Redes Sociais

The Revival in Shansi – 1908

By Jonathan Goforth

Arthur Sowerby

The news of the wonderful revival in the Shansi churches will in part have been reported by our brethren in the China Inland Mission. When it was arranged by Mr. Lutley with Mr. Goforth that he should visit this province in the autumn, the missionaries in T'ai-yuen-fu were very desirous that he should hold some meetings in the capital, and owing to Mr. Lutley's generous kindness in relinquishing some other meetings in our favour, Mr. Goforth was able to visit us. This visit has now taken place with the happiest results.

As the news reached us of the blessing being experienced in various places our expectations rose, and we prayed and believed that God would bless us also. Our evangelists and leading Christians from the stations and out-stations were invited to T'ai-yuen, and Mr. Corbyn, of the American Board, T'ai-ku, sent twenty-four men, while Mr. and Mrs. Falls and Mr. and Mrs. Gilmer came from P'ing-yao with six men and six women. Some of these Chinese brethren had been at the meetings at P'ing-yao, but were not conscious of having received any power from the Holy Spirit.

Our meetings commenced on Saturday evening, October 17th, and began with a prayer meeting. From the first it was evident that many of those present were in a very receptive spirit, and we all felt that a great blessing would come. At the early prayer meeting on Sunday morning some confession was made, and when Mr. Goforth faced the congregation gathered in the church, which was closely packed, he saw a number of eager, earnest, expectant men and women. At that meeting, and at every subsequent meeting, there was blessing, but for two days the full power did not come; indeed on Monday afternoon we were all conscious of distinct resistance. Dr. Edwards led the evening meeting, and there was an improvement in the receptiveness of the people.

Tuesday morning came, and at the early morning prayer meeting some confession was made, and it was clear that the blessing was coming. After Mr. Goforth's address several were ready to pray for forgiveness, and before long one of the leading Christians came to the front and asked to be heard. Before 1900 he was the chief helper in the hospital, and since then has done a good deal of work in this city, while supporting himself. This man, Mr. Yen, was at the P'ing-yao meetings and even took part in them, exhorting others, but his conscience was not at rest, and when the meetings were over there, he came to T'ai-yuen-fu to make the confession he had withheld from making at P'ing-yao. He spoke a few words, confessing unfaith- fulness and sin after the Boxer troubles, and then broke down completely and fell on his knees and with heart-breaking cries begged for mercy. In a moment the power fell on all, and nearly the whole assembly began to weep and cry. For about twenty minutes or so it seemed to me there was nothing to be heard but groans and cries and half-choked utterances as they all sought forgiveness or confessed their sins. Not only the men and women but the boys and girls from the schools were bitterly crying. The crying and groaning seemed to rise and fall in waves of sound and swept over the meeting from one end of the building to the other. None of us who heard it will ever forget it, and indeed the missionaries could not refrain from weeping with them.

On Wednesday similar blessings were experienced, but for a time there was evidently some resistance to the divine power; at last some of the women began to pray, first one and then another, until several were praying at once, and then once more there was a great movement that affected all alike. One of our best Christians was beating the form in his agony as he knelt, and his cries were terrible. At last one of the orphan lads began to pray, covering his face with his hands as the tears streamed down his cheeks, and for a little while the sobs were somewhat hushed, but they broke out again, and then a clear young voice rose steadily above every thing else as a lad pleaded with God to forgive them all. It was marvellous how the sobs died down and a great calm came over the assembly. So touching was the sound and sight of these weeping and praying men and women that a few strangers who had come in and could not tell what it meant except that these people were confessing their sins, could not keep from crying with them. On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Goforth's last meeting, there was a continued outpouring of blessing, and when Mr. Goforth asked the people to pray for the forth-coming meetings in Honan, they all began to pray aloud, earnestly but quietly, each one uttering his or her own petitions, and it harmonized into a perfect blending of sound, through which one felt the breathing of the Holy Ghost. So far was it from being unseemly or disorderly that those few moments of intercessory prayer, pouring forth from the lips of some two hundred people with such entire oneness of spirit, seemed the most wonderful time of these mighty meetings.

Towards the end Mr. Goforth pleaded that no one should in away his opportunity, and a young man, the son of an earnest Christian evangelist, came to the platform and poured out a terrible tale of sin. With bent head and downcast eyes he continued to the end, and then knelt to pray, when his self-control, that had been extra- ordinary up to that moment, gave way, and he wept piteously; at last, with his face on the floor between his hands, unable to move for nearly half an hour. The meetings are over, but it is a new church we have in T'ai-yuen-fu, and I am hearing of some who are still confessing; one man praying and weeping the whole night long.

It has been impossible to give any full detail, that would require too much space, but God has visited this "City of Mar- tyrs'' with a Pentecostal out-pouring of His Spirit, and to Him be praise and thanksgiving in all the churches.

The people say a new Jesus has come to T'ai-yuen-fu, and to- day two Christian Japanese gentlemen came and rejoiced with me over this wonderful blessing of which they had heard.—The Chinese Recorder, December, 1908, pp. 709-710.

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