Tabor Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Maesteg (1905)

Mr Evan Roberts, visiting Maesteg today, came to congenial soil, the home of the Misses Maggie and Annie Davies, who have been so closely associated with the work of the evangelist. For weeks the revival has been in pronounced evidence in the Llynfi Valley, where there is a total of over 2,000 converts. At Nantyfyllon the revival movement was contemporaneous with that at Loughor and anterior to its being first publicly noticed in the press. So thorough has the work been done in this place that the whole of the congregation at some of the chapels have become members. During their recent visit, Mr Dan Roberts, Miss Maggie Davies, and Miss S.A. Jones conducted a very successful mission, and the advent of the central figure of the revival to the place had been eagerly and prayerfully looked forward to. Mr Roberts, Miss Annie Davies, and Miss Mary Davies attended meetings throughout the day. As usual, there was a large number of visitors, including clergymen, ministers, and laymen from London, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Germany. The afternoon meeting was at Carmel Chapel. From the opening there was a lack of spontaneity, though the singing had the true ring about it. There was, however, a certain formality which rather militated against the leading feature of the revival. The great crowd outside rather interfered with the service, and evidently held a service of their own. Twice of three times the hymn sung by the people outside was taken up by those inside. An old gentleman said he was a son of four revivals. He was about five weeks old, over 60 years ago, when his mother used to carry him to the midday prayer meetings, and he was taken care of by other women while his mother was engaged in prayer. There was the revival of 1849 when the men were terrified by the outbreak of cholera, and there was the revival of 1859. This was a very different one from that of the present day, inasmuch as the 'thunders of Sinai' formed the burden of every great sermon. 'Oh, will you pray for the Army?' pleaded an Army chaplain who had come from Ireland, where he works among 6,000 soldiers. While beseeching the prayers of the people of Wales for Ireland, as well as for the Army, he said that Ireland, too, was praying for Wales, and the revival had linked together the two countries. The evening meeting was again held at Tabor, whither the people wended their way as early as four o?clock for a meeting to begin at six. Precautions were taken to obviate a repetition of the afternoon?s incident. For a couple of hours the people passed the time mostly in singing. A German lady delivered an address, a Frenchman acting as interpreter. There was a good deal of fervency throughout this meeting and also marked spontaneity. There was no pause from beginning to end, and it was evident at the start that this was no ordinary meeting. A man said he was present in that chapel 45 years ago, at the time of the great revival of 1859, and he explained how the people used to go round the chapel praising. He then went on to refer to the influence of the present revival. Mr Roberts delivered a brief, but searching, address, and urged the need of workers in the Christian Church. It was not the one who was the most prominent before the public who was the greatest worker. Christ had told the people to go into the highways and bye-ways. He then suggested singing, 'Duw mawr y rhyfeddodau maith' ('Great God of countless wonders'), and it was magnificently rendered. Up to this point the meeting was an exceptionally fine one, but then occurred a most unfortunate circumstance, which for the while threatened to have serious consequences. Somehow or other one of the gas brackets got broken by the crush upstairs, with the result that the gas escaped. Soon after there were shouts that the gas should be extinguished and when some people persisted in allowing some of the gas jets to be lit or in striking matches this caused almost a panic. Mr Roberts, however, never lost his equanimity, and his coolness under the circumstances to a great extent averted a disaster. He called upon the people to be calm, and in the darkness hymn after hymn was sung, while about three-quarters of the congregation left. By-and-bye the leak was stopped and the chapel again lit up, neither Mr Roberts nor his lady assistants having moved from the pulpit. Mr Roberts remarked that if the people had sufficient faith they would be calmer under the circumstances. There was no need for them to fear; let them not think that they would be made 'sport' for the enemy. Each individual was the object of God's infinite care. He then asked whether they were not now too perturbed in mind to worship, but there was a volume of cries in the negative, one young fellow exclaiming that he had a covert by his side. Once more order was obtained, and the meeting proceeded very finely. Miss Keturah Williams (Pontycymmer) sang very beautifully, and the meeting was closed about ten o'clock.

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

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