1904 Revival - Summary

Wales… CYMRU… a small land of hills, mountains and once industrial valleys. A nation proud of its history and determined to guard its own unique inheritance. A people with their own culture with many still speaking its own distinct tongue – Welsh – or ‘Cymraeg’ as the ‘Cymro’ or Welshman might say. A land littered by castles and forts – remnants of battles of independence with their Anglo Saxon neighbors.

Howell Harris
Howell Harries

But alongside and mixed with the political and cultural history of the nation is a stream of Christian history and spiritual revival beginning in the third century and continuing to the present day. A history with its own unique spiritual heroes Saint David and the Celtic Church – William Morgan with his translation of the Scriptures into the Welsh language – Howell Harries and Daniel Rowlands contemporaries and co-workers with Whitefield and Welsey in the 18th Century Methodist Revival accompanied by William Williams Pantycelyn, the Welsh Charles Wesley – who provided the spiritual sound track with his unique hymn writing ability.

Daniel Rowlands
Daniel Rowlands

The 19th Century saw Christmas Evans the one eyed preacher of Anglesey, John Elias, Thomas Charles and hundreds more – Heroes who under God transformed and changed a whole nation into one of the most Christian countries in the world by the end of the Century – so much so that the little nation became known as ‘The Land of Revival’ – Land of Song.

 

Christmas Evans
Christmas Evans

Of course, each Revival had its own emphasis and its own distinctives and each one its own special hymn or hymns, that seemed to sum up the experience of the move of God in the lives of the nation. A favourite of both the National Revivals of 1859 and 1904 was the hymn Y Gwr Wrth ffynon Jacob”. The Man at Jacob’s Well – its popularity due probably to the fact that its truth could easily be repeated and enjoyed in the last few lines.

 

A century ago Wales experienced the last National Religious Revival, a revival that brought in an extra 100,000 new converts according to the estimates of the time, and a movement that quickly spread to the 4 corners of the World. Yet that great move of the Spirit had very small beginnings. Beginnings that didn’t always involve the great preachers of the day – erudite and educated as they were, but instead included, for instance a young teenager from New Quay, Cardigan – Florrie Evans – who in a youth meeting in February 1904 declared publicly that she loved the Lord Jesus with all her heart. With these words the Spirit seemed to fall on the meeting and the fire quickly spread to other young people in the Cardiganshire area.

In September of the same year, an Evangelist Seth Joshua was addressing a Convention which included these young people at Blaenanerch just 5 miles north of Cardigan. Seth himself had been praying for years that God would raise up a young man from the pits to revive the churches – little did he know that on Thursday September 29th 1904 his prayer was to be answered in a life changing experience for one 26 year old student, Evan Roberts.

Evan Roberts
Evan Roberts

Evan Roberts was born in 1878 in the small town of Loughor in Glamorgan, just 7 miles away from Swansea. Having left school at 11, he worked with his father at the colliery until he was in his early 20s – he then for a short time became a Blacksmith’s apprentice with his uncle in Pontarddulais.

For years Evan had been a faithful member of Moriah Calvinistic Methodist church at Loughor, he was a Sunday School Superintendent, a consciencious reader of the main theological works of his day, and more than that he had been praying for revival for over 11 years. Having been converted as a young teenager, he continued to pray regularly that God would visit again the nation in Revival Power. Determined to do his part, he felt compelled to go into the Calvinistic Methodist Ministry and on September 13th 1904 he became a pupil of the Newcastle Emlyn Grammar School to prepare for Trefecca Theological College.

It was only 2½ weeks after arriving that he found himself at Blaenanerch – and at a crossroads in his spiritual experience. A spiritual experience which would lead him back to the young people of his own church Moriah Loughor where he shared his experience and encouraged them to be open to God’s Spirit. Within two weeks the Welsh Revival was national news and before long, Evan Roberts and his brother Dan and his best friend Sidney were travelling the country conducting Revival Meetings and they were meetings with a difference. Meetings which broke the conventional and bi-passed the traditional – often the ministers just sat down unable to preach or even to understand what storm had arrived in their usually sedate temples.

 

This was a Revival with youth on fire – young men, yes and women. After the first stirrings amongst the young women of New Quay, young women continued to play a part in the Revival work – young Forrie went on a team to North Wales with her friend Maud – others used their voices as instruments of God’s message and amongst the most well known was Annie Davies Maesteg who accpomanied Evan Roberts on his missions.

Yes a storm had hit the churches yet for so many it was a storm of love and power which completely transformed their lives.

Annie Davies
Annie Davies

People were changed in so many ways. The crime rate dropped, drunkards were reformed, pubs reported losses in trade. Bad language disappeared and never returned to the lips of many – it was reported that the pit ponies failed to understand their born again colliers who seemed to speak the new language of Zion – without curse and blasphemy – even football and rugby became uninteresting in the light of new joy and direction received by the Converts.

Colliers and tin-men of the working classes expressed their joy in so many ways – so many original prayers

But perhaps the song that captures what most of these felt was a song sung by Sam Jenkins a tin plate worker from Llanelli – a song translated at the time from English to Welsh – Can y Rebel “Am Achub hen rebel fel fi” - "For saving an old Rebel like me".

The Revival storm that hit the hills and valleys of Wales in the dying months of 1904 soon became a hurricane that affected the world. Visitors from France, Turkey, the U.S, to name but a few came to visit and as they caught the flame they passed it on to new countries. Welsh communities throughout the world felt the effects and news of God’s powerful work soon had many other churches praying that God would visit then as well – the Khasia Hills in India being a perfect example of prayer answered.

Moriah
Moriah

The public excitement of the Revival had died down by 1906 – Evan Roberts went to Leicester to recuperate – the newspapers went back to politics and other things but for many, the honeymoon of these 2 years developed into a lasting and loving relationship with a risen Christ that continued a lifetime.

In asking one elderly Revival convert some years ago as to whether the Revival stopped in 1906, she answered – its still burning within my heart – it’s never been extinguished – it had burned for over 70 years.

 

Huw Priday


Huw Sings I hear Thy Welcome Voice (In English, Welsh andKorean)

Huw Priday


Click to see Huw sing "Here is Love"

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