Penuel Baptist Chapel - Cwmavon (1905)

Cwyavon, the oldest and most important centre of industry in the Avon Valley, was today the centre of attraction in the revival movement, when Mr Evan Roberts held the first meeting in connection with his two day’s mission in that place. Crowds of people flocked to an evening meeting to take place at six o’clock as early as four o’clock, and by half-past four Zion Chapel, where the meeting was held, was filled, and long before five o’clock all available standing room was occupied, fully 1,500 people being in attendance. As usual, those present included a large number of strangers, among them being a special deputation from the United Church of Scotland. The afternoon meeting at Penuel was also largely attended, and, though Mr Roberts was not expected to attend, the proceedings were marked with much fervency and spontaneity. Prayer alternated with hymn and there was no pause in a service which lasted over three hours. Mr Roberts, who was accompanied by Misses Maggie and Annie Davies and Miss Mary Davies, entered the evening meeting with considerable difficulty. Someone shouted “Hush!” but Mr Roberts at once forbade anyone to stop the singing. “Go on, friends,” he remarked, and then there was another period of splendid singing. Mr Roberts said things were not right in the meeting. If they had come to the meeting to see wonders “instead of seeing the God of wonders, it was all up.” Before they should proceed any further with the service, he enjoined all present to be “clear” as between themselves and their fellowmen, otherwise, perhaps, the meeting would have to be stopped in consequence. God did not accept their worship until the obstacles had been removed. If any had done wrong by anyone, then let him make haste to right the wrong. God knew what was in every man’s heart. Now, was it clear before the meeting was proceeded with? Those smiles on the faces of some must be removed, because they were expressive, not of being pleased, but of mockery. Even if they would have to wait an hour, God’s name would have to be glorified. Unbidden came “testimonies,” one man in the gallery remarking that there was only just one thing which was keeping him back. “Get rid of it friend,” exclaimed one man near the pulpit. The speaker then went on to say that prior to his conversion he had not been accustomed to pray, and only knew the prayers he had learnt at school, and he very naively went on to say how he prayed night and morning, his simple supplication in the evening before going to bed being, “If I die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.” Miss Annie Davies having offered a very fervent prayer, Mr Roberts urged upon the people to be obedient to the promptings of the Spirit. Scores had been disobedient. Thereupon a woman confessed that she had disobeyed. “That’s it,” remarked the missioner; there were scores of others who had likewise been disobedient. Then one of those remarkable “waves of prayer” passed over the meeting, though not of so sweeping a character as those experienced the day before at Pontrhydyfen. The old hymn, “O Gariad O Gariad” (“O Love, O Love”) was being sung when Mr Roberts intervened to stop the whispering which he said was going on. Presently, with a face expressive of mental pain, and with tears in his eyes, he carefully scanned the congregation and asked how many of them would be prepared for a visit from the Saviour without being shamefaced at their conduct. “O anfon Di yr Yspryd Glan” (“O send Thou the Holy Spirit”) was then sung in a tone in accord with the tenor of the meeting. Mr Roberts again intervened, and, in a stern voice, he asked those who had been talking to do so then, and not whilst the singing was going on. “I came 3,000 miles to this meeting,” remarked one man, “and I would go round the world to see such a meeting as this.” An old lady, who had had a fit of fainting, upon her recovery gave thanks for having been cured, and exclaimed in prayer, “The great Doctor above is better than all the doctors in the world. Oh, thanks be to Him.” Mr Roberts, showing great signs of emotion, declared that some had disobeyed the Spirit, and he then asked all those who had been disobedient to stand up and say so. Several responded. Mr Roberts, however, insisted that some had disobeyed in addition to those who had already stood up, and a number of others then confessed. But still the evangelist remained in agonies of soul, imploring people to confess their faults, and exclaiming that he would have to leave the meeting unless they did so. Scores of people then prayed and cried for mercy. The scene became a most moving one. Continuing, the evangelist said that people had been too prone to show themselves in the scene, instead of praying, as they should have done. He had been trembling like a leaf at witnessing what was going on. “Pray more. Let us show ourselves less,” was his advice. He then asked those who had been disobedient to thank God for the opportunity to pray for forgiveness, and the request was immediately acceded to. “Pray, friends,” Mr Roberts pleaded, “and, after praying, remember to give the glory to God. There is a terrible danger in withholding glory from God.” Mr Roberts referred to Herod as a case in point. Presently an intimidation was made that someone present did not believe that Christ had died for him. “Does he believe in God?” asked Mr Roberts, and then came the reply, “He does not believe in the existence of his soul after death.” Although this announcement caused a measure of concern and was the signal for a number of people to cry no great consternation was caused. The concluding portions of the service was very fine.

From, 'The Western Mail', 20th February 1905. The pastor reported 174 new converts. From, 'The South Wales Daily News', 4th February 1905.

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