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THE REVIVAL IN THE KHASIA HILLS
Mrs John Roberts
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|5. The Revival Among The Children|
A very beautiful feature of the Revival in Khasia was this: —the CHILDREN were specially remembered. This has been already referred to, but it deserves much more than a passing notice. It has been a great encouragement to those who have worked among the children, and it has filled their hearts with joy and gratitude that the meetings for the little ones were visited by the Holy Spirit. The tender Shepherd who commanded his followers to feed the lambs of His flock, showed in a marked manner that the little ones are as dear to him to-day as they were when He walked the earth of Galilee, and took them in His arms and blessed them. He was pleased to show His acceptance of the Children’s Services by coming Himself, through His Spirit, to show His power in them.
When the Revival had broken out in the Churches, the children felt that they must hold special prayer meetings of their own every day, and a person who was present one day—which was a Wednesday—writes of it: —“I was returning from Cherra, and when nearing the chapel could hear sounds as of crying and sobbing. I hurried in, and there indeed I found the children all bathed in tears. Two of our young men were with them and God was with them. He had touched one, and then another, and then they were all for a time uncontrollable. Then one and another prayed, simple, child-like prayers, but showing real signs of contrition. It appears that one of the boys had stood up, and with a terrified expression on his countenance declared that the night before he had seen hell fire, and the sight had so filled him with fear that he had fled to Jesus for refuge. What he had seen was very real to him, as the very earnest prayer which he offered showed. His prayer touched the children very much, and others prayed, and then the wave overflowed them all. In one of these meetings a little boy was crying pitifully, and when asked why, he said, ‘Oh, because I do not love Jesus as 1 ought to, when He has loved me so much.’
Some of the children were unwilling to return to their homes even when the meetings were over. Some of the very little ones would linger about, and return to chapel and offer up little child-like prayers by themselves, with only their teacher with them. We doubt not that the Good Shepherd looked with much tenderness upon these lambs who were thus seeking Him. Many of these little ones have begun to understand that they must work for their Saviour; they go to the houses of the heathen, and are received with much readiness.
“In many of the other villages the children have been much moved. In Shillong they held some remarkable meetings, also in the Districts of Mairang and Mawphlang. In Shangpung they seemed unable to leave the chapel; as some children went out others came in, and the meetings went on for many hours, sometimes lasting the whole day, and often far into the night. Some of them went to a very large market held near the place, and spoke to the people who had come to buy and sell, and so effectual were their words that a great crowd from the market ran to the chapel, and the children there had a very powerful service with these people.”
In Jowai, also, beautiful scenes were witnessed in connection with the children. We quote the words of one who was present with them when the great blessing fell upon them: — “We have had daily prayer meetings with the children since the beginning of April, but recently we have had two or three meetings every day. On Monday, May 8th, the service commenced at 2. 30 p.m. There was nothing unusual at the beginning; then a man got up, and with tears confessed his faults and begged of God to pardon him. Two boys prayed afterwards, and one of the prayers was very beautiful. I never knew before what a child’s prayer could be. Shortly afterwards a boy, who had not been in the Church very long, got up, and told us how the day before God had met him and showed him his sins. Then he began to speak of Christ on the Cross, and how He had suffered for us; then one of the children began to sob, then another and another, until the whole chapel was filled with the cries of the children—crying to God to forgive them, to have mercy on them, to save them. It was truly terrible to hear them, for nothing would comfort them. The people from their houses, hearing the cries, came rushing in on all sides, and nearly filled our big chapel. The boy who was speaking went on oblivious of all that was going on around him. A man was pouring out his soul to God, several were singing, and the children crying—all at the same time. Words cannot describe the scene; it was really terrible. Suddenly someone began to sing the hymn,
“There’s a land that is fairer than day.”
and the children took it up, waving their Hymn Books, keeping time to the music. Then they sang other Hymns, one which they repeated over and over again was—
“The love that Jesus had for me
It was 7 o’clock before this wonderful meeting could be brought to a close, and when the people separated, joy and gratitude welled up in their hearts, and they blessed God. They realised that their eyes had seen that day His wonderful salvation.”
From the same source we quote the following:— “Children have been specially influenced here, they often swing their bodies to and fro, and wave their arms when singing, some of them having a rapt expression on their faces, and unconscious of everything but of the words they are singing. In one of their meetings a little boy got up to speak, and begged the smaller children not to sleep in the meetings, and not to be restless, but to behave worthily in the House of God. Then another boy got up and warned the children against hypocrisy, begging of them to realise the words of the Hymns that were repeated and sung. The parents say that they never had so little trouble with their children.” It is very beautiful to read the last sentence, for in it we see that the fruit of the Spirit was showing itself in the lives of the children—obedience to parents, greater kindliness in the family, more attention in the services, greater reverence in connection with holy things—these were some of the things that were looked for in the children, and in a great number of instances they were happily found.
Also they lost to a great extent the natural shyness and timidity belonging to children, or rather, it should much more be said, that some inward constraining power enabled them to overcome it. Many stood up in different places to pray, or to confess their sins and sinfulness, or to praise God for His love and mercy to them individually. One little boy asked God to forgive him for stealing pies and food from his mother, and for doing other mischievous things. One little girl was complaining greatly of herself, I have begun to climb the Hill towards the Cross,” she said, “but O, I am constantly slipping back, Oh, do help me that I may reach the Cross, and that I may ever cling to the Cross of my Saviour.” Another little one of about ten years of age prayed one evening as if inspired. She prayed that the Christians might all be beautiful, like Jesus, that in their lives they might show His loveliness, and so conquer the heathen by His beauty. Then she prayed that all Christians might be good workers for God, “Make us all to be always like new servants,” showing how even a child can understand the need for constant freshness in the service of God. In a village in the Jowai district, a girl of about twelve got up in one meeting, and gave out a Hymn to be sung, and then prayed very fervently. Afterwards she spoke of a vision she had seen, in which the Lord showed her heaven and hell, and told her that people who disobeyed His voice were sent to everlasting punishment, but that those who obeyed Him were happy forever. I
Many of the children were filled with a desire to do something for Jesus Christ. They visited the houses of the heathen, some held meetings in the markets, and went to distant villages, with some older relatives, to tell others what God had done for them. One young girl, who was living away from home, felt constrained to go to see her father, one of our leading pastors in Khasia. After travelling for two days she reached home, and told him that she had come home to remain with him for a week or two, as she felt certain there was going to be a Revival in the Church in that village. At that time the Church was somewhat cold, but they began to hold nightly meetings. They had good meetings, but nothing special, and towards the end of the fortnight the father told his daughter that she had better return to her mother. That evening the meeting was held as usual, and suddenly this girl got up and began to sing all alone one of the Khasi hymns, and, while she was yet singing, something wonderful fell upon the meeting. The fire of God was in their midst, and a holy confusion prevailed throughout. This was the beginning of a very prosperous season with the work of God in that village. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength.” This girl had been, almost from the first, very much touched by the Revival. A somewhat strange incident occurred in connection with her. Almost immediately after the beginning of this great day of grace in Khasia, this girl was much laid upon her teacher’s mind. One night she was kept awake for hours thinking about her; and when at last she fell into a troubled sleep, it was to dream of her. It seemed that she was pressing upon her the need of instant decision for Jesus Christ. The following day the teacher did not have the opportunity of speaking to her, but on the succeeding day she told her of her dream and pressed the matter upon the girl. To her surprise the girl asked her the time when she was so much moved about her. On being told, she said that it was at that very time that she had felt her conscience smiting her for her carelessness and thoughtlessness, and she had given herself anew to Jesus Christ that very night, and it was now her great desire to be altogether His, and to work for Him.
In another village, LAITYRA, it pleased God that the Pentecostal blessing should descend upon the Church by means of a little girl. It would not be out of place, perhaps, to write a word about the mother of this girl. Her husband had turned his back on the Church of his childhood, and had endeavoured, by fair means and foul, to draw aside his wife and family. For four or five years he persecuted them, but the wife and mother remained steadfast and loyal to her Church and to her Saviour, and she ultimately had the exceeding joy of seeing her husband brought back by the instrumentality of their child, and also of seeing the Church to which she had been so loyal, being revived and renewed by means of the same little one. Ever does it remain true, “that God chooses the foolish things of the world that He may put to shame them that are wise, and God chooses the weak things of the world that He may put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, does God choose, yea, and the things that are not, that He may bring to naught the things that are; that no flesh shall glory before God.”
This is the little girl who is mentioned in the following account of the Revival as it suddenly came upon the Church in Laityra, as given by one of the Khasi preachers. “A little later, a young girl began to speak; she wished to say what she had seen in a trance in that meeting. At first there was a certain amount of unwillingness to listen to her, but a boy who was present pleaded for her, and she spoke on; and while she was still speaking, suddenly the people began to wail and to weep loudly. Those who were already moved by the Spirit sprang up and began to praise the Lord, and to dance for joy. Just then many Christians who had not attended the meeting, and many non-Christians also, came rushing into the chapel in great fear. They thought the Christians had been struck by lightning or by something similar. When they came nearer they saw the Christians in the chapel looking beautifully white, and over the building a bright light was shining. Some said they saw it as fire, and some as lightning over and around all. After singing for some time, some of the friends prayed with deep feeling amid renewed weeping and heart-felt responses. The prayers were heard distinctly in the houses in the village. The service continued almost until dawn the next day.
This is a literal translation of the words spoken by the little girl:—“I stand at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ. He tells me, ‘You are a naughty child, but I will not leave you. Weep not for me,’ he says, ‘but weep for your sins, and your sins are forgiven you. Go and tell that I was crucified for the sin of the world.’
These are the words that touched the people. They were convicted of their sins, and wailed and wept. Others saw a bright light which showed them their sins until they were pricked to the heart, so that they could not refrain from shouting. There were others who believed that they had been forgiven; these were rejoicing with great joy, their hearts being on fire with gratitude and love. One or two, even at such a sacred time, appeared as if not much touched. The coming of the Holy Spirit in this way caused a fear to fall upon the non-Christians, and it has convinced some of them of the truth of the religion of Jesus Christ.
“On Monday evening, the 20th of August, a bright light like fire was again seen by many within the Chapel, and the power of the Holy Spirit came even more abundantly than on Wednesday. The Christians, who were not much touched before, were deeply convicted now, weeping bitterly and kneeling on the floor praying earnestly for forgiveness. Others were weeping and praying for unbelieving friends and relatives. One boy stood up and said in that meeting he had seen the Lord Jesus, He had given him a kind of vision, and had led him to Heaven, where he saw some of the departed friends. He too was told to weep for his sins.
“All the Christians are now thoroughly convinced of the truth of the Revival, a few were before inclined to be somewhat sceptical, but they feel that there is no room now for unbelief. The heathen also, who were making light of it, are now full of fear, they were trembling from fear when they saw the light in the Chapel, and the Christians looking so dazzlingly white.”
The writer of the preceding account is one who has himself been beautifully
moved in the Revival, and very deeply, even to his inmost heart. We
have seen him, in prayer, in the very dust, yea, writhing in the dust,
but close to the Cross, where despair sweetly turns to hope, where there
is ever a Hand stretched out in loving welcome even to the greatest
of sinners: and we have seen him again, full of the Holy Spirit, his
very face baring testimony to the wonderful Power which had possessed
beautiful indeed, when even the reflection of His character in His people makes them so passing fair.
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Electronic Copyright © 2002-2004 Tony Cauchi, unless otherwise stated. Copying, printing, or any other reproduction of this electronic version is prohibited without express permission from Tony Cauchi, the publisher.
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