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EVAN ROBERTS
The Great Welsh Revivalist And His Work
by D. M. Phillips






About This Book

This is an extensive biography written about Evan Roberts.

There is nothing quite like this comprehensive 542-page appraisal of Evan Roberts life and ministry, written by a keen supporter and admirer of the Revivalist. Daniel M. Phillips, a minister himself and often a companion of Evan Roberts on many of his journeys, produced this elaborate and often grandiose view of the young missioner, with such zeal that many will consider it an embellished overstatement. However, it has always been the standard work on Evan Roberts and it is essential reading for serious students today.

Mr. Evan Roberts has no part whatever in the bringing out of this Volume. He has permitted me to publish his First Sermon, his Sayings, his Letters, and his Poetry, and that is all. The Author, also, will not derive any financial benefits from its publication. Should the volume return any profit, it will all be given to the Foreign Mission, or some other deserving religious cause.






Introduction.

Evan Roberts is a phenomenon. On this there is but little diversity of opinion. Only a man with something extraordinary belonging to him could have attracted the attention of the religious world as he has done.

People have travelled from Australia, Africa, Asia, America, and various parts of Europe to see him and the Movement of which he is the central figure. Yet, owing to his humility and positive unwillingness to be thought of as possessing any superiority, he has unconditionally refused to see most of these visitors, notwithstanding the high position of many of them as religious leaders. Even the antagonists of the Christian religion admit that he is a strange and inexplicable person, and very few of them dare to doubt his sincerity. His life in its various aspects before the public during the last eighteen months has proved his motives to be pure and holy, and that he is not governed by any principle, but a burning desire to save souls and glorify Christ. His great influence and success cannot be attributed to anything but his goodness and the fact that the Holy Spirit is upon him.

As to his goodness, there is a consensus of opinion among those who have had the privilege of knowing him, His comrades at Loughor, his fellow-workmen, and his masters testify that there was never anything doubtful in his character; the churches of Moriah and Pisgah where he brought up bear witness to his unblemished morality, his liberality and faithfulness; other denominations looked at him as an exemplary young man, and irreligious people respected him greatly. This testimony is confirmed by the students with whom he came in contact at Newcastle-

Emlyn, and three of them who have replied to the writer in answer to enquiries say that he is the holiest person they have ever met; and one of them affirms that Evan Roberts has been the means of changing his life entirely. Although he will not give any facts concerning his life and work to correspondents who have come scores and some of them hundreds of miles with the intention of having materials for articles on him, yet they honour him. Yea, they honour him all the more, because they can see that he does not court their influence and their help. True, they are disappointed, because of his reservedness; never-the-less they admire the purity of the man. I have seen as many as ten correspondents of the leading papers of England, Scotland, and Wales endeavour to see him after some of the meetings, and he declining absolutely to be interviewed.

He must have a certain proof that a correspondent will adhere strictly to facts without magnifying them before he will entertain the idea of supplying him with anything concerning his Life or the Revival. In less than six weeks after he left Loughor, letters reached him from different countries, from important publishing firms, asking for biographical facts, but he definitely declined to answer in every case. Since the Movement commenced, nothing has grieved him more than an occasional exaggeration in the papers of his importance as a force in it. In his opinion, that takes the glory that should be given to God. But be it understood that the said importance given to him by correspondents was due to the idea they had formed of his sincerity and goodness. In a few days after he left Loughor a correspondent of high standing said of him:

"Wherein lies the charm of the man and his power? Perhaps the best answer is that he has an indefinable something in his manner and style.

His joyous smile is that of a man in whom there is no guile. His genuineness is transparent, and he convinces people that his belief in what he preaches is impregnable. Another wrote - Evan Roberts is real.

This realness is most likely the chief source of his power. He is probably far more real than he himself knows, or than any of his critics and wouldbe teachers and admonishers believe. No one man in a million, perhaps, dare be as honest to himself and to others as Evan Roberts is without daring and without effort and without design. He knows without learning what other people have to spend years in acquiring and are then imperfect. He sees and feels what they do not believe even exists, and so he does his work, and will do it as long as his strength holds out and he retains his spiritual vision unimpaired. After careful observation and investigation since the paper took up the Revival, I have found that the above quotations represent the opinion of all the correspondents who have had the privilege of personal knowledge of Evan Roberts. It is simply surprising to think of the place newspapers and magazines have given to him. There is hardly any daily paper or a periodical in England and Wales that has not published long articles on him and the Revival.

Even the rationalistic as well as the secular and religious press has taken special notice of him, and in some instances has highly estimated him.

This is sufficient evidence that there is some moral and spiritual atmosphere surrounding the man which makes itself felt, and convinces people of his good motives.

Again, the consensus of opinion as to his motives is not less general when we come to some of the most religious men who have made his acquaintance.

The Rev. F. B. Meyer, B. A., London, says of the Revivalist in a letter to the writer - "I have the privilege of personal friendship with Evan Roberts, and greatly thank God that he will not go in front of the Divine Spirit, but is willing to stand aside and remain in the back-ground, unless he is perfectly sure that the Spirit of God is moving him. It is a profound lesson for us all."

Mr, Arthur Goodrich, B.A., London, makes these remarks in an article on Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival in the Homiletic Review for March, 1905: - He does not consider himself an inspired prophet or a magnetic preacher. He spoke to me one day with evident anxiety of a newspaper report which spoke of his personal magnetism. There's nothing in it, he said, in substance. "It's not my magnetism, it's the magnetism of the Holy Spirit drawing all men to Him." He considers, I believe, that God has given him work to do - great work; and he is confident that He will help him to do it. Whether his share in the work is great or little I think Evan Roberts cares as little as any human person can care, as long as the work is done. No one of all those who have watched him more closely and continuously than I have, has seen a single sign of any tendency in him to place himself ahead of his co-workers. Personally, I think I have never met a man who appealed to me as being so completely consecrated to his cause as this young man of twenty-six years trained in the colliery and at the smithy. When one thinks of it, no young man of his years and native environment could have endured against a tide of personal success unless he had an enduring grip upon mighty moorings. These quotations only echo the opinion of hundreds of others who have had fellowship with him. Shortly after the Revival broke out, the leading ministers of the various denominations in Wales and the Welsh Bishops showed their deep sympathy with him and his work, and many of them did their utmost to further and direct the current of the mighty religious wave.

They did this because they thoroughly believed in his sincerity and the Divine origin of his message.

True, a few disagreed with him, and in the severe test he has been put to, his invariable replies to his critics have been: - "Let then alone"; "Pray for them"; "Fear not"; "My feet are on the Rock".

Often it has been said that Evan Roberts is not the author of the Welsh Revival. Well we know that, and we thank God for it. Had Evan Roberts been its author, we would rather be without it. The efficient cause of the Revival is to be found amid the everlasting hills in the heart of God. The movement bears the marks of its origin, and the most spiritually-minded people are agreed that these marks are Divine beyond dispute. Without the intervention of the Divine a true revival is impossible as we shall see presently, there are sufficient evidences that the Holy Spirit is the dynamic force in the Movement. But it must be borne in mind that the Movement has its human side. It can be said that it has a human cause or condition as well as Divine. That is subject to psychological and moral laws. There could be no greater error than to think that the Revival is outside the domain of these laws. God does not give an outpouring of his Spirit except in accordance with the great general principles of human nature. A Revival otherwise brought about would be unnatural. To find the condition of this moral and spiritual upheaval we must take in all the Christian work done in Wales since the Revival of 1859. A revival is similar to letting out the contents of a reservoir. When all the contents have run out it must have time to fill before another outpouring is possible. Now since 1859 what the Church in Wales has been doing is filling a moral and spiritual reservoir in the heart of the nation through different means. In the mental, moral and spiritual world there is a law of conservation of energy similar to that of the natural world. This conserves all the labour of the church. It secures that no chapter read, no prayer offered, no hymn sung, no sermon preached, no temperance lecture delivered, is lost. All are treasured in the minds of the hearers.

The different religious sects in Wales have had their general assemblies, unions, and conferences annually, quarterly meetings and associations, anniversaries once or twice a year, in most of the churches in populous districts, and preaching twice every Sunday during the year. These saturated the mind of the nation with religious ideas. Again, all the denominations have their annual singing festivals, and in virtue of these the young people commit the hymns to memory without any effort.

Great endeavours have been made to further the temperance cause by men and women's unions. Add to these the excellent Sunday School organization in Wales with its system of Bible classes. Annual Sunday School examinations are arranged by the different religious bodies, and people of all ages sit for them, and they are trained all the winter to that end. Many between fifty and seventy pass these yearly, as well as young people and children. To give one instance, the Presbytery or Monthly Meeting of the Calvinistic Methodists of East Glamorgan passed over two thousand candidates in 1906. Then there is the great reading of English religious books in the Principality especially during the last twenty-five years. Let me note another great factor, namely, the innumerable prayers to God from hearts longing for a religious awakening. Between these different branches of religious work, the moral and spiritual reservoir mentioned had filled, and it only required the right man under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to turn the tap to let its contents run forth.

And it pleased God to pass the learned and the great in human estimation, and call a consecrated, timid young man from the Grammar School to perform that function. Fair it is to say, that the greatest scholars of the nation said in the face of this, Glory be to God in the Highest. For at least two years people of strong religious intuitions had noticed that the reservoir was overflowing here and there, and they hoped for great things. As will appear in a future chapter, a marked awakening had taken place in South Cardiganshire. Many other places had experienced similar things but on a narrower scale. Everything was ready, only to have the breathing of the Holy Spirit. The seed was in the ground, and it only required the Spring rays of the Sun of Righteousness to bring it forth with power and splendour.

It seems to me that a powerful revival is impossible without long preparation on lines similar to the above. There must be a deposit of material for it. Take the revival in Egypt when the Hebrews fully realized that they were a nation, and you will find it was due to a long preparation, and so of the national revival in the time of King David.

After reading the history of revivals in Europe and America, we find that the same is true. The revival that gave existence to the Calvinistic Methodist Denomination in Wales was due to a great awakening brought about by schools planted all over the principality by the Rev. Griffith Jones, a clergyman of the Church of England, to teach Bible reading. The same principle holds good in the case of other revivals in Wales. A grand illustration of this principle is supplied by the Revival which broke out on Khassia Hills in February, 1905, as a result of reading the account of the Welsh Revival. The missionaries had laboured hard for over sixty years to sow the Gospel seed there. This seed had in it spiritual vitality, and the Holy Spirit used the accounts alluded to as means to quicken the people and that has resulted in over five thousand conversions on the mission field in Khassia.

We observe that this is God's general method. Take the Spring for instance. Is it not due to a course of preparation? Certainly it is. The earth has been prepared by the great forces and processes of nature in Autumn and Winter, and man has been at it busily doing his part in ploughing and tilling the land, sowing the seed, and weeding the tares.

When all is ready the Almighty breathes his life into every grain, every blade of grass, and every flower, and they burst forth with wonderful originality and spontaneity. In this way the work of preparation on the part of God and man is crowned. Had the human race not to undergo a long process of preparation to receive the Incarnation, which brought about an epoch-making revival in the history of the world? Were not the disciples trained by the great Master to be instruments in the hand of the Spirit to bring about such a moral revolution on the day of Pentecost?

The people were prepared by the preaching of John the Baptist and Christ in the same way; and that preparation had much to do with the day of Pentecost. Were this principle not the true explanation of the human condition of revivals, there would be no encouragement for all the endeavours of the Church throughout the ages.

Is there not a certain amount of extravagance and emotionalism displayed in Evan Roberts's Revival? True there is. Had it not been so, it would not be a revival. When the vilest characters see their sin in its real nature, they cannot be cool. Their conscience gets too intense. Church members cannot be emotionless, when their worthless past life is ploughed, and their deceit and hypocrisy are revealed to them. When the pangs of true repentance writhe the soul, it is a relief to shout. Without deep emotion no great thing can take place in the soul. Emotion under proper control is the grandest thing in existence, and the great power that moves the world in its upward march. All epoch-making men are men of strong emotion. Yea, more, it was the emotion of God's heart that moved Him to perform the greatest act of self-sacrifice, which has and will issue in the salvation of a great multitude. To condemn emotion is to condemn one of the most glorious powers that the Creator has implanted in our nature. But well we know that it is dangerous power unless kept under control. In this Revival a few lost control over it; but that was only repeating the history of all previous religious revivals. Copious examples of this are to be found in the history of the Reformation, the American, and other revivals; and according to the nature of things it could not be otherwise. The nature of the materials God has to work upon in a revival is such that it cannot be different. Hence it will be the same in the history of all future awakenings. Nevertheless, that does not make a revival less valuable. There is an enormous amount of weed produced by the most glorious Spring, but what is that compared with the corn, fruits, and other products? In a great outburst of life like the Spring the venomous germs are developed of necessity the same as the precious seed. So in a spiritual Spring like a revival, the spiritual warmth is an occasion to draw out evil possibilities to an undue measure. No person of sober mind would be offended with the Spring, because of the weed it produces; no man of true wisdom will think less of the revival because of the moral weed that it grows. A broad-minded man will overlook these small imperfections, and see that the nature of the case necessitates them. We are far from justifying the extravagant cases of emotion produced by the Revival, but history, experience, and the Bible show clearly that they accompany all true revivals, owing to what man is, and not because anything in God calls for them. Physical concomitants of the Revival are not to be taken as a sure sign of the working of the Holy Spirit, nor on the other hand that the persons in whom these concomitants appear are not undergoing the process of true conversion. We must wait for results to know that.

Many of the converts will backslide. There is no doubt about this. But does that prove the Revival to be less divine? It does not. Did not many hypocrites enter the church in the Apostolic Revival? And did not Judas Iscariot who adhered to Christ for years betray Him? Yet that did not make the conversion of the other disciples less valuable and real. Does not the Great Teacher indicate plainly in the Parable of the Sower that only twenty-five per cent of the seed will fall into good ground and bear fruit. And I say that if only twenty-five percent of the converts of this religious upheaval were truly converted, it will be a glorious movement.

The results of it have been great and far-reaching. It has done great things to one class of Church members. Religious work had never been more strenuous in Wales among the most faithful members than before the Revival broke out; but there was another class doing nothing.

Hundreds of these have been aroused, and are now indefatigable workers. Talents were discovered in the church that no one thought of, and these talents are full of activity at present. The salvation of others has come to be of great importance, and people have realised that they are their brother's keepers; the services are better attended than ever; family worship has been instituted in thousands of homes; the demand for Bibles has been such that booksellers in some cases found it difficult to supply it; some of the finest hymns have been composed in the heat of the Revival; total abstinence is believed in more than ever, hundreds of people have paid debts, which they were not compelled to owing to the Statute of Limitations; many who had stolen things fifteen and twenty years ago have sent the full value with interest to the persons from whom they stole them; hundreds of old family and church feuds have been healed; triumphant joy has filled many churches; the different religious sects have come nearer to each other, and small differences have been minimised, and thousands of those who have joined the churches are energetic workers, and do much to influence others. Among these are some agnostics, infidels, prize fighters, gamblers, drunkards, as well as theatricals, and they are as enthusiastic if not more in their new sphere as they were before their conversion. Hundreds of homes have been entirely changed, and where there were poverty and misery before, there is plenty of all the necessities of life now, and happiness. A movement that can produce these results cannot but be divine in its nature. It has changed the whole moral and spiritual aspects of many districts, and its future effects must be great. To quote again from the above letter of the Rev. F. B. Meyer, B.A., regarding the results of the Movement, he says: -

"Judging by the fruits, in the vast multitude who have been truly converted and have joined the churches, and the transformation wrought over wide districts of the country, it is impossible to doubt that there has been a real and deep work by the Spirit of God, similar to that which accompanied the labours of the Wesleys and their contemporaries. For this one cannot be too thankful. Mrs. Baxter, who twice visited Wales to estimate the Movement, remarks in the 'Eleventh Hour' for January, 1905:

- The Revival in Wales has undoubted marks of Divine power and working. This Revival will not result in the formation of a new denomination like the one that produced the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales, and we do not want that; neither will it produce as rich a hymnology as that perhaps; it may not give us so much theology as the revival of John Elias, Williams of Wern, and Christmas Evans, nor be such an impetus to the formation of a system of education as that of 1859; but we believe it will do more than any of them in creating high moral and spiritual ideals and aspirations, and that is what the nation stands in need of now, and not so much the things produced by the former revivals.

May this revival spirit spread and kindle many nations, and bring multitudes to the Saviour.

More space could not be given to the third and fourth journeys as the size of the book had swollen so much, owing to the addresses, articles, and letters. The writer hopes to deal with these fully in a future volume.

It is my duty to acknowledge the kindness of the Editors of the South Wales Daily News and the Western Mail for giving permission to use the valuable articles that appeared in their papers on the Revival, as well as the Editors of other papers, articles from which are reprinted in the volume; also persons who have kindly sent me their impressions of Evan Roberts and the Movement. I am specially indebted to the Rev. W.

Margam Jones, Llwydeoed, who has so ably translated Evan Roberts's poetical productions into English; to the Rev. Thomas Powell, Cwmdare, and Mr. David Williams, School Master, Tylorstown, for valuable help, and the Rev. David Davies, B.A. Miskin, Mountain Ash, who aided in reading the proofs and in transcribing. I wish to tender my sincerest thanks to all who have supplied me with information, and also those who readily let me have the letters of Evan Roberts to be published in the book.

Few errata have crept in, but are not of a misleading character.

Now, may God, the source of this awakening, make the history of Evan Roberts and his work, which has been written without avoiding any trouble to verily the facts contained therein, and with strict regard for truth, a means of grace to thousands is the earnest prayer of the Author

D. M. PHILLIPS.
TYLORSTOWN, July 24th, 1906






PART I.



The Preparation Of The Evangelist.

The Letter Of Dr. Torrey, The Renowned Evangelist, To Evan Roberts.

32, London Grove,
Princes Park Gate,
Liverpool,
November 29th 1904

Mr. Evan Roberts, Abercynon, Wales

Dear Brother,

I have heard with great joy of the way in which God has been using you as the instrument of his power in different places in Wales. I simply write this letter to let you know of my interest in you, and to tell you that I am praying for you. I have been praying for a long time that God would raise up men of his own choosing in different parts of the world, and mightily anoint them with the Holy Spirit, and bring in a mighty revival of his work. It is so sadly needed in these times.

I cannot tell you the joy that has come to my heart, as I have read of the mighty work of God in Wales. I am praying that God will keep you, simply trusting in him, and obedient to him, going not where men shall call you, but going where he shall lead you, and that he may keep you humble. It is so easy for us to become exalted when God uses us as the instruments of his power. It is so easy to think that we are something ourselves, and when we get to thinking that, God will set us aside. May God keep you humble, and fill you more and more with his mighty power.

I hope that some day I may have the privilege of meeting you.

Sincerely Yours,
R. A. Torrey.






Chapter I.

The Birth-Place of Evan Roberts.

1. THE IMPORTANCE OF A MAN'S BIRTHPLACE

Great importance is attached to the place where a man of fame is born. Should the place be unknown, it becomes the subject of close investigation and much theorising, and people seek for facts to confirm their suppositions regarding it. What is there in ones native place to create such interest? Its connection with him who was born there. When a man, in virtue of his character, his work, his heroism, his liberality, or his efforts in the uplifting of men, sinks deeply into their hearts, everything associated with him becomes dear to them, they love the path he treads. For the same reason the place where he was born becomes dear to them. The degree of interest taken in a man's native place is always in proportion to the degree of his greatness in a country or a nation's history. This is very plainly seen in the desire of men through the ages to see Bethlehem, the birth-place of the Saviour of the world. In a smaller degree, this is shown in the history of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, and Howell Harris, Daniel Rowlands, and W. Williams, of Pantycelyn, three great Welsh Revivalist's. Those who have read the history of these men, and are in sympathy with them, long for a view of their native place. To one class of people there is another thing that creates interest in the place where a man is born. It is this - the place partly conditions the form of a man's train of thought. As well might a man seek to escape from his own shadow as to escape from nature's scenes in the neighbourhood in which he is brought up. They give a colour to all his thoughts, and play an important part in the tone of his feelings, and the strength of his desires. A careful study of the neighbourhood in which a great man is raised would enable us to find out one condition of the characteristics of all his thoughts, and the modes of his mental developments. This is one of the branches the psychologists of the future will emphasise, for this must be done if we are to understand all we can about mental forms and mental distinctions. But it is not our part to do so in this connection. To give a picture, as real as possible, of the neighbourhood in which Evan Roberts was born, is our object. Truly, can it be said, that Loughor has been immortalised in virtue of his birth therein, and the momentous birth of the Revival. Henceforth, it will be named along with the most famous names of Wales. In ages to come pilgrims will journey to obtain a view of Loughor, and especially of Bwlchymynydd, and Island House - the home of the Revivalist's parents. Keen interest will be taken in the surroundings, and in every nook and corner of the house itself. No doubt great value will be set upon the stones and the wood of the house, and, who can foretell, to what regions of the world its photograph will reach - though it be but the photograph of an ordinary workman's cottage. All this is due to the fact that Evan Roberts has found his way to the dearest spot in the hearts of so many thousands in the land, and has caused a thorough moral and spiritual revolution in them. The history of the Revivalist will be handed down to the ages and the children of the generations to come, with warm hearts will hear and Iearn it from their parents on the hearth. They will be desirous of knowing all they can of the neighbourhood and the house where he was born; and their parents will strive to describe them, until their hearts will be on fire with a yearning to see them. Look down across the generations of the future and you will behold godly people on their way to see the place in which was born the hitherto greatest Revivalist that Wales has produced. In saying this we are not unmindful of the Revivalist's of undying fame that the nation has raised in the past Yet, having given them all due consideration, we must admit that the country was not stirred by any of them to such an extent as it has been by Evan Roberts of Loughor. In the whole of its history, Wales has not experienced in six months such a mighty moral and spiritual upheaval as that brought about though his instrumentality. For this reason, none can tell the measure of men's desire for seeing Loughor and Bwlchymynydd in ages to come.

II. ANCIENT LOUGHOR

Looking into the primitive history of the town, we find that it was a place of no small importance in the time of the Roman Conquest. The ancient Britons had a strong fortress here, the town being called Tre'r Afanc (Beaver's Town). That it was a place of note under Roman rule is shewn by the fact that it was the fifth station on the Roman road called Vià Julia, and the 'Lecarum' of Richard of Cirencester. Later on we find it possessed by the Kymry; then by the Irish under their Prince, Gilmor Rechdyr. The Irish, however, were not destined to a long rule. The Welsh summoned King Arthur of Caerleon to their help, be defeated them, an made Urien, his nephew, Prince of the district, which was now called "Rheged." He was followed by Pasgen, Morgan Mwynfawr, and Owen, the son of Hywel the Good. After the reign of Owen, the place became the scene of many battles, and much bloodshed, caused by the rivaly of the Princes of Glamorgan. Next we find the Normans in possession of the town, and they build a fortress there. Again the town falls into the hands of the Kymry, only to be retaken by the Norman Barons. Eventually, in 12 is, Rhys, Lord of Dinevor, attacked and destroyed the fort, together with all the fortresses in Gower. This part of the country was then given to Edward II by Hugh Le Spenser. At great expense and trouble the fort was rebuilt, and the remains of its walls can be seen today at Loughor. From these facts we see that Loughor was once one of the most important places of defence in the land, and a scene of much shedding of blood. But it must be borne in mind that, whereas, Loughor of ancient and medieval history was noted as being the dwelling place of Princes skilled in the cruel art of war, its name now arises from a far different source, it is famous as the birth-place of a man, who is a Leader of the Army of the Cross. His followers number their thousands, and not hundreds, as did the followers of the old Princes who dwelt in the Castle in the days of yore.

III. MODERN LOUGHOR

It is thought that there is a vast difference between modern Loughor and the one described above, men are of opinion that the present town is not built on the same site as the former. Tre'r Afanc is supposed to have been situated on what is now called The Borough, and the church on the spot called "Story Mihangel." The present town is small compared with the old; it stands on the highway road from Swansea to Carmarthen, and near the rail-road from New Milford to London. It is 211 miles from London, 50 from Cardiff, and 8 from Swansea. The town and the parish are in the canton of Swansea, in the Deanery of Gower, the Arch-Deanery of Carmarthen, and the Bishopric of St. David. Though the town is not so important at the present time as it formerly was, its advantages today excel those of the past. Now, there is a station here on the Great Western Railway, making it possible to reach the furthest parts of the land from Loughor in a very short time. We find here a Post Office, a Saving's Bank, and a Telegraph Office, so that the town is not lacking in its advantages in this respect, small though it is. The means of crossing the large river are greatly improved upon what they once were, the men of former ages crossed in a boat, but now the river is spanned by a fine bridge, two hundred yards long. The railway bridge, a little lower down, however, measures a quarter of a mile. The river Loughor forms the boundary line between the Counties of Glamorgan and Carmarthen. The town has a Public Hall and a Police Station. It has three Chapels as well as a Church of England; those belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, the Congregationalists, and the Baptists. Taking the population into account, these are in a fairly flourishing state. In the last census that we succeeded in finding, the population numbered 2,064 within the Borough, that of the whole parish being 4,196. The part of the parish within the Borough measures is 9 acres, while there are 48 acres under water when the tide is in. Outside the Borough, and taking in the agricultural district, which comprises Gower, we have 2,489 acres. Though the river has 14 feet of water when the tide is full, the road and railway bridges make it impossible for large ships to enter the port. As early as is 37, Loughor was made a Borough of the Cardiff and Swansea Union, and remained so until 1832. From that time until 1886 it was a Municipal Borough, joining with Aberavon, Neath, and Kenfig, and a part of Swansea, in sending a member to Parliament. Beyond the river there are tin works, while there are several coal mines in the neighbourhood. The number of these works seems to be increasing, but not through them will the name of Loughor be handed down to future ages. Something far different from these will make it immortal, as we have stated at the beginning of the Chapter. At the time when the Castle was last rebuilt, and for centuries afterwards, the neighbourhood was rich in scenes of natural beauty. Then, the picturesque surface of the land had not been marred by a railway, neither by zinc works, nor a coal mine. In imagination we can see the leafy groves, the trees laden with fruit, and the beautiful flowers that cover the ground around the place, the animals grazing in the meadows, the birds on the boughs carolling sweet songs of praise to their Creator. One after another the generations come and go, without the appearance of any one whose fame becomes known throughout his own nation, not to speak of world-wide fame. The centuries roll on, and Loughor is only a name spoken in common with other names in the County. Though the neighbourhood is beautiful, it is not so exceptionally picturesque as to distinguish it from other places in Glamorgan. Situated as it is in the extreme part of West Glamorgan, and being small in comparison with the other towns, its chances of winning fame were small. Passing through Loughor Station the traveller feels no inclination to look out from the window to see any wonderful building or scene. Did one happen to look out he would behold nothing particularly attractive. No one is amazed at the sight of the old Castle ruins, for it is small as compared with some of the large castles of Wales. Now, however, there is a great change when passing through Loughor Station, those who have heard Evan Roberts, those who have read of him and are in sympathy with him, strive for a full view of all they can see. I have seen mother's holding children, three and four years old, out to obtain a complete view of everything they could see from the station. What accounts for such a change? Nothing in the town, nor the surrounding country; but the fact that Evan Roberts and the Revival of 1904, in its sweeping form, were born there.

As has been mentioned, the town is a small one, but some scores of years ago it was important as a port. Large numbers of ships were built here, hence, timber was brought in from different directions of the surrounding country. The lower part of the town stands on a small rising near the railway, as remarked above. It was well that it was on a hill in olden times, for the sea came in and completely encircled it. By the present time the sea has gone back. The upper part stands on the slope some distance from the lower part. The town has no form after the manner of towns of late years. We find here a number of old houses, but not more than from two to six of them are joined together. So it may be said of houses built in later years - two here and two there, three in one place and four in another. You would not find a street of twenty houses in the town. From this partly arises the variety that is seen in the place. The sight of an occasional thatched cottage in the vicinity of the town gives one an indication of what Loughor was centuries ago. It seems that every one chose his own spot to build a house, and sought freedom around it. In passing through, one perceives that variety is the distinctive feature of the town. This applies equally well to the whole neighbourhood. We may look in any direction we please, and we shall not see uniformity in the scenery. Seldom do we find a perfectly quadrangular field in the neighbourhood, nor shall we find an even one. We are compelled continually, owing to the unevenness of the ground, to change the position of the eye-axes in order to obtain a full view of a scene. The parish has no high mountain nor a large plain. On all sides are seen small hills and dales rich in variety. As in the case of the ground, so with the flowers, hedges, and trees: flowers of many different colours, variegated hedges, trees of different sizes, and we behold a good number of them in different directions. As compared with some districts in Glamorgan, we can say that Loughor is woody. Were one asked for a word that sets forth most effectively the characteristic of the town and neighbourhood, Variety would be the best word by far.

Now, let us direct our gaze outside Loughor, what is the sight that meets the eye? Variety again. Towards the south-west, we behold the Loughor River, giant-like in its all-conquering career from its source in the Black Mountain, entering the Severn Sea. A little more to the south, across a corner of the Channel, we see the village of Penclawdd with its tin-works; while behind it is that fine tract of land called Gower, where the Reverend Sire W. Griffiths of Gower ministered. The admiration felt by the inhabitants for Mr. Griffiths, owing to his undoubted piety, was little short of worship. Looking to the south-east, situated in a beautiful spot, on the rail-road to Swansea, we see Gowerton. Turning our eyes again a little to the north-west, the tall chimney stacks of Llanelly. Tinworks in Carmarthenshire appear before us. In this direction we get an extensive view, full of variety. Looking northwards, Llangennech and Pontardulais, and the valley of Loughor, are seen. The scenery in this vale in midsummer is beautiful. In this pretty dale dwelt David Williams of Llandilo Minor when he composed the immortal hymn -


In the deep and mighty waters,
None can save and succour me,
But my dear Redeemer Jesus,
Crucified upon the tree.

He's a Friend in death's deep river,
O'er the waves my head he'll guide,
Seeing Him will set me singing,
In the deep and swelling tide

A mile and a half in the north-westerly direction stands the village of Gorseinon. This cannot be seen from the town of Loughor, for a hillock stands between them. It is a village of recent growth, owing its existence to the large coal mine sunk close to it. The Revival has made it famous amongst other villages in the county and in Wales. Wonderful things took place here at the beginning of the Revival, as we shall point out in another chapter. Before we can adequately describe the marvellous mission of Evan Roberts, we must ever closely connect Gorseinon with its beginning. To the south-east stands Swansea, but not in sight from Loughor.

IV. BWLCHYMYNYDD

We have named the chief places in the neighbourhood of Loughor, as well as described the place. We now come to Bwlchymynydd and Island House Bwlchymynydd a mile to the north from Lower Loughor, having the same characteristics as Loughor - a few houses scattered here and there, and variously built. Here we find Pisgah the little chapel in which Evan Roberts worships. It is a branch of Moriah, the Methodist Chapel of Loughor. We shall have more to say of Pisgah again. Having come to the village of Bwlchymynydd, we keep to the left for some fifty yards, then turn to the right, and having walked on a few hundred yards, we arrive at Island House where our subject first saw the light of day. On the way to it we pass the well called The Well under the Field, which supplies a great part of the neighbourhood with water. In another chapter will be told an account of a strange incident relating to Evan Roberts in connection with this well. A large brick wall has been now built around it, making it visible a great way off. The writer was present on the spot with the Revivalist Christmas-time, 1904. A man drove up to the well, and was accosted by Evan Roberts in the following words, You carry water to quench the natural thirst of people. I do my best to quench their thirst with the living, spiritual water. As soon as we have passed the well, we are quite close to the house, which faces the west. It is not on a main road, but on the side of a narrow lane that runs before it. It is a few yards from the road, and at the north corner we find the entrance towards it. In front of the house a few evergreens add to the beauty of the scene.

Near the upper part of the spot is a small green, through which a path leads to the back of the house. On this green stands a tree planted by Evan Roberts with his own hand. Behind, and a little to the south, we see a large garden excellently cultivated. As we draw nigh to the house, what strikes us first of all is the absence of every kind of waste.

Nothing is to be seen save what is necessary to make life pleasant. Things that are absolutely essential, and nothing more, do we see outside the house as well as within. Yet, we find here many things that prove the inhabitants to be possessed of a taste for the good, the lovely, the beautiful, and the sublime. Outside and within can be traced the marks of a desire for neatness and cosiness. We think that neatness is one of the chief characteristics of the father and mother, and the children too. The house is a remarkable instance of what a working man's dwelling should be. It contains eight rooms, which, though not large, are so neat that one feels quite contented and happy as soon as he sits in one of them. As we go to Evan Roberts's Library, which is on the left as we enter, we see at once that the family is one that loves the good. This will become more manifest when we have occasion to speak of his Library. When once seated in the house, perfect silence characterises the place. No sounds are heard except the melody of the birds on the boughs about the house. Let us go out in front of the cottage and over against the way is seen a marshy swamp, and beyond that again, there arises a green meadow, called the Great Island. Some recall the sea at high tide coming up and surrounding this meadow. Such a sight not improbably gave the field its present name. Which-ever way we look from the door of Island House, the scenes that meet the eye are characterised by variety. What wonder is it then that he who was born here is so rich in variety in his mind and in his work? At a distance of a few miles from the house, we may behold every scene that Nature can give us; on this side, the surging sea, in the distance behold high-peaked mountains. Nearer to us we see picturesque hills and a broad plain, rich dales and marshy bogs; thick hedges, stout and tall trees; multicoloured flowers, thorn trees, and gorse, and the smoke of mines. We hear the puffing of the steam-engine; see a large river and little streams; narrow winding lanes, and a main road, almost free from so many turnings. It were impossible for a great rich mind not to develop rich in variety in such a place, for it could not but produce in it ideas of different kinds. If we bear in mind the variety in the scenery of the place, it will help us to understand the variety that belongs to Evan Roberts's mind, feelings, and desires. As far as we are able to describe them, these then are the Loughor and Bwlchymynydd where he was born and reared, whom God used in 1904 to move all Wales morally and spiritually.






Chapter II.

The Heads of the Family of Island House, Bwlchymynydd.

We described the house in the previous chapter, we come now to the family heads. Henry Roberts, the Revivalist's father, was born at Loughor. His parents were David and Sarah Roberts. He was born in 1844, so that he is now drawing towards 62 years of age. Throughout the years he has worked hard and perseveringly as a pump man and a collier.

His effort to bring up a houseful of children so respectably, and giving them all good elementary education, is very praiseworthy. He is rather tall, but not stout. Hard work has left its marks upon him, and we note that he has not so much eaten his own bread through the sweat of his brow, but has brought up a large family through much sweat. His face tells us that he is a man who belongs to the nervous temperament class.

It is from this class most often men of great talents arise. They are alive to all their surroundings, and open to deep impressions. The enthusiasm of their nature makes them daring in speech and action, whatever may be the consequences, and they learn much from their mistakes. His eyes and face show that Henry Roberts is of an excitable, lively, and fiery temperament. This temperament is an excellent one, if kept under control, and if accompanied by a high degree of intellect. We must have active and sensitive nerves in order to think rapidly, clearly, consistently, and deeply. This is the temperament that sets the world moving onward.

It is the chief element in its development. Henry Roberts may be grateful that he possesses a lively and electric nature. Without it he would never have found food enough for a family of ten, and to become the owner of his own house as well. He must know what it is to be loaded with burdens and cares. Yet he did not let religion suffer as some do. He acted honourably and faithfully with the great cause throughout the years, and his contributions were such as might be expected from one in his position. This speaks highly of his religion, his good nature, and liberal spirit. His two dark eyes point to loving kindness as a characteristic trait in his nature. This is a peculiarity that belongs to the majority of enthusiastic men. From the photograph, we see that he keeps his beard, which like his hair, is now almost grey. Though he has seen his sixty-first birthday, yet his movements today betray the once smart and sprightly youth, who could accomplish much in a short time. His one book during his lifetime has been the Bible, which, with religion, has been the subject of conversation on the hearth throughout the years. What wonder is it then that great things have come out of his family. Not only he has been a great reader of the Bible, but he has committed much of it to memory.

When young, he learnt no less than 174 verses in one week. He made it a regular practice to learn a portion of God's word daily in his early days; hence he is well versed in it. Henry Roberts is interested in the topics of the day, but to him religion is the centre of all. Like his son, Evan Roberts, he, too, has an eye that sees the humorous, and his nature is alive to this aspect of life. When I asked him one day, 'How is the family with you?' he answered, 'We are fairly well, we have food enough here, and also an appetite for it'. There was an old man here years ago, continued Henry Roberts, who called in a house where the inmates were very poor.

He enquired, as you did now, after the welfare of the family. 'Very poor', was the answer. 'Things could not be worse, for there is not a morsel of food in the house.' 'O!' said the old gentleman, 'yon could be in a much worse condition than that. You might have had plenty of food in the house, and none of you having an appetite for it. That would be the time to say that things could not be worse. Henry Roberts's eyes sparkled with humour as he related this incident.

Hannah Roberts, the Revivalist's mother, was born and brought up the first years of her life in a place called The Smithy, a quarter of a mile from the main road from Llanon to Llanelly, in the parish of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire. Her parents were Evan and Sarah Edwards, her father following the occupation of a blacksmith. He was of a quiet disposition, had an irreproachable character, and was a spiritually-minded man. He was a faithful member and musical conductor for many years with the Baptists at Llanon. Previous to his marriage, he was a Calvinistic Methodist, as well as his parents before him. But he thought that it was better for him and his wife, who was a Baptist, to go to the same place of worship, hence he joined her. His house was a home from home for all the ministers that came to the place to preach. He refused the office of deacon, because he felt he did not possess the requisite qualifications; the Church, however, felt otherwise, and besought him to accept it. The young people held him in high esteem, and on Sunday evening after the service, they looked to him to learn singing. Soon after Hannah, Evan Roberts's mother, was born, the family removed to the Smithy, Llanon, where they lived for 24 years. About 35 years ago, they came to Pontardulais, and there Sarah Edwards, the Revivalist's grandmother, now dwells. She is 92 years of age and still faithful with religion.

Throughout the years, she has acted as midwife, and is highly respected by her friends. She says that Jesus has been so good to her during her long life that she has resolved to hold fast unto the end. It must be said that she is far above the average in mental capacities. Her memory is wonderful for its grasp, firmness, and clearness, considering her age. She holds strong views on baptism by immersion, and this is her only cause of disagreement with her grandson, the Revivalist. In character and conduct, she is spotless and has always been noted for her religious fidelity.

It was on January 8th, 1849, that Hannah, the Revivalist's mother, was born, being the seventh out of nine children. When 14 years of age, she agreed to go into service in Loughor. She did this without her mother's knowledge, for she was not pleased with the place that her daughter was going to In a years time, she returned home. Soon after this, she agreed to go to a place called Cwmhowel, to a Mr. Peel. At Loughor, she first met her husband, and on March 31st, 1868, they entered the bonds of matrimony. She is of a somewhat quiet disposition, and one can easily see that she has a will of great firm. Not for anything will she say yes, when she ought to say no. She is a woman of meekness and prudence with a moral sense of a very high order. Her talents in more than one direction are far above the ordinary, as we shall presently point out. In the chief facial lines, we detect a great similarity between the mother and her famous son, Evan Roberts. The more one gazes at her, the more do these lines become manifest. All the characteristic facial lines of her son are seen in the mother's face, but in a lesser degree, especially those that indicate a resolute will and firm determination. As to height, she is not tall, but medium, neither is she stout. She has two lively and loving eyes and a pleasant face, full of thoughtfulness. Words are not wasted by her, though in conversation she is ready, free, and outspoken. She is not very sprightly in her movements, but she is not long in accomplishing the task set before her.

As Henry Roberts is an example of what a father ought to be, so with Hannah Roberts - she is an example of what a mother should be.

Although her children numbered fourteen, eight of whom are still living, she brought them up neatly and honourably. The young wife, after her marriage, set about to learn cutting and sewing, so that she has not paid for making clothes for any of her children when in their first years. At the same time, she cared for her husband, and her house was always cosy, neat and clean. Thus to learn about her marriage proves that she is endowed with perseverance of the first order. Her children were sent to the services on the Sabbath so clean and becoming that she was not ashamed for anyone to see them. In the evening on the Lord's day, behold the parents with their eight children on the hearth in Island House. They sing a hymn together, and are as happy, nay, more happy, than the Royal Family. A glance at Island House will show us the common sense of Mrs. Roberts. Three things are to be seen here that at once point to this. Firstly, nothing is noticeable save what is really necessary in a house to do the work and to be happy; secondly, these things are in their proper places, and, thirdly, everything is clean. On all sides we behold the result of wisdom, hard work, neatness, and order.

With her too, like her husband, the Bible is the great book, and she continually makes more of it as the years roll on. Of late years, she has learnt a great deal of it, and the children have followed her example. The many certificates that hang on the walls show that the Sunday School Examinations are high in their estimation. By committing the appointed lessons to memory, the mother drew the children to imitate her. They have also treasured the Bible in their minds. Besides being a mother and a wife of the best kind, Mrs. Roberts has also a strong moral character.

When making enquiries with regard to her son, I asked her if one particular thing attributed to him was true. It is not, she answered; I hope nothing of the kind is spread abroad. I have always been careful about the truth; but I have never been so careful as at present, being that everything is put in print. I would not like to see a single word appear that was not true, because it is truth that will stand. What I was enquiring about was a matter that did them honour as a family, and I greatly admired her for rejecting it, as it was not true. Who can measure the moral influence of a mother such as this upon her child in this respect.

Evan Roberts is a perfect reproduction of his mother. He swerves not from the truth though the whole world brought its influence to bear upon him. Much of the praise for this is due to Hannah Roberts. Unless the mother respects Truth, only in very few cases will the children do so. Not only has she a strong moral character, but she has clear ideas about principles that require a power to penetrate into the heart of things, before we can fully understand them. When talking to her one day, the conversation turned upon those who opposed her son, and she made one of the most searching remarks that I have ever heard on a matter of this kind. It is a great pity for them, said she; it will be to their own loss. I have no fears as to Evan: for I know what he is from childhood. I am certain that he is conscientious, and that whatever his failings are, he does all from pure motives. It is to be regretted that anyone should wrongly explain him. I hope they will see things as they are, and that God will forgive them. Seldom will we find mother's of such a spirit as is manifested in these words, when speaking of those who without cause opposed her son. It was easily seen that it was for these persons she was sorry, and not for him. Many a mother, however, would speak of them in merciless terms, seeing her son on such a height of fame. Not so did Hannah Roberts deem it becoming to do. No wonder she is so sound in the principles of practical morality, for she acts these in her everyday life.

Notwithstanding the fact that her parents were Baptists, she has never been a member only with the Calvinistic Methodists. She went with her husband to Moriah, the Methodist Chapel at Loughor, and were made members the same night. Since, they have always been faithful with all the movements of their church. Henry and Hannah Roberts are a simple and humble pair. They lay no claim to an illustrious pedigree nor famous relations. When I asked them whether any men of fame had appeared; amongst their forefathers, they desired to affirm no such thing. Their aim is to let everything stand on its merits, seeking nothing that would for a moment win for them the applause of the public.

As we have mentioned before, fourteen children were born to them, eight of whom are living; and when we remember this fact, it is wonderful how they have borne up so well. Who knows the care and anxiety of their minds when rearing the eight now living? That their care was great and their anxiety intense is certain. The mother's heart leaped with joy as she informed me that not one of them had ever given her trouble. My heart was filled with delight when bringing them up, said she. I would stay down late to sew and mend their clothes, so that I might follow my duties in the day. Without this it would have been impossible to bring up eight children, with no servant to help her. Evan Roberts is the ninth of all the children, and the fifth of those at present living. Two of his sisters reside in America - one married, the other single. In another chapter, we shall have a word to say regarding those in this country. The following are the names of the children in order of age - Sarah, Mariah, Catherine, David, Evan, Dan, Elizabeth and Mary.

And now Henry and Hannah Roberts have lived to see one of their sons the centre of attention and attraction of all Wales, and to a measure of all Christendom. For all that, there is in them no unworthy delight. Rather do they glorify God in His Son for such an inestimable privilege. When the Revival had broken out with power, the father one day, standing at the comer of his house, observed of Evan and his other children who had been fired, 'Here they are in thine hand, Lord; do with them as thou wilt'.

Thus, Henry and Hannah Roberts shall be accounted blessed amongst fathers and mothers in Wales, because of the high favour shewn to them in letting them bring up a child so manifestly used of the Spirit to give the greatest blow to sin that has been given for many years past. They see their reward for allowing religion to be the chief subject on the hearth, and the Bible the principal object of study. They see the result of setting a good example before the children at home, they have happiness in their heart which more than repays them for all their efforts to bring up eight children. Oh! what spiritual delight there is to these parents at the close of their days on earth! With the Psalmist of old can they say - 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.'






Chapter III.

The Day of the Possibility.

The 8th of June, 1878, was a great and extraordinary day in Island House, Bwlchymynydd. It was so because on it Evan Roberts was born. In the history of the family, the neighbourhood of Loughor, and Wales as a whole, we can rightly call it the 'Day of the Possibility'. On that day was born one in whom lay the possibility of creating a religious revolution in a whole nation, with the Spirit of God using him as an instrument. Yet, this was not known to anyone except the Divine Persons, and possibly some of the angels. And so his birth was in the manner of every child's birth. It did not cause the inhabitants of the place to leap with joy, but angels, maybe, sang. Were they told of his future, then surely they sang and rejoiced, for they could see how much there would be for them to do in connection with him. The parents, no doubt, looked upon their newlyborn babe as one who in years to come would be a help and comfort to them; but God regarded him as the embodiment of possibilities to be used in the Spirit's hand to bring thousands to repentance. A wondrous day, truly, is the birthday of many an one. Untold possibilities come into being at the same time. On a smaller scale, the birth of every morally great man may be likened to that of Him who was born in Bethlehem.

The birth in the manger in Bethlehem was simple enough and unknown to the world at large, but then, there came into existence the possibility of saving an unnumbered multitude of sinners. Through the birth of Evan Roberts at Bwlchymynydd on that day, there came into being a possibility which will be instrumental before the end of time in bringing millions to the Man who brought into being the possibility of Salvation, by the birth in Bethlehem and the death on Calvary. The result of the work of Evan Roberts will go on through the ages, and some of them will be effective in the end of the world. When his mortal part is buried, his works will go on and multiply forever. The possibilities of every life are wonderful given favourable conditions, they will increase, and so continue their existence. As we ascend in the scale of life, the possibility increases accordingly. The highest life has the greatest possibility. On earth, man is the creature that has the highest and richest life; hence, his is the life with the greatest possibility in it. Among men we find degrees of possibility, in the sphere of mind, affections, and actions. The majority possess but average possibility, and rise to no distinction in any department of life. From this class up to those who possess the highest possibility, we have every grade of intellectual power that we can think of. Those who have the greatest possibility contribute to the world's development in various directions. They make the world move on from the old lines in the different branches of knowledge, religion, morality, and spirituality. They cut out paths for themselves, and will not be governed by public opinion, which becomes disturbed once it sees new ground being possessed. We make bold to say that the babe who was born at Island House, Bwlchymynydd, on the afore-mentioned day, belonged to this class. He had the possibilities of a spiritual life that were extraordinary, the possibilities of a man of the highest genius in his class - possibilities, as we shall again see, of cutting a path for himself without consulting anyone save the Spirit of God.

Who would think that such a possibility lay within him when a child?

Did the midwife for a moment think of his tremendous possibility? No, she saw nothing in him different from other children. She would tremble to hold him in her arms did she know of his possibility and his future.

Were his work with the Revival known on his birthday, many of the old saints of Loughor and of Wales would have readily gone to his parents house, saying with Simeon of old, Lord, now lettest thou thy servants depart in peace, according to thy word, for our eyes have seen one who will be used of Thee to bring Salvation to thousands in Wales. Many have been the desires, intense the prayers offered up for a Revival, but at last we have its instrument in our arms. Hundreds have journeyed to Loughor during these last months in order to see Evan Roberts, his parents, and the house where he was born; but had men known of his possibility at his birth, the visitors to the place would have been far more numerous then than now. As is His wont, with every great possibility, God hid this from all. Men wonder at the possibility when it has been revealed. This is what He has done in the case of Evan Roberts.

We see his mother nurse him, a tender child, without seeing anything exceptional in him, save his loveliness. Every mother thinks her child lovely; and it is well that she does. It shows how great a mother's affection is for her child. Hannah Roberts carries him in her arms, little thinking that she has a treasure so great. Gazing at his face in the cradle, the thought of his possibility does not enter her mind. As she rocks the cradle, far from her thoughts is the idea that in it lies one destined in less than twenty-seven years to move a nation in religion and morality.

Behold two little hazel eyes brightly gazing at her, whose glance now thrills vast assemblies of men; but she does not foresee this. Lovingly does she kiss her little ones lips, little thinking that the words that would pass from his mouth and Iips would hereafter fix the undivided attention of the multitudes upon them. She is quite unconscious of the fact that the lovely face she presses to her cheek will one day be charming men with the heavenly smile that flickers across it. Far from her mind is the thought that the fat little arms that now embrace her will be waving in Welsh and other pulpits, and that multitudes will follow their movements. No, she did not dream that the little feet and knees then too weak for walking would again be gliding from place to place to proclaim the eternal gospel; and walking though the chapels to persuade some to receive Christ; to comfort others in their sorrow, and to warn many of their perilous state. Be that as it may, in the birth of our subject there was born to the nation a wealth of moral possibilities to be used by the Spirit of God to do spiritual wonders yea, things incredible to any but spiritually-minded men.

Let us once again look upon him when a babe. What is there in him?

Everything that has developed and will develop in him. All the germs of his powers lay in him when first he saw the light of day. Whatever the grace of God has done and wilt do with his powers, all the possibilities of those powers were in him in his childhood. Wales today can sing 'Precious treasure was found in Island House, Bwlchymynydd, June 8th, 1878. There is reason for saying that for ages long the day of the dawn of the Revival will be commemorated, but there is more reason why the birthday of Evan Roberts should be commemorated. It was this day that made his connection with the Revival possible. Heaven looked upon the day of His birth in Bethlehem of more importance than any other day in the life of Christ. This is shown, firstly, by the great joy that was there among the angelic hosts, who winged their flight for the first to the Judean fields to sing their carol - 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men,' secondly, the day of the Incarnation made possible the death of the Cross. The Incarnation of Christ contains the possibility of the Atonement. All that Jesus did in His life arose from the possibility that was in Him as a babe in the manger. The same truth holds with regard to the works of Evan Roberts, they are all the outcome of the possibility that was in him in the cradle. Were a serious consideration given to the fact that children possess all their possibilities at birth, parents would be far more careful in dealing with these possibilities during the first years of their children's life. The rule is that the entire course of their lives is determined by the treatment given to their possibilities and powers during these years.

When the proper time came, our subject was baptised in Moriah Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, and was named Evan John. This was the name by which he was known by the people of the neighbourhood. By today the name John is scarcely heard; he is known simply as Evan Roberts. He does not any more wish to be called John, but only Evan Roberts. We heard him say at Hirwain that he had written it for the last time. In this too, as in other things, he desires to make use of as few words as possible. His name will go down to future ages as Evan Roberts, and not Evan John Roberts.






Chapter IV.

The Blossoming of the Possibility - Evan Roberts When a Child.

In the previous chapter, for particular reasons given there, the birthday of Evan Roberts was called the day of the possibility. For the same reasons can his childhood be called the blossoming of the possibility in this period we find the wealth of his natures possibility beginning to open out. It is a misfortune that we have not the details of this period in our possession, for they would be of special interest. This is the time when the mind reveals many of the inherent characteristics of its possibility. It breaks forth in the strength of its own energy before it is conscious of the meaning, the nature, and importance of its actions; before it is conscious that its actions are noticed and criticised. The first acts of the mind are a kind of natural and unconscious outburst, but this outburst takes place before a man is able to reflect upon his mental activities. Hence, Evan Roberts knows nothing of this period in his life. His parents and others never thought that his biography would be written: for this reason, they did not carefully note his distinguishing, peculiarities when a child. Yet for all this, we are not entirely ignorant in a general way of our subject during this time, because the Evan Roberts of today is only the fruit that has grown out of that period. Whatever his special characteristics now are, they are only a higher development from the blossoming of his possibility when a child. To seek for all the activities of his mind and the contents of his consciousness in the years of the blossoming of his possibility would only be satisfying curiosity. All their principles will be found in him now, for life carries with it the instincts of its past. In some form or other the whole of Evan Roberts, the child, is seen in Evan Roberts, the Revivalist. Here we get his thoughts, his feelings, his imagination, his conscience, and childish desires. Without this there would be no unity in life. The only difference is that these things are characterised now by a development higher than when he was a child.

The point wherein we are at a loss is that we do not see them in their undeveloped state as they were then. We are assured that there was nothing in him as a child to draw special attention. It may be safely said that the things which marked him out from the time that he began at school until he was twelve years old are before us. These are the interesting things, and not those in him which were common with other children. In order that we may the better see the blossoming of his powers, we can classify them under different headings.

I. EVAN ROBERTS AT PLAY

One of the most effective things to reveal the characteristics of a child is his manner and spirit at play. Evan Roberts used to play like most children do, that is, he was full of the playful spirit, and not timid and lifeless as some children are. We can imagine him as a boy with light curly hair waving in the breeze playing near the house and in the adjacent fields, and paying an occasional visit to the large island, in order to gaze upon the Loughor river and the sea coming up to meet it. Oft while at play, he would stop in the middle of a game to listen to the birds singing, for this delights him to this day. In his play, we find elements that are not commonly found in children, and these remain in him still.

He could not look upon any of his playmates suffering. When this happened, the joy of playing was gone for him. That was no play to him where all were not joyful. To Evan Roberts the essential element in play was that every one shared the same happy feelings with him. His liberality was clearly in evidence in his games, and with a willing heart would he share his good things with his companions. He put all his energy into his play; showing his thorough conscientiousness in it all.

Deceit and treachery even at play grieved him. At all times he is seen to strive to be consistent in word and action, and one to be relied on. He would willingly lend a helping hand whenever he saw a playmate in difficulties and unable to do anything that he could show him the way.

The first two characteristics that his mother remembers in him are helping others and striving to make everybody happy. He was possessed then of the true spirit of a player.

II. EVAN ROBERTS AT SCHOOL

Between four and five years of age, we find him at school. Hitherto, the possibilities were allowed to blossom without any permanent external influence, save that of his father and mother. Now, he is in a sphere where he must conform with fixed rules. We can hardly believe that a child of so independent a nature as Evan Roberts found it easy to bend under these for some time. He is not long before manifesting a capability of learning with rapidity. He stands with the best in his class. One year, a book was offered as a reward to the best in the class, the competition lay between Evan Roberts and another lad. In the final test, he won the prize.

But after going home, Evan wept bitterly because the other boy had not received a book too. This shows that while he was yet young, there were in his nature wonderful liberality and magnanimity. One would expect him, in accordance with the natural and common tendency in children, to rejoice, and boast of having won in the contest. But his heart would not allow of that. It grieved him sorely to think of the disappointment of the young friend going home without a book. This was but the manifestation of the glorious blossoming of the possibility of his nature. It is to be regretted that he was not allowed to remain in school. Had he remained, we doubt not that that he would have become a first-rate scholar. His progress in education during the few years he spent at school is enough to prove this. Mr. Harris, his school-master, testifies that young Roberts was most fond of his books, and through his close attention to them reached the sixth standard before he was twelve years of age. During this time, he was full of play; but nothing rough characterised his playfulness.

A schoolmistress, with whom he was for some time, states that he was her chief defender, when the children were unmanageable he would argue with the children the consequences of being naughty, and as a rule succeeded in quieting them. Owing to circumstances to which we shall again refer, he was obliged to leave school three months before he reached his twelfth year. He did this, as is the case with the majority of children that belong to the working class, in order to earn his living through the sweat of his brow. He was not compelled to do so by his parents, but he wished it himself.

III. HIS BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS HIS PARENTS.

During this period the strong and living affection that he still feels towards his parents is manifested. His obedience to them was perfect, springing from a willing heart; and, therefore, was but the expression of his affection for them. He was never heard to say No to either of them.

When eleven years of age, a splendid opportunity was given him of showing his strong affection towards his parents. At the birth of his youngest sister, Mary, his mother was dangerously ill, close upon death.

This called for Evan's frequent services as a messenger. He would run full speed when sent on an errand, stopping in no place, however much the temptation to play. His love for his mother was stronger than the playful inclination. Of his own accord, unasked of any, would he do this, being induced by the highest motive, namely, love for his parents. We can easily see that his rule of conduct then, young as he was, was obedience to the promptings of the highest powers of his nature. This is the burden of his preaching today: obedience to all the promptings of the Spirit of God. His willing obedience in the first years of his childhood was an effectual preparation for the time when the Holy Spirit came to invite him to surrender himself completely on the altar of service to Jesus.

During this period he nursed his youngest sister a great deal, in order to help his mother. Mary Roberts says that were she then able to think and to speak, she ought to have known much concerning her brother at that time. He was ready to do anything within his power for his parents, whether it were customary for his companions to do so or not. When about eleven years of age he undertook to dig the large garden attached to Island House, in order to spare his father, who was in sore trouble at the time, owing to the illness of Mrs. Roberts. In a few days he had accomplished the task, great as the labour was to a lad so young. He clung to the work with the energy and determination of one resolved to conquer,

IV. THE BLOSSOMING OF HIS HABITS

His possibility of forming habits is revealed in these years also, for we discern two very prominent features in this at this period.

  1. Order - He delighted in arranging everything that came in his way.

    His purposes were always neatly planned and executed. This was made manifest in his play and his work about the house.

  2. Cleanliness - To be clean was ever one of his chief aims - clean in dress, in words, in work, and in conduct. Applicable is the old adage to him: 'Cleanliness is next to godliness.' Those children who are careful as to order and cleanliness in the things mentioned above, as a rule, will not find it difficult to reach true godliness. These were the result of his own nature, and not the fruits of culture. Though his parents were strong in these matters, they had not to advise Evan to be likewise, for he was so already. They grew naturally out of him. We may add one more habit to the foregoing -

  3. Gentlemanliness - He always replied and addressed people like a gentleman, while his general conduct from childhood was marked with perfect good manners. His elders were always impressed with his excellent behaviour in their company. We have good reason to expect great things from children in whom habits such as these are seen to blossom.

V. THE BLOSSOMING OF HIS PRESENCE OF MIND AND HIS FAITH

We find him possessed of extraordinary presence of mind when from seven to eight years old his brother, Dan, fell headlong into the well that was near the house, and would have met with immediate death had Evan not been there. Hurrying to the well, he seized his little brother's feet, and pulled him out in a few seconds. He must have had presence of mind to act thus, when there was no one near to tell him what to do. Many a child, would become terrified, and lose all self control at the sight of his brother in such a plight.

When twelve years of age we get a glimpse of the possibility of his extraordinary faith which is illustrated in the following striking incident - He and another lad named Jenkin Evans, together with several other children, were playing by a stream not far from the house. They had been bathing in the stream, which was several feet deep. Jenkin Evans stood on one side, while the rest were dressing on the other. Some of the children, who were with Evan Roberts, persuaded Jenkin Evans that he could swim across the stream. He was foolish enough to give ear to them, and made the attempt. But ere he had gone half-way he sank. He came to the surface again, but soon disappeared. Upon this, Evan Roberts quickly divested himself of his garments in order to try to save him. For the third time Jenkin Evans rose to the surface, shouting, Oh! Oh! I'm drowning! Evan Roberts leaped into the water. Jenkin Evans threw his arms around his neck, and down went both. Evan Roberts, however, kept complete self-control, though he had not learned to swim.

When under water with his feet touching the bottom, he firmly believed he could swim. With one great effort he succeeded in pushing his friend to the bank. Then he swam to the land himself. The moment he believed he could swim, he was able to do so without any difficulty. This act reveals the germ of his present strong faith. This great possibility of believing is the one that the Spirit of God works upon in his soul these days. About the same time he saved his brother, Dan from drowning.

Dan was bathing in the river when something suddenly seized him, which would have caused him to sink to the bottom and be drowned.

Evan saw him in difficulties, and was only a few moments before running to his rescue. These characteristics are seen in him now in a highly developed state. His strong faith occasionally strikes us with awe, and we wonder at his presence of mind in a great commotion. Tracing his history in detail, we shall find these two elements very prominent in him by nature, apart from what grace has done in his heart. To possess a strong spiritual faith we must have a great possibility of believing. The same may be said of all the virtues of the Christian.

VI. THE BLOSSOMING OF HIS RELIGIOUS TENDENCIES.

We cannot but see these in him when very young, if we are careful in our observation. He used to get the children to play a religious meeting, he himself being the leader. At this time is seen in him not only a deep religious tendency, but the religious leader as well. On the long winter evenings, his mother would teach him Bible verses, chapters, and hymns, so that he was not lacking in material to play meetings. Yet, we would wish to say that with Evan Roberts, there was no levity in connection with this playing. While thus innocently engaged a characteristic thoughtfulness is seen in him. Even then he undoubtedly felt his religious intuitions to be great powers in his heart. But he, as other children, understood them not. What is at present spiritual joy within him, flowed out of the subconscious regions of his soul when he was twelve years old, as the crystal spring bursts forth from the bosom of the rock. The small stream then is seen, but now the wide, deep river. To change the metaphor, it is the religious blossom that we see in the playing a religious meeting when a child, but the ripe fruit we now perceive in the man who sways the multitude with his hand. It is one of the best signs to see children imitating religious matters in a devotional spirit. It proves that such things have been put in their minds by someone, and that they have affected some of the deepest instincts of their nature.

Generally, great things follow in due course. Our subject is a splendid example of the blossoming of the religious life, under the care of godly parents who cultivated the principles of that life by means of example, Biblical instruction, and their great care to send their child to the Sabbath School and other services. His religious instincts must have been strong before the instruction of his parents and the Sabbath School could influence him so much, for he testifies that the temptations of the evil one were very great at this time. But the power of the life within kept him from breaking out into any presumptuous sin, though the struggle was often very hard.






Chapter V.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Mental Preparation.

EVAN ROBERTS THE WORKING MAN.

Everything in the history of Evan Roberts went, either directly or indirectly, to prepare his possibility as a Revivalist. We have no doubt but that his connection with manual labour played an important part in preparing his mental powers for revival work. And why not? Was nor the daily toil of Jesus of Nazareth, until he was thirty years of age, a great factor in the preparation of his possibilities to accomplish his infinite work for sinners? He sanctified physical labour, and made it clear that not only can we live religiously while engaged in work, but also that it helps to accomplish great things in religion. Manual labour brings us into sympathy with the great majority of mankind, and enables us to get a wider view of their life than we otherwise would. In this chapter, we shall endeavour to follow the steps that Evan Roberts took in manual labour.

I. HIS FIRST STEP

It fell to his lot to begin to work when young, as we mentioned before.

He commenced at such an early age owing to his father having met with an accident. When Evan was about eleven years and a half, Henry Roberts broke his leg in the Mountain Colliery, Loughor. He was able to resume his work in about three months, Evan being called upon to help him. It was his father's work to look after the water pumps in the above -

named colliery, and as the accident to his leg had affected his walking, little Evan was of great service in carrying water and oil from place to place. Evan was not long in revealing his alertness, dexterity, faithfulness, and care with his duties, and in three months time (that is, when about twelve years old), he took up the work of door-boy, whose duties it is to look after the doors down in the pit. Vivid is his recollection of the first pay he received at the Colliery, and he laughs merrily when reminded of it. It was a sum of five shillings; but, small as it was, he was proud of it, and it gave him inspiration with his work. At this time, he only narrowly escaped being killed. The shackles that held the trains together broke one day, so that the trains came down with tremendous force towards the door at which he was stationed. He was sitting at the time with his father and one of the colliery officials, about fifty yards away. As soon as he heard the trains approaching, he ran as fast as he could towards the door. When his father realised the situation, he was greatly alarmed, and feared that he should not see Evan alive again. But in spite of the great force with which the trains ran, and the narrowness of the road, he succeeded in escaping without the slightest injury, and did his duty as well It would have been no wonder had he been crushed to pieces For one of his age and expert-ence, he showed wonderful presence of mind on that occasion.

II. THE SECOND STEP

Owing to his desire to become a collier in the real sense of the word, he did not remain long as a door boy. He began cutting coal with another, and learned with rapidity. To rise higher and higher was ever his desire; and when sixteen years of age, he and an elder friend undertook the working of a heading. Although he was the younger, the most important part of the work in the heading fell to his lot. This shows his great dexterity and his power of adaptation as a worker. The number of young men who can do this kind of work is comparatively small. And were he not a reliable lad, it is not likely that the manager would have allowed him to do it.

His earnings at this time were five shillings a day; and savingly did he keep every penny he could. One of the most prominent characteristics in him from childhood is the absence of all extravagance. From the time that he began until he was sixteen, he worked at the Mountain colliery.

Work here threatened to cease on several occasions, but while it was going on Evan Roberts was ever at his post.

III. THE THIRD STEP

When he was between sixteen and seventeen years of age, work ceased at the colliery, and he went to seek work at Blaengarw, a place about nine miles distant from Bridgend, and nearly thiity from Loughor. The journey, meant a great deal to one so attached to his parents, his chapel, and the brethren. Yet he chose to pass through the bitter experience rather than be idle. He worked for six weeks at Blaengarw. Hard though it was for him to leave home at this time, he testifies to his having learnt an important moral lesson by means of the journey, and to have won a moral victory of no small importance. At the end of the six weeks, he was on a Saturday afternoon preparing to visit Maesteg, a place situated a few miles from Blaengarw, when his brother brought him tidings of work having been found for him at home. He at once started for Loughor, with a light heart, as we would expect. We can easily understand his longing to see his parents, for he had not been from them for so long a period before.

IV. THE FOURTH STEP

We find him next working from two to three years at the Broad Oak Colliery, Loughor. The first two years after returning from Blaengarw, he worked a heading himself, and for about another year with a friend. On Jan. 8th, 1897, a terrible explosion took place in this pit, but, happily, Evan Roberts was not in it at the time. He kept his Bible with him in the colliery, and it was in the heading when the explosion occurred. It was not completely burnt, but its leaves were scattered apart and scorched.

What did their possessor do with these? Bury them, probably. No he revered them too much to do that. He collected them together, and took them home. A large number is kept by him to this day, and I have a few before me as I write these lines. His care in thus preserving the leaves shows his unlimited reverence towards the Bible.

V. THE FIFTH STEP

At the end of August, 1899, he journeys to Mountain Ash, a mining town - four miles from Aberdare - in Glamorganshire. He worked in the colliery at this place until the end of December; that is, a period of four months. This journey also was undertaken owing to work being slow at home. While at Mountain Ash, he was a member at Bethlehem (M.C.), and his faithfulness soon attracted the attention of the brethren. The Lesson for the Senior Class in the Sunday Schools of the Calvinistic Methodists for that year was the Epistle of James. Sections of it were discussed in the church meetings in Bethlehem Chapel, persons being selected beforehand to take part. Young as he was, Evan Roberts was appointed to speak in the church meeting on 'Practical Atheism', based on James V. 15 - 17. The subject and the verses happened to be quite in accord with the speakers feelings and taste, and his treatment of the matter gave entire satisfaction to the meeting. Those present felt that his remarks were full of common sense, and were direct from the heart.

Something in him must have drawn the attention of the elders of the church, else they had not appointed him to speak upon such a subject.

He was a perfect stranger to them; and people, as a rule, are careful as to what they put strangers to do. On account of this something in him, he could not then, more than now, be hidden. He did not idle away his leisure hours while at Mountain Ash. Most of his time was given to reading and studying when not at work in the mine. It was at this place he produced the poetical composition, 'A Sacrifice for Thy sake', and some others of like nature. His religious propensities are clearly revealed in two letters he wrote during this time to a friend of his - John Hughes, Loughor. In these he manifests his great care for the cause at Pisgah, and enquires about the faithfulness of the members, and states that the great loss will be that of the unfaithful ones, notwithstanding that sin is threefold, as it harms the man himself, society, and God. Deeply he feels how little he has done for Christ; and how backward he is. Observations are made by him on the church at Mountain Ash, which prove that he is alive to all the spiritual aspects of it. Although he has some humorous remarks in these letters, religion pervades them. The humorous element in them is a sanctified one.

VI. THE SIXTH STEP

At the end of December, he turns his face homewards once more. Work was given him in the Broad Oak Colliery, and he took unto himself a partner, who worked with him for a year. This one having left him, he was joined by another who remained in his service for close upon two years. Although now earning good wages, this fact did not yield him unmingled joy, fearing lest he might be holding too fast to the world, and that this may do harm to his religion. Never did he waste his money on anything, but he took care that religion got a continual share of his earnings. He worked in this colliery until September, 1902. Now he gave up the coal-mining, and began to learn the trade of a blacksmith. When in the colliery, he could turn his hand to anything if necessary - driving the horses, or any other work the officials asked him to do, with pleasure.

One who worked with him during a great part of the time referred to above gave me the following details respecting him.

  1. Honesty - This friend testifies that he never worked with a more honest man in every sense of the word. Whatever might be wanting, Evan Roberts would be honest in every department of his work - honest to his master, his companion, himself, and God. The deepest stratum in his character at work was his being above suspicion as to the honesty of his dealings. This trait was revealed no less in trivial matters than in great things.

  2. Sympathy - His sympathy with his fellow-toiler was so deep that he could not suffer him to bear the heavier share of the work. If one part of the work should be harder than another, that was the part he would take up. And that not only occasionally when he was in a happy mood, but it was his constant habit. This is quite consistent with his character now.

    All that are in difficulties of any kind at once win his sympathy.

  3. Contentedness - While at work, he never betrayed any wild, unseemly discontent if things were not as desired. He always took matters as they came. When circumstances became unfavourable, his motto was, 'Make the best of it, and be contented'. He was never heard to complain of anything. Quite as happy was he in the midst of difficulties with his work as when things were in his favour. His chief aim was to do his best, whatever the consequences might be. He sang heartily and merrily when engaged in the hardest of tasks

  4. Readiness - He was always delighted to help his fellow-workman, and it gave him pleasure to be of any service to his friend. He never grew weary of this, even though he were called upon several times in the day.

    In truth, he sought for opportunities to help. Whatever is his desire of helping men spiritually to day, it is only the repetition in a higher form of his efforts to do so when at work.

  5. Obedience - Never was he disobedient when called upon to do anything that was reasonable. He would joyfully obey his companions call for help, and the more the sacrifice required the happier he was when doing it. His delight was to do a good deed to another.

  6. (6) Consistency of character - Evan Roberts was the same outside the work as he was in it. One of his chief excellencies during these years was perfect consistency in every sphere, and so he is still. He was not twofaced.

    To know him at work was to know him in the house as well, to know him in chapel was to know him on the street and in every other circle. There were not and are not two men in Evan Roberts.

  7. Not wasteful in speech - Little he talked while at work, but when he did speak, it was with common sense and to the point. He hated empty chatter, which served no good purpose and wasted time. It was on spiritual matters he had most to say. His silence was not the result of any conning watchfulness, but was a natural characteristic in him. This fact sets value upon his silence.

  8. Reading the Bible before going to bed - We have already referred to his habit of reading the Bible when at work in the mine, and his friend says that they used to do to every night before retiring to rest. His simple, and concise comments on some of the verses were wonderful, but at the same time original and very convincing. He could give the soul of a verse in a few words. On his way to work he would be in deep meditation, so that he would occasionally so far forget himself as not to know wither he was going, and his brother recalls how once, when in this state of mind, he passed the place where he was to work.

  9. Thoughtfulness - His continual meditation is easily understood. It is not necessary to say what the subject of his musing was, because spiritual things received his chief attention. His mind was occupied with these in all his meditations. But, unlike some, his thoughtfulness did not make him unnatural, but made him of a happy disposition and natural in appearance.

  10. Mystery - Consistent as his behaviour was, transparent as was his character, he was a great mystery to his friend, who was his fellowworkman and fellow-lodger at Mountain Ash. There was one thing in him that he could not comprehend. After reading a portion of Scripture and praying at night, his friend would retire to bed. Roberts, however, would not do so. He would draw nigh to God in silence, and would be in His presence for a considerable length of time. His friend could not understand what called for this, seeing that they had already read and prayed. I could not understand, said he, what was his message to God again, and some holy fear kept me from asking him. His groans in the silence would terrify me. But I can now understand the mystery. His groans have been heard and answered in the thousands that have come into the church from the highways and byways in these last months, and in the wonderful Revival in the church itself. Of all whom I met he was the most real and truest friend. I have never seen his like, and I do not expect to see anyone like him as a friend in the fullest sense of the word.

The foregoing is a wonderful testimony from one who lived in close touch with him, and knew him so well.

When at work he feared not his superiors to such a degree as not to speak what he meant freely and candidly. When appointed on a committee, he would state his views clearly whoever was present, but he did this in a gentlemanly and not in an offensive manner. He would not take to be led by any party, and would not look at matters through any eyes but his own. Too independent was he to depart from what seemed right to him, in order to please anyone. Because of this element in his character, he won the confidence of his elders as well as of his young companions. As a proof of this, we may mention that on several occasions he represented his fellow-workmen on some of their important committees at Neath and Cardiff.

A very strange thing in connection with him in the coal mine was that he did not remember so much as the name of the vein in which he worked.

This shows that though he was an excellent collier, his thoughts were of other things when at work. As soon as he left it, he would forget all about his work, hence, we infer that it never had a firm hold upon him.

He became a good workman, not because he lost himself in his work, but because of his natural inherent dexterity for work. He was down late at night reading and meditating. Consequently he was hardly ever very early at the pit. Yet he was never seen to be excited. When the family had occasionally over-slept, and all was confusion in the efforts to be in time at the pit, Evan would be perfectly calm. So he would be at the pithead.

Whoever would be excited, it would not be Evan Roberts.






Chapter VI.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Mental Preparation (Cont'd).

EVAN ROBERTS THE WORKING MAN.

VII. THE SEVENTH STEP - LEARNING THE TRADE OF A BLACKSMITH

(1) Apprenticed to learn the trade - At last he has found a trade that he thinks at the time will give him his life-work, but he does not understand himself. God had purposed that he should do something far more important than striking the anvil. Be that as it may, on September 18th, 1902, he began with this work with Mr. Evan Edwards, an uncle (his mother's brother), at Forest, Pontardulais, four miles from his home. A three years' apprenticeship was agreed upon, and a sum of money was paid down. He set about it at once to learn the trade. Being that he was already twenty-four years of age, he felt that close application was essential if he was to succeed in the new work. In this as in other things he had no difficulty in putting his resolution into action for a time, and suppress the intense longing of his heart to devote himself entirely to his Saviour's work. But all combined eventually to strengthen his desire, though he was not conscious of it at the time. The desire of his heart was too strong to be suppressed by any circumstances.

The idea that had possessed him when he went to learn the trade of a blacksmith was to go out to America for a number of years, and earn sufficient money to live in it. Having saved enough for that purpose, he would return to this country, and retire to some quiet spot for the rest of his days. But soon his mind underwent a sudden and complete change with regard to this. One Friday night, when following this new occupation, he had been sending home a friend of his, Mr. W. H. Morgan, who was a student in the ministry. On his way back, Evan Roberts resolved, with unflinching determination, to devote his whole life to Jesus Christ and His work. From that time on, said he, in relating the account, my mind was in a perpetual state of commotion with the desire to entirely devote myself to work for Jesus. It would only be right to emphasise here that this resolution was not made owing to any failure on his part to learn the trade. His future in this respect was perfectly clear, as clear as it has ever been in the case of any man. As to his progress and prospects with his work, his uncle, who is the best authority, shall speak.

He testifies that Evan Roberts did his utmost to learn the trade during the fifteen months he was with him. No trouble was too great for him to take, in order to learn well. Once shown the way to do a thing, he would not forget it again. His uncle observes of him in this respect that his memory was wonderful, and he never met a man who could remember things as he could. He paid close attention to everything that was told by way of teaching him. He was careful and exacting in every detail with anything important His memory, keenness, and determination with the learning of his trade were exceptional in many ways. Not only did he take in all that was told him by his uncle, but ever strove to please him, and all who came to the smithy. Although he was only fifteen months with this work, he was well able to shoe horses. This will suffice to show his ability to learn the various branches of the trade. Shoeing, from one point of view, is the most important branch of a blacksmiths work, and the most difficult to learn. Mr. Edwards believes that he would have made one of the most skilled artisans in the land, had he continued with the work, for he was admirably adapted to it. The art of the blacksmith is not such as every one can learn, it requires strong mental power, great dexterity, and quickness of mind and body.

To attain proficiency in it, the brightest talent must be at its best. Another thing that must be borne in mind is this, that to learn the work of a country blacksmith as he was doing, is much more difficult than many other branches of the trade, for it includes so much variety. In many works, one branch only of the trade need be learned, but in a country smithy one must acquire a general knowledge of it. Notwithstanding that, Evan Roberts took it all in with wonderful rapidity. Added to this difficulty was that of age. As we have noted, he was twenty-four before he began. The majority begin with trades of this kind when from twelve to eighteen years of age. This is the most suitable time to learn. But he spent that period in learning to become a collier. It meant a great effort to free himself from habits that he formed when cutting coal, and form new ones at this age. That he was able to do this, shows him to be possessed of exceptional will power.

(2) His manner while at work - It will be interesting to see him at work in the smithy. Scarcely a minute passes by that he is not singing or repeating Bible verses and other good things. His voice fills the building, and the change is marked after his departure. In a hole in the wall used by the blacksmith to keep small instruments, near the handle of the wheel of the bellows, Evan. Roberts has a Bible. Every time he turns to blow the fire, he glances at a few verses of the Bible, which he eagerly reads.

Turning from the bellows again, he bursts into joyous song, or repeats the verses he has just read. He was never seen without the Bible being near at hand. He used to speak a great deal about his Bible to the young man who worked with him at the smithy. Often was he heard asking him which would he prefer, to be a skilful blacksmith or a good Christian.

Although he was pleasant to everyone who came into the smithy, he spoke comparatively little. He took no part in the common prattle and gossip of the neighbourhood. While that kind of talk went on, he would be seen blowing the fire with one hand, and holding the Bible with the other.

He felt that there was no food for the soul in such idle talk, and that to take part in it was waste of time. But when the talk turned to meetings, especially religious meetings, his attention was immediately won. It gave him great pleasure to take part in it. After singing a hymn until the whole place resounded with the echo of his voice, or repeating verses aloud, he turns to his Bible in the wall again.

(3) His habits after leaving work - What about him after leaving work.

Does he waste his time on the streets? No. Such a vain habit has no attraction for him. He comes home, takes off his boots, sits before the fire with the Bible in his hands, and reads on for hours. Losing himself completely in it, he is deaf to the chatter and clatter of the house, unless the conversation turns to religious things. Let a word be spoken about religion, and he straitens himself up, closes the Bible, and takes part in the talk. During the time that he was an apprentice at Pontardulais, he was seldom seen to take his meals without having his Bible on the table. He read and ate at the same time. What wonder then that he knows his Bible so well! He so far lost himself in the Bible and other good books at times as to forget to extinguish the light before going to sleep. His uncle one morning when getting up found the lamp lit. From that time on, he used to get up to see if the lamp were put out or not, if he knew that Evan had been down late. When we consider how completely he was taken up by a thirst for reading, it is surprising what progress he made with his daily work. Bearing this in mind, we have to admit that his mental power belongs to the first order. While he was an apprentice his religious spirit impressed itself deeply upon all around, and he was looked upon as one of the best characters. He relates with joy one thing that he did at this time. The young man, who worked with him at the smithy, had not been accustomed to pray publicly in the services. Evan Roberts was very desirous that he should do so, but he knew no words of prayer. To meet this difficulty, he wrote out a prayer for him to learn, and pray it in chapel. The recollection of this gives him intense pleasure. What wonder is it? because it was a remarkable deed. Who knows what its effect will be? God only. It is no small matter to teach a man to approach his Creator in public, and it is seldom we find men so desirous of seeing their friends do this, as Evan Roberts was on this occasion.

During his stay at Pontardulais, he attended the weekly meetings, when it was convenient, at Libanus Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. Every Saturday evening he returned home to Bwlchymynydd. Hence he had no opportunity to come into prominence at Libanus. But although he had not much time to attend the meetings there, he left a good impression behind him upon them on the occasions that he was able to be present.

In this chapter we finish with him as a working-man. In the next chapters we shall take up other aspects of his mental and spiritual preparation, and comment upon them. To deal with the whole of one aspect, before passing on to another, will make the history much more intelligible.






Chapter VII.

The Preparation of the Possible. Mental Preparation (Cont'd)

We now come to an important period in the history of Evan Roberts - a period that requires a great deal of explanation. In this the great preparation for his life-work was begun. That does not mean that he was not prepared by the blossoming of his possibilities, which we described in a previous chapter, but he was not prepared so directly by that as he was in this period. He himself regards the years from thirteen upward as rich in his history in preparing him for his work.

I. A TEACHER AND SECRETARY IN THE SUNDAY SCHOOL

Everything in the life of Evan Roberts in these years points to his having had a real conversion. On January 1st, 1893, a Sunday School was opened in the colliery offices, near Bwlchymynydd. Having a mile to walk to Moriah, Loughor, the people of Bwlchymynydd deemed it wise to have a Sunday School in the place. Apart from this, there were numbers of poor children in the neighbourhood who would not go to a chapel under any circumstances. The religious people of Bwlchymynydd longed to get hold of these. Here the School was held until the little chapel of Pisgah was built. When between fourteen and fifteen years of age, Evan Roberts was appointed a teacher over the children. This is a direct condition of one aspect of the preparation of this possibility for his important work as a Revivalist. God, meant him to be a teacher, and this is the beginning of his labour. He was a perfect success with the children, and was second to none in bringing his influence to bear upon them by way of keeping order, and getting full attention to the lessons. Hence we can see that his exceptionally great power of winning the confidence of vast multitudes is not a thing that has suddenly come upon him. This is only a full development of his power when a teacher in the Sunday School, and then when he was in a sense but a child himself. He remained a teacher of the children for several years.

At the commencement of the Sunday School, he was appointed Secretary, and he did his work faithfully and honourably for years. Everything worked together to place him in circumstances that conditioned his mental and spiritual development. While performing the duties of this office, his mind was refreshed in the little arithmetic that he learned at school, and he was able to have practice in writing. The fact that the Sunday School appointed him to these positions so young is a proof that there was something uncommon in him that influenced the people unknown to themselves. Were they asked the reason why they put him in these offices, they probably could not say more than that they saw something in him. They would not be able to describe that something.

This is the history of many men of great possibilities. When very young they influence the sphere in which they turn, though they themselves, and the people with whom they come in contact, are unconscious of it.

Nothing exceptional is seen in them, yet their influence is felt. It is an unconscious influence. In this class Evan Roberts must be placed when from fourteen to eighteen years of age.

II. SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL, AND CONDUCTOR OF THE SINGING WITH THE CHILDREN.

Soon he was made Superintendent of the children's school, and succeeded in keeping order in this office, as he had done in the position of teacher. People from the place will tell us that he stood alone in his ability to preserve discipline with the children when he was Superintendent. This appointment again shows the esteem in which he was held by his elders. They would never have placed so young a lad at the head of the children's school, though it was a small one, unless they had the fullest confidence in him. To be a Superintendent over children means a great deal of work and wisdom, in order to do it successfully.

The classes must be arranged in such a way that the teachers can most advantageously deal with them. Silence and order must be kept, and it must be seen that attention is paid to the lessons. Evan Roberts succeeded in doing all this without any difficulty. Soon he was called upon to lead the singing with the children. Here, again, he was a complete success. There was something in his disposition towards the children that always secured their attention. With this trait in his character he was never below his best. His mottoes were, effort, untiring work, minuteness, meekness, and conscientiousness. Every position in the School was given to him. What greater honour could a young man of his age get?






Chapter VIII.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Mental Preparation (Cont'd)

THE OPENING OF HIS POSSIBILITY AS A THINKER.

The beginnings of the mental preparation were shown in an indirect way in the previous chapter, but the subject was not viewed in all its aspects.

What was said there will suffice until he reaches his thirteenth year. At this stage the mental aspect of things begins to dawn upon him.

I. WRITING HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY

When thirteen years of age, he began to write an autobiography. We regard this as one of the exceptional things of his life. A curious idea this, to strike the mind of a child. It proves two things. (1) That some imaginations of a strange character passed through his mind. An idea of this kind could not enter the mind of a child who was not subject to flights of lively imagination. At fifteen or eighteen the thing would not seem strange; but it is extraordinary in a boy of thirteen. (2) The inner aspect of his life must have been rich ere he could be so desirous of putting it on paper. He felt there were things and incidents in his mental, moral, and practical life that ought to be recorded. We hardly believe that many such instances as this could anywhere be found. At least I have neither heard nor read of but a very few. A pity it is that we have not what he committed to writing. It would be a substantial addition to the knowledge of the philosophy of mental activities in the period from thirteen as far back as his memory could take him. What became of this autobiography after it was written? Some of the members of the family got to know of it, and spoke lightly of it, and began to tease him, saying that conceit had caused him to write it. He feared lest others would think so too, and that it was, perhaps, wrong in him to attempt such a task; and so that none might see it and have occasion to misunderstand the object of his work, he threw it into the fire. Then, as now, pride was hateful to him, and the thought that any deemed him proud was to him unbearable.

That biography would be invaluable to us if it were in our possession now, for in it we would undoubtedly find the history of the origin of some of his ideas, the childish feelings of his heart, the longings of his soul, his actions, his hopes and intentions. We must, however, be content without it. From it one thing is certain, that Evan Roberts was a thinker when thirteen years of age - a strange thinker, and different from the ordinary.

II. A GREAT READER

His great book, both during the years before he became a church member and after, was the Bible. It has continued to this day to be his delight.

This is proved by his extensive knowledge of the Old and New Testament by heart. But there came a time in his history when he desired a more extensive field, and would read every good novel that he could find. He went through seven of the works of the Rev. C. M. Sheldon, the author of 'In His Steps, or What would Jesus do?' Although it gave him pleasure to read this book, and the six that followed from the pen of the writer, he felt that there was some intense longing in his soul still unsatisfied. They seemed too small for his soul, and he thirsted for something greater.

Turning away from them all, he would seek the Book of books. His library shows him to be of a superior taste in reading. It affords an excellent example of what a young man's library ought to be. The books are not numerous, but all are good. At the bottom of the fine mahogany bookcase in the room, we find the Welsh Encyclopædia, the king of Welsh books. This in itself is a library. It contains articles that cannot be surpassed in any other language Next comes the Charles's Dictionary, and the Outlines of Theology, by Dr. A. A. Hodge. To be familiar with the contents of these books is to possess a wealth of theological knowledge. The Sunday School Testament is here too - the best Welsh Commentary on the New Testament, also, the Dictionary of the Rev. D.

Silvan Evans - unequalled by any English-Welsh dictionary. The poetical works of Islwyn, one of the best poets of Wales, are in his bookcase. We have here again several volumes of the Lladmerydd ('Messenger') and Cymrn (Wales) neatly bound; and two of the writers books. Next come English books - Ellicott's Commentary on the Bible, Blackie's Encyclopaedia; the Popular Educator; History of England in several volumes, and Cruden's Concordance. A more useful library for a young man could not easily be found. The majority of the books are standard works, covering a vast field of knowledge. He who would make a diligent study of these would be a giant in thought. Many of them are beautifully bound in strong and serviceable leather, which further shows his good taste. These, with the Bible, were the books which were ever Evan Roberts's field of study. This suffices to shew the falsity of the statement sometimes made that he is one of only average mental ability. What young man of inferior mental capacity and low literary taste would buy works of this class. No one, surely. These books too, were not bought to be ornaments We need not converse with him long in order to learn that his knowledge of many subjects is general and extensive, which is ample testimony of his diligent study of books. After confining himself for a long period to writings of this kind, he was seized with a strong desire for reading newspapers; and would go through every column in them. This continued for some time. But in spite of this, he felt a great dissatisfaction with what he read. This created a deep dislike in him for reading, and for a time he read but very little. It must have been difficult for him to be without reading, after his close perusal of newspapers. Yet, we believe that this proved a great advantage to him, for it gave him opportunities to reflect upon things. To ponder upon materials acquired by the mind through reading is fruitful in results.

III. LEARNING MUSIC

He commenced to learn the art of music when very young, but at first without any assistance. His sister, on emigrating to America, left the organ she possessed behind, which was fortunate for him, as it afforded him the opportunity of learning to play it. Feeling a desire to become proficient in music, he took lessons for two quarters in the Tonic Sol-fa.

By this time he had made marked progress, and was able to play much better. This six months tuition proved invaluable to him, for it gave him a clear view of the rudimentary principles of music. With persistent practice, he can now play with ease, and run over many tunes at first sight. He takes every opportunity he can of playing on the harmonium, the piano, or the organ, which evidently gives him much delight. His knowledge of music becomes of great service to him, for in some of his meetings he makes much use of it. He understands the spirit and quality of the singing at once; and if it is not up to his standard, he interferes, and immediately corrects the audience. At the beginning of the Revival, he was seen to lead some of the richest tunes himself with the ease of masterhand, and continues to do so now if the singing lacks in spirit. We have no doubt but that he would attain a high position as a musical conductor if he had continued his study. But God had a more important work for Evan Roberts than this. He learned sufficient for the requirements of his high calling, more than that was not necessary. That he will yet make progress in the art is evident, for he is full of the musician. In visiting the various places in the course of his mission, he gets the chance to play in houses that possess instruments. When he sees an organ, a piano, or a violin in a house where he stays on his tours, he soon takes to playing it.

IV LEARNING SHORTHAND

His mind could not be quiet for a day. It was ever at work, and moving continually from one thing to another. The great ruling principle of all his actions was the desire to better himself. When about twenty years of age, he became very anxious to learn shorthand. Characteristic of himself, one of the first things he did was to buy a shorthand Bible. If he was to give time to read anything in particular, he must give the best portion of that to the Bible. His teacher was Mr. Torn Morgan, Bwlchymynydd, Loughor. He made good progress in this branch again for the few months he devoted himself to it. Undoubtedly had he continued with the study, he would have become one of the quickest of shorthand writers. Ere long, he felt that he was not using his time to the best advantage in this direction, and so he left this department in order to perfect himself in English. He saw that this would serve him better in practical life. His progress with English has been so remarkable that he can speak it freely and with ease, and can write it correctly and pithily.

V. LEARNING MATHEMATICS

What one would not, perhaps, expect in Evan Roberts is his love of mathematics. With the exception of theology, this is his favourite branch out of all that he has studied. He is delighted with every stage of the art, especially with Euchd. 'I was simply charmed with it', he remarked, when speaking to him about it; and at the mention of it now his eye beams with joy. His study of it sharpened his mind a great deal, and also gave it power and stability. He will benefit for his lifetime by his study of this subject. No doubt the secret of his liking for Euchd lies in his love of order from childhood. Order, as we pointed out in another chapter, is one of his characteristics. In this tendency towards order, mathematics had a place to put its foot down.

VI. COMPETING AND WRITING

As we go on, the variety of the Revivalist's capabilities become more and more manifest. Of all people, we find him competing in a meeting for the best love letter. The competitors are numerous, but his letter was one of the best two, and he took half the prize. This was unexpected in a young man of such a quiet disposition, and a man whom one would never expect to see taking part in a contest of this kind. Still, we are glad to know of the competition, for it shows that Evan Roberts is alive to every aspect of life, and has an eye which sees the movements of others around him. We have proof here that he took note of young life in all its aspects, and received correct impressions from it. He was also a competitor in translating at local eisteddfodau. But it was in poetry that he took the chief part in this direction. He won a prize for a poetical composition on 'The Teacher', and another in a competition on 'Judas Iscariot'. If unsuccessful in a competition, he would not be discontented and cherish any bad feeling; but benefiting always from the adjudication, he would turn it to his advantage in the next competition.

In these years he wrote short articles to the Children's Treasury, as well as puzzles for the children. These are of a high taste, and coloured by a strong religious tendency.






Chapter IX.

The Preparation oftThe Possibility. Mental Preparation (Cont'd)

EVAN ROBERTS AS A POET

We cannot give a fair treatment to the life history of Evan Roberts without devoting a chapter to him as a poet. When the reader will have glanced over his poetical productions, which are found in this volume, he will see that we are amply justified in doing so. Some of these pieces are full of rich poetical ideas. About the age of twenty, his consciousness was filled with poetical aspirations. He brooded much over the matter, and sometimes expressed his experience in poetical forms. Examples of this are seen among his productions. In 1899, he wrote some letters from Mountain Ash to his friend John Hughes, a large portion of which is written in the form of poetry, and translations of them are given in this volume. Before long he offered one of his productions to the Editor of the bardic column of the South Wales Weekly News - Mr. David Jones (Dafydd Morganwg) - an able and cultured poet, a keen critic, and not easy to please. Unless there were some merit or signs of future development he would unhesitatingly refuse to publish the writers production. He had the capacity to detect a promising young man at once, and would do all he could to help him. The poet was perceived by him in the first piece of Evan Roberts, and he published it. Closely did he keep his eye on him for the next six years, and published a number of his pieces from time to time. Some of his editorial comments on these show that he thought much of the young poet, and regarded him as a coming man in this branch of literature. In Evan Roberts's library I found the Biography and Work of the Rev. Robert Owen, of London, presented to him by Dafydd Morganwg as a token of esteem and small acknowledgement for his work. He also corresponded occasionally with Mr. Roberts until his death, in 1905; and in the last weeks he lived expressed his opinion of him thus to me - If Evan Roberts will keep on, he will be one of the foremost poets in Wales. I am pleased to think now that I did not wrongly estimate him more than five years ago, when I received his first attempt at poetising.

We see by reading his poetry that his efforts in this respect had much to do with his mental development. In fact, these were very effectual in preparing him for his life's great work. When leading his poetry thoughtfully, we find that it contains all his great and ruling ideas about the salvation of sinners. The salient points in his poetical productions are those ideas so greatly emphasised by him in his addresses in Revival meetings. The piece entitled, A Sacrifice for Thy Sake, has in it some of the most valuable and deepest ideas of Evan Roberts. This shows the great ability of its author to enter into the very spirit of his subject, to observe and describe the circumstances set forth in the piece. Scarcely can we find a more penetrative power to describe the feelings of people on board ship going for a voyage than in the first four lines. The spirit of the true poet is revealed in the last of them, where he says that sorrow had lost its existence or essence to the company on board.

It is difficult to find a stronger line than this in poetry. After having shown the different ways in which the happiness of the company had manifested itself on board, the above forms a grand climax. A reflection on this piece in its different aspects will soon convince any unbiased reader that the author is a man of great promise. More, he will be compelled to admit that such poetical genius as is revealed in this is not found on all the pages of even the best authors. The ideas are full of moving power, and the description of the whole situation is almost perfect. The application in the last four lines, in which the death of Christ is brought in, is full of force, and indicate that the author has a true conception of the death on the Cross.

The stanzas on the New Century bring out the ruling desires of Evan Roberts. These are the fruit of much meditation and a high degree of thoughtfulness. He shows an ingenious ability to express his ideas about the new century in the most appropriate figures. But what strikes us most is the last two verses. In these the desires of their author with regard to the church are given expression to. By this time he has realised these ideas to a very large extent. The Revival has brought out the spiritual energies of the church, and its light in Wales shines brighter than ever.

Full of beauty and terseness are his verses on 'Neither will they learn war any more'. These reveal his desire for peace in all circles of society, and show also the disastrous results of war. We perceive in his poetry, as we do in his addresses, the ability to put much in few words. The verses on the above subject are a good example of this.

About the most beautiful of all his productions are his verses on 'The Last Black Cloud'. To me they are the crown of all he has written in beauty.

The first and Iast stanzas are rich in real poetical imagination, and cannot be easily surpassed.

The piece on 'The longing of a youth for his home' is well worked out.

Faithful is the way in which the experience of a young man from home is described in it. We can gather from the lines that their author has reflected on his experience, and has understood its most sacred elements in this connection. All the verses are powerful and natural, and some of them contain most telling ideas.

The poet is revealed in all the verses on the subjects, 'The Trodden Rose', 'Satisfaction', 'Expectation', 'But', 'Measure Thyself by a Greater One', 'The Soldiers Welcome Home', 'The Lark', 'The Sunday School Teacher', 'Thy Will be Done', 'Granny', 'The Lost Verse', 'The White Leaf of the New Year', 'Little Johnny and His Pitcher', A Father and Mother's Advice', 'Working for Jesus', 'The Strong Drink and Temperance', 'Whosoever will come shall not be rejected', as well as others bound in this volume.

His epigrams are some of the most trenchant things; and as for his hymns on the Holy Spirit and other topics, we may safely say that they contain the cream of the Gospel. Considering the age of the author, some of them are truly wonderful, and will stand side by side with the productions of the greatest Welsh hymnologists.

Unnecessary it is to dwell any further on the poetical productions, seeing that the reader can judge for himself of their merit. However, they are of great interest in many respects, as they - (1) show what ideas engaged the mind of Evan Roberts at the time of their composition. The train of his thoughts are well represented in them. They are the product of seven years meditation on the subjects contained therein. (2) By them we are enabled to see the level on which the author thought in those years; and when we remember his age, it must be admitted that he thought on a very high plane. We do not find terms, thoughts, nor sentences in his poetry that betray weak and inferior mental capacity; rather, they reveal a strong, clear, and fruitful mind, and one possessing a rare gift of imagination. Only such a mind could produce such works as these (3) In them we see the high taste of Evan Roberts. A most refined and cultivated taste runs through them all; its superior is not found in the most gifted of young poets. Bad taste in young poets is often met, and is, to a certain degree, tolerated, if talent is detected in their work. Be that as it may, no sign of bad taste shows itself in the work of Evan Roberts (4) In many of the verses we find some of the most beautiful ideas, and those artistically clothed in the finest language. They contain true poetry, and will live as long as the Welsh language. (5) Whatsoever may be the imperfections of his poetry from the strict stand-point of poetical rules and small technicalities, this is certain it contains the germs of the sublimest poetry, and a prophecy of the development of poetical capacities of a superior order, if cultivated. The pieces contain a much more important thing than adherence to small rules, namely, the spirit of the true poet.

But we are not so much concerned with the quality of his poetry as with the part his endeavours in this line played in his preparation for the great work he was called by God's Spirit to accomplish in Wales. His efforts in this direction enriched his mind with ideas, developed his imagination, added to his vocabulary, and polished his language. He worked hard on a Welsh book which treated on the grammatical and other aspects of poetry. This study enlarged his knowledge, and strengthened his mind to think. The consequences of his poetical studies are obvious in some of his finest addresses. These contain flights of poetical imagination that cannot often be equalled. If he will continue to compose poetry as he does now, we prophesy a brilliant future to him as hymnologist.






Chapter X

The Preparation of the Possibility, Spiritual Preparation

EVAN ROBERTS IN THE CONDITIONS OF THE PREPARATION.

We have had occasion more than once to refer to Evan Roberts's religious life, but it was not dealt with in full. He regards the thirteen years between his entrance into church membership and the beginning of the Revival as a continuous preparation for his work. To find his religious preparation in its beginning, we must go further back than when he was made a full member, as remarked before; but it was at this time that he became conscious of strong religious tendencies. A strange event in his experience during the first few years as a church member was his inability to realise the verity of religion as he would like to do. He longed for this with an anxious yearning. In spite of all that he received in the meetings, there yet remained intense desires unsatisfied in his soul. His religious disposition developed gradually in every direction, owing to the fact that he took care to fulfil the conditions of that development. We may divide the conditions that prepared his possibility in its religious or spiritual aspect into two classes, namely, (1) external conditions; (2) internal conditions.

1. THE EXTERNAL CONDITIONS

They are four in number -

  1. CREATION - To Evan Roberts God fills the whole of creation. He is delighted with the flowers, perceiving in them the spiritual blossoms of the love and holiness of God. In the bursting forth of the spring from the bosom of the hill he discerns the streams of the Living Water flowing from the heart of God into the heart of the sinner to quench his thirst for ever. To him the mountains reveal the immutability of the God-head.

    The endless variety and newness of the nature of the Almighty are brought into his mind by the beauties of Creation. Natures loveliness in spring suggests to him the attractiveness of the Being who produced it.

    The sun leads his mind to the Sun of Righteousness, and he is often heard to laugh joyously when beholding the king of the day. Fascinating to him are the moon and stars, and he loves to gaze upon them. The extensiveness of Creation leads his thoughts to the infinity and omnipotence of God. Let us ascend to the world of conscious life and we find Evan Roberts is filled with delight as he listens to the carolling of the birds, and watches the lambs frisking in the meadows. These things at once lead his mind to the spiritual. They caught his attention at an early age, and in the manner already referred to, that is, as revealing God.

    Some of his sweetest recollections are the way in which he looked upon the various parts of Creation as a revelation of God. Hence, we see that Creation was an important condition in the preparation of the development of his spiritual possibility.

  2. The Family - in a previous chapter we staled that his parents were truly devout people. Their religious disposition and spirituality vas an effective condition in the preparing of the great spiritual possibility of his mind for the work. We cannot lay too much stress upon this condition, for it begins to show itself early in the life of a child. Whatever Evan Roberts is spiritually today, it must partly be attributed to the faithful example of his parents. Their words, thoughts, feelings, and actions sank deeply into his tender nature when a child, and they could not but develop in him. They were moral seeds falling into his nature, and they grew of necessity. He was fortunate in being the son of parents whose lives in different directions were conditions favourable to his spiritual growth.

  3. Reading - This was an important condition in the development of his possibility. Every book that he read contributed a little to this, but to four books only does he attribute an extraordinary spiritual influence.

    1. (a) The Bible. We have before mentioned that this was his chief book. As we have shown, in and out of work he was a continual reader of the Bible. The parts of it that have impressed him most of all are the prophecies that tell of God's willingness to forgive, and also the Sermon on the Mount. We get continual proof of this in his addresses. Almost every address bears traces of reading these portions. Although he has heard the best preachers of Wales, he has no hesitation in saying that the sermon which has most of all impressed him is the Sermon on the Mount.

      The strength of his spirituality is easily understood when we bear these spiritual conditions in mind. By continual study of the Bible, and parents who ever kept its teachings prominent in the home, his spiritual life could not remain in an undeveloped state.

      (b) The Christian Instructor, by the Rev. Thomas Charles, of Bala. From a very early age, this has been one of his favourite books. To get a clear conception of the fundamental principles of religion he could study no better book. In it will be found in a short and concise manner all the chief theological doctrines, with a great number of the richest verses in the Bible to prove them. Those who understand the Instructor well are always strong and firm in doctrinal knowledge. It sets them on the right lines, and keeps them on the right track, as do the rails with the wheels of the steam-engine. When we hear Evan Roberts speak we at once understand that he has a number of theological principles in his mind that always safeguard him when he touches upon Christian doctrines. He is as natural and self-possessed when speaking of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as if he were long since familiar with the doctrines concerning them. So he is, too, when dealing with the work of the Holy Spirit in it's various aspects, and he speaks freely and boldly. This is a good instance of the result of mastering the Instructor, though it is only an outline of the principles of theology. By a careful study of this, Biblical truths became a kind of system in his mind. When he refers to some of the subjects of the Instructor, he can quote verses freely to prove them.

      (c) The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. This is a work which he read through carefully. He is fond of the subject matter of the Pilgrim's Progress, the way the subject is treated, and Bunyan's language. The reading of this book was a powerful condition in the preparation of his spiritual possibility. In it we get a minute and vivid description of Christian's journey, from the time of his regeneration until he reaches the city bright and fair. The way he escaped from the City of Destruction is pointed out, and how he triumphed over hindrances. It gives a dramatic description of the nature of the difficulties, the feelings, and temptations of Christian in meeting with them, and the victories over them. Who can realise the depth of the impression made upon the mind of one, subject to such flights of lively imagination as Evan Roberts? We cannot think of him reading the Pilgrim's Progress without weeping much and praying for the same grace as that described therein. The effect of reading it is often very plainly seen in his language and phraseology.

      (d) The Calvinistic Methodist Hymn-Book. There is no need to ask whether this was a field of study with Evan Roberts. To hear him sing the hymns off by heart and repeat them in his addresses at once proves it. He knows by memory a great number of the richest hymns in the language, and can without difficulty recite them. In these we shall find the origin of many of his sublimest ideas. Hymns of such depth and sublimity must needs produce a number of thoughts in his mind. The Hymn Book was undoubtedly the means of cultivating the poetical element which is so strong in him. Several hymns of his own composition, found in this volume, could not have been produced by one who had not read and carefully meditated upon hymns previously. Every inclination in a man must have the proper condition before it can be developed, and in this, Evan Roberts is no exception. His poetical inclination was cultivated by the study of the Hymn Book. The importance of learning hymns in his history shows the great duty of parents to teach their children similarly.

  4. Society - This condition divides itself into two, namely, the society of friends, and the society in the Church. The young men whom he associated with were the best in the neighbourhood; and the purity of his nature would not surfer him to associate with any one low or of a bad character. The same applies to his elders; he only came into close touch with the most godly and faithful of them. He of necessity received a great deal of the material for his spiritual growth from these chosen companions. The influence of good people is a powerful factor in the development of intellectual, moral, and spiritual life. The Creator meant the society of such people to be an effective condition of spiritual perfection. Again, the society of the Church was a condition in the same direction. If possible, as we have before mentioned, he never missed a single meeting at the chapel. He was an attentive listener, was not forgetful, but one that took everything in. His life and peace were in the chapel and its doings. Hence, it would be impossible to estimate the important part played by the religious society in the spiritual preparation for his Revival Work. Every Sunday School, every prayer meeting, every church meeting he attended, and every sermon he heard, contributed to his culture and spiritual advancement. They did this on a larger scale, because he was such a zealous and mindful observer. He grew in these things unknown to himself, for every meeting deposited something in his mind that contributed to his growth. In the various social spheres in which he turned, he heard a great deal about George Muller of Bristol, and this exercised a powerful influence upon him. He did not read the life history of that wonderful man, but to hear about the heroic work done by his faith was always a great inspiration to him. His history made him strongly desirous of being able to rest completely through faith on God. The narration of Muller's faith was undoubtedly an important element in the development of Evan Roberts's trust in God.

II. THE INTERNAL CONDITIONS

The above conditions in a general way comprise all the external ones. We could dwell much on them in detail, but that would be unnecessary, as the reader can see the trend of them from the above. The internal conditions, like the external ones, divide themselves into four, as follows:

  1. His Spiritual Desire - It was in this desire that the external conditions found place to work. He had an intense thirst continually for spiritual subjects, and when understood he took them in at once, turning them into spiritual food for his soul. We have heard him relating of this desire, and the ways in which he tried to satisfy it. He never felt that he had had enough to satiate the craving of it. This is the foundation of his spiritual success. Through it the spiritual life derives its nourishment. The stronger it is, the more powerful it is to draw things into the mind that will aid its development. We doubt whether the soul could develop spiritually without this. It would be difficult to find it in a higher degree than it is in Evan Roberts. We could almost call it in him spiritual voracity. He longed and longs now for spiritual food, as does a man who is famishing for want of natural food.

  2. His Spiritual Meditation - Spiritual desire is one thing, spiritual meditation is quite another. They differ as much as desire for food, and the process by which the food is turned into nourishment for the body.

    The want of food makes the man eat, and after eating, other powers turn the food into physical vitality. So it is here, the spiritual desire makes the soul take in spiritual food, and spiritual reflection makes that food aid spiritual development. Evan Roberts was wont to deeply meditate upon religious things. He often does so to such a degree as to forget everyone and everything around him. Anyone associated with him will know this.

    Sometimes we lose him suddenly - he has drifted away into meditation on some spiritual matter. This habit of contemplation is the result of at least fourteen years. When but very young, he used to meditate in this direction while at work, and his being received as a church member at once set him thinking seriously on the things of God.

  3. Spiritual Communion - This is another internal condition which took an important part in the preparation of his spiritual possibility. We shall again have occasion to point out how his desire and meditations made him one of the most wonderful men of his time in prayer. He fulfilled the requirements of the New Testament in connection with prayer, namely, Pray without ceasing, and Praying always with all manner of prayer and supplication. He blessed his Heavenly Father for His goodness, and besought Him to sanctify his soul and save the world. Often on arriving home he would have to turn aside into his library to pray, and that before speaking to the family or taking his meal. This was the result of his intense thought while at work. His desire for a closer and more continual communion with God made him exceedingly fervent. In prayer he felt that it was on his knees that he derived the greatest pleasure, and often would forget time, place, and everything else when in communion with his Creator. As we ascend from condition to condition, we can easily see that they develop in spirituality. Communion with God in prayer is the most spiritual of the three that we have dwelt upon.

  4. Spiritual Work - Without spiritual work, the conditions already named would be insufficient to truly prepare spiritual possibility. This is the down of the conditions. His life was not that of the ascetic. He believed with all his heart that to desire spiritual things, meditate upon them, and hold communion with God in prayer, was not enough without work. He regarded all as a preparation for doing God's work. With every religious movement he assisted. On one occasion, it was not too much for him and some of his young friends to white-wash Moriah Chapel. Many are willing to work in the highest circles of religion, but take offence when asked to do so in the lowest circles. Not so Evan Roberts, it gave him much happiness, and he would rejoice to labour in any direction that the church asked him. He would have to be engaged in some task or other continually, for it was a precious privilege to him to be able to do anything for Jesus. One of his chief standpoints is to be active with religion. The importance he attaches to the necessity for the church to be alive to its work is one of the most powerful elements in his mission.

    That his ministry has taken this direction is only the result of having lived up to it himself. He knows from experience the effectiveness of work in destroying the evil of the heart, in developing purity, in strengthening and extending the powers of the mind, and influencing others for good.

Hence, nothing is more loathsome in his sight than inactive church members. He realises the great fact that no one can consecrate himself except through spiritual work, and is terrified at the thought that some people profess religion and yet do nothing. In him there was a perfect equilibrium between praying and working. He was as great in religious work as in prayer. He was powerful on his knees, but quite as influential on his feet. His desire, his meditation, his prayers and his work were not out of proportion to one another. We often see men who are great in one or two of these, but possessed of none of the others. In our subject the proportion is as fine as we could expect. The reader will understand that we take the work of the Holy Spirit on Evan Roberts's heart for granted throughout the chapter. Without the Divine Spirit the four conditions already named could not be spiritual ones. Their quality is the fruit of the Spirit.

In this preparation, through the above conditions, Evan Roberts grew to be king in the household, all unconscious to himself, his parents, and his brothers and sisters. His piety had a silent influence upon them, and, eventually, his word was law in the house. The younger children testify that they feared him much more than their parents. When they saw him approaching the house, they would say one to another, 'We must be quiet, Evan is coming.' There was no need for him to utter a word, a glance from him would ensure silence. He sits, book in hand, before the fire, and if anything is said of which he disapproves, he has only to take his eyes from the book and look at the speaker. The cause of this was the influence of his pure life. He never said harsh things to his brothers and sisters, neither was he severe in reproaching them. It was the weight of his character that spoke, and not his lips. This silent influence reached his parents, and they looked upon his word as final on any subject. For this reason, they scarcely ever crossed or advised him. His mother affirms that there was no need to reprove nor advise him when a child, for he endeavoured to do everything right then as he did when older. To threaten is strange to Evan Roberts, as we shall again see. His customary manner is to be gentle and kind, and the fear which possesses some in his presence arises from his personality and the purity of his character.






Chapter XI.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

HIS SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS.

1. FEELING THE INTENSITY OF HIS SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS

The growth of the spiritual life in our subject was gradual. In his conversion there is nothing like that of Saul of Tarsus. The date of his regeneration he does not know. Almost the first thing he remembers is the yearning of the spiritual life within him. This life was probably implanted before he became conscious of life's great changes. But when thirteen years old he experienced a great intensity in his regenerate consciousness. This is the time he was received as a member of Moriah (C.M.), Loughor, by the pastor, the Rev. Daniel Jones. They came upon him suddenly in the church meeting one night, and approached him with a view to his becoming a member. This conversation with him and his entrance into membership increased his consciousness greatly, and from that time on he clung steadfastly to religion. He has no doubt that he had the new life long before that; but on the night referred to and from that time on, this life was made manifest in some new aspects. He came to feel so deeply at this time that he said 'I would have been in destruction were it not for the grace of God'. In spite of this, he asserts that he did not then see Christ in all His glory.

The reason for this, in his opinion, was, that he was not filled with the Holy Sprit. He believed that he was saved, but his salvation was not accompanied by a burning consciousness of God's Love in the heart, and an intense zeal for the Savour's glory. But from now on, he felt something gradually increasing within him, which more and more brought his passions and feelings into subjection. In every struggle between it and the evil of his heart he was conscious that the evil was overcome. Something continually told him that he was not doing enough for Christ, and the desire to do more grew in him day by day. We are almost struck with wonder that a child so loving, so obedient, so humble and sincere should be conscious of such things until we remember that man is sinful by nature. The light of grace in his soul made him feel the terror of his fallen condition. The more of goodness there is in a man, the more terrible and hateful is his nature's evil in his sight. The sins that troubled Evan Roberts were those of the mind, and not outward ones.

Grace and his own good nature kept these sinful thoughts from breaking out into presumptuous sins; but when the Holy Spirit came to work with power in his heart, they revealed their strength, and he experienced a terrible time. He now saw the worth of a soul's salvation, and what would be the importance of being lost forever. What Wonder then that at that time he said, I would have been in hell were it not for the grace of God. This period in his history was a kind of conversion, that is, a conscious conversion. Yet, be it borne in mind not the conversion that follows immediately upon regeneration, nor regeneration itself.

Conversion in that sense was an old fact in his life, but as for this one, it was a conversion accompanied by an intense consciousness. This, then, will be the place to begin with the treatment of the conscious preparation of the spiritual possibility of the Revivalist in Evan Roberts. We must get spiritual conditions in order to adequately prepare the possibility for spiritual work.

II. THE FIRST REVELATIONS OF HIS SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS

These revelations were of necessity the result of conversion, for their existence was conditioned by it. Without a spiritual conversion, spiritual consciousness and spiritual experience are impossible. A very clear revelation of this kind, in his history at this time, was the presentation of a Bible by him to the branch at Moriah. This section conducted its meetings, as already mentioned - the Sunday School and prayer meetings - in the colliery offices near Bwlchymynydd, for Pisgah was not then built. It became known that the brethren who gathered together to worship there were in need of a Bible and hymn-book. Evan asked his mother if he should supply them with one. His parents consented at once, and it was agreed that his father should give a hymn-book. On the following Saturday night, February 16th, 1895, he walked to Gower in search of a Bible, but to his great disappointment, he failed to get one. He returned home through the town of Loughor, and in the shop of Mr. C. Harris he saw a Bible which took his fancy. But after entering and ascertaining the price, it was a few shillings more than he was able to give. He only had four shillings, while the Bible was valued at seven and sixpence. Be that as it may, he bought it on the understanding that he would pay the remaining three and sixpence again. He brought it home, and although it cost more than the one his parents had originally intended him to give, they were not unwilling. To them, a few shillings were as nothing compared with their youthful son's desire to do something for the cause of Christ. To this day, this is the Bible used in Pisgah, and no doubt it will be held in great respect henceforth by the brethren there. When it becomes too torn for use, it is to be hoped that the church will hand it over to the Welsh National Museum to ensure its preservation. It will be interesting to the children of future ages, and they will be inspired by the sight of the Bible that the great Revivalist of 1904 endeavoured to obtain for the Bwlchymynydd fraternity when he was about sixteen years old. The knowledge of his sacrifice in connection with it may be the means of drawing out great self-sacrifice in many.

Possibly, this Bible will be the cause of bringing some to give hundreds of pounds towards religious work, and make them energetic helpers with the kingdom of Christ.

About this time, on the occasion of making a presentation to one of the deacons of Moriah, Evan Roberts's spirituality was clearly manifested. A pair of gold spectacles was given to this brother, and a public meeting was held to make the presentation. Our hero was deeply interested in the service, and its more spiritual aspects touched his heart. On the way home, he remarked to his mother, "My heart rejoiced when I saw the presentation to John Morgan." "This," said the mother, "made me think of him differently from the way I used to think of him." His attention on this occasion shows that he took in the best things of the meeting. It was the feeling represented by the gift, and the honour conferred upon the recipient that appealed to him. It is no wonder that his mother pondered over it; because it was extraordinary that one so young should notice this view of the gathering. His words reveal the best qualities of human nature changed by grace, for, according to his mother's testimony, one could easily see at the time that his words expressed his deepest feelings.

In meetings of this kind, it is the humorous side that boys of this age most commonly see, and they watch their opportunity to speak of it or to do something productive of fun. Not in with Evan Roberts. He was alive only to the most spiritual aspect of the meeting.






Chapter XII.

The Preparation of the Possibility Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

THE STRUGGLES OF HIS SPIRITUAL POSSIBILITY.
EVAN ROBERTS IN THE INWARD STRUGGLES

The reader will recall the fact already referred to that Evan Roberts kept a Bible with him in the pit and the smithy, and read it habitually. The reading of it created self-reflection and continual meditation. The result of this was intense spiritual struggles. He experienced these struggles very often at the thought of the woeful condition of this sinful world.

This thought always brought about an intense and terrible conflict in his mind. The ruling passion of his life from childhood was a desire to see men in the possession of Christ. What was the nature of these struggles?

His spiritual possibility striving for freedom to act under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The possibility was conscious of its existence, and strenuously endeavoured to free itself from the bonds of carnal inclinations, passions, and instincts which had not been subjected, and natural but undeveloped powers. To give perfect freedom to the spiritual possibility of a soul, it were necessary to have boldness, courage, and unyielding perseverance, in a highly developed state. In every one of these struggles in the heart of Evan Roberts, his possibility fought for freedom, and gained each time in strength. The influence of the bonds decreases as the strength of the spiritual power increases. Every struggle deadens the evil principles, and strengthens the highest powers of the soul, which must reach a certain stage of development to condition the bursting forth of the possibility of the successful Revivalist. After every mental and emotional struggle, young Roberts resolved anew to consecrate himself more fully to Christ and His work. He was anxious to devote himself to his Master's service, but was unable to do so, something prevented him continually. Though feeling now and again that he could sacrifice all to his Saviour, the power of the bonds of sin in his heart would prevent him doing so. Down in the depths of his soul there was a store of desires, which often were as perturbed as a thunderstorm, or as the swelling of the ocean waves in a raging tempest, but the natural bulwarks were too strong for them to conquer and burst forth. Neither the hour of God nor that of his desires had yet come. These two hours must meet ere his possibility is let free. The struggles of his possibility were some of the most important things in the life of Evan Roberts; hence the reason why we have devoted a whole chapter to them. Thus he learned some of the chief lessons of his life - lessons that are and will be lasting elements in his influence. And a good thing about them is that he learned them without knowing at the time that they were lessons. They served the same purpose in his history as the three years that Paul the Apostle spent in Arabia after his wonderful conversion on the way to Damascus. The following are the main things that Evan Roberts acquired through the afore-mentioned struggles.

I. KNOWLEDGE OF THE POWER AND THE EVIL OF SIN.

In going through these lessons, we see the infinite wisdom of God manifesting itself when raising a man to spiritual work. What man, who has not experienced what it is to fight against sin in his heart, can speak to others of the great evil of sin? It is impossible for the man who gives way before every kind of sin to understand the power of moral evil. To understand this a man must have fought against it, not only in abstaining from outward sinful actions, but in its inward and most deceitful forms, he must know of the great commotions of a holy nature fighting against the sins of the mind, heart, and will. To know the great evil of sin, one must perceive, through intense meditation, its destructive effects on all the powers of life. Evan Roberts went through these processes between the age of B and 25, and his inner, intense experience was so cultivated as to enable him to know the most deceitful forms of sin. These years were not only to him the school of the inward struggles, but also the school which gave him immortality as a Revivalist.

II. SELF-MORTIFICATION.

One of the results of these inward struggles was self-mortification. The intense desires that arose in his soul to surrender all to the Saviour prove that the Christ in his heart had won the victory, and also that the evil power had been partly mortified. The winning of a victory implies that the enemy has been weakened. This is true morally and spiritually, as well as naturally. Little by little, these struggles taught him to battle more and more bravely against everything that opposed the expression of his highest and richest possibility. This meant learning the way to subdue self. When we listen to Evan Roberts relating the intensity of his inward struggles and the difficulties in the way of surrendering all to Christ, we can easily realise that he has experienced things that the average man knows nothing about. To destroy sinful self means much more than anyone can conceive until he tries. A man may commit natural suicide under the influence of passion, through lack of consideration, during insanity, or because of an inherent tendency in that direction, but the moral self cannot thus be destroyed. It takes time, trouble, effort, and all the energy of the soul to do this, though one is helped by grace. Moral self-mortification is a continual process, and does not reach completion in the history of anyone in this life. The difficulty arises from (1) the fact that the evil self is so dear to us, and (2) its power. The powerful elements of sin in the heart are numerous, and some of them enliven after every struggle and such is the experience of every Christian.

In these struggles, Evan Roberts gained sufficient mastery over self and Iearned to humiliate it to such a great extent as to be able to let free his possibility as Revivalist.

III. SELF-CONTROL.

He must have acquired self-control in his inward struggles, else he had not emerged victoriously. It is one of the most effectual elements in his influence today. Hr, remarkable coolness strikes us with wonder at times. When the congregation is a seething mass, it is strange to see one so taken up - and who is heart and soul - in the work, keeping without losing his balance.

During the whole of his meetings, we cannot refer to a single instance in which he lost himself as to do any-thing unseemly. This is strange in one who feels so intensely, and who gives such a full expression to his feelings. The school of 14 years experience alone accounts for this. He does not possess a cold nature, but one burning with zeal for the glory of Jesus. These characteristics in his self-control show that it has been obtained by a man who knows what it is to have trouble with his inner self.

IV. SELF-CONFIDENCE

The inward struggles won for him his self-confidence. Having conquered his evil self, he can trust in his new and better self. If this was sufficient to enable him to gain the victory over the evil elements of his nature in the past, he can trust in it for the future. He knows that to live the life of the new man will bring happiness to the soul, and enable him to develop in the image of Christ. He can trust in it, too, in relation to other people. If he was able, through the help of the Spirit of God, to conquer self, he concludes that he can be a power in the hands of the same Spirit to turn other men from the error of their ways. This two-fold self-confidence can only be found in a man who has overcome self. To gain the highest selfconfidence, we must have had experience of all the different kinds of inward struggles, and come out conquerors from them all.

V. DEPTH OF SYMPATHY.

Without the inward struggles, Evan Roberts could not have the deep compassion that he shows towards sinners. The depth of his sympathy forms one of the most powerful elements in his ministry. Not-withstanding his naturally tender disposition he could never enter into the feelings and difficulties of different classes of people were it not for the knowledge he has by experience of battling with all the ordinary forms of sin in his own moral, inner life. Experience of the same circumstances as those of the one with whom we sympathise is essential to true sympathy.

In his own person, the renowned Revivalist knows what it is to be tempted in all things after the same manner as other sinners. For this reason, he can weep with those that weep for their sins, and rejoice with those that overcome them. To have true moral influence over others, one must have this knowledge by experience. It was at a tremendous cost that Evan Roberts possessed it, which must likewise cost dearly to others who will have it; but, once gained, it pays beyond estimation. But what is the price to any man compared with what it cost the Man Christ Jesus.

The sacrifice to Him was infinite, and we must bear in mind that we cannot secure a true sympathetic power - only along the same lines as He obtained it.

VI. SELF-DEVELOPMENT.

We dwelt upon the fact that these inward struggles were a cause of the self-development of the Revivalist, but not at great length. It is impossible for any possibility in a man's nature to develop without activity. Every faculty must act in accordance with the laws of its own nature before it can attain a high degree of healthy development. When development takes place in the highest powers of a man's nature, it is a proof that they are not in subjection to the lowest powers of his nature, such as his passions and the evil tendencies of his soul. On the other hand, if the passions, etc. are seen to develop and overcome reason, intellect, and conscience, we may be certain that they are free from the control of the highest powers of the mind. In the struggle they have gained the victory over reason, intellect, and conscience, and are become free to act according to their own nature. In the inward struggles in the history of Evan Roberts, the higher powers overcame the lower, but not without energetic action on their part. The result of that action was a substantial self-development in them. Through this self-development they came to have more mastery over the evil of the heart from time to time, and to be able to act with more perfection, power and rapidity, and give a wider expression to themselves. The self-developed Evan Roberts now before the congregations is the result of a process of a self-activity on the part of the highest powers of the soul. This self-development, be it borne in mind, is the child of the inward struggles of his soul, and not an effortless growth of his mind.

VII. SELF-REALISATION

The Revivalist realised the strength and quality of powers through these mental struggles. Many go through life without realising the powers of their minds. The reason for this is that they have not experienced any inward struggles. To realise the strength of our rational powers, something must call out their utmost activity. Their intellectual activity can be brought out by the study of profound and difficult subjects; and so a man will realise the magnitude of his intellectual strength, but their moral development and power will only be realised by means of moral activity. A man can realise his moral greatness only by battling with sin in his soul, as well as sin outside of himself, and by practising the principles of righteousness, truth, and holiness. It was in this sphere that Evan Roberts fully realised himself. Although quiet and unostentatious he went through things that made him conscious of his moral energies and powers, and he believed that those were sufficient in the hands of the Spirit of God to disturb a nations conscience. This self-development cannot be obtained either in a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is the fruit of various moral experiences and constant struggles, and increases as moral difficulties are over-come. The deepest self-realisation is always seen in those who battle most with moral difficulties. This is the only path that leads to self-realisation, and by ever following it, our subject attained a high degree of such realisation even at a very early age.

VIII. THE POWER OF GRACE

He saw what a man could do through the help of grace, and by putting himself entirely in the hands of the Holy Spirit. The Divine Spirit acted powerfully upon his moral powers, hence he was able to place himself entirely in His hand. He attributes what he is today to grace, and he can say with Paul, I am what I am because of the grace of God. Only a young man saturated with divine grace could accomplish what he has during the last months. It is because of what grace has done in and through him that he believes in the power of grace to save the chief of sinners.

Without this belief, no one will do great and lasting work for Jesus.. It would be impossible for Evan Roberts to do the kind of work that he does were it not for his complete confidence in the possibility of grace. He would have been a failure without having grace in his heart, and believing in its saving power to convert the vilest sinner. It must be remembered, however, that experience of the power of grace in the heart of the man himself can alone condition such a belief. In all the inward struggles that Evan Roberts had, he won the victory through the power of grace. When in the struggles, and often fearing defeat, he would turn to the Throne of Grace for strength and wisdom. He always had sufficient to meet his needs in the treasure house of mercy. The above lessons made him one of the most wonderful in prayer, as we shall see in the next chapter.






Chapter XIII.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

EVAN ROBERTS IN PRAYER

Evan Roberts is so remarkable as a man of prayer, that a chapter must be devoted to him in this aspect We shall not presume that he is the most wonderful of all in prayer, but unhesitatingly state that we have never known his equal. He does not know himself when he began to pray for it is one of the first things that he remembers himself doing. From childhood, praying was to him as natural as breathing. Truly, prayer was one of the inherent instincts of his nature. Of all the conditions at work in preparing his spiritual possibility this was the most effectual. What is there that can be compared to communion with God as a means of drawing out the devotional powers of a man's soul? Indeed nothing else can do it to perfection. It is by intercourse between Himself and man.

God has intended to effectually develop the resources of the soul. The case of Evan Roberts affords a splendid example of this. He testifies that nothing has influenced him so powerfully as communion with God.

Owing to the desire that was in him for prayer, he came to take part in the public service when very young, and habitually prayed at home, while walking along the road, and often at work. When at a very early age, he would completely lose himself in prayer, and he affirms that he often preferred praying to his meals. He felt something drawing him constantly into communion with his Heavenly Father. During the years preceding his entrance into ministerial study, he had attracted the attention of his family by his constant habit of prayer. Often, as we have before mentioned, though in want of food, he would not sit at the table ere he had sought the secrecy of his room, and there held communion with Heaven. At times he would spend hours in prayer in his library, when all the others had retired to bed; on other occasions, he would rise from bed in order to pray. He developed in this as time went on, until eventually he used to spend hours on his knees every evening. We shall again have occasion to tell how he spent a long time every night in prayer, when he was preparing for the Provincial Examination. Who would do this except one with the devotional instinct in his heart by nature? He recalls once having been on his knees, until the dawn of day.

Gradually, he reached a state in which he could not take his meals before praying first of all. After entering the Preparatory School, this desire greatly increased, and he devoted to it the best part of every night. His prayers as a rule did not take the form of audible words, but silent communion with his creator. This habit seemed so strange to the family with whom he stayed at Newcastle-Emlyn, that they began to feel uneasy with regard to him. He would at times pray for hours downstairs; on other occasions in his bedroom. Mr. John Phillips, his master at the School, relates of one very strange petition of his at Bethel, Newcastle-

Emlyn, when the Rev. Seth Joshua was there. Mr. Joshua asked if there were any in the meeting who could stand up and sing with him, "O HAPPY DAY!".

Evan Roberts was one of the few who stood up. On the following night, Mr. Joshua invited people to confess Christ and bend to Him, and Evan Roberts went on to the seat next to the big pew, and prayed with extraordinary intensity. He sent his supplications up to Heaven while on his knees with such yearning of spirit and agony of soul that Mr. Phillips had never heard the like of it. His tutor then understood that something extraordinary had taken hold of him. He was convinced that Evan Roberts's 'Oh' could not be but the outpouring of a soul in great distress. It came from the depths of his spirit with such feeling as to melt one as he heard it. The great characteristic of our subject in prayer is his intensity of feeling. I have never known anyone who could, like him, lose himself so completely in spiritual supplication.

Some people cannot understand why he does not pray in the meetings, and criticise him accordingly. It would be well for such to bear in mind that no one supplicates more than he does, although he does not do so audibly. I have seen him engaged in silent prayer in the pulpit for an hour and a half. When quiet and his face buried in his hands, as a rule, he is then praying, and praying so fervently, and with such earnestness, that it tells on his whole constitution. Because of this, the meetings in which he speaks but little, cost him very dearly. They often leave him in a weakened state. Yes, he prays a great deal in the meetings, and I have often been awe-struck with his strange intensity, as I stood near him. At times he stands in the pulpit, leaning on the Bible; but the only intimation we get that he is praying is to see his lips moving.

I stated that his prayers, though silent, were extraordinary in power.

Another thing that I wish to add in this connection is the hold that his prayer takes upon his whole body. In this, he is the most extraordinary person that I have ever seen. One would think that every word is the product of his whole being, body and soul. His sighs seem to rise from the depths of his spirit, and pass along every nerve. From this we can imagine how much agony of soul and physical effort an hour or two in a meeting cost him. At the beginning of the Revival, he would utter a short prayer in public, and that often on behalf of those who refused to give themselves up to Jesus. I remember him doing this on behalf of a man who remained obstinate. All the words of the prayer were these 'O Lord, save J-- D -- for the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen.' As he spoke the last word, the man rose to give himself to Christ. At that time his short prayers went through the congregations like electricity, and hundreds when they heard them would seek the throne of Grace.

Some of the strangest things in his career as Revivalist are the prayermeetings in the houses where he stays on his journeys. They leave a lasting impression on all present, and do not fill people with an unnatural sadness, but with divine joy. In these meetings, he himself is so natural that all those with him feel likewise. When most intense in prayer, he becomes unconscious of everything else. Time to him does not exist.

Hours glide away as a moment. He is insensible to all that happens around him. We have often seen him in the middle of a conversation being drawn away to hold communion with his God.

One of his chief endeavours is to get others to pray. When at home he wrote prayers for many of his young companions, in order to get them to take part in public worship. He cherished in his mind the idea of getting every young man in Pisgah, the branch of Moriah, to join in the prayermeeting, and he succeeded in all except one instance. It is seldom we see all but one of the young men of a Church taking part in a prayermeetings.

So it was in Pisgah, and that through the instrumentality of Evan Roberts alone. No doubt it is the spirit of prayer that is in him which draws such a flood of prayers out in his meetings. We have often seen hundreds praying simultaneously, only because he has said, Where is the prayer, friends? He does not believe in a definite order and close formality; but in everyone approaching God in his own way when prompted with sincerity and faithfulness of heart, and without a shadow of self in the entreaty. His aim is to reach a stage when his entire life will be one great and continual prayer. This is his ideal. He is rapidly drawing near to it. He prays silently now for hours every day. On February, 21st, 1905, while at Pontrhydyfen, he told me, I would like to reach a state in prayer when my life would be naught but one prayer from morn till night. I shall not be content until I experience that. At times now I fail to go on my knees by the bedside at night and morning, because I am in an attitude of prayer constantly, and am continually praying inaudibly. Owing to this I feel there is too much formality in going on my knees. With regard to prayer, his ideal is one of the highest possible. The aim of Jesus, the Holy One, was in nature the same as this, excepting that His was perfect, as He was sinless in His Person. Evan Roberts's aim is to reach a stage when Every breath exhaled, shall praise

The wondrous glory of His grace.

One very strange thing in this connection is that he often understands when people are praying for him. In two places where I was present with him, he suddenly said, There is a multitude praying for me now, and he could not hearken to the conversation of the company any more. For some time he would listen attentively as though he could hear the prayers, and then he would come to himself again, and converse with us.

I afterwards made enquiries, and found out that great numbers were praying for him at the very moments that he had referred to. This is a mystery that cannot be explained on natural grounds. It seems to me that by soaring near to God some communion between spirits is possible, which otherwise is impossible. From the mountain tops men can have fellowship with one another that they cannot in the valleys below, where the mountains hide them from each others view. But having ascended to the mountain peaks, they see and are able to converse together. It is something similar in a spiritual sense. By ascending to the tops of God's mountains in prayer, spirits in some way perceive one another, and have communion, which they cannot have but through prayer only.

He is one of the quickest to know whether a man is honest and sincere in prayer. This, perhaps, may be attributed to the fact that he himself is constantly in the spirit of prayer. The tone of his spirit enables him to recognise that of a different kind. When a man prays truly, something particular characterises his words, and they that are in the true spirit of prayer do not fail to recognise it by spiritual intuition. Evan Roberts is so alive to this at times that he has to stop people from proceeding in their prayers, for he knows that they are prompted by false motives. It is as fire to his soul to hear a deceitful man before the Throne of Grace. We have seen his eyes on many an occasion flash with holy indignation when hearing such engage in prayer.

The burden of his prayers as a rule will be one of the following -

Beseeching for purity of heart, for a spirit to do the work worthy of Jesus, to be bent more completely to the will of God, to bend the Church and purify it in its life and conduct, for its members to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that they shall be made fit instruments to save the world. He lays great stress in his prayers on the importance of having a powerful out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon the congregation. The latter was the theme of a prayer that opened the way for the Revival at Loughor. One night, as we shall point out in another chapter, he asked all to pray. Send the Spirit now, for the sake of Jesus Christ. He strongly emphasises the importance of having the Holy Spirit in the services, the impossibility to worship without Him, and holds that prayer is the only means to get Him. His desire to glorify Christ, and increased love towards Him, is also very prominent. He longs for a manifestation of God's love, and for the salvation of the world, and he also prays for all who are in difficulties of every kind.

His faith in the power of prayer is boundless. He believes, and rightly too, that were the Church to go truly on her knees, that the world would be on its feet in no time. If the church as a body were to pray honestly, then no power could stand in her way. If Evan Roberts himself has done such wonderful things through the power of prayer, what would the Church of God do if filled with the Holy Spirit? In his faith in the efficacy of prayer lies the secret of his strength. As we have shown, there are many elements in Evan Roberts that are of a superior kind, but above them all is his peculiarity as a man of prayer. We might get many to rank side by side with him in understanding and other things, but it would be very hard to get any to approach him as a prayerful man. He has been saturated with faith in prayer to a more remarkable degree than the most godly of young men in general. We admire many a natural virtue in him, but his unflinching belief in the efficacy of prayer as a means to overcome with God and man eclipses all. It is here we see the highest glory of Evan Roberts. His greatness is manifested when he is linked to the Infinite Trinity of Persons. Looking at the work which he, as the instrument, accomplished during the last months, he can say, I was able to do all through God, who was helping me. He believed in God's readiness to answer prayer, and, like Jacob of old, strove with Him for the blessing. If we had one half the Church to think, believe, and act as he does with regard to prayer, the listeners and the world's greatest sinners would soon be swept to the Saviour's feet.

After close observation during the greater part of a year, his experience is that the success of a meeting in saving souls was in proportion to the amount of honest praying that was there. He often calls upon the people to cease singing, as it is far from being so effective as prayer in the salvation of souls. At Bala, he told Dr. W Sanday, of Oxford, When there is much singing, there is never much saving. A full account of this interview with the Doctor will be given in another chapter. Evan Roberts perceives that it is by prayer that the power of the Church is joined to the Infinite Power of God to save and to sanctify.

His belief in the virtue of prayer is very extensive. He does not believe in its power in some directions only, but that all things are possible through prayer that are attributed to it in the Bible. Hence, whatever he stands in need of, he takes it to the Lord in prayer. He believes that prayer is the most powerful means of perfecting the spirituality of the man himself, and in the saving of sinners; that next to Jesus Blood, it has the greatest influence on the heart of God. Again, as we mentioned above, he believes in constant prayer. It is not to be occasionally, but habitually performed.

Yet, care must be taken lest it become a mere habit. It is to be produced by personal need. Spiritual want ought to drive the man to the Throne of Grace. According to Evan Roberts there are three great needs necessary to prompt prayer: - (1) Personal need, (2) Love towards Christ, and a passionate desire to save the world; (3) a deep yearning to worship God, and have communion with Him. When a man is driven to the Throne by these needs, then his praying is in no danger of becoming a mere formality. According to his idea, it is through prayer that we can get the Holy Spirit in these spheres. This is how he himself received the Spirit, and he believes that the Spirit is given in this same way to all.






Chapter XIV

Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

THE REVEALING OF THE REVIVALIST. EVAN ROBERTS BEGINS TO PREACH

His commencing to preach was the realisation of an idea that had long been in his mind, though it had not taken any definite form between the age of ten and eighteen; but the desire was there, and it was one cause of the many struggles to which we referred. Whatever work he took in hand, he was not entirely satisfied with it. He constantly felt that he had no aim in life. This troubled him a great deal at times. He saw everyone but himself, as he thought, with a definite aim in view. I used to be ashamed of myself, said he, at the thought that everybody was working with some object to aim at, while I had none. This made me restless and unsatisfied with everything that I undertook. His idea was be a missionary for Christ, but he had no clear conception of it. Whenever he arrived home, be expected some news either by letter or some other way.

Sometimes he would expect a letter containing money for him to go to school, and as soon as he came into the house he would ask whether one had arrived. At times he was possessed by some great expectation for a way to open for him to do important work in the world. If he were asked what it might be, he would not be able to give a definite answer. The expectation was as yet only a longing, with no conscious form; and, hence, we cannot give a definite description of it. As this craving increased, the time of his apprenticeship seemed unending to him. He counted the days as they passed, and those that still remained. His vocation was nothing short of slavery now, not-withstanding his readiness to obey his employer. He respected the agreement he had made with his uncle, who was his master, and for that reason did not care to break it. On the other hand, there was some irresistible influence at work drawing him to commence preaching. He would now and then try to still the voice of this desire when he beheld all the work it entailed, but back it came with more force than ever. It would not on any account be silenced. At this time, he was between two straits. He had a great wish to finish learning his trade, and a still stronger to begin his new calling under the Banner of the Cross. The latter idea was a thought that had been for years in his mind, and had by this time become so strong that it overcame all other aspirations. Throughout the year 1903, his anxiety and thirst for becoming a preacher increased with great rapidity, and in its last months he was compelled to declare them openly. As he caught the handle of the bellows and blew the fire, he would say to himself, Men speak of white slaves, here is a white slave, I in this place. On November 18th, 1903, he wrote a letter to his friend, Mr. W. H. Morgan, who was at the University College, Cardiff. The letter shows that he failed to suppress his desire for preaching any longer. Mr. W. H. Morgan was raised in the same church as he, and the people urged Evan Roberts to begin to preach at the time that Mr. Morgan began, but he refused. His answer to them was, No, let Mr. W. H. Morgan go first. The letter and his friend's reply were as follows -

Forest, Llanedi,
Pontardulais,
Nov. 18th, 1903

RESPECTED BROTHER,

I know you will be surprised when you understand the message of this note, and I am surprised myself. And without any more ado, the message is this: I have determined to give up my vocation, and join the same calling as you.

Will you believe this? I have had quite enough of bodily labour, as my soul thirsts for knowledge and a wider sphere of usefulness.

I know I am going on in age. But am I too old? There was a time in my life when the desire was strong, but when I understood that the influence of the schools destroyed the spirit of the ministerial students, I had no heart within me any more to venture there. But now I see no other means whereby I may ascend the Pulpit. And like all the others, I am resolved to tread the same path. But to tell you the truth, I am often on the verge of weeping at my ignorance, and I nearly twenty-six years old. Oh! what a gulf between us. But if this is the Lord's will, May it be done, hard though it be.

Remember, I have not mentioned a word to Jones nor any of the Church, I have informed them at home, and it is surprising how glad they are! But is there ground for gladness?

Will you be good enough to send me your opinion (not your feeling) and your advice. Thanks, if you will.

It will be reasonable for you to ask what is the cause of this. Well, to tell you candidly, I have been with Prof. Williams, Phrenologist, Swansea, and this is what he said. That I would (a) succeed, and (b) excel in electricity, etc. but seeing how strong were my moral and religious capacities, that I could and ought to think seriously of the Pulpit, and that it was folly for me to have ever taken to bodily labour. On searching, I find the following things urge me to this: -

    (1) A passionate desire of my soul for ten years, which I could not destroy. If the desire came when I was sad and low only, I would think nothing of the Pulpit, but when on the heights of joy and success, and whenever I heard a sermon, whether good or poor, this was the cry, The Pulpit for me.

    (2) The voice of the people You may not know anything concerning this. While on a visit to Builth, I went to a prayer-meeting, and took part.

    After the service was over, the minister asked me if I were a student. I answered, No. Then he advised me 'Look here, young man, you have talents for the Pulpit. Do not abuse them. It is a matter for prayer Yes, my friend, pray over it, pray over it!', etc. Others from the church at Moriah and Mountain Ash, together with Jones, M. Ash.

    (3) The Infinite Love of God, and His promise of the Holy Spirit.

    Last Sunday evening, as I was meditating on the greatness of the work and the danger of my dishonouring the Glory of the Lord, I could not refrain from weeping. And I prayed that the Lord is would baptise you and me with the Holy Spirit. I have no sermon ready. I wonder will I be received by the Church at Moriah, and the district after that.

    I am, humbly,
    And wishing you success and God-speed,
    E. J. ROBERTS,
    c/o Evan Edwards.

The following is his friend's reply to him. -

    18, Longcross Street,
    Roath,
    Cardiff,
    3.12.'03.

    Dear Evan,

    I am profoundly sorry that you have not heard from me sooner. To tell you the truth - the point blank truth - all is due to myself - my procrastination and extreme unwillingness to give my opinion and advice in a hurry.

    My opinion is that you have taken a step, which has long been expected of you by many of your friends and chance acquaintances.

    Yon are well qualified for it, although it is a step to a higher status - both intellectually and socially, and also from the point of view of religion. To fully qualify yourself for this new status, there is needed intense application and dogged perseverance, thorough integrity in life and thought.

    My advice is this get through the district as soon as possible, say, by the end of March. Then sit the August examination. In the following October you ought to join some School, say Newcastle Emlyn - prepare for the Welsh Matriculation as a preliminary to your taking a degree.

    Though it needs much time and hard work, yet I believe it amply repays you for all your drudgery and toil.

    If such a course seems too long, then there is nothing to be done but to prepare for the Trevecca exam.

    I have no more to tell you, but I shall be home in three weeks time, and we can get a talk over things then.

    You have made a fine resolution. Now do not break it, but stick on, and there is one at least whose sincere wish is for your success in your new plane of life - a wish coupled with an intense gladness that you have decided on such a course.

    Believe me,
    Sincerely yours
    Wm. H. MORGAN.

The struggle between his desires to finish learning his trade and to preach grew fiercer and fiercer, and on December 17th, the battle turned conclusively in favour of preaching. On Saturday night, he went home from Pontardulais never more to return to the bellows, the hammer, the anvil, and the sledge. How to face his uncle was the next thought, after leaving him so suddenly. Evan Roberts could not think of facing him personally but he was too honourable to leave him without a full explanation of the state of things. His mother went instead to explain the circumstances, and to act in the most honourable way towards his master.

Mr. Edwards felt that it was not fair to lose him in this way without notice, unless he received some pecuniary compensation. A sum of money was agreed upon, and paid in order that everything should end peaceably. On Sunday evening, December 18th, 1903, he delivered his first sermon in Moriah (C. M.), Loughor. His text was Luke IX. 23. 'And He said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. He based his remarks on the former portion of the verse. The subject was, Man's right to choose the subject of worship. This sermon will be found in this volume as it was written by him. He preached his second sermon from the later portion of the same verse. The subject was, Christ's right to lay down the conditions of his kingdom. These subjects were quite consistent with Evan Roberts' attitude of mind. The ruling passion of life was to get the world to follow Jesus. These two sermons contain ripe and penetrating ideas on the matters taken up. Their clear and sound characterises are surprising, considering they were his first discourses. They could not have been produced by anyone save a man who knew by experience what it meant to follow Christ, according to the meaning of the verse, and one who had seen to the very heart of the gospel.

Owing to some peculiar characteristics in the sermons they attracted the attention of some of the most observant men there, one of whom after hearing him said, Well, If he compiled those sermons himself, there is a brilliant future before him. This same person further remarked, they must have been done by him, for they are not like any other man's work.

The utterances bore the stamp of Evan Roberts, showing that it was in his own mind they were formed.

Having received the approval of the church, the Rev. Daniel Jones, the minister of Moriah, brought his case before the West Glamorgan Monthly Meeting, held in Libanus, Garth, Maesteg, on December 30th and 31st 1903.

The request of Mr. Jones, that Evan Roberts should go through the Swansea district, on probation, was granted. He commenced his journey on trial through the district on January 3rd, 1904.

He had twelve churches to attend, and the rule required him to visit every one of them twice. He complied with this regulation, and received the approval of the entire district. Several of the ministers and deacons of the churches saw that in some things he far excelled the majority of young men entering the ministry. His case was again brought to the Monthly Meeting, and the following is recorded in the minutes of one held at Lisworney, Vale of Glamorgan, April 13th and 14th, 1904. - It was notified that the young brother from Loughor has gone successfully through the district on probation, and the Rev. W. Jenkins, M.A, and Mr.

Thomas Davies, Pantardulais, were named to go there to examine him.

On the appointed night these two gentlemen went to Moriah, Loughor, in accordance with the decision of the Monthly Meeting, to test the young candidate.

Mr. Thomas Davies speaks thus of him. - I knew Evan Roberts before he began to preach, as he was a member of the Singing Festival. I frequently met him in the singing practice of the district, and especially in the quarterly meetings of the Sunday School. He often took part in them, and on several occasions he read papers in them dealing with Sunday School matters. When I Catechised him as a candidate for the ministry, I felt that he was specially adapted for the work. His answers were ready and to the paint, leaving nothing to be desired. I asked what prompted him to enter the ministry, whether the idea of an easy life, or the respectable office of a minister, or what? His answer was, My motive is a passionate desire for the privilege of proclaiming a Saviour to the lost.

The following are the words of the Rev. William Jenkins, M.A, Swansea, with regard to him an that night: The pleasant appearance of the young man who stood before us at once made a favourable impression upon us, for we beheld in him one who had been beautified by nature and grace, and one who manifested a modesty that was becoming a young man facing the ministry. Our impressions were deepened by his simple and clear replies when he was questioned as to his experience and Knowledge of God's Word. We felt that he was a religious and enlightened young man, in the habit of praying, reading and thinking.

The church voted unanimously for him, and that in a way that showed that he was deeply in their affections; we also had every satisfaction in him, and urged him to prepare for the Provincial Examination, which he did. Mr. Davis, and I cannot claim that we foresaw the great and wonderful things which he was soon to bring to pass, nor the conspicuous place that the candidate was to take in the religious history of our country, but, looking back on that society in the light of the Revival which is so full of the Divine, we feel that we did not err in our conviction that there was before us then a young man of brilliant powers, as well as of a winning disposition. We saw an occasional gleam of the great light that is found in his address to the students at Bala, which shows that Mr.

Roberts is no ordinary man, even apart from the great that is upon him.

But to the Spirit who has taken him belongs the praise, and no one is more ready to render it to Him than the Revivalist himself.

The examiners took their report to the monthly meeting, held, at Pentredwr, Llansamlet, May 25th and 26th, and in the minutes we find the following record: The delegates who were at Loughor examining the candidate for the Ministry, reported that they had been satisfied in him, and found the church unanimous for him to have liberty for him to proceed, and that was passed.

The first thing Evan Roberts had to face now was the Provincial Examination, held in August The subjects for 1904 were - the Doctrine of Sin, and the Gospel of St. Luke, I – VIII. The text books he studied on them were, Dr. Candlish on the Doctrine of Sin in Clarks handbooks, and Dr. Farrar's Commentary on Luke in the Cambridge Series. The examiners were the Revs. John C. Evans, Borth, Cardiganshire, and Benjamin Lewis, Tenby. During the time he was, preparing, he spent hours every day in prayer. Sydney Evans, who was preparing for the same examination, would call sometimes to go through some of the work together. Evan Roberts says that the sinful condition of the world would often drive him to the throne of grace, notwithstanding the great work to prepare for the examination. One day he was in anxiety about the coming test in the above books, and as he was praying for strength to meet it, the words came to his mind. - Shall I bring forth the womb without giving strength to conceive? After that he did not trouble at all about it. I felt, he remarked, that only two things were before me -

praying or studying the appointed books, and praying had the greater share. August 16th, 1904, he sat for the Examination at Pontrhydyfen, a few miles from Port Talbot. Not an atom of anxiety about passing possessed him this day, but he grieved much because of the world's pitiful state, and prayed for its salvation several times during the sittings.

Fourteen passed in South Wales, and he stood eighth on the list.

Considering his educational advantages, and the time he devoted for prayer, he took a very good position.






Chapter XV

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

AWFUL REPETITION OF THE INWARD STRUGGLES

Having passed the Provincial Examination for candidates for the ministry, Evan Roberts is now free to enter a school to prepare for the Trevecca College Examination. But the path is not yet open and clear.

He is again undergoing a hard struggle. What can it be? A repetition of those already described in another chapter. The cause of it lies in a desire to consecrate himself to the work of Christ. It is entirely an inward struggle, and he tells no one of it. This is one of the elements that makes it so keen. The two sides in the battle are (1) a passionate desire to go out there and then to work for the Master, and (2) a thirst for knowledge, the acquiring of which would mean entering some school. He gave the two sides his serious consideration. The pitiable condition of the unbelieving world appealed so strongly to him at times as to well nigh make him give up all and venture forth to tell sinners of a Saviour; then again the necessity for education would assert it self forcibly in his mind, and he felt it to be his duty to train himself to the uttermost degree. This feeling was feeling was strengthened by his great thirst for knowledge alluded to. He would spend hours in prayer, seeking light in his great difficulty.

Who can describe with the pen all that he, suffered from the August examination to September 13th. His fiery experience during these weeks is beyond description. Of the two great inclinations warring in his soul, it can be said: -

This one strong, and that one mighty, Which will win the struggle keen?

The battle being so fierce, and himself so reticent concerning it, his experience must have been terrible making it extremely difficult for him to decide what to do. Things remained in this state until the time drew nigh for the re-opening of the Grammar School at Newcastle Emlyn. And at last the day for decision arrived - decision between two old desires that had been at least thirteen years in Evan Roberts's soul. They were the desire to work for Christ, and the desire for knowledge. How will the battle turn? It would be an easy way to avoid the trouble and drudgery necessary in the learning of difficult subjects, and do away with examinations - to resolve to go out immediately to work for the Master.

The thought of avoiding difficulties did not enter his mind. He could undertake arduous duties like a hero. That the desire to go out to work for Christ had to give way to the other is a sufficient proof of this. When the time to make the decision came, he collected all his energies together, and concluded that it would be better for him to enter school for a course of education. This struggle, however, was not gone through without leaving a deep impression upon him, and one would think that it would be the means of terminating the inward struggles of his soul. But, as we shall see, it was not so. His decision only brought him into a still harder conflict. After entering School at Newcastle-Emlyn on September 8th, 1904, under Mr. John Phillips, son of the Rev. Evan Phillips, things became much worse in his case. He had difficulty in deciding to enter School; but had much more afterwards. The old desire to work for Jesus reasserted itself anew, and like the unclean spirit referred to by Christ, it brought seven others with it. After the struggle in which it was conquered at Loughor, it gained in strength, and is now seven times as powerful. With the desire for self-consecration to the Saviour's work, another thing came in, namely, inability to remain with any book, except the Bible. When engaged with his school books, he was possessed with some strange, unaccountable feeling. Owing to this, he was at times a burden and a terror to himself. The strange thing in connection with this experience was that to seize the Bible gave him perfect peace. Day after day he fought against this, and he would shake his head in the attempt to be rid of it, all in vain. He tried his very best to get his desire for education and the things essential for the college entrance examination to outweigh all else, but his efforts were of no avail. He sought in prayer for strength to overcome in this direction when in trouble, but neither strength nor light was forthcoming. Only by opening the Book of books would he obtain peace. On one occasion he was learning a lesson in Welsh Grammar, and after committing to memory about twelve lines he suffered most terribly in body and mind, and was obliged to throw the book from his hands, and take up the Bible. After opening it, his bosom became calm. Relating his experiences to some of the best, and ablest men, they advised him to cling to his studies, and he testifies, that he made honest attempts to act upon their advice. But when he summoned all his mental powers for this purpose, he was led by some powerful force to dwell upon the world's sinfulness. This brought every other idea into subjection to itself. It reigned as king, compelling all others to be its subjects. Evan Roberts saw that he was himself powerless to overcome this influence that drew his attention from his school books, and hence he would pray for strength to overcome it, and earnestly besought the Lord to help him in this, but his players were unanswered. His experiences at school were repeated at home, he would open a book only to find it flaming in his hand. He would at once kneel in prayer seeking deliverance from such all awful experience, but on taking up the book again, it would be aflame. But when he had the Bible in his hand, the commotion within him ceased at once. This experience with the school books increased daily, so that the awe that eventually possessed him, made it impossible to battle against it. I put, said he, all the weight of my energy and will in the direction of only studies, but something drew me irresistibly to think of the condition of the lost world. That he was able to struggle so long with this power that swayed him is a sufficient proof that he possesses an exceptional will power. Evan Roberts affords an excellent example of a man in whom many selves strive for mastery. The self of work, of music, of mathematics, of poetry, of art, of learning English, shorthand, and competition, and others fought hard in his mind for the throne. In the midst of them, however, the self of the Revivalist stood like a giant from his shoulders taller than all. When some other self sought to gain complete control in the mind, this one would appear on the scene. This self was predominant in Evan Roberts from the age of thirteen, and the work of the other selves was but a contribution to its cultivation, its strengthening and development. In the struggles, the self of the Revivalist gained such moral strength and courage as to say silence to all the other. From August 16th, 1904, until the end of October, were memorable weeks in his history. Were the world in his possession, many a psychologist would give it in exchange for a clear view of Evan Roberts's mind during this time. What if we could perceive all the activities, subconscious, and conscious of his soul, during this period, as God perceived them. Oh! wondrous sight! One of the most important mental struggles in the history of the Welsh nation would be seen - a struggle which gave birth to the means of a mighty Revival. Here were the highest potentialities of a soul at war with each other, and every one at its level best. This struggle was partly a condition in marking an epoch in the history of the nation. It certainly did much in the way of preparing the possibility of the Revivalist in Evan Roberts; it conditioned the development of one great and important step in that possibility. Every possibility in a man's nature must have opposition to develop it, and the greater the opposition the greater the development. Struggles with opposing internal and external powers form one of the chief conditions of the world's moral advancement. And if there be a strong moral possibility in a soul, the fiercer the struggles the better it is for it. The history of Evan Roberts verifies these statements. With these struggles one condition only is necessary to enable the possibility of the Revivalist to break down all barriers. That condition will be dealt with in another chapter. We have already said that the desire to accomplish something for Christ existed consciously in him since his thirteenth year. It was at this time that it took a conscious form, but it was not then that it came into existence. We believe that its history dates back to a time when he himself was unconscious of it, and his child-life is a proof of this. The desire was as old as Evan Roberts himself, but it could not attain its present magnitude were it not for all the preparations and conditions already mentioned. The great possibility grew from a seed that was ever in the soul, through its being cultivated by Heaven and earth, God and man, and by his own spirit. The developed state in which it now is was reached through struggles, all the phases of which God only knows.

Things happened in these struggles, of which the Revivalist himself was not cognisant - things that were crises in his life, as they were activities below the line of consciousness. These were the subconscious actions of his mind. As we shall again see, the appearance of the Revivalist in Evan Roberts was not sudden, but the result of his life-time - a product of a long process, and not chance or accident. It would be impossible to explain his development, without taking into account the strange struggles that lie endured, and the mental and emotional sufferings that he went through; and amongst them none harder could be found than those described above after his entrance to school.

Lest any one might think that he entirely neglected his studies during the six weeks he was at Newcastle Emlyn, it is necessary to give a short account of his stay there. From the description of his experience while at school, it would be easy for the reader to conclude that he did nothing but read the Bible and pray. But that would be very misleading. I obtained a detailed account of him while at school from Mr. John Phillips, his tutor, and to secure perfect accuracy, his remarks will be incorporated in this paragraph. Mr. Phillips met Evan Roberts for the first time in his father's house, the Rev. Evan Phillips, and impressed him most favourably. On looking at him, he thought he was twenty-one years of age, five years younger than he really was. After describing this meeting, Mr. Phillips gave a minute and vivid account of Mr. Evan Roberts up to the time that he left school. The following points are comprised in his history - (1) Roberts soon impressed his tutor as being possessed of superior powers.

He saw that in many directions he was far above the average student.

The first week that he entered school, he was able to do Simple Equations, in Algebra, with unusual rapidity and ease (2) He was not long before making a start with all the branches necessary for the examination for entrance to College, such as Latin, Greek, English, Welsh, Euclid, and Arithmetic, etc. When working at these, they presented no difficulty to him; on the other hand, he did the lessons in them without any trouble (3) For attention and devotedness in class, he was second to none. He caught every word that the teacher said. When Mr. Phillips endeavoured to explain some difficulty, Evan Roberts would be all attention, trying to take in the explanation. Having understood the matter, his face would be seen to light up with a smile of satisfaction. His attentive attitude was a source of inspiration to the teacher who testifies that for paying attention he was the best that he has ever had in his class. Besides inspiring his teacher, he created in the class quite a pleasant tone. His presence sent a thrill of satisfaction, and happiness through every one near him. Owing to these things, his tutor was exceedingly unwilling to lose him from school. But, said he, in a letter to me, I now see that my loss was a gain to all Wales (4) Three weeks after he had begun at school, Mr. Phillips saw that Roberts was absent on a Friday, neither did he appear on the Following Monday. He began to grow anxious concerning him. In answer to inquiry Mr. Sydney Evans told him that he was confined to his room owing to a severe cold. At this time the Rev. Seth Joshua conducted a series of meetings in the Methodist Chapel at Newcastle-Emlyn, and on Tuesday night Evan Roberts could not keep away from the meeting, though unable to go to school. Mr. Phillips was surprised to understand that he was in the meeting, and more so that he had ventured out without an overcoat. He was vexed at this, fearing lest his cold would thus develop into something worse. Mr. Phillips failed in the attempt to get an opportunity that night of speaking to, and advising him. (5) The next day, Wednesday, his tutor learned that Roberts intended to join a company from the town, who were going to a religious conference held at Blaenanerch. He went to him at once, and, pleading the state of his health, tried to persuade him to stay at home. In spite of all his efforts, Roberts determined to go. All that Mr. Phillips succeeded in doing was to get him to take Tincture of Quinine to counteract the cold. We shall have a word to say about this day in another chapter (6) After the above mentioned day, there was no way of getting Roberts to School. His old desire to benefit a guilty world gained continually in strength during these weeks, and Io! it has conquered every other desire in his soul. To all who knew him there was something strange in his manner now, and he caused them no small anxiety lest his mind was becoming impaired.

His teacher ever strove to get him to school, so as to draw him out of himself, and settle his mind upon his studies. He sought to understand what was the matter with him, but he failed. Well he knew that Evan Roberts was no idler, but a man filled with a spirit for work. What then could be the reason? There was but one conclusion that his friends could come to, and that was, that his mind was beginning to become affected.

This grieved his tutor, and many a morning did he call upon him to try to get him to school, thinking that fellowship with the students would bring him out of his strange mood. But all was of no avail. His answers to his master were always gentlemanly, and were given in a good spirit, by telling him how sorry he was of his inability to attend school. Were I to come, he said, I could do nothing. I cannot do the school work at home, and so it would be, if I came with you. As he spoke these words, a heavenly smile would come over his face, and his eyes would fill with tears. Ere long, he would tell of the influence of the Holy Spirit upon him, and he seemed to be labouring under a heavy burden, his face twitching all over. His tutor completely failed to understand him, but from day to day the impression was deepened that Evan Roberts was a strange but conscientious young man. Still his behaviour almost proved too much for his tutor's patience, and Mr. Phillips felt that he was in a measure unkind in pressing so much upon him to attend school. One morning, as he was trying to induce him to come, he said in reply that he had attempted to do a lesson in Welsh Grammar, but as soon as he opened the book, the Spirit would so influence him that to hold the book in his hand was impossible. The only Book, he remarked, that I shall read is the Bible. As a result of great pressure, he promised to attend the Algebra class only, on the following morning He came according to his word. How glad we were to see him, said Mr. Phillips. But it was only to be a short-lived joy, for this was the last occasion on which he attended school. On the following day, Mr. Sydney Evans went to a monthly meeting at Bwlchygroes, Pembrokeshire, and on the next day, Evan Roberts joined him. The two were present in response to an appeal from the people of Bwlchygroes. Here Evan Roberts met Dr. Hughes, of Rome, America, who accompanied him and Mr. Sydney Evans to Newcastle-

Emlyn. The Doctor spent some time with him in his room, afterwards remarking to the daughters of the Rev. Evan Phillips that he feared the mental condition of the young man from Loughor. The Doctor related of persons that he had in America under the influence of religious mania, but the Misses Phillips told him that Evan Roberts, unlike those, did not see the dark side of things. No, answered he, but still I fear him very much. Dr. Hughes' opinion caused Evan Roberts's tutor to become much more anxious concerning him, and to fear that there was nothing awaiting him but insanity. He saw clearly now that there were no hopes of getting him to school, and he did not know what to do with him.






Chapter XVI

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

THE PREPARATION AND HIS NEW ENVIRONMENT

In the last chapter we followed Evan Roberts to school, and described his attitude in relation to it during his stay at Newcastle Emlyn. We have to deal with another aspect of his history at this time in the present chapter.

The school and its connections, as well as the religious conventions in South Cardiganshire, had much to do in developing and ripening the Revival spirit in him. In other words, this spirit found a congenial environment in them But be it understood at the out-set, that this was not the only condition of making him what he is. Evan Roberts is not the result of one or two conditions, but of many moral and spiritual forces which gradually evolved his latent potentialities. As indicated before, he is the product of all the preparations treated upon in the foregoing chapters. He emphatically states that the chief cause of the course he took in proceeding with the Revival as he did, is found in the thirteen years of constant prayer, the burden of which, for the greater part, was an earnest pleading with God for a Revival. Therefore, it is a great mistake to think that he is the result of one meeting, or a series of religious services.

Undoubtedly, were we in possession of infinite knowledge we should perceive the part played by the hereditary factors. He received from his ancestors; the intellectual, moral, and spiritual atmosphere of Loughor, and other things, in making him what he is. Some evolutionists say that the history of every great man dates back hundreds of years before he is born, and as far as human agencies are concerned, I do not think that this doctrine can be disputed. The gradual is God's method in producing all great results, and why should we conceive of Him acting differently in the case of a great man. To us it seems the most glorious method possible.

Yet, in accordance with this explanation, it is clear that Roberts's new environment at Newcastle Emlyn was a small factor in his history. His school master was a refined Christian gentleman. The Rev. Evan Philips, the father of his teacher, was one of the most spiritually minded ministers in the principality; some of his fellow students were full of religious fervour, and he came into close contact with a few of the most godly people of the church. Religion, also, was highly respected in the house where he lodged.

The Rev. Seth Joshua of Cardiff, a man full of religious zeal, and of revival spirit, came to hold a mission at Newcastle Emlyn soon after Roberts went there, as stated in the previous chapter.

Another fact must be mentioned, namely, the religious ardour which was prevalent in many of the churches of South Cardigan at this time. A number of the ministers of this district had been longing for a religious revival, and foremost among them was the Rev. Joseph Jenkins, New Quay. The indifference of the young people of his church had for some time burdened his soul, and the result was that he called them together to put the matter before them. Among other things he stated that they should try to begin in revival which could be carried on without the Holy Spirit. 'I have no plan as to how to carry it on,' he said; 'I have only to feel my way as I proceed. Only one condition I should like to put before you - let every one be ready in the next meeting to do what-ever will be asked of him. After a few of these meeting had passed, he made a statement from the pulpit to the effect that they would issue in mighty results, and that the whole country would be aroused through them.

Soon he proceeded a step further. On the agenda of the South Cardigan monthly meeting there was a notice of motion by him for several months during the summer of 1903. Meeting after meeting passed, but Mr.

Jenkins was not present to explain and support his motion, and many could not divine what the import of it was. However, in the October meeting of that year, held at Abermeurig, he appeared, and spoke powerfully on the low condition of spiritual life in the churches within the area of the monthly meeting, the indifference of the members, and the gross neglect of the essential things of life in their higher forms. The brethren felt the great necessity of what he laid before them, but no one had any definite plan of procedure as to how to initiate a new line of action, therefore, nothing more was done than passing a resolution to hold a convention in a central place, and inviting representatives to attend it from all the churches. The novelty of the idea, as well as other obstacles, made it difficult to have any church to take it, and it is questionable whether it would have been held were it not that Mr.

Jenkins's church at New Quay undertook the responsibility. The convention was held December 31st, 1903, and January 1st, 1904 The Revs.

W. W. Lewis, Carmarthen, and J. M. Saunders, M. A. Swansea, as well as Mrs. Saunders, were sent for to take part in the meetings. The convention was marked with an intense spiritual tone, and did much to deepen the spiritual life of those present.

In the beginning of February, 1904, the Divine fire began to take a firm hold on the Calvinistic Methodist Church at New Quay. One Sunday evening as the Rev. Joseph Jenkins preached on Faith overcoming the world, a young girl named Florrie Evans was deeply moved; and was compelled by her feelings to call upon Mr. Jenkins at his house on her way home. She was unable to utter a word for a while; but eventually she broke out and said to her pastor, I waited for you in the lobby, hoping you would say something to me, but you did not. I went to meet you on your way home, but you tool no notice of me beyond saying 'good evening'. I have been walking in front of the house for half-anhour, and I was obliged to call. I am in a fearful state concerning my soul.

I saw the world in tonight's sermon, and I am under its feet; I cannot live like this. Her pastor spoke kindly to her, and told her words of peace and comfort. On the following Sunday morning Florrie Evans was present in the young peoples prayer meeting, when Mr. Jenkins asked them to give their spiritual experience. Several attempted to on different subjects, but the Minister would not allow that. At last Florrie Evans got up, and with a tremor in her voice said. - 'I love Jesus Christ - with all my heart.'

This sentence was the means of breaking the ice, they say, at New Quay.

Florrie's words sent a thrill through all those present. The fire was ignited, and the flame soon spread to Blaenanerch, Newcastle-Emlyn, Capel Drindod, and Twrgwyn. The Rev. M. P. Morgan, Blaenanerch, caught the fire, and threw himself heart and soul into the movement. So did the Rev. R. R. Davies, Capel Drindod, and the Rev. Evan Phillips, Newcastle-Emlyn, did everything he could to fan the flame.

One of the immediate results of this awakening was the conference held at Blaenanerch, in September, 1904, where Evan Roberts was filled with the Holy Spirit. The history of this will be given in full in the next chapter. Our object in this is to point out what his new surroundings had to do with his breaking out as a Revivalist. All the factors mentioned intensified his spiritual consciousness, and made it easier for him to break all the fetters that kept him from devoting himself entirely to the work of Christ; they helped to mature the great longing of his soul for ten years -

for a Revival. However, it should be borne in mind that these factors would have been of no avail were it not for the other factors which continually and steadily ministered to his growth in the years he spent at Loughor. He says that he received great blessings at Newcastle-Emlyn and especially at Blaenanerch, but they were blessings of strengthening and intensification, rather than of creating anything new in him. His connection with and opinion of the young people of New Quay will become clear in his correspondence in future chapters.






Chapter XVII

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd).

EVAN ROBERTS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST
1. GENERAL REMARKS ON BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

WE have more than once suggested that it was no sudden thing for Evan Roberts to be called to his great work. God never calls men to do His most spiritual work without either direct or indirect preparation. This is only natural, and God never acts unnaturally. A natural gradation is one of His great principles of action every sphere. It is this which gives to His work stability, power, and firmness. There was a great deal of preparation necessary for the disciples before being filled with the Holy Spirit. They were not fitting recipients of this filling immediately after being called from their daily tasks. To whatever direction we turn, we see that no great work of a permanent character, of any kind, was ever accomplished without a long preparation. If in the nature of things preparation is needed to do work that is not of a spiritual character, how much more so is it needed in order to receive the Spirit of God to perform spiritual work? In Evan Roberts we see God's general mode of raising a man to do exceptional work in the sphere of grace.

There are two kinds of filling with the Holy Spirit, namely. - (1) general filling, and (2) special filling. The first ought to be the share of every one who has experienced the new birth, because it is an essential condition of doing work for Christ in the ordinary spheres of religion, and a necessary element in spiritual development. Without this the Christian cannot attain to perfection of character. The special filling differs from this in that it is given in order to enable one to perform special work. John the Baptist is said to have been filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb - St. Luke 1. 15. Elizabeth, his mother, was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary addressed her - St. Luke I. 41, 42 - so that she sang a song of praise for the honour bestowed upon her. Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, in virtue of which he prophesied - St. Luke I, 67. Our Saviour returned from the wilderness after the temptation, filled with the Holy Spirit - St. Luke IV. 1. These four instances show that the Spirit had filled the above-named person in a special manner in order to do special work. There are some eight references in the Acts to filling with the Spirit, and most, if not all of them, mean a special filling for special work or circumstances. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit to speak in self-defence in the High Priest Court - Acts IV, 7-9. The disciples were filled in a special manner on the day of Pentecost to speak with boldness and with power - Acts II 4. It was in virtue of a special filling with the Spirit that Paul struck Elymas the sorcerer blind - Acts XIII, 8-11.

Barnabas was the means of adding a great number to the church by being filled with the Spirit - Acts XI. 24. By a filling with the Spirit, Stephen was able to die so glorious a death, and obtain a vision of Christ as he died. These instances will suffice to show the difference between the two kind of being filled with the Spirit. To take an illustration from nature it may be said that the difference resembles the fullness of life in the vegetable kingdom in autumn and winter, and its fullness in spring and summer. The first is a general fullness, the second is special. God does special work throughout the vegetable world in spring and summer, and fills it with special fullness of life for that purpose. This life is not special in its nature, be it borne in mind, but special in fullness. So it is with the kinds of fillings with the Spirit of God in the spiritual world. In their nature they are identical, but the fullness of the special is much greater than that of the general, as the fullness of the life of spring and summer is greater than that of autumn and winter.

II. THE CONDITIONS OF BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

The remainder of this chapter will be devoted to an account of the special filling of Evan Roberts for his special work. None, save unbelievers in the divine origin of the Revival, will deny that in a special sense Evan Roberts is a Spirit-filled man. His exceptional work proves this beyond doubt.

But he did not receive this special fullness without conforming with special conditions. He began fulfilling these conditions when thirteen years of age. In this compliance there are several elements, such as the following: -

    (l) Prayer - Throughout the years Evan Roberts prayed that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit, as we have mentioned elsewhere. In reply to a question on this matter he said 'I prayed for the Spirit for thirteen years.

    One of the most important elements in his prayers during this time was a desire for the Spirit. Whatever would be the burden of his prayer this element would come in. His mind was directed to this in a very simple way. One of the deacons of Moriah, Mr. William Davies by name, was speaking in a church meeting at Loughor one evening, and telling those present - 'Remember to be faithful; what if the Holy Spirit descended when you are not here? remember Thomas, friends! what a loss he had through being absent! As he listened to these words, Evan Roberts said to himself, I am resolved to get the Holy Spirit. He began at once to pray for the gift, and continued until his prayer was answered. This ought to teach all religious people a lesson on being filled with the Spirit. Some speak of it as though there were no conditions to be fulfilled in order to get the Spirit; and as though God shed His Spirit upon some particular persons without any preparation on their part.

    (2) Determination. - Besides resolving to pray, Roberts determined to do all in his power to get the Spirit. As he listened to Mr. William Davies speak on the danger of being absent from the meetings, he made up his mind that nothing should prevent him being present, if possible, in all the meetings in his chapel. Whatsoever would be the difficulties, he would be there. He determined not to give way to indulge in innocent pleasures on the nights of the services. Often he would see his comrades, in summer, rowing in boats on the river, and he acknowledges that he felt a strong desire to join them, sometimes, instead of going to chapel; but he did not even once give way to it. His determination was too strong to join any company but the children of God. Who but an exceptionally religious young man would tie himself to the meetings five nights a week. When he would feel a strong inclination to join young people who spent their time in pleasure, he would say to himself, Oh! no, remember thy determination to be faithful. Monday evening he would go to the prayer meeting at Moriah, Tuesday to the one held at Pisgah, Wednesday to the church meeting at Moriah, Thursday to the Band of Hope held at the same place, and Friday night to the Bible class. Week after week he attended these meetings with marked faithfulness.

    Before long this determination gave birth to another one, namely, a strong resolve to pray for a Revival in Wales. He had prayed between ten and eleven years expressly for a Revival before it came. In these years the idea of a Revival, as a rule, was his ruling thought, and he could remain awake all night praying or speaking about it. There is no doubt in his mind but that this brooding and praying for a Revival was all due to the Holy Spirit's influence.

    3. Consideration with an intense desire to consecrate himself entirely to the work of Christ; and the desire developed in power continually.

    Fearing lest it would be in any way frustrated, he gave up altogether relating all kinds of vain tales. These he thought destroyed the keenness of spirituality. To one so alive to the witty and humorous aspect of things as he, this meant something. In like manner he kept from all pleasures regarded as innocent in themselves even by the churches. Hs pursuits were those which helped him to consecrate his life to God in thought, words, actions, and conduct. Yet this effort after complete consecration, did not make him unnatural, nor burdensome to his comrades. The young people sought his company, notwithstanding his purity, and he was always a source of pleasure to them until someone would give expression to anything not of high taste. Then his countenance would wear an aspect of disapproval. He looked at the Sabbath as a day to be consecrated to God, and could not bear anyone to do unnecessary work on it. The Bible he handled as a Holy Book, containing the words of the Lord and Creator of the universe, and the chapel and all its services were holy in his sight. But in all these conceptions relating to consecration nothing like superstition nor asceticism dominated his mind. He believed, and believes so still, that the consecration of a man should be one of the greatest qualifications in him to do work for Christ, and win people to His kingdom. One of the things that troubled him was that his aim to save money was against him to consecrate himself to Christ, but time proved, as we shall have occasion to show again, that money had not captivated his heart. Like his prayers and determination, his longing for consecration grew gradually until his holy life became manifest even to those who had been brought up with him.

    (4) An exceptionally close Communion with God for three months - His communion with God became closer and more spiritual from year to year. He often forgot himself and all his surroundings in this communion, and as before stated, he could spend hours in secret with God. In the Spring of 1904 he found himself one night on the Mount of Transfiguration as it were. As he was at the Throne of Grace he felt himself being taken up to some space, and to him time and place were not. This was the most wonderful communion with God he had ever had, and he never felt God so near to him before. God used to be in the distance to him until then, and existing at the uttermost parts of the earth.

    But now He came so near as to fill him with divine awe. Every member in his body trembled until the bed was shaking. Dan, his brother, awoke and shouted, are you ill Evan? 'Oh no,' he answered, 'beginning to get well I am.' Only once after this he has been terrified owing to the nearness of God, as will be seen from his address to the students at Bala.

    This night brought about a great change in him. For weeks after it he would awake about one o'clock in the morning. This was quite a new experience for him. Before the above night, he, as a rule, slept soundly, and it was difficult for any disturbance to awaken him. How to account for this change? He cannot account for it further than that it was caused by the most divine thing he ever experienced; from the time he would be aroused, until about 5 o'clock, his communion with God was most intimate, and without a break, and he describes it as the most divine, light, and happy communion. Then he would sleep until about 9 am, and as soon as he would awake the communion would be repeated, and sometimes continue until about 12 or 1 o'clock. This was his experience for no less than from three to seven hours daily. The family could not understand why he kept in bed so long, and would ask for a reason. He could not answer them, because his experience during the hours in question was too divine to be described. His expression for it is - 'It was something indescribable. It continued increasingly for three months, and it was so sweet that he feared in his heart to lose it. This was one of his great fears when going to the Grammar School. 'Oh!' said he, when relating about it to me, I did fear to lose it. I determined to give it half-anhour every day, and the remainder to the school work, and that worked comparatively well for the first week; but after that things changed I was compelled to give most of my time to the divine communion. When confined to my bed by a severe cold for four days, I only prayed day and night, the last of these nights the perspiration poured down my cheeks.

    This was caused by the cold and my communion with God.

III. THE HISTORY OF THE FILLING WITH THE SPIRIT.

One of the four days alluded to was Sunday, September 25th, 1904. He got up in his room for some time that day, but did not venture out. It was very hard for him to stay in, though very ill, because the Rev. Seth Joshua, Cardiff, held services at Bethel C.M. chapel, Newcastle-Emlyn. Monday evening, Roberts's friend, Sydney Evans, went to Mr. Joshua's meeting, and felt that the place was full of God when the preacher emphasised the importance of bending, total self-surrender, and such things. There were a number of young ladies from New Quay at this meeting, and they had spoken in the Young Peoples Service, held before the public one. On his return Sydney Evans gave the history of the service to Evan Roberts, and we can very well imagine that he was much interested in hearing it. Mr.

Joshua held a meeting again on Tuesday evening, and the girls from New Quay aided him. Some of the students came with Sydney Evan, to see if Roberts would come to the service. Thus he relates what followed their request - the minute they asked, I felt the Spirit descending on me. The irresistible possessed me, and I rushed to chapel without my overcoat.

The divine influence began to bear on me heavily. I was ready to pray -

to pray for the girls of New Quay to have strength in the face of the expectations of the people from them. I had been praying Monday evening in the house for strength for them, but the Spirit would not allow me to pray in chapel on Tuesday night. It was wonderful on me Tuesday night. I was asking - where is the devil? I felt awfully hard I looked at the cross without feeling anything. I wept bitterly because of my hardness of heart, but I did not weep because of Christ. I loved the Father and the Holy Spirit, but did not love the Son.

Wednesday, before going to Blaenanerch, I felt like a flint, and told that to Mr. Williams the guard, whom I met in Miss. Phillips's shop. I felt as if every feeling had been swept from my bosom. I was saying to my-self, I must be laid up on a sick bed, or have the Spirit with power. Thanks be to God, the Spirit I had, and not the sick bed. Miss. Magdalen Phillips, the daughter of the Rev. Evan Phillips, came to me and asked me to come to their house, to the prayer meeting, which was held before going to Blaenanerch. But I did not go because of two reasons. - (1) For fear that they would talk about my going out after having been ill for days, (2) I wanted to speak to Miss. Phillips about her religious condition. I said to her 'I'll pray for you, you pray for me, and in a moment the tears filled her eyes. I do not remember what happened from this time on Wednesday, more than that I had something wonderful about 3. 30 p m, and that I asked Miss. Phillips afterwards - Are you praying for me?' and that she answered 'dear Roberts I was praying for you all day!' This was the first day of the religious conference which was held at Blaenanerch, and as hinted before, Roberts went there with the Rev. Seth Joshua and others. The girls from New Quay did their best to persuade him to stay at Blaenanerch until the morrow, but he would not hear of that. Having failed to influence him, 'Well,' said they 'we have nothing to do.' No, replied he, neither have I anything to do, but wait for the fire to descend. The alter is built, and the wood upon it, and the sacrifice only waiting for the fire to come down.

The Rev. Seth Joshua conducted a service at Newcastle Emlyn on Wednesday evening, and Evan Roberts attended it. In this meeting he prayed the wonderful prayer referred to by Mr. John Phillips in chapter XV. Mr. Joshua asked in the course of the service for all who possessed full assurance of faith to stand. Evan Roberts was one of the first of the few who stood up. When relating about this meeting to me, he remarked, that the Rev. Frank Joshua of Neath, who is a brother of Mr. Seth Joshua, was conducting a mission at Libanus Chapel, Gorseinon, years ago, and that he asked those who had assurance to stand. I failed to stand then said he. Why? Because all was not on the altar with me, and because I had not a strong faith in God. But when this night at Newcastle-Emlyn came, I had all on the altar.

Thursday morning, September 29th, he started with Mr. Joshua and about twenty others, at 6 o'clock, for Blaenanerch again. The company sang gloriously on their way. -

'The old time religion'
'I can prove God answers prayer, '
'From Heavenly Jerusalem's towers,
The path through the desert they trace,
And every affliction they suffered
Redounds to the glory of grace,
Their look they cast back on the tempests,
On fears, on grim death, and the grave,
Rejoicing that now they're in safety,
Through Him that is mighty to save.'

They arrived by 7 o'clock, and went to the service, which was left free for anyone to ask a question, and the Rev. W.W. Lewis, Carmarthen, was there to answer. In this meeting the irresistible influence came partly upon Evan Roberts. His feelings on the way to Blaenanerch were in a confused state. He describes them as joyous and gloomy, hard and cold at times, up and down. But in the above meeting the powerful, the stable, and the unchangeable came into his heart. The Rev. Seth Joshua prayed to close the service, and said. - O Lord do this, and this, and this, and bend us. Evan Roberts does not remember any of his words but 'bend us'. According to him, Mr. Joshua did not emphasise the words - Oh Lord, bend us. It was the Holy Spirit that laid the emphasis on them to me, he said. 'That is what you stand in need of' said the Spirit to me 'And Oh! in going through the door I prayed within myself, Oh! Lord, bend us.' When breakfasting in the house of the Rev. M. P. Morgan, Blaenanerch, Miss. Magdalen Phillips handed me the bread and butter, but I refused it, because I had been satiated. As the Rev. Seth Joshua took the bread and butter, I thought and asked myself what if God offers His Spirit and I not ready to receive Him, and that others are ready to accept Him were they offered? At this time my bosom was full to overflowing.

On our way to the 9 o'clock service the Rev. Seth Joshua said 'We are going to have a wonderful meeting here today.' I answered, 'I am just bursting.' I felt in going to the meeting that I was compelled to pray.

When the meeting commenced many prayed, and I asked the Holy Spirit, shall I pray now 'No,' said the Spirit in answer. Shortly some wonderful influence came over me. After many had prayed I felt some living energy or force entering my bosom, it held my breath, my legs trembled terribly, this living energy increased and increased as one after the other prayed until it nearly burst me, and as each finished I asked, 'Shall I pray now?' When someone finished, I prayed. My bosom boiled all through, and had it not been that I prayed, I would have burst. What boiled my bosom?

The verse, 'for God commendeth His love.' I fell on my knees, with my arms outstretched on the seat before me, the perspiration poured down my face and my tears streamed quickly until I thought that the blood came out. Soon Mrs. Davies, Mona, New Quay, came to wipe my perspiration. Magdalen Phillips stood on my right, and Maud Davies on my left. It was awful on me for about two minutes. I cried - 'Bend me, bend me, bend me, Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!' When wiping my perspiration Mrs. Davies said, 'Oh wonderful grace!' 'Yes,' said I, 'Oh wonderful grace!' It was God commending His love that bent me, and I not seeing anything in Him to commend. After I was bent, a wave of peace filled my bosom. When I was in this feeling the audience sang heartily:

'I am coming, Lord!
Coming now to Thee!'

What came to my mind after this was the bending in the day of judgement. Then I was filled with sympathy for the people who will have to bend in the judgement day, and I wept. Afterwards, the salvation of souls weighed heavily on me. I felt on fire for going through the whole of Wales to tell the people about the Saviour, and had such a thing been possible, I was willing to pay God for that.' The plan he drew to go through Wales, as a result of this, is given in a further chapter.

This is the wonderful history of how Evan Roberts was filled with the Spirit. In this meeting, in a simple and unostentatious country place, the longing for being filled with the Holy Spirit which had been growing in him for thirteen years, reached its maturity. The hour of his preparation to receive the Spirit with power, and the hour of God had come, and behold, the mighty out-pouring descended on him. This was a never to be forgotten service for Evan Roberts and the whole of Wales.

Blaenanerch's great meeting he calls it. Those who were present should magnify their privilege; because they saw the Revivalist under the irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit - influence that made his desire for saving souls too intense to be kept within the bounds of the student's routine.

He and Sydney Evans attended the 10 o'clock service in which the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered. At the 2 o'clock service the Rev. Joseph Jenkins asked the young people to tell their experience regarding the great things they had felt and received in those days. Evan Roberts spoke, and his chief point was that he had put all on the altar. Sydney Evans rose, trembling like a leaf, and had it not been that Maud Davies, New Quay, held him, and said 'go on dear Syd.' he would have fallen. In this meeting Miss. Magdalen Phillips experienced the powerful divine influence. Roberts had been consoling her by pointing out the infinite merit of the atonement and other things, and during the service the spiritual light entered her soul. Nothing of special interest took place in the Young Peoples Meeting at 5 o'clock; after it closed, the Rev. Seth Joshua, Evan Roberts, and the other friends from Newcastle-Emlyn returned, and reached there about 9 p.m. Mr. Joshua only related incidents of the wonderful day at Blaenanerch in the meeting at Newcastle-Emlyn this night.

IV. THE EFFECTS OF THE FILLING WITH THE SPIRIT

We have described the circumstances under which Evan Roberts was filled with the Holy Spirit in the last paragraph; we shall now proceed to the effects of that in his case. The most manifest effects were these -

    (1) Losing all physical weakness - He used to get very tired after walking a few miles, but on the above night he walked eight miles from Blaenanerch to Newcastle-Emlyn, and felt nothing after it, though he had been ill for four days previously. The day after, he walked five miles without getting at all tired. This is remarkable when we remember that he was almost too weak to walk from the house of the Rev. M P Morgan to the chapel, a distance of a few dozen yards, the morning he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

    (2) Possessing Physical Freedom - He felt some physical freedom penetrating through his whole body, and the physical impediment he was subject to previous to this disappeared entirely He felt a certain difficulty when singing, speaking, or doing other things; but from the moment he received the Spirit, that was not experienced by him any more.

    (3) Losing all nervousness - He used to be very shy, and his nervous fear weakened him before an audience until this morning at Blaenanerch; but since, he has felt strong enough to stand in any public place.

    (4) Feeling physically strong. - He became conscious of certain physical strength in speaking, praying, and singing, and everything done by him which he never experienced before, and in virtue of this he would not feel anything a burden.

    (5) Fullness of happiness. - He was inclined to be gloomy before, and to look at that aspect of things. This feeling now took its wings, and he was filled with, spiritual happiness. His soul overflowed with some divine joy, and he could laugh and sing from morning till night.

    (6) Courage to carry out his conviction - Such was his courage that he felt he could stand before the whole world and give expression to his deepest convictions regarding religion, and he was determined to carry them out.

    (7) No anxiety for the future - He used to grieve about the future, and it loomed before him in the months preceding his entrance to school However, from the moment he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was enabled to throw the future all on God, and, therefore, troubled nothing about it.

    (8) An intense desire to save souls -

    This had existed in him for years, as has been pointed out several times, but now its intensity grew to such an extent as to conquer entirely all other desires.






Chapter XVIII

The Preparation of the Possibility. The Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd).

A chapter each has been given to the relation between Evan Roberts and the school, his relation to his new environment, and the history of how he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This chapter will contain an account of his movements in other connections, and his correspondence during the weeks he spent at Newcastle-Emlyn.

It will be remembered that on September the Bth he went to the Grammar School, and on the 18th he received the following letter from the Secretary of the Calvinistic Methodist Education Committee of West Glamorgan -

Llety,
Neath,
September 17th, 1904
West Glamorgan Education Committee

DEAR MR. ROBERTS,

According to instructions from the Secretary of the Education Board, I have convened the above Committee to meet at Bethel, Briton Ferry, on Wednesday next, the 21st inst., in connection with the Monthly Meeting, in order to confer with the successful candidates at the August Examination in respect to their future course I trust, therefore, that you will not fail to be present.

With heartiest congratulations on your success and position at the Examination, and with best wishes, Yours very sincerely,

B.T. JONES.

Hon. Sec.

Mr. E. J. Roberts

It was a great temptation for him to attend the Committee, as he would be passing his home in going to Briton Ferry. But instead of that he answered in a gentlemanly way thus:

Mr. JONES,
Dear Sir,

It appears to me that the Secretary of the Education Board is under the impression that I am staying at Loughor, being that you directed the letter there. I do not know whether I am expected to come up from Newcastle Emlyn to appear before the Committee at Briton Ferry. Had I been staying at Loughor, I should be pleased to do that. But being that I am staying here in school, and trying to prepare according to the requirements of the Education Board, it seems wise to inform in you by letter, being that time and money will be saved. I spoke to the Rev. Evan Phillips, Emlyn, and the Rev. R. J. Evans, Skewen, and they advised me to inform you so.

Hoping that this will satisfy you,
I am,
Yours truly,
E. J. ROBERTS

We can infer from this letter that he was bent on doing the best of his time with the school subjects.

The Secretary was kind enough to answer his letter, on behalf of the Committee, to inform him that his explanation was satisfactory.

Llety,
Neath,
September 29th, 1904.

West Glamorgan Education Committee

Dear Mr. ROBERTS,

Your letter explaining your absence from the Committee on the 21st.

instant was considered by the said Committee, and was deemed satisfactory, seeing that you had lost no time in entering one of the schools recommended by the Monthly Meeting.

I have received some of the enclosed from the Education Board, with the request that one be forwarded to each Candidate within our Monthly Meeting.

The Committee wishes me to write you expressing their best wishes on your behalf.

With kind regards,
Yours faithfully,
B. T. Jones.

Mr. E. J. Roberts Sunday evening, September 18th, he preached at Twrgwyn, but the people there were not much impressed, only by his prayer in introducing the service.

On September 20th, he received the following letter from Dan, his brother, and had it not been that he determined to cling to the school work, the letter would have induced him to attend the Education Committee in order to see them at home. -

Island House,
Loughor,
Sept. 19, '04

My DEAR BROTHER,

Your post-card to hand safely Wednesday last, and we were glad to hear from you and Iearn that you were in good health, had a very good lodgings, and that you are making yourself at home. It is felt very strange here without you. Granny felt grieved by thinking that you were going away and she would not see you in the seat with the violin. Many ask if we have heard from you, and how you like the place. Henry Evans has gone to the hospital since week today.

We had a very good meeting at Pisgah last Monday night. Rhys Davies preached on the text - Luke IX. 23, and Mr. Evans preached from 2 Kings VII. 1, 2.

The young peoples meeting commenced successfully Sunday morning.

There were 15 present. Those who took part in it were D. J. Lewis, John Thomas, Kymni; Tommy John. Pen Steps, Luther Owen Davies, and myself, and Thomas Thomas and David Davies said a word, and David Rees gave a hymn out to sing to close.

Mr. Jones preached yesterday morning on Acts I. 12 - 14. The points. -

(1) The way to the prayer meeting.

(2) The place where the prayer meeting was held.

(3) Those who were present.

He preached Sunday evening on Titus II. 14 The points -

(1) The characteristics of Christ's death.

(2) The object of Christ's death.

Mr. Jones is going to hold a Bible class after Monday evening prayer meetings, the children's service before the Church meeting, and the Band of Hope is to be on Wednesday night.

A post-card has come from Smith & Son, Bookstall, Swansea, stating that the Red letter testament is out of print. They intend sending one in a few days.

Our warmest regards to you both.

I shall close now, wishing you God speed.

Your Brother,
DAN.

This letter reveals the dominating inclination of the family. Religious topics were their topics before the revival, and Dan's notes show that he took deep interest in all the services. Respect for religion and the ministers of the Gospel is evident in the contents of the letter. The reference to the Red Letter Testament is interesting when we remember the significance of Christ's blood in Evan Roberts's preaching. One of the superior aspects of the family is their elevated taste in their correspondence, and the absence of all disrespectful remarks about other people.

We shall now treat on the day after Evan Roberts was filled with the Holy Spirit at Blaenanerch, that is, Friday, September 30th, 1904. The previous day determined his fate in relation to the school work. Yet he was not ready to go home. As was suggested in the paragraph on the Effects of the filling with the Spirit, there was a great change in him. The lines given below, composed by him after the Blaenanerch Convention, fairly represent the change.


My heart was ever like a stone,
My tongue still as the grave;
But from another world there shone
A light thy soul to save
Now, I am singing all day long
The praises of His blood;
No other theme awakes my song
Like Calvary's crimson flood.


I felt the pressure of His hand
Bending my sinful heart,
Henceforth, no power can command
My soul from Him to part.

The topic that engaged his mind this day was - how to go through the whole of Wales to offer Christ to sinners? With that intent he drew out a scheme, and on a paper among his manuscripts I found an outline of the plan, which contained three parts - (1) The probable ones to go on the mission. (2) to where, and when to go. (3) the question of costs.

He intended for ten to go on the mission, and nine of the names of the probable ones are given below, as they are on the paper. -

Maud Davies, Elsie Phillips, Mary C. Jones, Miss. Davies, Mrs. Davies, Mona, New Quay, Florrie Evans, Mrs. Evans, New Quay, Sydney Evans, Evan Roberts.

It should be noted that all these have been workers with the Revival, and some of them, such as Maud Davies, Florrie Evans, and Sydney Evans, have taken a very prominent part in the movement.

After their names the second part of the plan comes, involving these questions written in shorthand. -

Who shall go?

Where shall we go?

When shall we go?

He and Sydney Evans placed these questions on the two small Bibles they had in their bedroom, intensely expecting an answer to them. Thus Evan Roberts says on this point. - These were put on our two small Bibles in the bedroom, in the Lord's presence. For some time we could not enter to see if there was an answer, because we feared entering the room. After having been to Blaenanerch the room had become a holy of holies unto us. Who was to go in first to look at the papers. Both of us were filled with awe at the thought. However, I had strength to look; but there was nothing on the paper. Immediately the Spirit told me - You have not a sufficient number of questions. You should have asked - shall we go. I saw at once that we had taken the whole thing into our hands, because, 'shall we go?' should have been the first question. This was an awful time in the history of that Friday. Sydney Evans' fear was too great to go inside the door of the bedroom until Evan Roberts had looked at the papers. This proves that they were both serious, and that their souls were on fire for the work of saving sinners.

The next thing on the plan is the third part alluded to, namely, the scheme as to costs. Roberts intended to defray all the expenses himself, and thus he formulated this section of the scheme. He put 2s. a day for each of the ten; and found that that amounted to 140s. per week, and for 28 weeks would reach £200. He proceeds no further with the calculation.

Why? because only, £200 he had in the bank. The fact that he had become willing to part with all he had earned through hard work, for the cause of Jesus, verifies his statement at Blaenanerch, that he had all on the altar.

Meditating over this plan, reading the Bible, praying and writing the letter inserted below, engaged his mind all this day. Joy fills his heart when he reflects on it, and he feels that it was one of the most important days of his life. His sister was a pupil teacher, and, therefore, he gives her the history of the school, but in the heat of his feelings he cannot but refer twice to the Blaenanerch Convention.

Ty Llwyd,
Newcastle-Emlyn,
Sept. 30th, 1904.

DEAR MARY,

- I suppose that by now you are anxiously a waiting for a letter from me. I thought of writing sooner, but it has been very busy here - School work, and the meetings conducted by Mr. Seth Joshua, Cardiff. We have been for two days at Blaenanerch at a Convention. We had very enthusiastic meetings. Blaenanerch lies about 8 miles from Newcastle-Emlyn. We started yesterday morning at six a.m. It was a very fine drive through lovely scenery. As we climbed the hills we could see the mist in the valley as if it were a sea. And at one particular place it seemed as if you stood at Pem Beily and looked down towards Penclawdd. The air is very thin here, and it is also so pure, because there are so many hundreds of trees in the neighbourhood, and, therefore, it abounds with oxygen. I suppose you would have a word with regard to School work. We have started with (1) Latin, (2) Greek, (3) History, (4) Welsh Grammar, (5) English Grammar, (6) Mathematics.

We have Nos. 1. and 2 every morning, No. 3 twice a week. We have gone through four reigns (l) Henry VII; (2) Henry Vl; (3) Edward VI.; (4) Mary, and next time 'Good Queen Bess'. I have bought Gills History of England. It is so concise, and it is also the book used in the class.

Welsh: We have this subject twice a week.

English Grammar: Every morning.

Mathematics: In the afternoons.

Hours: Morning - 9. 30 to 12 a. m.

Afternoon - 1. 30 to 4 p. m.

Both of us are in excellent health, and Sydney Evans wishes to be remembered to you most affectionately. He preached at Solfach last Sunday, about forty miles from here. I have been preaching also one Sunday evening since I am here at Twrgwyn.

We have very kind folk at our lodgings. We pay 3s 6d. for lodgings, washing and potatoes included. They also give freely of their own substance. It is a very clean place.

Samuel Williams (Mr. Jones nephew) has returned again to this School.

I know not what else I have to say, but I should like to know how things turn out at Gowerton.

I said at the commencement that we had 'enthusiastic meetings' at Blaenanerch, but I am afraid the term is too mild. I should say that they were marvellous, because the Holy Spirit was there, working wonderfully. Last Thursday's meeting was the most awful and pleasant day of my life. The young women of New Quay were there - about 30 in number. And, oh! I should like if such a spirit should fall on the young women of Loughor. Then they would not and could not speak lightly in Church, and all their frivolities would be swept away. Will you not, Mary, pray for such a spirit. Some of these young women have been reckless characters. Reading novels, flirting; never reading their Bibles.

But now what a wonderful change. In truth, this is a divine miracle! In concluding, I wish you such a Spirit,

From your
BROTHER EVAN
Kind regards to all faithful enquirers.






Chapter XIX.

The Preparation Of The Possibility. The Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

Saturday October 1st, Evan Roberts is again full of the idea of going through Wales on a mission tour. This day has a history like Friday. At Newcastle-Emlyn and Blaenanerch he understood that the Holy Spirit influenced powerfully the young people of New Quay; and the list of the probable ones to go through the Principality, given in the last chapter, shows how deeply they had impressed him. A number of them are from New Quay. The day now under consideration he determined to go and see them, in order to have a conversation on the question of going on a mission in accordance with the plan drawn the previous day. Being that the distance to New Quay was about fifteen miles, he hired a trap, and took Sydney Evans and another student by the name of D. Glyn Jones with him. The young people of New Quay gave them a warm welcome, and the way of carrying out the proposed mission was discussed in many of its aspects, such as the expense, and how to move from place to place.

Some thought it advisable to have a van to carry them, and others differed; but no definite conclusion was arrived at. Before long, they turned to pray for light on the subject, but although the prayers were earnest and intense, no light was forthcoming. We now easily understand why their scheme was not God's plan in bringing about a Revival. When this meeting closed, Evan Roberts prepared to return home. The people of New Quay would have him to stay with them over Sunday; but they could not induce him to conform with their wish, being that he had definitely promised to be at Newcastle-Emlyn that evening.

His two friends remained there until Monday, and therefore he had to return by himself. From this time on, he and Sydney Evans did little but reading the Bible, praying and discussing the matter how to carry out the idea of going through Wales. It was now next to impossibility for Evan Roberts to handle the school books; but he did not feel ready to go home to Loughor for a reason that will be pointed out later.

On October 6th, a revival meeting was held at Twrgwyn a place about five miles from Newcastle-Emlyn, and he, Sydney Evans, D. Glyn Jones, and a Mr. Evans, from Aberystwyth, went there. They walked joyfully, and spoke of religious matters until within a mile to the chapel, when some cloud came over the minds of Roberts and Sydney Evans, and they could not any more speak. Roberts walked behind praying in himself for the success of the service, and Sydney Evans who walked in front did the same.

The Rev. Joseph Jenkins, who conducted, gave the meeting free for anyone to speak. The three other students spoke as well as Roberts. His subject was - How to win souls for Christ and the joy of His religion.

The meeting lasted four hours, and when they came out the rain was coming down in torrents, and made it terrible for anyone to think of walking five miles. Nevertheless, the four walked home joyfully. This night on their way to Newcastle-Emlyn was the first time for Evan Roberts to mention the question to Sydney Evans of having one hundred thousand converts in Wales. 'Do you think,' said he to Evans, 'that it is too much to ask God to save one hundred thousand in Wales?' 'No,' was the answer, 'it would not be too much to ask Him to save Wales and the world.' 'Well,' he replied, 'we must go at it earnestly.' They reached home about one in the morning, and went upstairs as quietly as possible, lest the ladies who kept the house should hear. Their strange way of staying down late to read, pray, sing, and speak on spiritual subjects had created a suspicion in the good sisters regarding their state of mind.

They did not complain so much of them being down late, and granted them a key to enter after having been in a late meeting, but their unusual conduct in the house had caused their landladies almost to dread them.

In fact, they were quite serious and uneasy about their mental condition.

Sunday, October, 9th, Evan Roberts preached at Tanygroes, Cardiganshire, both morning and evening, and had a very pleasant time.

But nothing special tool place during the day as far as we have been able to find out. He left the impression on the audience of being a godly and earnest young man, and all he did was stamped with some kind of divine intensity.

He was not idle on October 10th, the two letter written by him - one to his brother, Dan, and the other to Mr. John Hughes - show that the same burden is still on his mind. These letters explain their object without a comment -

Ty Llwyd,. -
Ebeneser Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn.,
October 10th, 1904.

DEAR DAN,

- I received in letter this morning from some person from New Quay by the name of 'J. Thomas', desiring me to send the same copy to another two. Sydney and I had one each. And I send one to you, and to J. H. Hughes, believing that you will ask our Heavenly Father to further His kingdom in a special manner in the present evil world. There is a blessed time awaiting the Church of Christ in the near future The night begins to vanish, and the dawn extends gradually but certainly. We have come in contact with the young men and young women of New Quay, in this town, at Blaenanerch, and Twrgwyn. There are about 30 (or rather over 30) taking part publicly in the service in the church at New Quay. We had one awful meeting at Blaenanerch, but we had a wonderfully sweet meeting at Twrgwyn. The service commenced at 6.15, and closed 10.15 p.m. Four hours' meeting, and no one but the young people taking part. A meeting is to be held at Capel Drindod before long.

And we are looking forward for a blessed feast. Pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit to descend and work mightily, so that you may rejoice when you will see wonderful thing taking place.

You will see by the enclosed copy that asking you to pray they are, and endeavour to have some other two to do the same thing. It will be necessary to pray without ceasing. And that so that the chain will not be broken. The wheels of the Gospel Chariot are to turn rapidly ere long.

And to be permitted to have a hand with the cause is a privilege. I do not know whether you are in possession of the Joy of the Gospel. I know that you have peace, but ask for joy. But if you wish to possess it, you must be ready to do what the Spirit will say. If He will tell you to speak in the Church meeting, it must be done. You must give yourself absolutely in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

I have lost all nervousness; I am courageous for Christ, and joyful in Christ.

I am healthy and joyful. Remember me affectionately to all who affectionately enquire about me.

Your brother,
E. J. ROBERTS.

Dan Roberts

Dan answered him the following day -

Island House,
Loughor,
October 11th, 1904.

MY DEAR BROTHER,

- I received your letter this morning, and I had great joy by reading it, and to understand that the Lord had visited that part of the country in such a powerful manner, and my prayer is:

'Onward, onward, fire divine, Take this world and make it Thine.'

I should like very much to see something of that kind in this place. I can say there is a stir among the young men at Moriah in the Sunday mornings prayer meeting, there is an excellent obedience. John Thomas (Kymni), and William John (Pen Steps), take part in it.

We had a very pleasant meeting at Pisgah tonight. Mr. Thomas, Glanmor, closed the service. I feel more warmth in the week night meetings than in the past. I have sent copies of that letter further. I am sorry to inform you that one of the deacons of Moriah died yesterday afternoon in Swansea hospital, namely, Henry Evans. He will be buried next Thursday.

Doubtless, you have heard of the accident that occurred on the railway, the lower side of Loughor Bridge, on the 3rd of this month. It was a pitiful scene. Three lives were lost in the accident, and many were injured. I have not been in work since last Monday week. I have been with the doctor, and have given notice to the Club. I feel myself a little better, but rather weak.

They have appointed me your successor at Moriah as Secretary of the seats. I commenced the work last night.

Bessie Williams has gone to Cardiff College since the 3rd of this month.

W. H. Morgan has gone back to College to Cardiff. His parents have come to live to Bwlchymynydd, and Chester comes to Pisgah. He takes the class of William Phillips, and Phillips consequently takes your class.

There were forty-four in School last Sunday.

One of the members of Moriah, Mrs. John Hughes, was buried last week.

She sat in a seat in front of ours. She in as buried at Crwys.

The football worshippers are numerous at Bwlchymynydd, taking the minds of the young and middle-aged people. There was a match between them and those of Llanelly last Saturday. They played in a field close to the tent - the Corporation. There was much drinking, and a great deal of row among them. I should like to see the Holy Spirit coming powerfully to drive these games out of the country. I ask you to remember this place in your prayers, and for us to feel the powerful influences. They are alright here.

Warmest regards to you both from
DAN.

This letter manifests the same earnest religious spirit and desire in Dan for the success of Christ's cause, as we find in his brother's epistles.

Thus he wrote to Mr. John Hughes.

Ty Llwyd,
Ebenezer Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn,
October 10th, 1904

DEAR MR. HUGHES,

- Enclosed here is a copy of a letter I received today from some J. Thomas, New Quay I do not know who this person is, but being that he urges me to send to two other friends, I do so, believing that you will pray unceasingly, being that you love our blessed Saviour intensely. You endeavour to have two to do this.

I am in splendid health - enjoying myself, or rather enjoying heaven greatly. I was up at Twrgwyn last Thursday, and we had a blessed meeting from 6.15 p.m. Until 10.15 A good meeting, was it not?

Christ must he glorified. And He will be glorified before long. A great Revival is breaking on our country. A blessed time awaits the Christian Church. We had awful meetings at Blaenanerch, when Mr. Seth Joshua stayed in this town last week. Pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit. Pray for Him to descend upon the young women and young men (and old as far as that is concerned) of Moriah.

Your humble friend,
E. J. ROBERTS

On the 11th of October, he wrote a letter to one of the members of Moriah, which shows

(1) his idea of what people should do with spiritual blessings. He received the great blessing at Blaenanerch, and was desirous to tell other people about it, for them to benefit from his experience, if possible;

(2) his longing that the divine fire should spread and reach Loughor;

(3) his honesty in small things;

(4) his consciousness of forgiveness,

(5) his observations of the consequences of being filled with the Spirit. The letter runs: -

Ty Llwyd,
Ebenezer Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn,
October 11th, 1904

DEAR MR. DAVIES

- You will be surprised to see the contents of this letter; it contains nothing to be surprised at; but writing it will be a blessing for me, and also good for you. Before I came down to Newcastle Emlyn, I thought that it would be hard on me to give up the long hours of fellowship with God, but I have been greatly disappointed. I was having great pleasure with the work before, but now I am having the most pure joy on earth. And, Oh! I cannot say how happy I feel, because God works so powerfully on me, and has worked powerfully on me of late, and especially at Blaenanerch. We have come in contact with the young girls of New Quay, and the divine fire has begun to lay hold of us. And, Oh! it is a blessed time on us, and I wish the fire came to the neighbour hood of Loughor. But always when the light comes, the ugly and undesirable are revealed. And this is the reason, or rather one reason, of my writing to you. I do not know whether you remember that Mr.

Samlet Williams trusted to you some of the books on 'Welsh Methodism', or the 'Methodist Enquirer', and I took one of them, and some time ago, and also some years ago, it came to my mind or to my memory whether I had paid for it or not. I do not know whether you remember or not, but I must get rid of the doubts as soon as possible, and I enclose to you twelve stamps, desiring you to accept them. I am certain that they will do you no harm, but they will make a path of happiness and peace for me.

Do you know the devil is at his best these days. He attacks me with all his might, and he also ploughs the past of my life. But I rejoice that all has been done away with through the virtue of the Blood. I do not know whether it is right for me to tell you or not, but being that the name of our God is glorified, I will tell it. I have received three great blessings: - (1) I have lost all nervousness, (2) I can sing all day long - some physical impediment obstructed me before, (3) I had gone as hard as a flint, and that bear in mind, although my whole inclination, and the only object of my life was to serve God - but thank Heaven, I was bent low at Blaenanerch. I was so bent that I had to shout out, 'Diolch Iddo' ('Thanks be to Him') Oh! what an easy thing it is to thank now.

I should be glad to have a note from you if you can steal an inch of time.

Warmest regards,
I am,
Yours,
E. J. ROBERTS.

Mr. D. Davies.

From Mr. Davies's answer it is clear that it was a false impression on his mind that the book was not paid for -

Ardwyn,
Waun Road,
Loughor,
October 20th, 1904.

DEAR BROTHER,

- I received your kind and unexpected letter. I rejoiced when I read its contents, and I hope that it has produced a strong desire in me for a religious revival in our midst at Loughor. All things are here as you saw them unfortunately, the young people are slow and difficult to move, that is, with anything religious. And when they move a little, they slide beck again to the same condition of life. Well, this is the history of the young people's prayer meeting at present as those before it - commencing strongly, but getting weak and powerless, is its history continually. But, notwithstanding this, there is much exhorting of the young people all the time by the minister and the officers, and I wish that we could have a revival at Moriah. Oh that the divine shower were to come to us, then the necessity for exhorting would cease, pulling and dragging the old squeaking chariots. They would go easily along the electrical lines of love for Jesus, as they are in your neighbourhood with brothers and sisters without distinction.

I was pleased to learn of the personal blessings you have experienced down there. They will be of great help for you to perform your work hopefully.

As for the book you mentioned in your letter, I have not the slightest recollection that you have not paid for it, and because of that, I enclose the money back. I hope that you will not think me unkind. Do not worry any more about it.

I shall be pleased to have a word again from you. Remember me, if you have leisure. I greatly wish you success. Remember me also be Sydney and Daniel.

Yours sincerely,
D. Davies

This day he wrote also the following letter to Mr. Joseph Lewis, bookseller, Gowerton. -

Ty Llwyd,
Ebenezer Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn,
Oct. 11th, 1904

Dear Mr. Lewis, -

You will be surprised to see what this note contains. You may remember that a few years ago on a certain occasion I had bought a few books from you, and also had some periodicals bound, and that I told you there was some slight mistake at your account - a few shillings deficient. You replied that you were almost certain there was no mistake, and I, on my own part, could not be positive, but I had my doubts.

From a business point of view, I could be quiet, but from a moral point of view I cannot, and now I have determined that this shall never crop up again. Perhaps there was no mistake. I know not. Now, since I have my doubts, I must get rid of them as soon as possible. It will cost me but very little, and I am sure you will be kind enough to accept them.

Therefore, I enclose you an older of five shillings, for I am positive they did not exceed five shillings, neither did they come within a fair distance.

But I trust you will accept it in round numbers, and then no more ado about it.

Please acknowledge the note by return of post, if you can snatch an inch of time.

Yours truly,
E. J. ROBERTS.

Mr. Joseph Lewis.

Mr. Lewis answered:

The Agency,
Gowerton,
October 17th, 1904.

My Dear Mr. Roberts, -

Yours to hand, enclosing 5s. for alleged account owing. I assure you that I should prefer not accepting the sum, but you put it in such a way that I cannot refuse without risking to offend you. Therefore, accept my sincerest thanks, and consider the matter financially closed.

You did not say how you are getting on at School. I have no doubt though but that you are doing well.

With sincere remembrance,
I am
Yours,
Joseph Lewis,

Sunday, October 16th, Evan Roberts preached at two places in Pembrokeshire, called Penffordd and Gwastad. A most godly minister, the Rev. George Williams, Llysbran, who listened to him, wrote to me his impressions:

Evan Roberts came to us unexpectedly instead of one of the ministers of the county, who could not come. When I entered the chapel, he had gone into the pulpit. There I saw him first. I did not know who he was; only that I drew the conclusion that he was coming from one of the schools, being that young students had been coming in us when there was a gap.

I noticed from the commencement a peculiarity in his prayer, and by the close of the service, I had been highly pleased. I said immediately to some of the friends that the young man was an exception to young students we used to hear. I was in his company for about two hours after the service. In the pulpit his earnestness in prayers and solemnity when addressing the young people took my attention. In company he was so cheerful, natural, simple, that it was impossible not to like him.

Though he was cheerful, I understood that he was in some kind of distress. He said that he could not go on with his books, and that he feared he would have to give up. After I went home, he opened his mind to a greater extent to some of the brethren, who stayed with him for the evening service. I asked one of the Penffordd brothers about him, where he preached in the morning, and the answer I had was that his prayer had effectually impressed the minds of the people who were there, and that they spoke of it on their way home more than any-thing else.

I continue to rejoice in Mr. Evan Roberts and in his wonderful work, which is so gloriously successful and blessed. He is a messenger of God.

What more can I say? And I have looked on him as such for fully a year.

He impressed most of the people that he was a devout and holy young man, but they could see by him that his mind was in a troubled state. On his way home on Monday, the question of Jesus to Peter preyed on his mind. Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He regarded the question as a kind of test examination, which tried him to the uttermost. But, says he, I passed it with honours. He turned to his Bible when thinking of the question, and his eye; dropped upon the miracle of the draught of fishes, and the number reminded him of the hundred thousand converts he desired to have for Christ in Wales. He had forgotten for three days to pray for them. Thereupon, he had to turn to his heavenly Father at once to ask that Jesus should have these.

Next, we find him (October 18th) at Bwlchygroes, in Pembrokeshire. He and Sydney Evans were invited there to a monthly meeting. As referred to in a previous chapter, it was the second day of the meeting Evan Roberts arrived. He and his friend understood that they were to have a young peoples meeting, and on that understanding they went there.

After the morning service one of the deacons told the chairman of the monthly meeting, the Rev. W. F. Jones, Pembroke: - These two boys ask if it is possible to have a prayer meeting for the young people today. The two boys were Evan Roberts and Sydney Evans. Mr. Jones said that it was possible to comply with their request. Between five and six o' clock the meeting was held, and Evan Roberts conducted, but there was no freedom in it owing to the shyness of the young people.

At six o'clock the Rev. W. F. Jones and the Rev. W. H. Thomas, Maesteg, preached, and Evan Roberts introduced the service. His prayer was characterised by many appropriate Scripture quotations, which drew the attention of the ministers to his great familiarity with the Bible. And one of them remarked. This young man knows more of his Bible than anyone I have heard for the last ten years. When listening to the sermons, Roberts had his Bible open, and turned to the quotations made in the discourses, and shed tears almost through the service. This greatly impressed some of the people.

He and Sydney Evans were desirous to have, a meeting for the young people on Wednesday evening, but as there was a singing festival in the vicinity, the Bwlchygroes people could not see their way clear to grant their request. However, they were loath to part without having it. They lingered there all the morning with the hope of succeeding in their object But their host devised a plan to get them away. He put the horse in the trap, went to the house, and told them, Now, boys, if you want a lift to Newcastle-Emlyn come with me in the trap. This was the means that got them from there; and their host felt he had won a wonderful victory in removing them.

In this place he came in contact with Dr. Hughes, whose opinion of him has been given before. In these weeks all who watched him closely thought the same as Dr. Hughes, namely, that his mind was rapidly becoming impaired.

Friday, October 28th, a Revival meeting was to be held at Capel Drindod, and he wrote a letter to Miss. Sarah Jane Davies, New Quay. He had sent a telegram to Miss. Davies before the letter regarding the meeting, the contents of which was Pray, pray, pray, and this was the first telegram he sent in connection with revival meetings. In the letter, he manifests a clear conception of the whole situation.

Ty Llwyd,
Ebenezer Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn

DEAR MISS. DAVIES,

I thought of writing sooner to you with regard to the Capel Drindod meeting, but the time flew by almost unknown to me, hence the reason why we sent you a wire. Everything points to a large gathering of young people, and so there will be a splendid place to work for the Great Master. I know that prejudice will be strong against the movement, therefore, we must be armed with the Holy Spirit. Amongst many, too, there will be levity, and this calls upon us to be very watchful with regard to our movements and our words, and remember to keep our eyes from all wantonness. There will be another class, viz., some who come out of curiosity, and possibly some will come to scoff. Therefore what will be necessary for us to do is to be strong in prayer. Oh! that we could all feel that we can do nothing without the Holy Spirit, and in that feeling fall in lowliness before God with a broken heart, beseeching Him to show us His face, especially at Capel Drindod. It would be awful for us without God. Oh try to impress upon those who will be coming the importance of having the powerful influences of the Holy Spirit. As for those friends who cannot come, ask them to pray for us during the meeting, for 'the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' We must remember, too, to ask God to strengthen our faith. Oh that the Spirit of God would explain to us the meaning of Matthew XXVIII, 18 - 'All power'. He has power to send the Spirit to Capel Drindod. Let us ask Him to do so, and that for His names sake.

Hoping to meet you and Heaven at Capel Drindod, I am,
With kindest regards,
EVAN J. ROBERTS and SYDNEY EVANS.






Chapter XX.

The Preparation of the Possibility. Spiritual Preparation (Cont'd)

THE LAST DAYS AT NEWCASTLE-EMLYN

The history of these days is full of interest. Total surrender to Christ had now entirely captivated Evan Roberts's mind; but the people could not understand him. He caused no little anxiety to his near acquaintances, as they all believed that he was rapidly losing his mental equilibrium.

When out in the daytime, he would gaze incessantly at the sun, and remark that he was seeing wonderful things in it. The grandeur of it was such to him that he felt he had never seen it before. In the night again, it was next to impossible to keep him from looking at the moon and stars.

All this was put down to mental impairment. Yet, one thing puzzled the people very much, namely, the sane way in which he performed his part in religious services, and his clear conceptions when talking on religious matters in circles outside the chapel. This was not consistent with 'religious mania'. The students and the Misses. Phillips did their best to take him out for walks, and draw his attention from the heavenly bodies and religious topics, but without effect. It is not required of us to adopt the standpoint of the apologist and argue that the people were greatly mistaken in their opinion of Roberts's mental condition. The delusion that he was a religious maniac will soon be dispelled by reading the letters written by him during these days, especially in his answer to the following letter from his sister: -

Island House, Oct. 26th, 1904.

DEAR EVAN,

Very likely you think I have forgotten you, but it is not so. My time is well occupied with lessons, and I hope you will forgive me for keeping you so long without an answer. I am glad to hear that your life at Newcastle Emlyn is enjoyable.

Dan has not started working owing to his eyes being weak.

. . . . . The Llandilo-Talybont pupil teachers attend the Gowerton classes now. Mr. Morgans has gone away to Tondu. We are about 90 teachers there on Saturday - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years together. We are getting on alright with the lessons. The walk over is the worse part for me. I go up with the 9.20 train when it rains and it always rains on Mondays! He has tested us in three subjects - English, History, and Geography.

He told me that I was too slow in writing, and that I should practise to write quicker. That was the only fault. On the whole, he has told me that my work is satisfactory so far. We had a test in Science Saturday. We have had a new book lately - Lees 'Grammar on Historical Principles'.

We do not take General Knowledge. Thanks for that.

Mr. Lewis, Libanus, Pontardulais, is with us at Moriah next Sunday. Mr.

Jones and he have exchanged. Mr. Thomas, Glanmor, still comes to Pisgah. We have warm meetings. As Dan told you, Bessie has left us for Cardiff. I have had two letters from her; and in the first she asked me to give you her kindest regards, and the same twice in the last one. She hopes that you like New Castle Emlyn, as well as she likes Cardiff. She is going in for her Intermediate B. A., and she says that it will mean hard work. . . . .

We are getting on grand with Algebra and Euclid. Algebra gets harder every week. We shall be working on the 'Donkey's Bridge' in Euclid next week, and I am afraid I shall stick there. The French is not so hard as I thought it would be. There are a good number of words in it like the English and Welsh. The scholarship Exam will commence this year seven weeks next Tuesday; and in two years to that time we shall be sitting, if alive and well. We have had visits from two different Inspectors - one last week and the other this week - Mr. Edwards and Mr. Ballard. The latter told me that next pay day I shall have an advance, and also back pay from August on, and Chester will have it as well. Chester has brought his developer to school, and we use that play time. I have no more to say.

Best love from all, hoping you are in good health. Kind regards to Evans.

From your loving sister, MARY.

Ty Llwyd,
Ebenezer Street,
Newcastle-Emlyn,
28th Oct., 1901,

DEAR MARY, -

Your letter to hand this morning. I was expecting to have it every day -

'But everything comes to those that wait'.

Very glad to hear of your progress at School, and I hope you will ere long find it easy to write swiftly. I know it is a hard task for us as a family to write swiftly and intelligibly, as our cast of mind does not allow it. But by sheer practice, we can accomplish it. I was glad to notice the change in your writing, that is, I see you are doing away with your recklessness, and steadily endeavouring for a firm character. But at the end of your writing your old recklessness comes into sight. But still 'go on'. Your writing changes as your character changes. As for the 'Donkeys Bridge', you will do well to dis-join the three triangles, and study each separately, and you will, therefore, succeed to cross this ever difficult passage. Of course, it is a great blessing in one sense that you have done away with General Knowledge But, 'the more (knowledge) the merrier. I can assure you it is a great boon for you to have the Developer at School. It gives on a new vigour, and makes your blood to circulate more freely. If I were you, I should practise it as much as possible. I have not done much with mine since I am here, but I may do so before long. Spiritual things have had such a hold on me, and also on Evans and a young man from Ynyshir - a Mr. Jones. But Jones can work like a tiger, and Evans can work very well, but at times he can do nothing. I can see him now at this table writing a letter to some person, it is ten o'clock Friday morning. Both of us are not at School this morning. Last night neither of us could work.

Well, I cant tell you how busy the devil is at this place. I have told you before how we have met the young girls from New Quay at New Castle and at Blaenanerch and Twrgwyn. They, the people of this place, make such awful stories, which are down right lies. Some say we go to see the young girls, and not for the cause. Others ask (but not in our faces) How is it that we three and not others have felt so. And others say, it is only shamming we do, as also the New Quay people. Others scoff, and make light of these spiritual things. But thanks to God, He knows out very thoughts, and that it is from our very souls we do this work. You can depend that there is a great revival awakening in the near future. Satan has mustered all his regiments, for this is a sign of danger to his kingdom, and tonight we are going to hold a Revival meeting at Caper Drindod.

Oh! we do hope that God will pour His Spirit abundantly upon us to night. There will be a great concourse of young people there. I wish, if it were practicable to come with these meetings to Loughor. I intended to write a letter to Moriah's Young Men's Prayer Meeting, as to how to prepare and receive this great blessing. I am waiting to see what the near future will bring to me. To tell you the truth I have not done much work since I am here. I try to shake off these thoughts - spiritual thoughts.

But it would have been as easy to turn back the flow of the sea. This week I have done a good bit, but not as I should do. If I don't awake myself ere long, the 'Education Committee' will call me to the bar, and say, 'Now young man, you must double your energy. I have some weeks before Christmas, and I trust ere then I can do a good deal of work. I can assure you that I am happy, and more than happy. I possess some unspeakable joy - night and day. I would if it were possible to give it to you. It would move away your sarcasm, and it would light up your face with joy, and your heart with peace. It would be a treat for you, if you could hear those young ladies from New Quay when they pray. They are so earnest, so simple, and not in the least nervous. How should you like to pray at Pisgah? You and Alice and Sarah and Miss. Jordan? You walking on, reading a hymn, and reading the Bible and praying - as you never heard any person praying and fearless. But first you must feel that you are a lost sinner, and then feel that Christ died for you, and, last of all, that you must have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then work.

I am here in very good health, and these good old people act as mothers to us. They have no other people to care for. I am afraid they will spoil us, for they are so tender-hearted, and they also share with us their dainties. In fact, they are too liberal. They are so clean and jovial.

Sydney wishes to be remembered to you, and sends his 'kindest regards' to you. He is a fine fellow. He does all the shopping. I have nothing to do, but live like a gentleman. I tell him I must leave him something in my will, for he is so kind, gentle, and obliging.

What about your health at home? I trust you are right. Well, you have been talking much about religion at home, but I never heard much joy of salvation. 'Full assurance of faith'. Doesn't the dear Lord say that those who believe on Him have eternal life? If so, why do we not believe. But, nevertheless, we must be ready to yield ourselves to the Spirit, and then your health, bodily, mental, and spiritual will be better. The Sunday morning will be brighter. Couldn't you, Dan, read a portion of the Bible at night, and one of you pray? When I come home Christmas time we must have it. It is not only needful, but we ought to do so. We have a family altar here at Ty Llwyd. Sydney leads one night, and I the other. I can assure you it is a great blessing. I know it is hard to begin. Well, then, tell the Lord that it is hard to do so, and ask Him for strength to do it. I know it will do a great change at our home. It will teach you to be more careful of your words and actions. It will teach you not to offend nor to take offence. Now you, Mary, could take part quite well. Perhaps you will say, 'I don't know what to ask'. Never mind for that, The Holy Spirit will teach you what to ask. In fact, you will love one another much better. You will not trouble for the morrow, and the troubles of the day will be lighter. Before I came to Newcastle-Emlyn, I never met young ladies who could and were willing to speak of religious things. The old fashion was to draw a long face when speaking of religious things. But it was most part of it hypocrisy, and based on the fact and thought that God is a solemn and just God, and at the same time forgetting that God is a happy God and a joyful God. Therefore, we mush be happy and joyful.

Now, when we speak of religion we are full of joy, and our faces are lit up with joy. Shake off this death-like solemnity, and be joyful, ever joyful.

We must show the world that we are happy, because of this blessed assurance of salvation. The old story was, 'I hope I am saved', while we can say, 'I know I am saved'. Isaiah says And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. Now, if the Lord has laid all our sins on Jesus, there is no sin remaining to place on us. Now, then, this question, Do you believe that God placed all your sins on Christ? Well, then, there is no sin on you, you are free, and if you are free you have life. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Now, if you feel it hard to begin a family altar, ask the Lord to prepare you. I will also ask Him to make you ready for this new departure. I know that Sarah has many times asked me to do so. If I had done so I would have done it in my own strength. But, dear people, ask the Lord for light, strength, and guidance.

Now, I draw to the end of this (short?) Epistle, and may God bless you abundantly.

Your true and affectionate Brother,
Mary Roberts
EVAN JOHN ROBERTS.

This letter puts the question of his mental sanity during the days under consideration beyond any dispute. It shows his clear grasp of one of the most difficult problems in Euclid; the importance of physical exercise in is relation to health and development, his knowledge of human nature; the duty of having a clear conscience before God; the unconditional prediction of the great coming Revival, which is one of the most wonderful things; his care for the religion of the family, and his exhortations to them. What man affected by religious mania or any other mental ailment could compose such a strong and consistent letter as this?

After finishing this epistle, he and Sydney Evan went out to the field to pray, to prepare for the Capel Drindod Revival meeting which was to be held that night. We closed the previous chapter with his letter to Miss.

Davies, New Quay, which was written expressly with reference to this meeting. He had no official hand in it, yet it weighed heavily on his mind. In the field, he read the account of Christ's agony in the Garden, and prayed. Sydney Evans approached the Throne after him, and both wept freely in thinking of the Saviour's sufferings. They were so taken up as to forget place and time almost entirely. On their return they met Mr. Josiah Williams, a guard on the Railway; and Evan Roberts remarked that Christ was going to be glorified that evening at Capel Drindod.

About three o'clock, he started for Capel Drindod; and, as it will appear later, some of those who accompanied him were in great anxiety, because they had been confirmed in their opinion of his mental condition by Dr.

Hughes's idea of him, which was touched upon in another chapter in a letter to me. Miss. Rachel Phil