Lessons From The 1905 Revival In India
By Mary Warburton Booth
One evening a friend called to see me. She had spent many years in India. "I was in the Great Revival," she said to me. "I was there when it broke out in the Khasi Hills [in India]. I will tell you about it." And there until midnight we sat and talked of the wonderworking power of the Blood of the Lamb and the Life-giving Spirit sent to revive.
Eagerly she bent forward, and her face lit up as she began to tell of the wonderful happenings she herself had seen and felt. It was the time of the Great Revival in Wales, and the weekly mail brought letters to the missionaries in India, telling how God was using one man [Evan Roberts] to stir the principality. Sinners were convicted of sin, whole villages were converted and the Holy Ghost was working in power in every town and village they knew.
A hunger and a thirst for God took possession of the missionaries. The mission to which they belonged was a part of the same church in Wales that was gripped by revival. It didn’t take long for them to realize that this was for them, too, and prayer was vital. They felt the power in the letters received, and they knew it was of God. Nothing would satisfy them but that they should also be in a revival, and so they gave themselves to prayer.
Pentecost was their need; Pentecost was what they asked for; and it was Pentecost they received! In a little chapel where a few Christians were gathered for prayer, they suddenly felt an unseen Power, and all went down in His Presence. Their cries went up as one. The noise was so great that the unbelievers in the village ran to see what it was. A great fear came over the villagers.
"What is this power?" they asked. "Why are these men on their faces?" And even while they questioned, they were silenced by the Spirit moving over them, and they cried out to be saved.
The revival spread. One station after another caught the fire, and the glory of the Lord was revealed. Worshipping God, singing and praying went on through night hours and a host of souls were gathered into Christ’s fold. The missionaries were revived. New life came to them.
This missionary friend said to me, "I have never known such glory! Wherever we went we saw the work of the Holy Ghost, and we gathered together to tell each other of what we knew. We read about the revival in Wales, but we experienced it in the Khasi Hills, and never was there such an experience before or since. The fire melted us all together. We saw the Lord, and we trod the heavenly way. Oh, it was glory just to walk with Him!
"One time I went to another station to meet some friends. Others arrived at the same time, and I was put into a grass hut, for the house was full. It was the cold season, and I wondered how I could keep warm. A hot bottle was put there for me. Sleep would not come, but oh, the glory that filled my soul! I felt as if I must be in Heaven. The cold night was filled with holy gladness, and I sang unto the Lord in an ecstasy of joy unspeakable. Love inexpressible was mine. I knew I had found Him, and He had found me, and the Holy Ghost had come to immerse me in Himself, that I might abide in Christ forever. I got out of bed to kneel before Him in worship and adoration. The clock struck twelve, then one and two, and I lived in the glory. My heart was satisfied, and His presence filled the little hut.
"Before breakfast was served the next morning, we sat around the table and sang to Him. All our conversation was of Christ. In a very real and intimate way He had come to us. The Welsh Revival had reached us! God had spoken to us, and was speaking through us to others. Every day we heard of those who were being added to the Church. Conviction of sin was very real; repentance and restitution came hand in hand, and we all felt that we had lived for that time. All my being said, ‘Glory!’
"We were gathered there for some days, when a friend called to see me. We began to gossip and criticize others. Something was said that was detrimental to another, and as we talked, something happened." The speaker paused, and her voice quivered. "I lost the glory from my soul; it just slipped away. I stood there after the friend left, feeling as if something was slain within me. I went to my grass hut, but there was no glory. I knelt to pray, and I could only cry. I knelt in an agony of mind. What had I done? Nothing very much. I only joined in conversations that led to gossip, making light of another. With drastic swiftness we took away her good name, and the glory I had received departed from my soul."
"And then?" I questioned. She shook her head and with a very sad voice answered: "I have never felt the same; that glory has not come back to me." I was awed by the story, and I felt her agony. Oh, to be a helper!
We sat in silence for a long time, and then we knelt to pray. A longing that was inexpressible took hold of me, and I prayed that I might never forget that lesson. God knows all there is to know about us. He has nothing to find out and He is not deceived by any one of us. When He told us to be holy in all manner of conversation, He meant exactly what He said (1 Peter 1:15-16). It may be that some of us have missed the way because we have not ordered our conversation aright. To be entangled in the yoke of gossip is a snare and a delusion. It is love-destroying, time-killing, and a power that separates beyond recall. It had stolen the glory from the friend who sat with me.
Hand clasped hand as we stood at the door. We looked up at the stars, and then she went out into the night. I turned in and began to think it all over. I knew that God had a special reason for letting me hear that story and a solemn responsibility of the truth of life took possession of me. I sat there alone while a long procession of God’s children passed before my mind. I saw visions, and heard words, and gathered thoughts that are a sign and a warning. There are no shortcuts in the way of holiness. An unguarded word may send one who seemed safe down a steep incline. A word of slight may take all the heart out of a brave warrior, and a good word withheld may do untold harm when it might be said.
The Seriousness of Slander
"Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people" is written in the Bible (Lev. 19:16). How little we heed it! "Is that why we see so little of His glory?" I asked myself. Then Psalm 101:5 came to my mind: "Whoso… slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off." "Cut off"? What is this thing that must be handled with such drastic treatment? Slander is falsely accusing another. It is taking away a good name and putting something else there. It generally begins with a bit of gossip. No harm is intended, but gossip leads to criticism, and criticism kills love and creates unkind thoughts and words, and slander is made easy. I remembered then something I had once read: "Shun gossip, as you shun the devil."
– Used by permission from The Heartbeat of The Remnant, September/October 2005.