This report appeared in The Methodist Times of January 5, 1905
Reports from all the districts in South Wales affected by the revival show that the Christmas holidays, so dreaded by new converts who formerly devoted the whole of the time to drink and revelry, have passed by without the defections from the faith loudly prophesied by the unsympathetic and unbelieving. South Wales has never known such a quiet and peaceful Christmas.
In Cardiff alone, as yet only slightly moved by the revival, police reports show that drunkenness has diminished 60 per cent, whilst on Saturday last the Mayor was presented by the Chief Constable with a pair of white gloves, there being no case at all on the charge sheet — an unprecedented fact for the last day of the year.
The same thing happened at the Swansea County Court on the previous Saturday, and the magistrates said, All the years I’ve been sitting here I’ve never seen anything like it, and I attribute this happy state of things entirely to the revival.
The streets of Aberdare on Christmas Eve were almost entirely free from drunkenness, and on Christmas Day there were no prisoners at all in the cells.
At Pontypridd, mirabile dictum [ie wonderful to relate], there were no assaults on the police, and throughout the mining area generally drunkenness was the exception and not the rule.
At Abercarn Police Court, responsible for a population of 21,000, there was not a single summons on Thursday — a thing unknown since the court was formed fourteen years ago — and here, too, was enacted the ceremony of the white gloves.
Bridgend Station, usually the scene of much debauchery on the part of drunken excursionists going to and from Cardiff, has never known such orderly behaviour, and the streets of the town, too, have been free from rowdyism. Similar reports come from Carmarthen and other important centres, such as Merthyr.
Many of the miners in Glamorganshire come from small towns and villages in North Wales, and the trains conveying them to their old homes for Christmas were jubilant with revival song. At Machynlleth, on the Cambrian, where the Aberystwith and Barmouth portions of the train had to be divided, the passengers from both congregated on the platform and held a prayer meeting. Throughout the holiday season the chapels in most places were open for prayer and praise meetings morning, afternoon, and night, and to these places the people thronged with delight, and spent their time and their energies in strengthening the weak and rescuing the tempted. Railway returns show that the excursion holiday traffic has been reduced by one-half, the people evidently preferring to remain at home to pray and sing in company with those recently reclaimed.
There has been a correspondent reduction in public-house takings and in attendances at low-class places of amusement third and fourth rate theatrical touring companies, who usually reap such a rich harvest in these regions at Christmas, have found it advisable to keep clear of the Rhondda this time.
Restitution still holds a prominent place in the revival program. One conscience-stricken traveller hands over 1s. 7d. to the Rhymney Railway Company, in payment of a nineteen miles journey some time ago without a ticket. A Rhymney business firm acknowledges the receipt of £5 from an anonymous person in payment of an old debt, long disregarded. A collier, who has formerly spent his money on all kinds of sinful pleasure, has removed his younger brother from an orphanage, and has decided to support him with his savings till he is old enough to provide for himself.
At one service a man with a tear-stained face rushed from the gallery to a pew downstairs, and, clutching passionately the hand of another man, entreated to be forgiven. It was evidently a request not easily granted, so the two repaired to the vestry, where the wrong was satisfactorily rectified, and then the two men newly-reconciled returned to take a happier part in the service. …
The change in the language of the crowds has been just as marked this Christmas as the change in their drinking habits. This change cannot be more suitably expressed than in the two verses which have now disappeared from that well known hymn, No. 366, in our new book (Glory to God whose sovereign grace by Charles Wesley):
Suffice that for the season past Hell’s horrid language filled our tongues,
We all Thy words behind us cast, And lewdly sang the drunkards songs.
But, O the power of grace divine! In hymns we now our voices raise,
Loudly in strange hosannas join, And blasphemies are turned to praise!
Whilst bands of enthusiastic workers have paraded the streets, arresting the attention of the careless by joyful song and earnest invitation, homely meetings have been extemporised in cottages, and here some of the most precious experiences of the revival have been obtained. The church in the house is very precious in the sight of the Father. At one of these family gatherings no less than five conversions were recorded on the evening of Boxing Day. For such it was a happy prelude to the Crowning Day, which all true believers anticipate. ...