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THE REVIVAL IN THE KHASIA HILLS
Mrs John Roberts
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|1. First Dawnings Of The Revival|
As the years rolled on, and the Christian community increased, and as violent and systematic persecution became more seldom, and the Christians had become a power in their country, a listlessness crept over many of them. They became at ease in Zion, forgetting the woe pronounced against such by the prophet of old. They became less watchful, and, as a consequence, less enthusiastic in their zeal for the Lord of Hosts. It may be said with much truth that in some things during the later years the Church in Khasia reflected the Church in Wales, as described by the Rev. Evan Phillips, Newcastle Emlyn, in an article of his on the Revival in Wales. “The Church was sleeping and her heart awake. She was in a manner conscious of the wretchedness of her condition, and often was she heard to call out, ‘Awake, O arm of the Lord.’ But it was a dreamy and a mistaken call. For God calls back to her, ‘Awake, Zion. It is thou who art sleeping. Thy God is awake.’ The fact that they were thus calling one upon the other made some to feel very sure that the awakening would not be long deferred. The thoughts about God which passed unconsciously through Zion’s heart drew the Holy Spirit to His old work, and she found herself again in the company of her God and her Redeemer.”
It was very like that in Khasia. It must be confessed with sorrow and shame that to some extent the Church had lost her first love, and as a result had become weaker in her resources, less able to train and control her members, especially her younger members; but she was not without her watchmen, who called out day and night to her God, and in the time of her great need He heard, and graciously came again to show Himself on her side, to show that He was King in the midst of her, and mighty to save.
Towards the end of the year 1904 the good news reached Khasia that God had visited His Church in Wales, that a wonderful Power had descended upon his people, and that thousands of unbelievers were being convinced of their sins, and were anxiously enquiring their way towards Zion. The Khasi Christians were full of joy when they heard this, and were very thankful that their Mother-Church in Wales had been remembered in so remarkable a manner. They spoke much to one another about this, and as week after week they received the news of the great progress of the Kingdom of God, they began to hope that in their own country the same great things might be experienced. They prayed much for this, and so great was their eagerness that they not only prayed for it in the meetings held in the chapels, but they had meetings in their own houses to ask God to remember them as He had remembered Wales. When going in and out among the Christians, one observed an eagerness to receive a special visitation which was beautiful to behold; this was apparent among men and women alike. The Assembly in 1905 was to be held in Cherrapoonjee, and there was an eager expectation that the great blessing would descend upon the Church during that meeting. The Assembly was a remarkable one. There was a sacredness and solemnity connected with every meeting which was inexpressibly beautiful, and it was felt that the Divine Presence was with His people, but the thing which was so much looked for was not experienced at that time. The meetings were veritably a foretaste of what was coming. There were many voluntary prayers, and the delegates and others returned to their villages with their faith increased, and their hope stimulated, and their longing much intensified. And when God had led on His people into that state, He had made them ready to receive the blessing, and did not long defer it.
THE REVIVAL BREAKS OUT.
Two or three weeks after the Assembly, a Presbytery was held in PARIONG, in the District which is under the charge of the Rev. E. H. Williams, and it was there that God was pleased to visit his people in Khasia by pouring upon them the promised Comforter. The following is Mr. Williams’ description. But it will be well to preface the description by his graphic account of the manner in which God had prepared that part of the field for the Revival. “All friends of the Mission will rejoice to know that a great Revival has begun in Khasia, and that it is spreading rapidly everywhere. There had been a general desire for some time that God would revive His work, and this desire was intensified by the reports of the Revival in the Mother Church in Wales.
“The Church in Mawphlang, early in 1903, decided to hold special prayer meetings every Monday night to pray for a great out-pouring, of the Holy Spirit throughout Khasia, and not only here but throughout the world. These prayer meetings were the means of great blessing, and increased the thirst, for divine showers. There was more activity among the Christians, and the Lord gave us over 80 souls from the world. Towards the end of the year 1904, our prayer meetings became still more fervent, and there was an eagerness on the part of the young people to take part, and even young girls were led to stand up and pray. In these meetings sometimes three or four would stand up at the same time, and often there was much emotion shown. At the beginning of the year 1905, we decided to hold prayer meetings every night until the Holy Spirit came amongst us as in Wales. We very soon felt that the Spirit was indeed in our midst, the fellowship was very sweet, and we were often loth to close the meeting at 10 o’clock . . . . . The Assembly at Cherra, in February, proved a great blessing to hundreds, and many of our brethren returned to their homes full of a desire to serve the Lord more faithfully and to pray for a still greater manifestation of his Spirit. After this, the Spirit poured His grace amongst us, and the dew was heavy in nearly all the meetings; occasionally we rejoiced in a shower, when some of us were overwhelmed, and the Chapel was filled with prayers, weeping, and praise. On Sunday, March 5th, we had a glorious day. Our Sunday School was studying John I. 33, about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the hindrances to obtain this blessing. Many of the brethren were deeply touched, and the prayer of one brother at the close will long be remembered. ‘Break our hearts, O Lord, break our stony hearts to pieces. When Jesus has done so much for us, we are ashamed of ourselves, because we are so hard.’ And with that many hearts were broken, and there was much weeping, . . . . and many were fired with a desire to consecrate themselves to God and to His service . . .”
A strong desire for a special visitation from on High, a daily gathering of the faithful to the House of God to give voice to that desire in fervent and persevering prayer, a renewed dedication to God and to his Work; as we look back, we plainly see that these were the steps which led to the mighty Revival in Khasia. When God had brought His people in humble faith to His footstool, when He had filled their hearts with a holy expectancy; then was the set time come, the time to be favourable to Zion, the time of the right hand of the Most High, the time for Him to visit His people by pouring upon them His own Holy Spirit. We refer again to the description, that we may find in it the first great Revival experience in the Hills of Khasia.
“The Presbytery at Pariong is one that will be long remembered,
. . for here did God answer abundantly the prayers of His people. On
Friday evening we had a very good prayer meeting. The chairman invited
one or two by name to engage in prayer, but others stood up in the midst
of the congregation to pray, and 0 such prayers, so full of unction.
We felt that the Spirit was with us. They prayed that God would pour
His Spirit upon us as He had done in Wales. While these prayed, others
cried, ‘O Lord, work among us,’ ‘Reveal thy power,’
and many were weeping and others saying ‘Amen.’ The people
appeared to be very unwilling to close the meeting. . . It was then
arranged that we should devote one of the meetings on Saturday to pray
for a revival in Khasia. In this meeting also we had many causes for
joy, there was an eagerness to engage in prayer, and the prayers were
remarkable for their fervency. Many were weeping silently. But the most
wonderful meeting of all was the third of the Sunday services. - Two
of the Khasia preachers spoke very powerfully, and we felt that God
was with His servants. At the close of this service, when the preacher
was about to pronounce the Benediction, we were startled by hearing
someone (U Ruton) beginning to pray most earnestly, in the midst of
the Congregation. He prayed that God would not let us leave without
the blessing. We had been expecting Him to reveal the power of His Spirit
amongst us all day, and now we had come to the end of the day without
the great blessing, ‘O God, pour down Thy Spirit upon us all now;
whilst Thou art blessing the people of Wales so much, do not send us
away empty.’ Whilst this brother was praying, others also began
to pray at the same time, both men and women, and then it is difficult
to say what took place—many were praying; some were crying aloud
for mercy; some men were fainting; nearly all were weeping; and some
were praising God—then someone began to sing, ‘Dyma gariad
fel y moroedd,’ and this was taken up and repeated time after
time, until some were nearly dancing from emotion. While the people
were singing, we could hear others still praying, ‘O Lord, pour
down a still greater blessing.’
Such is the description of the meeting which God was pleased to signalize as the one to be the first to receive the promised blessing, the gift in great measure of His Holy Spirit.
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