Jerusalem Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Pontrhydyfen (1905)

Mr Evan Roberts continued his mission in the Avon Valley today, the exact locale of his work being at Pontrhydyfen, about midway up the valley, in almost a purely mining district. Fortunately, the chapels here are unusually large compared with the size of the place, with the result that a huge congregation assembled at each of the services. The claims of denominationalism were here again wisely set at naught and all the meetings were held, irrespective of sect, at the most commodious chapel – Jerusalem. The meetings proved that not only is there no diminution in the interest taken in Evan Roberts’s mission as a whole, but that the meetings themselves have lost none of their extraordinary features. By ten o’clock in the morning quite a thousand people had assembled at Jerusalem Chapel. Mr Roberts, who was accompanied by Miss Annie Davies, attended early. Miss Davies immediately engaged in fervent prayer, and the people burst forth into song, and then, unbidden, came “testimonies” from all quarters, from people of all ages. Gradually the testimonies gave way to singing, and “Arglwydd anfon Dy Leferydd” (“Lord, send forth the Gospel message”) was rendered, when Mr Roberts intervened, asking the people if they gave a thought to what they were singing about. Did they believe what they were singing? If not, it would be better for them not to sing. It would be better, he said, if the singing was confined to those who did believe. There was too much formality about the singing. The place that morning was far from being clear. They had sung well at first, but subsequently something had come in. There was no unity there. How did the Spirit descend on the Day of Pentecost? The people were all “with one accord” praising, but today they were not “with one accord,” though it was necessary to worship God in spirit and in truth. If they did not love their brethren there was no unity. That was a terrible verse of the Bible which set forth that he that hated his brother was lost. If they had received the Saviour they were one with Him. He counselled the audience to pray for a “wave of love.” “Now, do you believe that God answers prayer?” he asked. “Yes,” came the emphatic reply. “Does He answer prayer today?” he again asked, and again came the same reply. “For the sake of a good meeting?” But the response to this question was not so ready, and this unreadiness made the evangelist emphasise the fact that they should always have as their objective the glory of Jesus. They would not be satisfied with one soul saved, or with ten, or a hundred, or a thousand, but they would want the whole world to be saved. There were some men who were very narrow – they asked, “Remember us and this Church,” and nobody else; others were a little wider, and prayed, “Remember our denominations,” whilst others were a little wider yet, and prayed, “Remember our country.” But all this was too narrow. Their supplications should have reference to the whole world; nothing less should satisfy them. There were some, again, who were ready to despise the lowly. That price was to be placed on a poor gipsy? Ah, the gipsy was of the same worth as anyone. And what was the price of a soul? The price of the Divine blood! “Where are the prayers, friends?” he enquired, somewhat sadly. He then went on to dilate upon the effectiveness of the Love, which he designated as “the Divine magnet.” “I will draw all men unto Me,” was Jesus declaration. Could they now, bearing this fact in mind, sing the same hymn? And no sooner was the question asked, than “Arglwydd anfon Dy Leferydd” (“Lord, send forth the Gospel message”) was again sung, but this time with very great fervour. The Rev. Ambrose Williams, the pastor, then, at the request of the evangelist, tested the meeting, remarking that he had never seen the Evil One being so defeated as that morning. Several converts were recorded amidst scenes of ecstatic delight. The afternoon meeting had proceeded a little while when Mr Ambrose Williams read the account of Zaccheus on the sycamore tree, and Christ going to Zaccheus’s house, making brief, pointed comments as he went along, when Mr Roberts referred to the text that Jesus was now offering more than he did to Zaccheus temporarily, but now He would be with His people to all eternity. A man in the big seat, overcome with emotion, exclaimed, “Oh, thank God for that revelation.” A young lady started “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd” (“Here’s a love like mighty torrents”), when Mr Roberts, with his whole frame quivering, and his countenance wearing an expression of intense feeling, quietly, and with a sigh, remarked, “The power is here. Oh, how strong!” And then was witnessed a remarkable scene. Without any apparent reason, as if overwhelmed by some mysterious power, the whole congregation almost simultaneously broke forth into an intense outburst of prayer, scores of people praying with great and inexpressible fervour. For about a quarter of an hour this went on, Mr Roberts remaining in a prayerful attitude, and, like the people, engaged in earnest prayer. Some were standing up with uplifted hands, and others down on their knees. The scene was not only most moving in its character, but even awe-inspiring. Strong men were sobbing like children, and pretty well all the congregation were in tears. Mr Roberts then caused some surprise by declaring that whilst the people were under the influence of that great “save of prayer” some person or persons had been mocking. But what a terrible thing to do – to laugh at the Divine blood of the Eternal Spirit. The person guilty of this thing might depend upon it that God would put His hand upon him – as certain as he (Mr Roberts) was in the pulpit. “Making a mockery of what is so Divine!” continued Mr Roberts, in stern, passionate tones; “mocking what has cost God so much; what has cost Him His life-blood! I saw no-one, for my eyes were closed, but the Spirit saw. Ask God to forgive you (referring to the mocker). Don’t ask God openly, please, I don’t want to know you. I have seen God doing strange things of late, but He will do yet more wonderful things in the future.” Continuing, Mr Roberts said that it made all the difference in the world to be at the foot and under the foot of God. After carefully scanning the congregation, Mr Roberts added: “As sure as I am in the pulpit, there was someone mocking, and that is the reason why I should stop now.” He then urged upon the man, whoever he was, to ask for forgiveness, and declared that the meeting could not proceed until the obstacle had been removed. “If you don’t ask for forgiveness, will you go out?” remarked the missioner, in a tone of deep concern. Let them not think, however, that he wanted to frighten them; he would prefer to speak of the love of Jesus, but he had to deliver his message. Later on Mr Roberts said that the obstacles were being removed, and he asked the people to engage in silent prayer that the mockers be enabled to ask God for forgiveness. Some sang “Throw out the life-line,” but Mr Roberts interposed with the remark: “No, you are no better to sing. It will not be acceptable. We have to ‘clear’ this place first.” Mr Roberts said that the guilty persons were very obstinate, and again emphatically declared that the meeting could not be proceeded with until the obstacles were removed. But what a foolish – a mad – thing it was for the creature to raise against the Creator – as blindly mad as if a man were to go and throw himself in front of an express train in order to stop. In this painful interval several people started singing, but the evangelist forbade them, saying it was not time for singing, but for praying. By and bye, in jubilant tones, he declared that the obstacle had been removed, and this announcement was the prelude to another not less remarkable scene. The people this time literally jumped on their feet and sang with delighted ecstasy. The evangelist himself was laughing with joy – and so were the people when they were not singing. In this exulting strain the meeting was brought to a close.

From, 'The Western Mail', 19th February 1905.

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