Orchard Place Baptist Church - Neath (1905)

The revival meetings at Neath were continued today, and extraordinary fervour was shown. The morning service at Neath, in the absence of Mr Evan Roberts was said to be a wonderful one. The afternoon meeting was at Melincrythan and was marked by the same warmth. Orchard-place Chapel was the rendezvous of the people in the evening, and when I arrived, before half-past five o’clock p.m. for a six o’clock service, the chapel was quite full, and the prayers and hymn singing were striking for fervency. It was noticeable that the Welsh element certainly predominated, even though it was the place of worship of an English Baptist Church. The pastor (the Rev. J. H. Harris), remarking upon this, expressed the hope that the Welsh people would take their proper places in this service, connected as it was with a Welsh revival. Requests were made for prayers for Churches and people in South London, in Poplar, Midsomer Norton, Newmarket and Tenby. The prayers were led off by the pastor of the Church, who, specially referring in English to Newmarket, said he hoped it would become celebrated for the races started there to spread the revival, as it had already become famous for horse-racing. “O yr Oen, yr addfwyn Oen,” was then started by one of the ministers on the platform, and the rendering, tender and at one time almost reduced to a whisper, was touching. This was followed by an English rendering. Very soon afterwards “Gad im deimlo, awel o Galfaria fryn,” again broke out, and at the request of the Rev. Mr Jones (Bridgend), “Duw mawr y rhyfeddodau maith” was sung. “How many volunteers are there who will come for a trip in the ship of salvation to-night?” shouted a young man at the top of the gallery, and the response was a rousing chorus of “All hail the power of Jesu’s name,” with its rolling “Crown Him Lord of all”- and “Diadem” was repeated with enthusiasm over and over again. “O, na allwn, tra b’awn byw, Rodio bellach gyda Duw,” was struck up to the tune “Aberystwyth,” while a man in the big pew was giving out quite another hymn, and “Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,” followed to the same tune. From all parts of the chapel could be heard a number of people continuing in prayer, the Welsh element being evidently too enthusiastic and fiery to continue in silent prayer. This was the state of things prevailing when Mr Evan Roberts arrived, at a quarter-past seven. Then there was another outburst of “Crown Him Lord of all,” and “Cariad ydyw Duw.” The evangelist then rose and began his address by saying “Away with all self. God is to have all the glory. He sways the sceptre. God offers no liberty; God offers welcome – an Infinite welcome – to come to the Throne.” What, he continued did they want? Life? Yes, eternal life; but they must first be bent. It was glorious to see such a congregation, but it was more glorious to have Heaven there. Jesus was present – let them not do anything to drive Him away. They know the pitiful story of the people of Gadara, who asked Christ to leave them. They also know that the punishment which everywhere followed His rejection fell upon the people of Gadara 40 years later. “O Iesu, plyg ni” (“O Jesus, bend us”), prayed a young man in the gallery, who said that, having seen Jesus, he could not now remain silent. He went on praying passionately, and when the singing of an English hymn had drowned the voice of the petitioner Mr Evan Roberts declared that there was a want of liberty in the meeting, and he reminded them that “perfect love casteth out fear.” The great need of our country and age was that of the greatness of God. He had sometimes noticed the creature commanding the Creator. The Church had a duty to perform in teaching, especially the young converts, the proper idea of the greatness of God. There was no need to shout to Him, for He was near – close to them. There had been, and were still, some light-hearted people in that congregation who must realise the greatness and the proximity of God. They needed clean hands and clean hearts. Some people had been attending a place of worship for twenty years, while at the same time nourishing hatred towards a brother. But no one could worship – and certainly no one could expect to go to Heaven – without having forgiveness in his heart. Then a familiar voice and a familiar hymn is struck up, and we are once more listening to the great Love Song of the revival. Miss Annie Davies, Maesteg, has to some extent recovered her marvellous vocal powers, and when she sang “Dyma gariad fel y morroed” the effect was electrical. The congregation began singing, then stopped and listened spellbound. The meeting lasted until a late hour, and one of the features connected with it was the splendid singing of “Dyma gariad fol y moroedd” which took place in the streets and at the railway station at night when people were leaving the town for other places.

From, 'The Western Mail', 15th January 1905.

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