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Daniel Rowland and the Great Evangelical Awakening in Wales

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by Eifion Evans

J. C. Ryle described Daniel Rowland (1711–1790) as ‘one of the spiritual giants of the eighteenth century.’ Lady Huntingdon considered him to be ‘second only to Whitefield.’ Howel Harris wrote of him, ‘In his pulpit he is second to St Paul,’ while others acclaimed him as ‘the greatest preacher in Europe.’ Yet he has been one of the least known leaders of that age.

The loss of manuscripts shortly after his death, the Welsh language barrier, and the fact that all his closest friends were also preachers rather than authors, all contributed to leave only a shadowy impression of his greatness. However, after many years of work, Dr Eifion Evans succeeded in breaking through a multitude of difficulties to present for the first time a full-scale biography of Daniel Rowland.

J. C. Ryle writes of Daniel Rowland, ‘Never, perhaps, did any preacher exalt Christ more. . . . No British preacher of the eighteenth century kept together in one district such enormous congregations of souls for fifty years as Rowland did.’ And Dr D. M. Lloyd-Jones asks, ‘Has there been preaching which has had anything like the effect of his preaching since those days?’

At death, when reminded that he had been instrumental in the conversion of thousands to Christ, Rowland protested, ‘It is nothing. I die as a poor sinner depending fully and entirely on the merits of a crucified Saviour.’

This volume is a record of revivals, friendships with other leaders, persecutions and divisions, and the birth of a new age for Wales. Amidst it all, Dr Evans excels in showing what made Rowland the preacher and the humble Christian that he was. Dr Evans’ volume not only fills a major gap in church history, it is an inspiring testimony to New Testament Christianity.