True Revival    World-Wide Revivals

World-Wide Revivals

This section is devoted to revival activity worldwide. There is an abundance of books and websites that narrate the history of scores of dramatic revivals that have occurred in various, often obscure locations all across the world. Some of the more famous would include
The Great Awakening in America 1730s & 40s
The Evangelical Revival in Britain under John Wesley, George Whitefield, etc
The Ulster Revival of 1859-60
The Korean Revival of 1907
The Welsh Revival of 1904-05
The Hebridean Revival of 1949-52
The Indonesian Revival of 1965-69
The Jesus People Revival of 1967-72

Accounts of revivals such as these have challenged, inspired and encouraged thousands believers across the globe over many decades.

This section is devoted to authentic and often dramatic revivals that for whatever reason have never become well-known. Perhaps documented in one little book or pamphlet which has long since drifted into obscurity. I wish to resurrect such stirring accounts, for the building up of the body of Christ in the present day.

Please feel free to contact me with to relate accounts of little-know revival movements that you have been inspired by.

I will add to this section at different points. Meantime, I share a fairly obscure account – the only reference to its occurrence that I have ever found. A delightful and intense outbreak of evangelical revival that occurred in the county of Cornwall, south-west England, at the turn of the twentieth century.

A Cornish Revival

When returning home with one of the leaders of a West of England Methodist church, from a dull and thinly-attended week-evening prayer meeting in the winter of 1900, my fellow-pilgrim said, 'The only thing to quicken and improve our church is an old-fashioned Cornish revival'. Then said I, 'Let's go about it', for I was conscious we needed a spiritual awakening.. Having so far, only heard and read of Cornish revivals, I was anxious to witness one and in it to act a humble part. In a short time arrangements were made for two weeks of prayer, the meetings to be conducted by the leaders and myself; the church at the same time being asked to devote itself to prayer. For about a fortnight there was apparently 'no move' whatever. The same few attended the prayer meetings, which were flat and irresponsive. Some of the few became disheartened and their faith wavered. But the others were courageous and strong in faith, and it was they who gradually became the formative nucleus. At this juncture it was decided that in our prayers we should ask primarily for one favour from the Father – the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This desire was so fed by meditation and prayer that it gradually grew into the great yearning and wielding passion of our meetings. At last the heavens opened in answer to earnest and persistent prayer. The Spirit drew near. At His approach all of us became keenly conscious of our unworthiness and need of cleansing, for which we prayed. We then consecrated ourselves afresh and more fully to the Lord. It seemed that in proportion to giving ourselves to God, so He gave Himself to us. Whilst this was going on, and we were being put in our right perspective, the record of Pentecost was read. Our souls being in a more perfect attitude towards the Father, and all having become of one accord in prayer and faith, the Holy Ghost fell upon us with great power. It was as if 'the great below was being clenched by the great above', or earth being 'crammed with heaven'. So consciously wrapped about were we with the presence of the Lord that we were enfolded as by a visible Presence. We felt at once relieved from the strain that had been upon us, and were confident that the powers of darkness had been driven before us, and that victory was about to be on Israel's side. The whole atmosphere of the meetings was changed. Hitherto there had been little praise, but much groaning, pleading, wrestling. Now the air was replete with joy and thanksgiving. The glorious Spirit that permeated the services made them, as the old folk say, 'Like a little heaven below'. All present seemed to be taking part in a grand chorus of praise. In these entrancing conditions it was easy to confirm the suggestion;

'What if Earth be but the shadow of Heaven; and things therein Each to the other like more on earth is thought?'

The flood of Divine power, with all its pure and elevating influences, bore our willing minds and hearts heavenward, and we were not disposed to act as one said, 'I tramp in the mire with wooden shoes, whenever they would force me into the clouds'. To bask one's soul in the sanctifying and mellowing presence of God on this memorable night, and to see the faces of the children of God irradiated with heavenly glory, and their eyes full of joy, bespeaking the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, was an experience to be envied. The singing was heartier, greater liberty in prayer was enjoyed, responses were more frequent, and lusty, those previously dumb in meetings now spake: in fact – thanks be to God – there was a delightful change both in the spirit and in the tone of the meetings. Verily, the Lord caused His breath to enter into our souls in a most gracious and wonderful manner. Our prayer for a Pentecost was answered; the Lord having clearly given us our heart's desire. We now, naturally enough, expected signs to follow. At the close of this meeting we lingered in the chapel and about the lobby, for we felt like Jacob when he said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place; this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven'. All were loathe to leave. Knowing it to e late, however, we walked in groups through quiet and unlighted streets and lonely lanes. The stillness of the night was broken only now and again by one of the groups breaking forth into sacred song, or the rattle of a miner's donkey chaise homeward bound. The report of this meeting was circulated through our small town, and on the following evening nearly all the chapel seats were occupied.

Pentecostal meetings are, one thinks, the best medium for religious advertisement, for, after all, the soul of humanity is deeply sensitive to spiritual influences. The Holy Spirit again overshadowed us, and we felt convinced that we were on the verge of a great work of grace. Those who prayed, audibly or silently, realised they were prevailing with God. As the unseen things of God became more real, greater faith was exercised, and a growing consciousness of certain victory gave us joy. Several evenings passed before we saw any outward manifestation of saving grace, though the wave of Divine power had ere this swept through the town. Soon, however, deep conviction was wrought, and the prophecy was fulfilled in our midst, 'When he is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement'. Man of the ungodly were afraid, and even awestruck. They were out of correspondence with the spiritual environment. The words of the Apostle Paul, 'To be carnally-minded is death', were true in their experience.

Many and varied were the means which the Spirit used in order to convict those present of sin. While a brother was delivering a plain, homely gospel address it was astonishing to find how the Spirit of the Lord developed and applied it to the hearts of those present. Aye, it was truly spoken 'in demonstration of the Spirit and of power'. When a worker prayed, not only was his own soul blessed and nourished, but the Spirit smote the heart of the ungodly with the truth in the prayer. In many instances it could be said:

'The fatal dart Sticks in his side and rankles in his heart',
And grief wrung the souls of many and bent them down to the earth. Hymns and choruses such as the following:
'The Lord is here! Is here! Is here!!
The Lord is here, I feel Him in my soul:
Poor sinner, let Him in,
He'll cleanse you from all sin',

…..were forcibly applied by the Spirit to the conscience and heart of the sinner. At some stages of the revival the whole of the ungodly seemed to be sized upon by the spirit, their souls became much disturbed and a feeling of great anxiety took hold upon them. Conviction was so general at times that one could not hear oneself speak for the cries, groans, shrieks; it was as though 'the whole ocean flamed as one wound'. The first to start the cry for mercy was a boy about twelve years of age, son of one of our leaders. The outward signs of inward conviction were often peculiar. Some, when convicted, were as if suddenly bodily wounded. Others ran down the aisle as 'or dear life' to the penitent form, whilst others staggered there. A few fell on their knees in the pews and sought the great Physician. With scarcely any exception those who were needing the Saviour came straight to the penitent form. At such times the class leaders came forward to point them to the 'Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world'. Appropriate and earnest prayers were offered on their behalf, and such hymns as 'There is a Fountain filled with Blood', 'Only trust Him', 'Come to Jesus', 'There are Angels hovering Round' were sung. Some were very soon freed from the fetters of sin, whilst others agonised in soul for hours, often expressing their anguish by beating with open or closed hand the form at which they knelt. I have known penitents to come night after night and prostrate themselves at the penitent form. In this revival, as in others, I noticed that the spiritual temperature of the meeting had much to do with accelerating the emancipation of the sinner. When the meetings were of a powerful nature and all aglow, the penitent seeking Christ seemed to be helped in exercising faith; but when they were dull, too protracted, and powerless, the seeker usually returned home dissatisfied and disappointed.

When any of the Cornish friends were converted there were in almost every case pronounced expressions of gladness. It was a common sight to see a pardoned and released sinner going to both friend and foe and heartily shaking hands. If a female, she walked in and out of the pews, embracing the members of the family to which she belonged, also all her female friends. Sometimes the newly-converted person appeared to be in a trance, unconscious of surroundings, and would pace up and down the aisles with both arms bolt upright, praising god. I saw one old lady, about seventy years of age, moving her arms backward and forward and clapping her hands alternately for about an hour. Old people, as well as young, leaped for joy on entering into liberty.

On one occasion I remember an old man jumping so high that his head struck the bottom of the appending lamp, raising it several inches. This was repeated two or three times, whilst I and other responsible persons looked on with fear and trembling lest the whole concern should fall at our feet and a new lamp have to be bought. The pendulum-like sway of the body, the clapping of hands, the shouting of praise, were very ordinary and refined ways of expression. A friend of mine, who had never before conducted a service in Cornwall, was calmly, impressively and eloquently emphasising the most vital part in his discourse, when suddenly a sister shrieked out an extraordinary sound, and, turning round to an unconverted friend next ot her, shook her unmercifully. My friend, being unacquainted with Cornish religious enthusiasm, and having been a member of an orderly city church, was not only startled but vexed by this sudden outburst. He said to one of the leaders at the close that if such an occurrence had happened in a London chapel the sidesmen would have sent forthwith for the police and ordered her ejection.

On the countenance of the newly-converted was often a heavenly halo, reflecting heartfelt ecstasy. It is said that 'the curators in our great cathedrals, who walk beneath the stately come, acquire a stately step; so do men who are under the sway of high ideals'. I fear in lively Cornish revivals we have an exception to this. Many of those converted made known their happy condition as bes they could, and the means they used were their own 'unchoked channels and flood-gates of expression'.

This revival continued for at least four months, and was primarily conducted by the leaders and myself. Scores were saved. Generally the meetings were very powerful and of a high order: occasionally the powers of darkness hung over us, but only to be dispersed. Now and again the meetings reached a higher degree of Divine power than those at the beginning of the work of grace. This was so one Sunday evening, some weeks after the revival had begun. As I was returning home from a country appointment I met the 'local' who had officiated at the service. In reply to an inquiry, he said he had had a good time, but thought better times were in store. On arriving at the chapel at 9.30p.m., I found it still lighted. I entered, and never before saw such a sight or felt such an overawing power. My soul was at first somewhat out of touch with the higher correspondences. Holy fear fell on me, and I realised that the place whereon I stood was holy ground. Some moments elapsed before I recovered my normal condition. The sudden change, which originated in my being ushered into the immediate presence of God, was so unexpected and different from any previous experience, that its effect upon me, for the moment, was that of being awestruck. In a few minutes I felt I had come into a deeper and richer sense of the Master's Presence than heretofore. Adjusting myself gradually to the new conditions, my soul became responsive and joyful, and before the service closed I felt very much at home. I have realised since,

'Tis the most difficult of tasks to keep
Heights which the soul is competent to gain'.

This revival was far-reaching in its influence. It was as a balm for in a short time many of our churches were blessed with gracious revivals. Young and old were gathered into the fold. All had a mind to work, and several of the young men promised to become very acceptable preachers.

The spiritual life of the churches has much improved, and a beautiful Christian tone has permeated all their institutions. The finances have been raised without anxiety. Any who attended these revival meetings and experienced the mighty power of God and witnessed His manifestations will never, methinks, be troubled as to whether there be a Spirit and whether He works in the souls of men. The doctrines of the Spirit, as revealed in the New Testament, were verified before our eyes and in our own experience. Pentecost seems easy to be believed when one has attended and passed through such Pentecostal meetings.

What an encouragement is the above revival to many who are earnestly waiting for the baptism of the Holy Ghost with power. To those, who are few in number and yet are patiently expecting a revival, this revival should not only be an example but an inspiration; for Pentecost can undoubtedly be repeated if we will get and keep our souls in right attitude towards the Father. And as one who has lately passed through a modern Pentecost, and hoping to do so again, I would say:

'Lord Jesus, as Thou wilt; if among thorns I go,
Still, sometimes here and there let a few roses blow'.