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-_------__------ECHOES OF…

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SUNDAY SKETCHES. j LIBANUS CHAPEL, CWMBWRLA. | (By "ido genes.") MOTHER BETHESI?A:S CHICKENS, seme of them grown into quite respectable liens, scratching for themselves with com- mendable vigour—cackle all over Swansea. I don't believe there is a Welsh Baptist cause in the town which does not owe its existence directly or indirectly, to the church of Christ- mas Evans. The virility of the mother dissi- pates into the brood, and though Mother Be- ti.esda, it is whispered, has been poorly of late-—in need, so 5,i(y some authorities—of a S;'esneg tonic—you calÙ say that of her daughters Here the old faith, the wild energy, t.he ancient tongue, are felt, seen, and heard as in the good days gone. Dr. Daniel Davies, "the blind man." is dead. I think he lives. and rules, and speaks. in multitudinous voice, at many a little Bap- tist cause in West Wales, every Lord's Day. You are funny people. You say Dr. Daniel Davies was blind, when lie could really see faither than any Baptist man of his em; you now say lie is dead, when lie lives more fully and more perceptibly than he ever did before. You are funny people Peering into the distant past, we may see, dimly, but with sufficient, clearness, the 'LITTLE f»')TTAGE MEETINGS 11 at Cwmbwrla, over which the vivid sighted spirit of the blind man is spreading. They were the little seed, which was to grow into [1 big tree. The seed was nameless; the big tree is Libanus. There are those yet in Cwm- bwrla who had delightful memories of these oU days. Occasionally, Rev. R. A. Jones, minister of Bethesda, preached—at the house of Mr. C. Powell—and once—occasion blessed in memory for ever—Mr. Jones, of Nantyffin, came. The Sunday School was then con- ducted in the Itouse of Mr. D. Evans, Cae- bricks. His son is now a deacon and the trea, surer. The first time the thought of a church at Cwmbwrla found expression, was at a Be- thesda church meeting on November 9, 1863, and early in '66 Bethesda- resolved to build. In April 30th of that- year the CHRISTENING OF THE CAUSE w.>„s solemnised. On Julv 10th and lltlt, 1867. a substantial stcne building was completed and opened, by a sermon from Rev. 11. A. Jones Others who preached were "the Blind Man." Rev. RufusWilliams (Rliondda), J. Jones ("Mat-be- tas"—-author of a NVeisli commentary on the Bible, which is recognised yet as a, standard commentary), and Rev. Evan Thomas (Car- digan, now of Ealing, London). The latter, who continues to minister at Ealing, is the sole survivor. In May. 1869, the brethren at Cwmbwrla, asked to be organised as a. separate church. and immediate steps were taken to comply with their wishes, and with the blessing of the oastor and people of Bethesda. Libanus started out to assist- m the evangelisation of Cwmbwrla. And she has done her share. ':k These Cwmbwrla deacons arc modest men tnere are eleven of them in ail—the one I lassoed and tamed made me "promise and vow" that his name should not appear in any sketch I might perpetrate. But he was wili- ing enough to talk, which, after all, is what a Sunday sketcher wants most. AT FIVE YEARS OLD this gentleman's acquaintance with Libanus began—lie has been a member for 28 yea's— j cjuii long enough to pick up a respectable quantity of information. ORDER FOR THE DEACON. The story is a- very human one. Rev. Roberts was the first pastor of the new church. We never hear anything about him. He turned out wrong. "Rev. Wm. Haddock preached there for seven years. He was a very good man, and the church was going oiti tery well under his ministry, but he left suddenly, and went down tJ Blaenffos, in Carmarthenshire." "Why did he leave?" "He went to the theatre, and then lie was • asked to resign at once." "Was that all?" chapel people don't believe in going the theatre, you know." Though it had nothing to do with this sketch, I here interrupted the interview to aigae with the deacon. I pointed out that the drama was nothing in itself—not neces- saiily GOOD, OR BAD, OR IfDDL¡'- it was just what people made it, and would not. I inquired, the abandonment of it by all good Christian people-I presumed that chapel people were good and Christian—tend to lower the standard of the theatre. The deacon readily assented, bat with the "well-conditioned block-headedness" that Car- 1\-1" so ardently eulogises; vet remarked he "didn't think it was the right thing for Chris- tians to go to the theatre," and talking of the care with which anything "secular" was barred even in less spiritual institutions con- nected wit-ii the church, he told a story of his father, A KIND-HEARTED HERBALIST, who n'rlshcd in early Cwmbwrla days. Every boy or girl who recited or sang at the Band of Hope were rewarded by the doc- tor with lozenges. Once a wild-natured boy- rose and recited—or began to—a little piece entitled. "R facli fu farw 1" (The little donkey that died !) Everyone was shocked, and the elocutionist smothered forthwith! "He didn't get his lozenges that- time?" '"Oli. no; but you see. if so careful in the Band of Hope, how much more so they must be in the Sunday School, where Scripture dia- logues are alone permitted. "Well, did Pastor Haddock defend himself in any "He said he went to the theatre to see. He had been told some of their people went there, I and he wanted to see for himself." But the excuse did not save him. From North Wales came Rev. Daniel Da- vies ("Dvtri Myrddin"). Mr. Davies was "A very good preacher, out not very good as a pastor." "Whv not?" ''Well, he didn't go to visit his flock enough. Get him in the pulpit HE WAS ALL RIUHT, but in visit-ation he wasn't up to (he mark. Ho remained six years. His sermons were well thought out—all of them." "Next pastor?" "Rev. Samuel Davies. I'd rather not say anything about him!" "Rev. J. H. Hughes, came from Bootle. Liverpool." "\Vlat of liiiii "Oh, everything that's good about him. One ot the best preachers that ever was there Mid minister as well." "His good points?" "Earnestness. I think, was the first." "He was a good man?" "Oh. capital a very straight-forward man, andV man that could lead the flock, because he h\d enough common sense; he led them piuperly: he had the reins in his hands, and was keening them there. One of the biggest losses the church ever had was losing him." When did he go?" Last August twelve months. He v.-as at Libiinus five and a half years." "He didn't go wrong?" Mis wife didn't have health in Swansea, j ant. they had to go back t-o the Midlands. He is now in Manchester. The church was verv piosperoux under him—numerically and 'V^-llv—spiritually more tha.n numerically, He happened to come here at the WORST TIME IN OCR HISTORY, bemuse the works at Cwmfelin and Cwm- bwrla were stopped. In :iIltl '98, about a hundred of our members left. for America, "J en the tinplate trade started there. 1 bat accounts for the fact- that tne present membership is only slightly in excess of that in 1895? ° "Since last year vve-ve been without a pas- tor." "How is that?" "CaH get one to suit us altogether." The hymns, each of them, were on bap- tism. During the singing of the last, the preacher retired three young fellows in a side pew took oif coats, vests, and boots, a, few •y.s and girls GATHKRED EXPECTANTLY in the aisles, all of those who were in the gal- lery leaned over; there was real interest, everywhere. The girls were clad in ordinary summer frocks. Three young men and two young women— everyone in their teens, were the subjects ot the ordinance. The pastor, arrayed in a jroek coat, iUnd with "baptismal trousers." Ho went, into the water, which was a matter of three feet deep, then returned, his trousers glistening, and standing on the edge of the tank. remarked that several young people there would follow Christ as a starting point of their Christian life. He was pleased to see young people, in the early morning of manhood and womanhood, so begin to follow Christ. Nothing wm more pleasant to him than to be baptising people. First the girls, and then the boys. one bv one. followed the pastor INTO THE WATER, fie,, standing to their left, and seizing them as they came, by the hair and waist, pron- nounces the solemn words "Fab leninc (a'r Ferch leuanc) yr wyf yn eich bedyddis yn en v y Tad, y* Mab, a'r vsoryd Glan, Amen." ("Young man—or young woman—I baptise you in the name of the rataer, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.") t 'I he,se words ufcttered, the pastor lowers the subject backwards into the water, and as the waves close over her, the choir strikes up a most spirited piece of music yr Oen. Hallelujah." Several tanes repeated. A deacon STOOD ON THE BANK with a handkerchief to wipe the fare of the baptise* and a. ]ady ;lt the end covered each ",t")ti,cci girl with a shawl as she came up the steps. lie would pray," the preacher said, hë wanted to ask the congregation, "Was there anybody there ready to be baptised. y (3 He, 'o1 'ls- part, was willing to receive any- I one an «*Ptise them there and then, on their profession oj faith Jn Jesus •> No. pet son volunteering, the pastor prayed shorty on behalf of the young people who had been Mptised, and to rousing music from I ti»e folks retired. Lioanus choir sings no oratorios now; not since t ie f ark days of :9'7 and 88, when the exodu* o America lost to it a number of su- perior "fwstes. Prior to that. big audiences in tiie ert Ha,[j were entranced with de- ,tutui renderings of such masterpieces of I sacred ineloay as the "Messiah," "Judas Mac- cxbeas St. llIUI 11 and "Samson." The eluiPe n.^er had an organ or harmonium, but relied so e on strong ar.d melodious voices, They oiice number 120, and now reach about 1 ..Councillor Griffiths has for many years, ana ]S now> conductor, and there arc P1. <lbly few men in Swansea so wedded to then work as Councillor Griffiths t-o his. [ he ouiieillor was spoicen of to me by a tYholmis person as "A.LITTLE GOD AT LIBANUS"; that !'e' Profoundly respected, admired, and loved tnere is pluinjy evident. Mr. Griffiths ;s ll' >e'u^r deacon—by a long way—having serve1' t ie cliurch in that capacity for oil yea is, allC <'s secretary for a quarter of a een- tl'l'V; Nine1.' -eight per cent of Libanus' 309 mem- bers balance, of course, arc n;) ie'Y? drinkers. The services are very well ^uc Gd til ways. The Sunday School is one <>1,st jn {he district, has*20 classes, adult Ju,Ciiile, and an a vein go attendance of ovet f here a? e 45G on the books. A Chr'.sd-i'1*^ -.lueuvour Society of 60 to 70 meets oo Ml'Tlt d^ !l Ihmd of Hope, from oCO to 400 strong?" Uesdays. -L'1 e* <l Qebt also, but not a heavy one. Lilians produced two ministers -Rev. David Davity •, of Shrewsbury, and Mr. B. G. Grifh'V 'l 's(,u of Councillo'* Griffiths, is now senior ^uUent at Regent's Park Baptist Col- jp,re, London. ° I;).Illus Sunday School has always been emineI .^uceessful in its scripture essays. The*?; are sent first to the Baptist quarterly meeting, wd from there thc b,e:t are selectèd to go to the al1llu¡¡! meeting lle Sunday School Union. A comde "l, £ "ne from Cwmbwrla everv veav, cep :¡.. .¡. -¡r A ia,1d by no means a silent one. Revere"0 s 'ar awav. but earnestness, and a sense 0 Z11 'pation are at band. All, es- pecial'.V °.'e b,,v.s ant] jjjr|s in the gallery, grow keelll^expectant, for A HA{,'nSMAL SERYICE i" to be c,1;ndueted. The chairs from the "Set F11"'1' piled up unceremoniously at one ei)d l"e «'Hs|e, and two deacons are re- moving ,f- !'r- for underneath it- is the bap- tistry the preacher for tiie even- ing. | ( "l°herts. from Mount Calvaiy, got Pulhit'. and an ordinaiy service, chieliy C jt-eecK- 1 heartiness of its song. s.\ CoU'l01' 1-Jfliths leads off. having got the rig'1 °uf of his tuning fork, the choir fotlow- in chords full, deep, and glowing*, 1 congregation also is not be- hind. a"d no silent voice anywhere. The te'f ;'»is is a. faithful saying, and worthy itC:teptation, that Christ Jesus c;iiiie illt(P .iC W(|rld to save sinners." The ,c'etr|rt""J;p-(-'tirist to come, the great point "d Testament; Christ having come t|,a ll'e New. The future is very dark f°l ^<Jdless, Christless, man. Iu- ii ;isKeu gersoll here bevond p.^th the door leads to night? e sav." He wotIld see the future, being a Christless man. r'l(hstinction to this, the prea- cher n11'. first verse of "Islwyn's" well- known Uwchlnw cvnivhin amcr." The >howed tlmt nCW-[T TO HEER E CHHIT, and the gave reasons: (1) The unitv of I,; The Old Testament and the new c(»nI to give us a complete stoiy of the < h'^l' v.J.U|ny writers in many ages, but one °r .f. the whole of Hicni. (2) The simpl'clts ■'e Gospel. Christianity j„ the idea lS.(f r the creation, but the Gos- pc- :'ls5. 'i,g|than an idea—it- is a Word. The e'.f ..l'lxlation of a "faithful saying" in the £ "a true word. (o) The ent-rv l'lP livu';1 ls ^I'l'ough Christ and baptism, (4) The 1 "U Christ, was to save men—a Lve D i'i'-rhe" lie could not have—he fought the ba the universe in the dark, that 11^ —light' --='A_