Enclosed find a newspaper clipping that may interest you. It is from the March "Review of Reviews," and throws a little clearer light than anything I have yet seen on the "Great Welsh Revival." The statement that it is more a movement toward community reform than individual regeneration, is in line with the wholesale methods of the "New Christianity." The emotionalism which characterizes the movement is, it seems to me, indicative of Satanic influence rather than of that of Holy Spirit, which is peaceable and sane and quiet. Satan's effort among those who are reaching out after truth and godliness at this time, is not, apparently to openly thwart and oppose, but to mislead—to carry to an excess of emotion where reason is lost sight of. That this is being accomplished by this movement is evident—and not only among those directly concerned, but throughout nominal Christianity—whose members are pointing to this as an evidence that "the Holy Spirit" is still working in "the churches." Jeremiah foretells (2:35) "Yet thou saidst, I am innocent; surely his anger is turned away from me!—Behold, I will enter into judgment with thee, because thou sayest 'I have not sinned!'"
If I am uncharitable, I want to be corrected—if right in above view, I thought the clipping might strengthen the faith of some (as it has mine) regarding something hard to understand—the apparent success of some nominal church movements—and so submit it to you for use as you see fit.
The weekly edition of the Times, of London, finds the whole movement finely characteristic of the Welsh people, with their emotional temperament, love for music and oratory, and warm-hearted impulsive lives. Summing up his impressions of the results of the revival, the writer in question says:
Suppose we first hear the critic. "Remember," he tells you,—and I well remember,—"the revival of 1858-59. It was as great in fire and extent as this. The chief figure in that revival himself soon lapsed into an unbroken callousness, and his name was not held in honor, while in Cardiganshire, the cradle and center of the movement, a few months revealed a trail of immorality left by the revival, and showed how closely kin are sympathy and sensuality, emotion and lust. Then, as now, the excitement threw many off their balance, and condemned them to end their days in rayless mania. The net result was bad—the people, strung up by an untrustworthy fanaticism, soon fell back into an immovable indifference, and dissent itself was left enfeebled and palsied." Such criticism is in the air. There is some truth, but not all the truth, in such an estimate of the revival, and those who know intimately the mining valleys of South Wales, and, alas, the squalid, brutal lives of many of the toilers, must be profoundly thankful for any influence that can awaken and startle them to the thought and the hope of better things. The weariness of well-doing is the strain under which so many fail. That strain is increased by the unwisdom that confounds innocent amusement with wrongdoing, and regards football and lying as equally heinous. The revival does give an impulse to better things. If its influence wanes and fails, it will be for the lack of that sustained nurture and spiritual discipline which are essential to moral growth. But in spite of all the inevitable failures and lapses, a revival which makes men sunk in ignorance and depravity feel even for one short week the spell and power of a noble ideal cannot and must not be condemned.
It is clear that a religious conception directs the present movement to which the men of the earlier revivals were strangers. Their minds were fixed on the idea of individual conversion. They rushed to the chapels and field preachings to hang on the lips of a great orator who proclaimed salvation. In the movement of to-day the underlying idea seems to be the public confession of sin, and the salvation not so much of the individual as of the community. In a word this remarkable revival is a protest against an individualistic and sectarian conception of religion, and a struggle to return to a corporate and positive Christianity.