Lessons of the Welsh Revival
Sermon By the Rev. G. Campbell Morgan, D.D.
Delivered in Westminster Chapel
Sunday evening, 25th December, 1904
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day; but this is that which hath been spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days saith God, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams: Yea, and on my bond-servants and on My bond-maidens in those days will I pour forth of My Spirit, And they shall prophesy”‘ (Acts 2:15-18).
I have not read these words as a text, but as an introduction to what I desire to say, as God shall help me, concerning the most recent manifestation of the Pentecostal power. I refer to the great work of God that is going on in Wales at this time; and I trust that something more than curiosity makes you desire to hear of this work, for I am not speaking with any intention to satisfy curiosity. I want now in the simplest way to speak to you, first, very briefly, and as far as it is possible,of what my own eyes have seen, my own ears heard, and my own heart felt.
I do this in order that we may ask finally, what are the lessons God would teach us in this day of His visitation? Yet I can not help reverting, before going further, to the passage that I have read in your hearing. Peter stood in the midst of one of the most wonderful scenes that the world has ever beheld. When men said of the shouting multitude that they were drunk, Peter said, “No, these men are not drunken as ye suppose”; but “this is that” which was spoken by the prophet Joel. If any one shall say to me, “What do you think of the Welsh revival?” I say at once, “This is that.”
This is no mere piece of imagination, and it certainly is not a piece of exaggeration. “I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” is the promise now evidently fulfilled in Wales. If you ask for proof of that assertion, I point to the signs. “Your young men shall see visions!”
That is exactly what is happening. It does not at all matter that this cynical and dust-covered age laughs at the vision. The young men are seeing it. “And your old men shall dream dreams,” and that is happening. The vision goes for-ward, the dream goes backward; and the old men are dreaming of ’59, and feeling its thrill again. “Yea, and on My bond-servants and on My handmaidens,” that is, on the slaves and the domestic servants, “I will pour My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy” It does not at all matter that some regular people are objecting to the irregular doings. “This is that” If you ask me the meaning of the Welsh revival, I say — it is Pentecost con-tinned, — without one single moment’s doubt.
But, for a few moments let me speak of the thing itself. Let me talk familiarly and quietly, as though sitting in my own room. I left London on Monday, reaching Cardiff at 8:30 that evening, and my friend who met me said to me, “What are you going to do? Will you go home, or will you go to the meeting?” I said, “What meeting?” He said, “There is a meeting at Roath Road Chapel.” “Oh,” I said, “I would rather have a meeting than home.”
We went. The meeting had been going on an hour and a half when we got there, and we stayed for two hours and a half, and went home, and the meeting was still going on, and I had not then touched what is spoken of as — it is not my phrase, but it is expressive — the “fire zone” I was on the outskirts of the work. It was a wonderful night, utterly without order, characterized from first to last by the orderliness of the Spirit of God.
But it is of Tuesday that I would specially speak. I was the whole of that day in Clydach Vale, spending eight hours in the actual meetings, and the rest of the time in the company of Evan Roberts, whom God has so wonderfully raised up. When I had been to the evening meeting on Tuesday I told him I would not come back on Wednesday, and for reasons to be stated hereafter. Let me only say now in passing that I am perfectly convinced that we had better keep our hands off this work. I will explain that more fully presently. On Wednesday we returned to Cardiff, and in answer to an invitation, Mr. Gregory Mantle and I took a meeting in this Roath Road Wesleyan Chapel, and on Thursday we took three meetings, spending seven hours there.
I want to speak of the Tuesday only. It was my holy privilege to come into the center of this wonderful work and movement. Arriving in the morning in the village everything seemed quiet, and we wended our way to the place where a group of chapels stood. Oh, these chapels through Wales! Thank God for them! And everything was so quiet and orderly that we had to ask where the meeting was. And a lad, pointing to a chapel, said, “In there” Not a single person outside. Everything was quiet.
We made our way through the open door, and just managed to get inside, and found the chapel crowded from floor to ceiling with a great mass of people. What was the occupation of the service? It is impossible for me to tell you finally and fully.
Suffice it to say that throughout that service there was singing and praying, and personal testimony, but no preaching. The only break in upon the evidently powerful continuity of the service was when some one in the meeting, who happened to know me, said that they would like to hear me speak. And that is why I decided never to go again into these meetings. For the moment the thoughts of the meeting were turned towards me. There was a break in the continuity and the power.
If it were possible for me in any way to disguise myself I would go back again, and get back into the middle of the movement, but I am afraid it is a little too late in the day for that. Of course, I did not move to speak, but when, presently, it was evident there was this break, I rose and spoke a few words, urging them not to allow the presence of any stranger to divert their attention, and the meeting moved on, and I was allowed to hide my-self again. It was a meeting characterized by a perpetual series of interruptions and disorderliness. It was a meeting characterized by a great continuity and an absolute order.
George Campbel Morgan