Salem Chapel - Llanllyfni (1771-1819)

As the hearers became more numerous and the church grew, it became necessary for them to build a chapel: and in the year 1771 a small chapel was built on the land of Buarthau, eight yards in length and six yards in breadth. The inhabitants of the region mocked the religious people greatly for building such a large chapel and said that they would never have half enough hearers to fill it. But after a little while a small revival began in the region, and the number of hearers grew a little at that time. There were various revivals from that time to the year 1793, some of them quite powerful and others not so powerful; some of them affecting chiefly the children, and others affecting adults as well as the children. But in the year 1793, there was a very powerful revival, and very many were added to the church, some of whom have remained with the work until now, and many have fallen asleep in Jesus . . .

I do not think that many notable things happened after this until the year 1813 when a very powerful revival broke out, and the additions to the church (about 60) brought the number to 220. By this time the chapel (which many had mocked as being too large, and of which many had said that there would never be half enough hearers to fill it) had become too small to hold the church comfortably. In the meantime, a new chapel was being built (namely the present one) and when the revival had come to its full strength the new chapel had been made ready.

W. Williams of Buarthau had some revelation of that revival before it came, a few months before his death. And he said to some of his companions that a very powerful revival was coming to Llanllyfni. ‘But,’ he said, ‘I will die before it comes.’ I do not know how the coming revival was revealed to the godly old man, because the cause was at a low ebb when he made the statement; and I do not know how he knew he would die before the revival came, because he was in full health when he said it. But I think the Lord in some way revealed it to his old faithful servant, who had borne the burden and heat of the day with his work, in order to comfort him in his last days, and give him peace of mind to leave the work and rest in the grave, for he was remarkably at peace in his mind and willing to leave the work and go to the grave, thinking that the Lord would raise up his cause and revive his work in the region when he was dust and ashes. But however it was revealed to him, and to whatever ends he had the revelation, the words were true and faithfully fulfilled. He died peacefully a few months after he had made the statement, in October 1812, aged 72, and the revival began in March 1813.

In April 1819 another revival began. Scores were called to the church at the time, and many have been enabled to stand faithfully in the Lord’s house in the night, and many show clear signs that the Lord has saved them.

Y Drysorfa, i. (1831), 366-368

‘There were various powerful revivals from that time [1771] to the year 1793, some of them very powerful. But in the year 1793, the most powerful was felt. Many good sound men were added to the church at this time, some who have been of remarkable service to the little cause in y Buarthau. The Rev. John Roberts, in a letter to a friend, refers to this revival:—

“Very frequently discouraging news fills town and country these days, but I have some encouraging news amongst it all; thanks be to God! A very powerful revival has broken out amongst a group of young people, the like of which I have never seen before; I have never seen the breeze tearing more powerfully in any other place before. There are about a hundred there seeing the same sight sometimes crying out for salvation. It is likely that it will be a busy time in the harvest of the Son of Man. Success to him!”’ [Y Drysorfa lv. (1885), p.10]

‘My parents performed their duty towards me, and I had every example, warning, and rebuke from them. The privileges of my childhood were very much greater than those of my contemporaries. The first thing I remember is some thoughts of death and eternity, and much pleasure in thinking of Jesus Christ, and also in meditating on the sermons I had heard. I would be much pained in my mind continually after doing some sins that I was most inclined to; and I preferred, I imagine, religious people to any other people. But despite all this, the streams of my corruption were so strong that I would allow myself to pollute God’s Sabbaths, and commit other sins that they were most inclined to of that age. Here I must admit with amazement, if God had not kept me, there would have been no one harder in presumptuous sinning, and blaspheming his work, that I would have been. But when I was 13 years old,—that year there was a great revival through our land, and very many were added to the churches in various places,—it pleased the Lord to conquer my thoughts with the Gospel, and incline my mind to his church, and I was received into fellowship in Llanllyfni.’ [Jones, Cofiant Michael Roberts, p.11]

‘In the years 1784-5 and 1794 there were wonderful revivals of the cause in the place. This was the period that the writer [Michael Roberts] was received into fellowship when he was only 14 years old. This was also the time that the chapel was built, and various times afterwards, to our great surprise and the praise of Him who chose Zion as his own habitation.’ [Jones, Cofiant Michael Roberts, pp.148-9; HMA i. 114]

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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