The Welsh Revival Welsh Revival The Welsh Revival 1904
Welsh Revival 1904


Jessie Penn-Lewis

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Chapter 3



“Waters issued out from under the threshold.” — EZEK. xlvii, I.

ON the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem the Spirit of God came upon all the company gathered in the upper room, but when the multitude came together it was Peter whom He chose to interpret to the people what had happened, but Peter could not have reaped the three thousand souls without the co-service of the one hundred and nineteen who, with him, had been filled with the Holy Ghost.

It has been said of the Awakening in Wales that it is the “Acts of the Apostles up-to-date.” And we cannot but think that this is so, not only in its manifestations, but in the way in which the Pentecost has come upon the land. The movement is Divine and Heaven-born—and so was Pentecost. Yet in Jerusalem the Spirit of God did not come first upon the multitudes, but upon the company in the upper room, and through them into the world in exact fulfilment of the Lord’s words, “I will send Him unto you. And He will convict the world.” (John xvi. 7, 8).

The law of the Holy Spirit’s working has not changed, and we should doubtless find, were we able to see all as known to God, that He has had His “120” in Wales, prepared by Him to be channels for the outflowing Spirit in this great awakening. It is important for the children of God in other countries to realise this, so that they may yield themselves to Him, that through them He may send rivers of life to “ all nations” in this day of His power.

Let us look again from the Mount of God, and watch the way that the life-streams began to break out in divers places.

We will turn our eyes first to Cardiganshire, to a little township called New Quay, lying on the fringe of Cardigan Bay, and fifteen miles from a railway station. Here in this out-of-the-way place the Lord had quietly been preparing instruments for the coming Pentecost.

With one of the strange coincidences which makes partnership with the Holy Ghost in service more romantic than any earthly romance, the All-seeing Lord ordained that one of the mightiest rivers should have its rise in the native place, and childhood’s church, of one of the ministers who asked of God at Keswick blessing for his native land!

In the momentous year of 1902 a minister in New Quay—whose great grandfather was one of the first band of preachers organised by Howell Harris—had been aroused to spiritual need by the words of a friend from India, and of another who told him he feared he was “backsliding,” as he noticed the absence of pathos in his voice when preaching! Aroused to a sense of need for greater blessing in his ministry, he sought this through Bible Study and books on prayer, until at last he entered into a fuller life in reading Dr. Andrew Murray’s book, “With Christ in the School of Prayer.”

The conviction grew upon him that the Spirit of God alone must save the church and the world. Meeting another minister in November, 1903, they exchanged confidences over the burden on their hearts about the churches, and their need of more abundant life. Neither of these brethren had attended the Llandrindod Conference, but after prayer they determined to recommend to the Presbytery that a Convention for the deepening of the spiritual life be held. The Missioners chosen were three, who received, to use the words of one, “fresh inspiration at Llandrindod.” In the choice of these messengers God again showed Himself far above the ways of men. The whole district of South Cardiganshire is essentially Welsh, scarcely more than one English chapel being within a radius of twenty to thirty miles, yet one speaker was a minister who rarely preached in anything but English, the other was one who never preached in Welsh, and the third—the wife of one—a lady who had never spoken in public, excepting once at the “ Forward Movement” meetings following the Conference at Liandrindod !

The Convention was for delegates, and there was only one public meeting, but at this meeting, through the words of the handmaid of the Lord, the heart of a young girl was touched, the consequences of which she, or others, little dreamed of at the time.

Meanwhile the Pastor of the church had been moved of God in the same November (1903) to commence a Young People’s Meeting in order to counteract the worldly spirit growing among them. One Sunday evening in January, 1904, the pastor preached from the text “This is the victory that overcometh the world.” He was strangely drawn out to describe the world as he saw it then depicted before his spiritual vision. To his private house that evening the afore-mentioned young girl wended her way. Shy and retiring, she knew not how to tell him the burden on her soul. She walked up and down outside the house for half-an-hour, and then, gaining courage to enter, said, “Oh, how can I tell you! I cannot live like this. I saw the ‘world’ in your sermon to-night. I am under its feet. Help me.” After some conversation the Pastor found that she thought she was saved, but she was afraid to yield entirely to the Saviour, and own Him as Lord. “He may ask me things difficult,” she said, and she would not that night commit herself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

On the following Sunday morning, in February, 1904, the Spirit of God bade the Pastor introduce some new feature into the Young People’s Meeting held after the morning service, and then it came to him to ask for testimony, definite testimony, as to what the Lord had done for their own souls.

One or two rose to speak, but it was not testimony. It was just then that the same young girl— shy, nervous, intelligent—stood up in tears, and with clasped hands simply said with deep pathos, “Oh, I love Jesus Christ with all my heart.” Instantly the Spirit of God appears to have fallen upon the gathering, and all were deluged with tears. It was the beginning of the visible manifestation of the Spirit breaking out in life-streams which afterwards would touch thousands of souls.

As at Pentecost, the blessing was soon noised abroad. Doors began to open on every hand, and the young people, led by their minister, conducted meetings throughout the south of the county, the Lord working with them in manifest power. But as yet the world knew little of what was going on.

In August, 1904, the second Convention at Llandrindod took place, when the testimony meeting revealed how deep a work had been wrought in 1903. A minister, writing to the “Goleuad “—a Welsh paper—said that at the 1904 Conference many saw a door of hope for revival in Wales in the near future.” Referring to the testimony meeting he said :—

“It was a luxury to hear ministers and laymen giving expression to the change that had taken place in their ministry and in their own personal lives since the Convention of 1903. Reference was made to a more intense consecration, to habits set aside, to a fuller dependence on the power of the Holy Ghost, and the many souls born in consequence thereof. Some testified that the Bible was a new book to them; others that prayer was easier and more powerful than it used to be . . . . .It is manifest that better days are about to dawn, and blessed are those believers who are willing now to consecrate themselves as worthy mediums for the Holy Ghost in the next revival.”

The Spirit of God broke forth again in glorious power that momentous week in 1904, and none will ever forget the closing morning meeting, when overcome by the revelation of the fullness of redemption purchased for the sinner by Jesus Christ our Lord, with hands raised and bowed heads, the audience sang again, and again, and again, “Crown Him Lord of all.” Neither will the message that night on ‘‘ Exuberance of life in Jesus Christ ‘‘ ever be forgotten. Truly God was leading His people into open vision of Himself, and preparing them for the exuberant life which He has since shown in object-lesson before the eyes of the world.

All through 1903 and 1904 the underground currents were quietly deepening and sometimes breaking out to the surface, until the time drew near when the flood-gates opened and the Spirit of God broke out upon the land as a “tidal-wave” sweeping all things before it, or, to use another figure, as a “forest fire” consuming all things it touched.

We have seen the beginning of the life-streams in New Quay in February, 1904. Let us follow to their churches some of the ministers who entered into the Spirit-filled life in August, 1903. They tell of a midnight prayer-meeting at the 1904 Conference, when they all consecrated themselves afresh to God for His use, and definitely asked the Lord to raise up some one to usher in the Revival! A month later two of their churches were in the midst of a mighty awakening, when scores were converted!

One returned to his people, and urged upon them the fullness of the Spirit for every believer. This soon aroused attention, and the subject became talked about by the colliers at work. Some opposed, but some yielded, and several young men surrendered to be possessed by the Holy Ghost. At the end of September prayer-meetings began to be held on every week-night, until the schoolroom was filled, and they had to adjourn to the chapel, where again they gathered every night for three weeks longer. The prayer-meetings were then intermingled with testimony meetings, and afterwards special services were held conducted by one of the ministers who had entered the Spirit-filled life. At these fifty found the Saviour, and large numbers of young people received in actual experience their “Pentecost.” By the end of the year one hundred and twenty souls were added to the Lord.

Another minister who entered the Spirit-filled life in 1903 returned to his church fervently praying for an outpouring of the Spirit, and slowly signs began of better things approaching. People in the church who had taken offence with each other were reconciled. Unity prepared the way of the Lord, and then on November 20, 1904, the Spirit of God broke out. The Pastor had been preaching at a mission station in the morning, but passing the mother-church on his way home, he entered, and found the service still on. Something had occurred! There was not a dry eye in the place! The people were shedding tears and smiling at the same time. One of the elders, in a broken voice, said that they had experienced a most wonderful meeting. The Holy Spirit had come in such mighty power that they decided to dispense with Sunday school and sermons and spend the day in prayer and pra1se. “Under normal conditions it would be necessary to give due notice of re-arrangements of this kind, and to have them sanctioned by a church meeting,” writes the Pastor, “ but now the Holy Spirit took possession heeding not our arrangements, and no one had the courage or the desire to protest!” From this time meetings were held every night, and some of the young people became possessed by the Spirit to such a remarkable degree that the “Acts of the Apostles became more intelligible” to all. Many were led into full surrender to Christ as King, and gave soul-stirring testimonies. Those who had hitherto taken but a passive interest in the work of the church sprang forward, and became bold witnesses for Christ. Open-air meetings were organised when even young women raised their voices in testimony, and those who had been too diffident to take part in public service, now did not hesitate to speak even to drunkards coming out of public-houses, and kneel down and pray for them in the open streets.

Another minister returned to his church bearing witness to the Spirit-filled life, and signs of blessing began in September, 1903, as a deep thirst for better things slowly grew among the members. In July, 1904, the Pastor commenced a special meeting after the ordinary evening service, particularly for those who desired to live the Spirit- filled life. The Holy Spirit came upon that meeting in such manifest power that all present were overwhelmed, and remarkable testimonies were afterwards given by many. On a later Sunday evening, the Spirit of God broke forth again in the ordinary service. Strong men were broken down, and said afterwards that they felt as if they must shout to relieve their pent-up feelings. Several young men gave themselves to Christ in this service. Sunday after Sunday the place was filled by the Holy Ghost, and several conversions took place. At the close of one service held in October all who desired to consecrate themselves to the Lord, and go out and seek the lost, were asked to meet in the schoolroom, and here the “Revival” began. Souls were saved night after night for weeks succeeding.

“But,” writes the Pastor, “although we had completed ten weeks of prayer meetings, and many souls were gathered in, I still felt the church as a whole had not received her Pentecost. Early in December, 1904, in a memorable prayer meeting several crossed the line, and entered the promised land. Some men were so literally filled with the Spirit that others could have said ‘They are drunk with new wine.’ A great passion for souls took possession of many hearts from this time, and in one week seventy souls were gathered in. Many made public confession of sins, and consecrated themselves to Christ. After 11 o’clock one Saturday night ten men yielded to the Saviour, and over one hundred and fifty confessed Christ ere 1904 closed. The whole movement without doubt had its origin in my own awakening. After I surrendered all conscious sin and yielded entirely to Christ, a new power was immediately felt in my ministry. Now I have a NEW church, with a large number of men and women who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and are used to win souls.”

[These remaining chapters are availible on the CD-ROM which can be purchased shortly]

New Quay in September, 1904—The Blaenanerch Convention—The Spirit-baptism of Evan Roberts— Loughor in November, 1904—The Tidal Wave and its Results.

The Overflowing Streams through Divers Channels— How the Holy Spirit wrought in many centres— The general effect on the Churches.

The life-streams in North Wales—Some traces at Ponkey in June, 1904— The Tidal Wave at Rhos, November, 1904—The Healing of the Breach at Bethesda.

The Message to the Church—Thc Object Lesson in Wales—The Place of Calvary in the Awakening.


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