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Dr. Campbell Morgan and his…


Dr. Campbell Morgan and his "Staff" in the Rhondda Valley. (Contributed by the Rev. T. E. DAVIES, Clydach Yale, by request). Easter week will be a memorable week in the history of the Rhondda, and of Mid-Rhondda in particular, on account of the unique mission held in the various chapels of the district by Dr. Campbell Morgan and his" staff from Westminster Cliapel, London. Whenever a mission is mooted, it often happens that situations of extreme delicacy arise, and it is of the utmost possible importance that there should be a complete understanding at the beginning as to why the missioner is there, and what the purpose of his mission is In order to the success of any mission, there are some things which must be invariably observed. First, there must be a reasonable amount of unanimity, as well as a readiness on the part of all to co-operate. Otherwise, the best efforts will be hampered in the very beginning. Besides, there must be a considerable amount of preparation, and in order to this there must be a good committee and a goad organising secretary. And finally, the missioner has a right to expect all encouragement from all interested from start to finish. All these conditions were carefully complied with in Mid-Rhondda concerning this recent successful mission. When the news leaked out that Dr. Campbell Morgan and his staff contem- plated spending their Easter holiday, or their annual "Retreat," in the Rhondda, the news was received by all with the greatest possible delight. Committees were immediately formed comprising Dr. OAMPBELL MORGAN. I representatives from all the churches. The Rev. M. H. Ellis, one of the veteran ministers, was appointed chairman; and Mr. R. R. Williams, Clydach Yale, secre- tary, on whom fell the whole burden of organising the campaign; and a greater compliment can never be. paid him than the unqualified success of the mission itself. All worked without a hitch from the beginning—a credit to his unerring tact and to his imperturable good nature. Mention should be made of the able way in which he was assisted by members of the committee, who ungrudgingly gave their time and services to this noble work. The staff consisted of nineteen members, comprising the" Sisters," the evangelist) the organist, the verger, together Avith Mr. A. E. Marsh, Dr. Morgan's assistant, and Mr. Percival Morgan, his son, as well as Dr. Morgan himself. The whole party was a most delightful company. There was nothing faultily faultless and "icily regular about them. They were not doleful or whining, dull nor morose. Their religion was not a joyless thing, with all that is bright squeezed out of it. Their smile and laugh were not a melan- choly snigger which made one feel sorry he had ever seen or heard them. Rather, they were a company of joyful optimists full of good cheer, and the religion of their hearts expressing itself in the gentlemanlinesrs of their conduct and in the radiance of their beaming faces. Dr. Campbell Morgan himself is well known. Though still a comparatively young man, he has already built for himself a world- wide reputation. He is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful men in the land, and recognised as an inyaluable asset to the Free Churches of Great, Britain. His personal appearance is perfectly familiar to the inhabitants of our Valleys, so that it does not require us to describe him, if we could. Of his characteristics as a man and a preacher, there are several which especially endear him to all of us—his sympathetic and thoughtful nature, his brilliant abilities, his wonderful freshness, and his marvellous energy. There is not a lazy bone in his body. He has no love, said his biographer, for the man who can fold his arms and then sing: My willing soul would stay In such a, frame as this, And sit and sing- herself away To everlasting bliss." He is an out and outer," and throws himself with a complete self-abandonment to the great cause he has consecrated his life to. (i I have no sympathy," said he in the meeting at Ebenezer. (i with the men who are half-and-half with anything. I much prefer the man who goes right into Sodom to the one who pitches his tent towards it. There is greater hope for him." The mission commenced with a recep- tion meeting at Trinity Vestry on Monday afternoon, April 12th. There was a good company present to extend to them a. hearty welcome. The Rev. M. H. Ellis voiced the feelings of all present in a short, pithy speech. Dr. Morgan, in responding, referred to his previous visits to the Valley, and particularly to his first visit at the time of the Revival. He and the Rev. Gregory Mantle were together in one of the meetings, and he was very much amused by the spontaneous prayer of a certain brother who referred to the London sharpers" present, but said that the Lord was sharper than all of them. He sincerely hoped that in coming amongst them this time that he and his staff would derive a new inspiration, and that, moreover, they would be able to impart a blessing to others. Tuesday morning, a meeting was held at Jerusalem Chapel for ministers and preachers only. A good concourse came together from the various districts, and Dr. Morgan addressed them, taking as his subject, "The Present Religious Outlook." At the close, questions were invited, to which Dr. Morgan replied. This meeting was greatly appreciated by all present, and the impression created could not he better expressed than by the Rev. E. W. Davies, Ton This is just the thing that was wanted. It is a true analysis of the situation. It cannot but do all of us a vast amount of good and will rekindle our earnestness." Tuesday afternoon, our earnestness." Tuesday afternoon, children's and women's meetings were held at Libanus and Gosen, Clydach Vale, as well as at Bodringallt, addressed by Sister Mona, Sister Alice and Miss Miller. In the evening, Dr. Morgan lec- tured at Bodringallt Congregational Chapel, taking as his subject, The Christ of the Evangelists." The chajjel is sup- posed to seat at least 900' comfortably, but long before the time announced for the lecture to commence the building was crowded to the doors. To describe the meeting is a difficult task. The pastor. the Rev. T. D. Jones, says that for an hour and a half the lecturer' held that vast congregation spellbound, and his words were as strong breezes coming from the hills of another world, moving; us to and fro, and causing the roots of our spiritual life pierce deeper and deeper into the eternal soil. Wednesday afternoon, children's and women's meetings were held at Peny- graig, addressed by Sister Emily and Miss Miller. At Nazareth, Williamstown, at the same hour, Dr. Morgan addressed a men's meeting, taking as his text the well- known words from the Gospel of St. John Wilt thou be made whole ? He said that in the three sentences told the man by Christ we have a revelation of His perpetual method of dealing with man. First he arrests his attention, then he calls his mind into play, and lastly he appeals to his will. In the question addressed to the man, the Saviour recog- nises the royalty, of his will, reveals his degradation, renews his hope, and calls upon him to submit. Every man was in the grip of some infirmity or other, bound by some chain or chains. There was a poison burning in the veins like a veritable fever. But Christ was able to save, to loosen the chain, to quench the fever. No one need despair, or hide his sin, or nurse his agony. Christ is able to save. But the man himself must comply with His conditions. The request may appa- rently appear unreasonable and_ even im- possible. Nevertheless, he must comply. He himself must take up his bed. He must make no provision for relapse into the old life. He must be done with the whole business; he must smash the bottles, and burn the bridges. Even God cannot save a man from sin if he persists in playing with it. At the close of the meeting there was an indescribable hush, and the wooing notes' of the tender appeal of the preacher to surrender to Christ will not soon be forgotten by any of those present. Wednesday evening, at 8, Dr. Morgan preached at Zoar. Penygraig. He took as his text the well-known words of Christ to Peter concerning the feeding of the lambs and the shepherding of the sheep. He dwelt on the assumptions of Christ and the essential qualifications for serving Him—love, sacrifice, realisation of the divine sacredness of the work, as well as a buoyant optimism flowing not from a dead but a living Christ. Only when the Church," said he' knows of the cross, and the scars, and the zeal of the house eating her up, it is then she -can really succeed as she ought to. Every one who follows the Master all the way on Good Friday cannot but be crowned with life on Easter Sunday." The sermon was a memorable one, and no description can convey a true idea of the impression pro- duced. Thursday afternoon, there were meet- ings again for children and women, the one addressed by Sister Dora and the other by Miss Miller, and the messages delivered in these, as in the previous meetings, were felt to be most helpful and inspiring. At four o'clock, Dr. Morgan addressed a men's meeting at Ebenezer. There was a large congregation, and the preacher delivered a, most searching dis- course on "Pitching towards Sodom." He went over the story of Lot, and though the details of it are purely local, and though the colour has faded,. he showed that the underlying principles were full of present, ,meaning and application. Lot was a, good man who acted upon a wrong principle with disastrous results, and there were thousands of such people in the world at the present time. Then the preacher proceeded t, deal with Lot's choice. There was nothing wrong in choosing. Every man must do that, but he emphasised the principle and the- pur- pose of the choice. It was ^choice based upon purely personal and selfish reasoning. He forgot the things permanent and closed his eyes to the gleaming light of the spiritual realm in his effort to grasp the things' perishing. Then, with a master hand, the preacher set forth in harrowing colours the disastrous results of the choice and compromise on Lot's own character and that of his family, and that of the neighbourhood he was living in. Then with the greatest earnestness possible lie showed (1) the folly of self-centred seek- ing. That to take care of number one was a dootiine of devils. And (2) the useless- news of making compromise between good and evil. That he had infinitely more respect for the man who goes clean into Sodom than the man who pitches just outside it, trying to keen up a sort of religiousness while his heart at the same time was set on evil things. No one who heard this moving sermon will forget its searching appeal. Said he: Our wills are ours, we know not how Our wills are ours to make them Thine." At six o'clock, anotthelr meeting was arranged to be held at Trinity Chapel. and to take the form of a, Sunday School Conference, and though the hour was in- convenient, the spacious edifice in a very short time was comfortably filled, and the meeting proved one of the most helpful of the wholei series. Three model lessons were given by the Sisters, one for infants, one for young people, and another for adults. The demonstration of these simple methods was warmly applauded. Ques- tions were also invited bearing; on Sunday School work, and replies given. Nothing could be more timely than this meeting, for it cannot be denied that in our Sunday Schools we are often pursuing amateur and antiquated methods, and our results are most haphazard. Dr. Morgan's weighty words ought to be remembered. The Church, said he, must magnify the teach- ffi ing office, and every effort must be made to guide, train and inspire the teachers. The Church cannot afford to lose its Sunday School, for it is its nursery, and experience teaches that the most reliable and enduring members are not as a rule the fruit of special missions, but the pro- duct of the school. Mr. Millward, soli- citor, Pentre, did rather a, courageous thing in this meeting. He got tip and complained that they in the back could not see in front on account of the view being intercepted by the ladies' hats, and to the credit of the ladies may it be said the immense headgears were immediately removed. Thursday evening, at Ebenezer Chapel, Dr. Morgan delivered a lecture, taking as his subject, The Church: Its Con struction, Its Campaign, Its Keys." Thb congregation was an immense one. Every nook and niche were filled. People crowded the aisles, stood in the door- ways, climbed up to the window-sills, stretched their necks to catch a glimpse of the speaker, and did this for such a time that it would not surprise us to hear that they had been permanently elongated in the process. The lecture was a master- piece, and though he carried not all with him in some of his expositions, neverthe- less it was a truly prophetic message, and delivered with all the marvellous force and the wonderful felicity of which the speaker is capable. All went away from that meeting feeling more convinced than ever that the preacher was a seer and a prophet; not a, mere ecclesiastic but a man who has seen visions and dreamed dreams, who has tested the tnith in the crucible of his own experience, who speaks of what he knows and testifies of what he has seen. He is a Prophet of the Lord; may he be long spared to raise his voice in the wilderness, and to lead the people unto victory. The mission is over, and there can be but one feeling in the hearts of all con- cerning it—a feeling of gratitude. There was no great excitement, no extensive advertising, no beating of the big drum, and yet it was truly a great success. What has been accomplished by it? It is impossible to enumerate all the results, but some of the blessings attained are quite manifest. It has demonstrated how much can be accomplished when all the churches are co-operating, when they are able to say, We are not divided, all one body we." It has been the means of clearing our visions, clarifying our hazy understandings, awakening us to a deeper sense of the realities of life, and the glory and the beauty of the pure and undefiled religion. It has intensified our feeling of indebtedness to others., enabling us to realise how morally bound we are to yoke our energies for the uplifting of ou.7 fellow-men, and to hasten the day when God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As we were going from one of the meetings, someone told us that the question ringing in his ears was this: What kind of a Church would our Church be If every member were just like me? What kind' of a church meeting, a prayer meeting and a Sunday School would they be? etc. Were it this mission accom- plished nothing more than enabling us to realise more deeply our individual respon- sibility, it would have been a God-send. We shall always look back upon it with gratitude, first to God, then to Dr. Morgan and his staff, to the secretary, and to all who helped to make the mission a lasting blessing. We have had the April showers. May these prepare the way for a. glorious summer. Devotional meetings were held by the staff every morning at Jerusalem Chapel and no effort was spared by the church to provide every comfort.