Nazareth Calvinistic Methodist Welsh Chapel - Tonna (1905)

Mr Evan Roberts conducted a mission at Nazareth Chapel, Tonna, in the beautiful Neath Valley today. Services were held all day, or, rather, it was one prolonged meeting, continued from morning till night, for there was absolutely no cessation of the services. As usual, a great number of people from a distance attended- from all parts of Wales and England, Scotland, &c.- and it was this which, probably, accounted for the duo……that afternoon, for occasionally it would be difficult to a stranger to ascertain whether the proceedings were essentially in Welsh or English. The Rev. Morgans, of Ipswich, remarked that during the last 33 years he had often visited his native country, but never had he done so under such auspicious circumstances and with such thankfulness that He was now visiting His people. Mr Morgans also stated that they had prayer meetings in Ipswich twice a day for a blessing upon the revival, and he had been asked to seek the prayers of the Welshmen for Ipswich. Many were the prayers which were offered that the floodtide of revival might not only reach England and Scotland but sweep over the whole world. Presently a strange voice is heard. The man is praying- half French, half English. With outstretched hands, he pours out his soul in prayer, and by-and-bye he becomes more intelligible, and may and fervent are the “Amens” which his supplications on behalf of France call forth. It subsequently transpired that the fine-looking old Frenchman was Mons. le Pasteur Cadot de Chauney, Aisne, France. The magnificent singing of the people was most impressive. “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd” was rendered with great effect, and particularly impressive was the rendering of “Diadem” to the words “Crown Him.” An aged English minister recited in a remarkable manner the sixth chapter of Isaiah and was in keeping with the character of the meeting. There was joy and there was pathos occasionally, but it was the sense of the awesome which predominated, and in this respect a grandeur was felt which was at times exceedingly impressive. The people were deeply moved, and those present will not soon forget the meeting. It was to such a meeting that Mr Evan Roberts, who was accompanied by Miss Anne Davies and Miss Mary Davies (Gorseinon), came. It was no wonder therefore, that the evangelist should say, “There is every evidence of Heaven’s favour upon us.” Mr Roberts could not speak much, but when he was given an opportunity he spoke of the necessity of prayer, and then the people sang softly, tenderly, “Gad im’ deimlo, awel o Galfaria fryn” (“Oh, for the soft breezes from Calvary”), and this led the missioner that they should sing these words prayerfully and tenderly. For it was a prayer, and they should not sing it too strongly, for a breeze from Calvary was all that frail humanity could stand; they could never stand a hurricane from Calvary. The service was by this time most impressive, remarkably so, for pretty well the whole congregation were praying. It was in very truth a season of wrestling in prayer. There was Babel of voices - a beautifully harmonious Babel though - breaking forth simultaneously in prayer and song. Often, indeed the prayer would imperceptibly glide into the singing of a stanza or two of Miss Crosby’s hymn, “Pass me not, O gentle Saviour.” But such singing-singing in which there was a soul full of prayer. Several of those who sang did so in the attitude of prayer. The burdens of the prayers were responded to on the part of the congregation in song. “Bend us” was the burden of many a prayer, and then the people sang:- “Bend us, Lord: Jesus only would I see.” The evening meeting at Nazareth was no less remarkable than that of the afternoon, though it was difficult to indicate the line of demarcation between the afternoon and evening meetings, for, as already stated, the services were almost continuous. Mons. le Pasteur Cadot, who had watched the proceedings very closely, addressed the meeting in very good English and recalled an incident when he had saved his wife’s life, and though he had burnt his hands in the effort, so great was his joy that he did not feel any pain. So, too, in an infinitely greater degree was the case with the Saviour of man-the pains of Gethsemane and the Cross were more than counterbalanced by the happiness which He enjoyed at the salvation of man. A minister read Psalm civ. The pastor (the Rev. Mr Jones) asked the prayers of the congregation upon the meeting, and a young man then held forth most eloquently. Mr Jones, subsequently addressing the meeting, urged that Wales had been a great loser through giving up family worship, and he earnestly urged all to erect “an altar to God” in their own homes. A minister from London gave thanks that the Pentecostal blessing was not confined to the hills of Wales, but that the lowlands of London were also beginning to come under its beneficent sway. He would then he said, sing the only Welsh hymn that he knew, and he went on to repeat the words, “Gwaed y Groes,” but ere he had recited two lines the people took it up and sang with fervour, a leading part in the singing being often taken by Mr D. E. Edwards, brother-in-law of the late “Eos Morlais.” The people then burst forth into song, “O liefara addfryn Iesu” (“O speak, gentle Jesus”) sang the people when Mr Roberts entered , and as it is his wont to take up a passing incident as the subject of his address, he at once based his opening remarks on the words referred to, and asked whether they would view with equanimity Jesus speaking to them. “Os caf Iesu, dim ond Iesu” “(If I’ve Jesus, Jesus only”), sang Miss Annie Davies very beautifully; and it was evident she is now fast recovering that unique voice of hers, which, unfortunately, had suffered from the great strain put upon it. The congregation heartily joined in the refrain. Mr Roberts said denominationalism had been done away with. He himself did not know to what denominations the chapels he attended belonged. There was one thing, he said, about some of these meetings which pained him -very much- it was self-coming into prominence; he could not bear it. There were some men who got up simply to show themselves, and though he had refrained hitherto from doing so, by and bye he would be compelled to tell those men to sit down. He could at once detect those people, and it had been a matter of surprise to him that God did not press them down. Mr Roberts was proceeding with his remarks, when he was interrupted, this time by a young lady in the gallery – Miss Alice Walters, who struck up in a chaste, beautiful and clear voice, “Mao’n disgwyl am danat” (“He is waiting for thee”), the congregation taking up the refrain. The meeting was protracted until late in the night, the fervour of the people becoming higher and higher, and although, naturally, the place had become uncomfortably warm, it was with reluctance that the people parted for the evening -singing in parting.

From, 'The Western Mail', 12th January 1905.

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