Commonwood PM Chapel, North Wales
an acted parable?
My 1947 Ordnance Survey map shows the position of the Primitive Methodist chapel which was in the Chester Second Circuit. My photograph shows the site today. No trace remains of the chapel, and a lady living in one of the houses opposite had no knowledge of there ever having been one there.
Such sights cause me to ponder a number of thoughts. One is whether what we see here could be a sort of parable: is the influence of Primitive Methodism being allowed so to fade that soon it will leave no more trace than it has at Commonwood?
Another thought is from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:14 – “I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing … can be taken from it.” Every man, woman or child who trusted Christ in that little chapel, and who ‘endured to the end’ as our Lord said, is now in the Lord’s presence “in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Shorter Book of Offices, Methodist Publishing House, page 45). Nothing can take away from that.
And thirdly I think of some words from the life story of Methodist minister and revivalist, William Bramwell, published in The Library of Methodist Biography:
Bramwell returned from a session of Conference, and sat down wringing his hands and crying, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us! It is all over with us.’ Many times he solemnly declared that ‘the glory had departed.’
He wrote a letter to every superintendent minister:
I have long been penetrated with the liveliest sorrow at perceiving an evident decline of that burning zeal, that active perseverance, that vital holiness, that lamenting love, which actuated the first Methodist preachers: and which enabled them victoriously to triumph over every obstacle… Alas! my brethren. We have entered into their labours, but have we retained their spirit?