Saturday, March 03, 2007

John Pugh VII:Revival at Abertillery

Before moving on to John Pugh's dilemma over whether to go from Pontypridd to Cardiff or Glasgow, We pause to consider Pugh's ministry in the valleys. Stepping back to the years of Pugh's ministry at Tredegar, we reproduce an article from The Treasury, a Calvinistic Methodist magazine, about Pugh's involvement in a mission at Abertillery, in the Monmouthshire valleys. supplied by Mr. Geraint Jones, it casts light on Pugh's evangleistic methods:

"We venture to think that a few words in connection with the recent religious revival at Aberillery will be acceptable to most of our readers. Our English Church in this place, which was formed on the 15th October, 1876, and which has succeeded and flourished in so remarkable a manner, deemed it desirable, in consequence of having lost many of its members through [their] leaving the locality because of the intense depression in trade, to make a special effort, with a view to the salvation of souls. After much throughtful deliberation, arrangements were made with the Rev. John Pugh, of Tredegar, to hold a series of revival meetings. Prior, however, to Mr. Pugh commencing his work, the church held prayer meetings for a week in the various cottages, imploring the "Master" to accompany his servant. We were privileged and honoured to be present at these meetings, and we shall never forget them. That God was present and blessing his people was patent to all. The prayers offered were intensely earnest, and extraordinary feelings were experienced. It "was good to be here." Every evening, when the weather would permit, most of the members of the church, with Mr. Pugh, paraded the streets, singing Sankey's hymns. Of course, many disapproved strongly of this procedure -some said it was inexpedient, others declared it was not religion, whilst some would loudly assert it was degrading. In spite, however, of the animadversions of these Christian brethren, who apparently forgot that the Saviour of the world was an open-air preacher, and that the early reformers and our fore-fathers were eminently successful evangelizing the masses in the streets, the members of our English Church, with Mr. Pugh, could be heard each evening, singing "Dare to be a Daniel," &c., as they proceeded through the streets; and it is with much pleasure we record the glorious truth, that God blest [Sic.] these meetings in an extraordinary manner.

"In the most populous part of our village, Mr. Pugh would, for about a quarter of an hour, talk to the people about their souls, and urge them to return to Trinity Chapel, where a sermon would be preached. On the return journey to the chapel, hundreds would follow, and the building was generally well filled, sometimes crowded to overflowing. For three weeks, Mr. Pugh preched night after night, and it is but fair and right to state that we have seldom, if ever, heard more powerful discources; they were eminently adapted to the audience. We were also favoured with admirable discources by the Revs. J. Hughes Griffiths, M.A., Pembroke Dock; J. Calvin Thomas, Tenby; G. Bancroft, Saundersfoot; Thomas Evans, Merthyr; and others.

During the five weeks' mission, about eighty persons joined the various churches in the place, fifty-one of which joined our English Church. The feeling exhibited at some of the meetings is beyond description. Space will not admit of our going into further details; we must however, not omit to mention that one perculiar feature in connection with these meetings was the prayer meeting in the afternoon in the vestry. The converts would meet here, when circumstances permitted, and would pour out their souls to God. Some, indeed most of them, were previously leaders in the service of Satan, and it was truly touching to hear them ask for strength to be as active in the service of Jesus Christ. Whatever may be the opinions of our readers with reference to the permanence of the religion of those who "come in" during revival services, we have reason to thank God for the revivals of 1877 and 1879. The majority of those who connected themselves with our church during the revival of 1877, remain to the present time. The day of judgement alone will reveal the vast amount of good done by the revival referred to. We heartily wish all our English Churches to experience the same blessings as Abertillery has enjoyed, and so as to obtain it, we would say to them in the language of the Master, "Go thou and do likewise."
The Treasury, 1879, pp.172-3.



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