Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Faith Once Delivered: Nantlais Williams: One. The New Birth

Last Lord's Day evening, the Pastor was forced to speak in the after-meeting due to unforseen circumstances. He chose to speak on his call to the ministry. In the course of his words, Mr. Hughes mentioned that some men are called to the ministry before being converted. Before the lynch-mob is formed, I should be quick to point out that he went on to say that the Holy Spirit will convert the man if he is truly called of God.

As a case in point, he mentioned Bethany Chapel, Ammanford and its minister in the early years of the twentieth century, W. 'Nantlais' Williams. An orthodox Calvinistic Methodist, he was as yet unconverted when called to Bethany in 1900 from Trefeca College. A man of immense literary talents, he took part in the eisteddfodau and loved to adorn his sermons with literary motifs.

Until the 1904-5 Revival, his great ambition was to become a successful, popular preacher and poet. But in November 1904, Joseph Jenkins, Minister at New Quay, Ceredigion, came to Bethany, Ammanford came to speak in the town. Nantlais preached on the Holy Spirit the Sunday before Jenkins' arrival, but he knew nothing of the new birth. The week following, he became dreadfully aware of his unregenerate state. He spent a whole night pleading before God, but to no avail. In the Saturday night meeting, however, the Spirit came, and he could not help singing. The Holy Spirit had come to live in his heart. From here, Nantlais will tell his own story:
After going home, and sitting down, quite quietly and soberly, I saw that it was
through believing thatsalvation comes to us, not through effort and anguish in
all-night prayer on my part, but through the effort of someone else for me in
the Garden and on the Cross; yes, through leaning upon Him and His bloody sweat
and dying agony. Oh! What a relief. What peace! I believed, because the ways of
life were unmistakably revealed to me. Well! well! so simple, so near! So plain!
So free! The way of salvation is so endearing in its conditions! ... Such a pity
that its simplicity is so great an obstacle to the wise and the intelligent, and

God was not finished with the talented minister. He had great works prepared for



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