &c., so that it made almost all the rooms of the town uneasy and fearful. He shouted,—”Y gwaed hwn,” “Y gwaed hwn,” “Y GWAED HWN,” “Y GWAED HWN,” six or seven times, and louder and louder each time, with indescribable effects. Sometimes, he shouted with the amazing voice he had,—”Are you in the shelter of the blood, people? Death is everywhere outside of the blood. Those who are in the shelter of the blood can rejoice, shouting,—’Farewell, Tophet, forever.’” The meeting ended wonderfully; the crowd dispersed from the field to the streets of the town, in hundreds, if not thousands, rejoicing. They walked through the streets shouting out,—”Under the blood! farewell Tophet, forever.” And so the streets echoed, until the afternoon meeting, with the sound of singing and praises,—”This blood! under the blood! farewell Tophet, forever!” That sermon was the means of converting many in the town and surrounding countryside.’ (Henry Hughes, Trefecca etc. p.?; see also NLW MSS ????; Y Gwyddoniadur ?,?; Griffith Parry, Cofiant a Chasgliad o Weithiau Barddonol y Parch. Robert Owen, (Eryron Gwyllt Walia.) Llundain, pp.19-26, 30-2; E. Cynffig Davies, Cofiant y Parch. William Griffith, Caergybi, Dolgellau, 1883, pp.15-6; negative report of Association in Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd, x. (1818), pp.380-383).

‘When this woman [Siani goch] came to the seiat, it is said that the old ministers in Caernarfon, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Lloyd, and Mr. Huxley, and the preachers and other elders there at the time, did not know what to do with her, and were inclined to persuade her to wait for a few months without proposing herself, in order to give proof of her repentance. But in the meantime, Mr Richardson observed that four or five of the most experienced old sisters in the church were talking about something together, and thought that they were talking about the matter under consideration. “I can see you there, women,” he said, “talking together. Have you anything to say about this? What would you do with the girl?” With this the mother of Mr Robert Owen (Eryron Gwyllt Walia) answered him,—and Mr Owen could never go further than this place in its relating without breaking out in tears,—”We have been here talking together that there is sufficient virtue in the blood to wash her you have been talking of, though she has been so unclean; and we think that it would be a great pity not to give every possible advantage to her to come to this.” At this, the wretched woman, in deep feeling, shouted across the chapel,—”O thanks! O thanks! O thanks ever!”—and scores shouted out with her, and so she was accepted.’ (Parry, Cofiant Eryron Gwyllt Walia, pp.31-2) Shortly after/before Caernarfon Assoc. William Havard preaching at Dolwyddelan & effects (D. Charles Evans, Adgofion am y diweddar Barchedig David Jones, Treborth pp.26-8, 39-44; NB reject other tradition about William Williams of Wern [HEAC iii. 310-1; cf. John Thomas, Y Diwygiad Crefyddol, sef, Pregeth ar Salm cii. 13,14, p.12-14; Drys. 1853, pp.414-5]; [Ellis Pierce] Ellis o’r Nant, Nanws Ach Rhobert, pp.121-30; David Rees’ account Y Diwygiwr xxiv. (1859), p.153. NB Sept. 1818 William Havard preaching at Salem Llanllyfni, HMA i. 145).

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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