For the first time in this series I publish a previous post in its entirety. I do this because I have just watched a 1h video detailing the role of Evan Roberts in the 1904 Welsh revival, that video being the subject of my next post. This repost sets the scene for the much more detailed video to come.
The worship song was part of our moving Ash Wednesday service.
Music in the Morning No. 239 with a Love Song
Not just a love song; not just any love song but a song of God’s love and our love of God.
Not just any song of God’s love and our love of God but The Love Song of the Welsh Revival.
I knew the song but not its background.
I knew nothing of the Welsh Revival of 1904/1905.
‘Just after eleven o'clock on a Wednesday evening a hundred years ago, a solo voice rang out with the beautiful Welsh hymn "Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean". Maybe a thousand people were in the Chapel at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They'd been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion.
Meetings like it were taking place across Wales night after night, with fervent prayer and passionate singing - and similar disregard for the clock. They both excited and appalled, left many puzzled and some frightened, but it was reckoned that in less than a year, over a hundred and fifty thousand people had made a new commitment to Jesus Christ.
Whole communities changed, as men and women found themselves drawn into a powerful experience of God; and sparks from their awakening were soon to ignite fires in more than a dozen other countries.
And the hymn that soloist struck up spontaneously, about "love vast as the ocean", was heard so often that it became known as "the love song of the revival".’ [Source]
Listen to this wonderful hymn – the original would be in Welsh – and then I’ll tell you some more about the revival.
Here is Love Vast as the Ocean Robin Marks
This is SO inspiring! This alone could bring people to God!
‘On December 31st 1903 and January 1st 1904, Joseph Jenkins a minister in New Quay Cardiganshire, who was undoubtedly a key man in the Revival, held a "Deeper Spiritual Life Convention". Joseph had been seeking an enduement of power, and shared the testimony of his experience of the Holy Spirit engulfing him as a flame of fire. This was to impact his Church.
On February 14th, in a Sunday service at his Chapel, a young woman named Florrie Evans stood to her feet and publicly confessed "I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart". As she spoke these words the Holy Spirit seemed to fall on the meeting. Many say this was the real beginning of the Revival. A move of God took place in that Church, as after-church meetings were held to seek the Lord's presence and empowerment, and God began baptising - initially young people, mainly girls and women in their teens and early twenties - with the Holy Spirit, and the fire quickly spread to other young people in the Cardiganshire area.‘ [Source]
The story itself is inspiring but there’s more.
‘As revival fire spread across Wales in late 1904 and early 1905, although no official records were kept of the actual number converted, 150,000 is considered a very conservative estimate, during the first six months! People's lives were transformed by the thousands. This was indeed, a sovereign move of God's Holy Spirit!
Whole communities were turned upside down, and were radically changed from depravity to glorious goodness. The crime rate dropped, often to nothing. The police force reported that they had little more to do than supervise the coming and going of the people to the chapel prayer meetings, while magistrates turned up at courts to discover no cases to try. The alcohol trade was decimated, as people were caught up more by what happened in the local chapels than the local public houses and bars. Families experienced amazing renewal, where the money earning husband and father, the bread winner, had wasted away the income and sowed discord, but now under the moving power of the Holy Spirit, following the conversion to be a follower of Jesus Christ, he not only provided correctly for family needs, but was now with the family, rather than wasting his time, and wages, in the public houses of the village or town. Souls were saved, individual lives were changed and Society itself was changed. Countless numbers were converted to Christ.
There are men and women still in churches today whose parents or grandparents' testimonies were that they were converted in the Revival in 1904 or 1905. Not only were individual lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, but whole communities were changed, indeed society itself was changed. Wales again was a God-fearing nation! Public houses were now almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were saving it, giving it to help their churches, buying clothes and food for their families. And not only drunkenness, but stealing and other offences grew less and less, so that often a magistrate came to court, and found there were no cases for him.
Men whose language had been filthy before, learnt to talk purely. It is related that not only did the colliers put in a better day's work, but also that the pit ponies were so used to being cursed and sworn at, that they just couldn't understand orders being given in kind, clean words! Yet, still the work output increased. The dark tunnels underground in the mines echoed with the sounds of prayer and hymns, instead of oaths and nasty jokes and gossip.’ [Source]
I think we’re long overdue another such revival!
And now I must go because I must return to sing along again and be with God!