Dowlais (1859)

Out of many communications from this county, the fol­lowing is selected. It is from the pen of a minister who has been much honoured of God in this and in former revivals:—

LLANHARAN, Feb. 10, 1860

"I have the greatest pleasure in stating that this locality (Glamorgan) has been blessed with a most powerful religious awakening for the last twelve months. Considering the scanty popu­lation of these parts, compared with the towns, works, and mineral districts, the revival here is regarded as one of the most wonderful and powerful hitherto known in Wales. The hand of the Lord is clearly revealed, and multitudes are added unto the Lord. The circumstances under which the heavenly gale began to blow, are as follows:—At our annual assembly, held at Aberdare, in June 1858, it was proposed and unanimously resolved, that the first Sunday in the following August should be set apart by all the churches and congregations of our association in the four counties — viz., Glamorgan, Monmouth, Brecknock, and Radnor—to pray unitedly and earnestly for the outpouring of God's Spirit. I went home and stated the resolution to my people, and some unusual feelings thrilled through the minds of all present. When the stated Sabbath arrived, we were blessed with remarkable earnestness at the throne of grace for the descent of the Holy Spirit to revive the Church and convert the world. Ever since that memorable Sabbath, the prayer-meetings presented a new aspect,—they gradually increased in warmth and number during the following months. This continued to February last when it pleased Jehovah to pour down His Spirit from on high, as on the day of Pentecost. Then anxious inquirers came forward in dozens, some under strong mental emotions, perceiving their lost state as sinners; and shortly they received relief to their minds by exercising faith in the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. At this period it was advisable to publish prayer-meetings daily, and the attendance constantly increased for months, and con­tinues doing so to the present time. Our chapels and other places of worship are overcrowded. At the close of each meeting we announced a Society (church-meeting), and new converts came forward daily. The number of these at present in our churches amounts to several hundred. The churches are generally doubled in number, and new inquirers are continually coming forward. The heavenly fire still con­tinues to burn, and the flames have spread throughout the county at large. All religious denominations are cordially united in social prayer-meetings, and the descent of Divine influence amongst us is evident. The writer of these lines (to God be the praise) has had the great honour of giving the right hand of fellowship to more than six hundred and fifty new candidates for membership in our churches in this district since February last; and that in a comparatively small circle too. The revival is progressing and spreading universally in this new year throughout the towns, iron­works, villages, and hamlets of Glamorganshire, especially in that part of the county called The Vale.' Those parts of the county which were usually considered to be the darkest, and where the inhabitants were most absorbed in worldly cares, are now generally roused and awakened, and raised from the dead,' and Christ himself gives them light. We have no cases of physical prostration; persons are not struck to the ground here, as in Ireland and Scotland; but we have many cases of very sudden and powerful changes in those who have discovered their lost state, while pursuing their several avocations on the moun­tains, and who on the spot were led to cry for mercy. Many of the old standard hearers of the gospel are led to seek pardoning grace. They now seem as though they were born over again and the very sound of their voices moves the whole congregation into tears, and exclamations of Hallelujah!' universally burst forth. Now and then we witness persons, under the influence of saving grace, leap­ing in spiritual joy. We have converts whose ages vary from nine years to eighty, and in some instances eighty- four years of age; and both young and old give evidence of spiritual life. The new-born babes in Christ form them­selves into divers prayer-meetings, and their supplications at the throne of grace are remarkably earnest; they some­times pray for their friends and relatives by name, and so earnest is the prayer, that they will not leave the mercy- seat until they prevail. The result is that others (ready to perish) are continually brought in at the great trumpet- sound of salvation. The Lord hath done great things for

us, whereof we are glad.' Thousands, since the commence­ment of this revival, have been converted and brought home to God amongst our own denomination in these parts, numbering more than twenty congregations. Other denominations of the Christian Church throughout this county, especially in Me Vale,' have been blessed with the same wonderful results. This period must assuredly be the dawn of the glorious Millennium,

WILLIAM GRIFFITHS." The iron districts of Merthyr, Dowlais, and more especially of Aberdare, have had extensive awakenings. The Rev. W. Edwards, in concluding a long and interesting account of the revival, more particularly in his own large congregation, says,—" in its relation to us, the revival came after a year's longing, praying, and labouring for it. It has subdued some of the oldest hearers and those who had long remained obstinate. This revival is distinguished by solemnity of feeling and great earnestness in prayer. There is some­thing in it which leads the people to make every effort to gain others. As an illustration of the latter remark, I may give the following instance. There is on Hirwaen Common a spot of ground which has long since been possessed by Sabbath-breakers. To this place large numbers resorted to play at ' pitch-and-toss' and other idle games. It was in vain that the police endeavoured to scatter them. On a certain Sunday, however, three of our young men, with their Bibles in their pockets, went to the place, and by the time they arrived the people were in full play. The young men were laughed at, despised, and mocked, but they were not to be discouraged. They felt their responsibility. They used the sword of the Spirit. A chapter was read—prayer followed, and in a short time the company broke up—theydecamped, leaving the game unfinished, and the money behind They have never gone again, and on the following Sunday one of the party said that he had done with it forever, and that he and his companions intended going to the Sunday school." Later... The Rev. B. Williams, of Dowlais, communicates the following facts:—"The idea of holding a prayer-meeting at Morlais Castle on Sunday morning struck these youths. "Morlais Castle is a place where, on fine Sunday morn­ings, scores of the worst characters [from the iron-works] meet to drink and fight. They buy the beer on Saturday night and carry it up there about four o'clock on Sunday morning. There is no house near; they cannot therefore get the drink in any other way. You may imagine what a den of wickedness that place is on Sunday morning. On a fine Sunday morning in June last, about twenty young lads could be seen wending their way thither, and they reached the polluted spot about half-past five. There were scores of the characters mentioned in the place before them, who had already commenced their evil doings. One young lad said to them, that they had come to hold a prayer-meeting, at which idea the drunkards scoffed. But at such a welcome they were not discouraged. A Testament was opened and a part of a chapter read; a hymn was sung, and most melodious it was in the breeze of the morning. By this time all had become quite serious. Not a laugh or a jest passed—nothing was heard but prayer and praise. Many a rough face was bathed with tears. When the meeting closed, everyone went home. All was serious and quiet. The beer was thrown away. Many swore emphati­cally that they would never go to Morlais Castle again for such a purpose. Many of them are known to have kept their word. This was continued for several Sabbath morn­ings, and in less than a month, hundreds met on the highest summit of Morlais Castle to worship their Creator. This fact needs no comment. We must wait till the day of judgment to know what amount of good was done through this simple instrumentality. These young lads would, after the evening service at the chapel, meet in the woods, and by themselves hold a prayer-meeting, and at ten o'clock at night the hills and woods would echo the praises of God, and the effect was most thrilling. In calling these things to mind, I can hardly restrain my feelings."

From ‘The Welsh Revival’ by Thomas Phillips.

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