Carmel Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Pentre-dwr (1905)

Mr Evan Roberts continued his mission at Llansamlet to-day, at Carmel (C.M.) Chapel in the afternoon and at Tabor Chapel in the evening- two out-of-the-way places a considerable distance from the station. This, however, did not deter a crowded attendance at each of the services, and the afternoon meeting was one which probably eclipses, in point of excitement, any of the many meetings which Evan Roberts has yet attended. In the afternoon, at about one o’clock, a considerable crowd having assembled, a man got up in the gallery and said that Mr Evan Roberts always desired the meetings to go on in his absence. Evan Roberts, after all, was only a man and they had come together to see God, not a man, however estimable. And then the service was at once commenced by the singing of “Rhyfedd na buaswn ‘nawr yn y fflamau,” the man himself, immediately the singing was over, engaging in a fervent prayer. The evangelist was accompanied by Miss Annie Davies and Miss Mary Davies (Gorseinon). But it was some time before he could have an opportunity of speaking. The people sang beautifully and impressively. “Nid wy’n gofyn bywyd moethus” (“I did not ask a life of leisure”) was started by a young lady, and the refrain was taken up by the congregation and repeated a dozen times and more. A short lull having occurred in the proceedings, Mr Roberts took advantage of the momentary pause. “Remember that God exists and that He speaks to you,” was his first admonition, and he then went on to urge the people to listen to His voice and not to regard anything as being too insignificant to do. No one wanted them to do great things more than He did, but if men did not stoop to do the small things they would never accomplish the great. Men would have to be missionaries at home before they could become missionaries abroad. And it was easy to become a missionary at home, if only they asked a man to desist from his drunken habits. Mr Roberts was then going on to expatiate on the necessity of obedience, when a young man struck out quietly and very effectively “Os eaf Iesu” (“If I’ve seen Jesus”). “That’s obedience, you see” was the delighted remark of the evangelist, who never seems more pleased than when he is interrupted. “This brother knows what it is to gain the victory,” he continued; “he has removed all the obstacles at all costs.” Miss Anne Davies offered a passionate prayer for one for whom his mother was praying. A man in the gallery prayed for his aged father with such feeling that his voice was often drowned in his sobs. And still more affecting was the soulful prayer of a woman that her husband might be drawn from the public-house. People were now in tears, and the singing of Miss Walters, a local lady, brought more tears to people’s eyes. It was therefore, most unexpectedly that the subsequent events of even a tragic character transpired. Though there was much shedding of tears, a happiness obtained which was catching, and, on the whole, up to this moment joy predominated over sorrow. Reference had been made by previous speakers to the fact that there were mockers in the meeting, and presently a young man got up and protested that he and a friend of his had not come to the meeting for the purpose of mocking. Mr Roberts enquired of the young man whether they denied the existence of God, to which the young man who acted as spokesman replied that they did not say there was no God, but they wanted to be convinced. They had come to the meeting to seek truth. They had not come there for “sport.” The proceedings did not have any effect upon them; neither had the praying. If the evangelist had anything to give them, let him do so. This was the prelude to some excitement when one man called out to the agnostics. Mr Roberts, however, called upon the people to pray for wisdom. “Do you want to have God?” queried the evangelist. “I want to have the truth,” was the rejoinder, and the speaker added that the revivalist stated that if they only believed, then they could do anything. If this was so then let him and his companion be saved that afternoon. They (the agnostics) would then believe, and they would be living testimonies as to the truth of the Gospel which was preached. “Don’t get bewildered,” was his closing word, as he noticed the commotion which was being caused, whereupon Mr Roberts rejoined- “No, no; I am not bewildered at all. I am quite calm. Do you read the Bible?” asked the evangelist, and a reply in the affirmative was given. “You ask the Power to save us and we will believe you,” said the stranger, and he defied the missioner to prove the Divine character of his mission. Mr Roberts then asked the whole congregation to kneel and pray for the two men, and then was enacted a scene that baffles all description. In tragic tones men and women prayed and wept, whilst many women fainted. And thus the people prayed, and in agony of soul, with moans and groans, which were excruciatingly painful to listen to; men and women, wailing piteously, besought God to save the two men, and above all the others could be heard the moans of the evangelist, who was, in common with the congregation generally, in “agony of soul.” This lasted for about ten or fifteen minutes, and then a measure of relief was obtained by the congregations singing. The singing was full of sorrow, but they sang, nevertheless, prayerfully pleading. “Don’t argue with them; pray, people, pray,” was the evangelist’s injunction to some in the gallery who seemed inclined to wait for the answer to their prayers. And the scene was again most impressive, though not quite so painful as previously. With bent heads people prayed but uttered not a word. Eventually, the Rev. F. B. Meyer, who had in the meantime been with the missioner, remarked:- “Dear brothers and sisters, I never meant to speak in this meeting. I feel it is like a school of the Holy Ghost, and I am only a little child sitting on a low form learning. Therefore, I am a little child and I have no right to speak, but there is one thing that I said to a friend, and I repeat it. St. John said that ‘there is a sin unto death; I do not say that ye shall pray for it.’ That is, there may come a time in a man’s life when he says ‘No’ to God, and passes the line, and I do not think that in this world we can hope for him. I do pray that my two brothers there have not crossed that line, and if an Englishman may speak to them with a brother’s heart, I say ‘Dear brothers, God is even now fighting in your behalf against your proud self-will, but, mind you, He cannot save you in spite of yourselves. You must say ‘Yes.’ Don’t try to feel earnest, but say it: say ‘Yes’ to him by an act of the will. He is striving with you, but take care lest He come to a point that your soul will come to this, for then the apostle of love, said ‘I do not say you are to pray for him.’” Some little further time having elapsed, one of the two men enquired, “How long a time have we to wait?” Mr Roberts sternly replied: Coram Dathan and Abiram had to wait until the earth swallowed them, and the 50 had to wait until they were consumed with fire. The man replied that it was no use for the missioner to try and frighten him and his companion. Mr Roberts: Have you asked that God should reveal Himself? The Agnostic: I have asked for the truth, and I have waited fifteen minutes. The man went on to urge that they had waited fifteen minutes with absolutely no effect. How long were they to wait? By this time the two agnostics were becoming demonstrative, and the spokesman jeeringly reminded the missioner that over a quarter of an hour had elapsed already since the people enjoined to engage in silent prayer. “I don’t believe you, that you have not been affected,” exclaimed a man from the gallery, and this roused the ire of the agnostic, who shouted back:- “Then you say I am telling a lie,” and a possibly painful scene was obviated through the tact of the evangelist. “That’s enough; that’s enough,” was the stern rejoinder of the missioner, who then asked the people to sing “Duw Mawr y rhyfeddodau maith” (“Great God of countless wonders”) The missioner then remarked that this was a case of people in trouble (“mewn cyfynder”), and he cited an extract from Exodus, where the people, when subjected to straightened conditions, were encouragingly enjoined not to fear, but to stand and wait for God’s time. “Now we will have to wait His time,” was his concluding remark, which had a ring of triumph about it; “We have prayed; we have cried unto the Lord, but- (and here a smile flitted across his face)- He is going to answer.” And this remark brought a great relief to the people whose expressions of “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” resounded through the building. During these painful experiences men and women cried aloud, and what adds to the sadness of the incident was the fact that the evangelist’s mother had come to the meeting, and much sympathy was expressed with her on all hands. Someone took compassion on her and led her out of the meeting. The meeting then terminated without the usual “confessions” being asked for at the close. The evening meeting at Tabor Chapel was of a very fine character.

From, 'The Western Mail', 6th January 1905. throughout. There were no repetitions of the scenes of the afternoon.

Additional Information

Despite the rather painful meeting described below, there were many conversions during the revival.

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