Elim Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Llanddeusant (1905)

A deafening peal of thunder right overhead preceded by a dazzling flash, helps them to realise what is happening. Startled rudely out of their devotions, a drenching shower of thunder-rain spars them into action. Helter-skelter they race across the fields, over the stiles to the main road, and presently they arrive, drenched to the skin at the entrance to Elim Chapel. When the doors are open an ugly rush is witnessed, but happily there are no accidents, and in the prayers that followed the storm that now raged is the subject of frequent and telling references, "Teach me, O Lord," we hear, "To rush with equal alacrity from the storm that awaits the ungodly ones."The parched country has been thirsting for rain, and farmers in the crowd welcome it, but under the circumstances, they would have been better pleased had it been a few hours delayed.

There is no doubting the genuineness of the revival fervour, what else can account for the phenomenon we witness? A small country chapel packed for hours to suffocation and the congregation apparently in no way incommoded by the defective ventilation and the clouds of vapour that arose from the soaked garments in which they sit. Outside in the rain a crowd of still larger dimensions waited patiently in the hope that the weather would clear and that an open-air meeting might yet be held.

Happily these hopes were realised, for when Mr Evan Roberts and the Rev. John Williams drove into the village about six o'clock the storm clouds had disappeared below the horizon and there was once more a clear sky overhead. The chapel was emptied, an adjournment was made to a farmyard close by, and for half an hour the service was continued there, but later the original arrangement was reverted to and the evening meeting was held in the open fields. The gathering was comparable in size to one of the largest sassinau seen in the island, converts take an active part in the proceedings, they are recognised by the fervency of their prayers and the joy of their thanksgiving. “Jesus of Nazareth is walking through Sir Fon, and O, I thank thee, Lord, that Thou didst turn into Llaingoch. “Diolch am Llaingoch.” Perhaps not many present have any idea what or where is Llaingoch, but we realise the importance it plays in the life history of the man who prays. And so with dozens of others bits of autobiography are weaved into almost every prayer uttered, and it is interesting to watch for them and to weigh their significance. We learn that in many of these rural districts there are no more left to be saved, In this church of Elim, for instance, the last non-adherent that was left joined the church a couple of weeks ago, and yet the revivalists are not satisfied, for they sing with unmistakable relish "Mae syched arno heno am schub llawer mwy." Tonight they are athirsting for saving many more. One man described himself as once the greatest drunkard in South Wales. The missioner is not to-night in that bright and winsome mood which has marked his appearance in Anglesey. His opening remark was a bitter complaint as to the singularity of the service. What was wrong he did not know, but one might think that heaven was sleeping and refusing to listen. He could not analyse the feelings of the congregation, but for his part he had been forced to sit long and silently. Was Jesus of less value now than the day before? Had he changed? If not why had they burdened their hearts? It needed only a spark to set the service ablaze. God would be glorified in the lives of every one of them, either in this world or the next. How many tonight had disobeyed the promptings of the Spirit? Hundreds of them and many of those that had thus disobeyed must confess their disobedience so that the Spirit be glorified.

The congregation looked amazed, and one or two here and there recited verses, but the missioner cut them short with a wave of the arm, "No, if you have not disobeyed say nothing. But those guilty of disobedience must confess at once." Presently one or two here and there in the throng were heard hesitatingly admitting that they had deliberately quenched the promptings of the Spirit. "You most all learn the great lesson of obedience," cried the missioner frowningly, "you are hundreds of you guilty of disobeying this very minute by refusing to confess your disobedience. If you refuse to obey it is no use remaining here,” and, suiting the word to action, he proceeded to don his overcoat preparatory for his departure. Immediately upon this the confessions multiplied, though possibly they numbered no more than a dozen. These confessions were promptly followed by testimonies, verses and prayers. "Scores of you must bend to-night," was the missioner's next admonition, and shortly afterwards a strong man on the outside of the crowd in a great agony of prayer exclaimed. “Who would have thought, O, Lord, I was brought here to be bent?" An attempt was made to start a hymn, but the missioner stopped the singing with a loud cry of "No, not yet. Some here are too proud to confess; others are too stubborn, or too weak. Let us pray for the weak that they be helped, but for the others that they be bent." The congregation by this time was in a state of great excitement. Here and there could be seen young men writhing as if in pain, their lamentations filling the air. One of their number exclaimed “Forgive these preachers, O Lord. Some of them have come here to gaze upon the sufferings of some of us hardened sinners, and they too are sinners, Lord." A lady started the hymn, "O tyn y gorchudd " (O life the veil), and the congregation joined, but the missioner was implacable. Again the singing was stopped. "You ask the Lord," he angrily exclaimed, “ to lift theveil when you declined to lift it yourselves. You must confess! confess! confess! Your disobedience." Wild and frantic were some of the prayers that followed, and to unsympathetic eyes many of the scenes might seem not far removed from frenzy. "You who have disobeyed and who now refuse to confess it dare not ever say again that you love the Lord Jesus: for you don't.'' The immediate effect of this appeal was the extraction of confession from many lips that had hitherto been silent, and one youth facing the crown cried out in tears "Take your hats off to Jesus Christ if you cannot do anything else.” At last welcome relief came in the statement, “Well, the majority have now confessed, and we can go home rejoicing. I have seen more of God in this meeting than in any I have yet seen in Anglesey." The converts tonight were numerous.

From, 'The South Wales Daily News', 14th June 1905.

Additional Information

The field marked is the most likely one where the meeting took place.

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