NUMEROUS invitations have come to me recently, to write concerning the life and work of D. L. Moody, all of which were the publishers of this volume for several declined. I have, however, accepted the invitation of reasons. 

First. Because they have made it possible for me in so doing to make a generous contribution to some benevolent or educational work, which I may select, my hope being that I might in this way contribute to the work for which Mr. Moody gave his life. 

Second. Because very many friends have urged upon me the so doing; they presented it to me as a call to duty as well as a privilege, they told me it was a golden opportunity to speak of.his life to many people who might not read the particulars of it elsewhere, and I was convinced that a subscription book would reach thousands of homes, which might not otherwise be influenced. They told me that my work as an evangelist made it fitting that I should write of him, who was known as the greatest evangelist of the generation. 

Third. I write because I loved him, and I felt that I might in this way pay tribute to the most consistent Christian man I have ever known. I am confident that there has not been in these latter days a man who was more truly filled with the Holy Ghost than he. 

In view of all this my contract was made with the publishers and it was made before I knew what other books might be written, but even then I was assured by those who knew that my book had a field of its own, and could not be considered as in competition with any other for I would write from an entirely different standpoint. 

This book is sent forth with the prayer that God may make it a blessing to its readers everywhere. It is my purpose, in using such facts as I may legitimately claim, to present Mr. Moody, not only in his early life, and tell the story of his conversion, but to present him as a public character, as a man of God, as a Prince among evangelists, and give to my readers such a view of him as may not be found in other books. He was a man of great faith in God, and of mighty power in life and in prayer; he was a devout student of the Bible, he was a great preacher, and he moved men as it has been given few men to do. He reached more people during his lifetime than any other man, possibly in the world’s history. He was, in the judgement of a distinguished Scotch Christian, the greatest educator of his day. He had a victorious life, and a triumphant death. It is the purpose of this book to give a review of all this, in as personal and practical a way as possible. 

Letters have been written me by many of his old friends, giving me even a better knowledge of him than my more than twenty years’ acquaintance could afford. 

So I write with pleasure, and thanking God that it is my privilege. He was the best friend I have ever known, and whether I think of him as a preacher, and a great leader of men, or just as a humble follower of God, in his home as I frequently saw him, he was the most thoroughly consecrated man, and the most Christ-like of any one I have ever known. Among those who rise up to call him blessed, I thank God I stand. 

New York, January, 1900.

Table of Contents – The Life and Work of D.L. Moody


Early Acquaintance with Mr. Moody – A Most Profound – Influence – Master in Moving Men – The Power of God on His Work – The Last Picture of the Evangelist – Professor Drummond on Moody.


Northfield Not a Modern Town – The First Settlers – The Second Settlement – After the Revolution – The House in Which Moody was Born – The Character of the Town.


The Death of His Father – Mrs. Moody’s Struggle – Incidents from Moody’s Early Days – His Rudimentary Education – Departure from Home – Looking for Work.


A Picture Never To Be Forgotten – His Mother’s Blessing – Her Puritan Ancestry – Her Conversion – D. L. Moody’s Tribute to His Mother – Verses She Had Marked.


First Acquaintance With Mr. E. D. Kimball – Just Ready for the Light – Mr. Moody’s Probation – Admitted To the Church – A Changed Life – He Seeks His Future In the West.


Preparation for Future Work – Recruiting For the Church and For Sunday Schools – The School on “the Sands” – Muscular Christianity – The North Market Mission – President Lincoln’s Visit – Incidents of the Work.


First work with the Young Men’s Christian Association – The Illinois Street Church – Elected President of the Young Men’s Christian Association – Dedication of the New Building – A Great Religious Centre – The North Side Tabernacle – Development of the Chicago Avenue Church.


Moody as a Commercial Traveller – “God will Provide” – He Gives Up Business – His Means Exhausted – Friends Come with Unsolicited Aid – Marriage – His Wife and Her Influence – Mr. Moody’s Family.


Mr. Sankey’s First Singing at a Moody Meeting – A Sudden Proposition – A Street Service – Mr. Sankey joins Mr.Moody – The Effect of Mr. Sankey’s Singing – A Blessed Partnership.


The Discouraging Outlook – Sunderland – Revival Fire Kindled at Newcastle – Edinburgh – The Work in Scotland Continued – The Evangelists go to Ireland – The Return to England – Various Meetings – The London Revival.


The Gospel Campaign in Brooklyn – The Campaign in Philadelphia The Great Meetings in New York – Glorious Enthusiasm for the Lord – In Baltimore, 1878.


The Sanitary and Christian Commissions – Mr. Moody’s Zeal – Experiences from the War – The Revival at Camp Douglas – Work in the War with Spain – On Sea and Land – Striking Illustrations – “God Keep Us From War.”


A Blessed Town – Northfield Dear to Mr. Moody – Mr. Moody’s Love of Nature – Dr. A. J. Gordon – Rev. F. B. Meyer at Northfield – A Star In the Midnight Darkness.


Marvellous Educational Work – The Beginnings of Northfield Seminary – Three Great Ends in View – Mt. Hermon – The Northfleld Training School.


Various Bible Conferences – The Pre- Eminence of Northfleld – The Beginnings and the Growth of the Conference – The Student Volunteers – Missionary Interest Awakened.


The Need of the Institution – The Practical Nature of the Work – Touching Requests for Prayer – The Rev. R. A. Torrey – The Women’s Department.


The First Meeting – How Mr. Moody Vivified the Work – The Reports of Co-Workers – The Monday Conferences – Meetings For Children.


Mr. Moody Goes to Kansas City – The Great Convention Hall – Inspiring Opening Services – The Beginning of the End – Mr. Moody Breaks Down – Back to Northfleld.


D. L. Moody an Evangelist in the Truest Sense of the Word – Especially Adapted to His Work – His Dread of Notoriety – His Views on Sudden Conversion.


A Book More Than Precious to Him – The Advice of Harry Moorehouse – Mr. Moody’s Ideas Concerning the Way to Use God’s Word.


Ira David Sankey – Paul P. Bliss – Major Whittle – Henry Varley – John McNeill – George C. Stebbins – Ferdinand Schiverea – H. M. Wharton – R. A. Torrey – A. C. Dixon – Henry Drummond – G. Campbell Morgan – George H. Macgregor – F. B. Meyer.


Characteristics of the Three Sermons – God’s Love – The Excuses of Men – Reaping Whatsoever We Sow.


The Fervour of His Eloquence – “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” – “For Charlie’s Sake” – A Penalty Necessary – Calling on God – One Year’s Record.


A Typical Convention – What is Evangelistic Service? – We Want New hymns – Apt Replies to Questions.


A Characteristic Bible Reading – Helpful Auxiliaries to Bible Study – Jesus the Key to the New Testament – The Four Gospels – Six Things Worth Knowing – How Christ Dealt With Sinners.


His View Concerning the Word of God – What to do With Difficult Passages – Don’t Cut Anything Out of the Bible – Christ Referred to the Old Testament – The Second Coming of Christ – Will the World Grow Better or Worse? – The Work of the Holy Ghost – The Holy Ghost, A Person – The Real Fruit is Love – How The Judge Became a Working Christian – The Holy Ghost Testifies of Christ – Three Classes of Christians – We Have to Be Very Humble – A Blessed Experience.


Mr. Moody’s Last Moments – A Triumphant Passing Away – Funeral Services – Addresses by Dr. Scofield, Dr. Weston, Dr. Chapman, Bishop Mallalieu, Mr. Torrey, and others.


Mr. Moody’s Remains Taken to Roundtop – A Place of Blessing – Roundtop Particularly identified With Mr. Moody.


The Great Meeting in New York – Impressive Addresses – Estimates of Mr. Moody by Dr. Greer, Mr. John R. Mott, Mr. Cutting, Dr. Buckley, and Others who Knew and Loved Him.


Testimony to Mr.Moody’s Wonderful Personality -The Opinions of Prominent Men who Knew Him and His Work -The Universal Regard in Which He Was Held.


Important Tributes from the Secular and Religious Press – All Men Eager to Admit Mr. Moody’s Greatness – What He Accomplished for the Betterment of Mankind.


Personal Characteristics – His Hold Upon His Friends – His Charming Social Side – His Kindliness, Modesty and Unselfishness.


By Rex. H. M. Wharton, D.D. An Estimate of Mr. Moody, based on intimate association with him and long knowledge of his work.


By Rev. H. M. Wharton, D.D. Mr. Moody as He Appeared to one of his Prominent Co-Workers during the World’s Fair Campaign.

Appreciations of D.L. Moody

by Henry Drummond

WERE one asked what on the human side were the effective ingredients in Mr. Moody’s sermons, one would find the answer difficult. Probably the foremost is the tremendous conviction with which they are uttered. Next to that are their point and direction. Every blow is straight from the shoulder and every stroke tells. Whatever canons they violate, whatever faults the critics may find with their art, their rhetoric, or even with their theology, as appeals to the people they do their work with extraordinary power.

If eloquence is measured by its effect upon an audience and not by its balanced sentences and cumulative periods, then there is eloquence of the highest order. In sheer persuasiveness, Mr. Moody’s has few equals, and, rugged as his preaching may seem to some, there is in it a pathos of a quality which few orators have ever reached, and appealing tenderness which not only wholly redeems it, but raises it not unseldom almost to sublimity.

In largeness of heart, in breadth of view, in single-eyedness and humility, in teachableness and self-obliterations in sheer goodness and love, none can stand beside him.

by Newell Dwight Hillis

WHEN long time hath passed, some historian, recalling the great epochs and religious teachers of our century, will say, “There were four men sent forth by God; their names Charles Spurgeon, Phillips Brooks, Henry Ward Beecher and Dwight L. Moody.” Each was a herald of good tidings; each was a prophet of a new social and religious order. God girded each of these prophets for his task, and taught him how to “dip his sword in Heaven.”

In characterising the message of these men we say that Spurgeon was expositional, Phillips Brooks devotional, Henry Ward Beecher prophetic and philosophical, while Dwight L. Moody was a herald rather than teacher, addressing himself to the common people – the unchurched multitudes. The symbol of the great English preacher is a lighted lamp, the symbol of Brooks a flaming heart, the symbol of Beecher an orchestra of many instruments, while Mr. Moody was a trumpet, sounding the advance, sometimes through inspiration and sometimes through alarm.

The first three were commanders, each over his regiment, and worked from fixed centre, but the evangelist was the leader of a flying band who went everywhither into the enemy’s country, seeking conquests of peace and righteousness. Be the reasons what they may, the common people gladly heard the great evangelist.

by Rev. F. B. Meyer, B. A.

GOD’S best gifts to man are men. He is always sending forth men. When the time is ripe for a man, God sends him forth. When for a moment the race seems to be halting in its true progress, then, probably from the ranks of the common people, rises he who leads a new advance. “There came a man sent from God.” Yes, God constantly sends men. But the greatest gift is a prophet.

When New Testament times dawned the touch of the priest had lost its power forever but around those times prophets have power gathered – John the Baptist, Savonarola, Luther, Latimer, White-field, Wesley, Spurgeon, and it is not fulsome flattery which includes the name of Moody.


A prophet is one who sees God’s truth by a distinct vision; who speaks as one upon whose eyeballs has burned the Light of the Eternal, and, thus speaking, compels the crowd to listen; he is one whose strong, elevated character is a witness to the truth in which he believes and which he declares. These are the three necessary conditions of a prophet. It matters not in what diction he speaks, whether in the rough, unpolished tongue of the people, or in the choice, well-balanced language of the schools. A man who possesses those three qualities is a prophet, and has a mission from God. Such a one was Moody.

There were certain traits in the prophets and in John the Baptist which we recognize also for the most part in Moody. For instance, the prophet generally rises from the ranks of the people. Again and again from the common people have been supplied the leaders of men. Those in the upper grades of society, from whom we should naturally expect the most, would seem very largely to have worn themselves out with luxury and self-indulgences. History is full of the stories of prophets who came from a lowly stock. And Moody was the child of humble New England parents. His father died early, and Moody’s boyhood was spent face to face with privation. He had to fight his way from the ranks of the people. We have to thank this fact for the strong common sense which distinguished him. Moody had the practical insight to humor which belong especially to those who toil upon the land. And this man, with his close relationship to the life of the people, came to be able to hold ten thousand of them spellbound in the grasp of his powerful influence.


Again, it will generally be found that a prophet is not learned in the teaching of the schools. John the Baptist received his college education in the desert, amid the elements of Nature. These were his great kindergarten, in which his soul was prepared for its great work. When men go to the conventional colleges they learn to measure their language with the nicest accurateness. Was Moody’s lack in this and in similar directions a loss to him? Nay, he was taught of God’s Spirit. He bathed himself in a book, in that one volume which is in itself a library, the intimate knowledge of which is alone sufficient to make men cultured.

There is often a brusqueness about the prophet. We see that in John the Baptist. He was not a man to be found in king’s courts. Without veneer, brusque, gaunt, strong, he lived and laboured. Moody partook the same characteristics. It is not unlikely, however, that he assumed a certain attitude of brusqueness because he felt afraid of being made an idol of the people. Having seen the evils of popularity, he wished to avoid them. To timid, friendless women, to individual sinners, he was wonderfully gentle and kind in manner. Amongst his grandchildren, whose simple playmate he became, he was tenderness itself. The brusqueness belonged only to the rind, to the character which had known deep experiences.

Moody had very distinct experiences. The manner of his conversion led him to expect immediate decisions in the souls of others. Under his Sunday school teacher’s influence he had been led on the moment to give himself to Christ, and he looked for others to do nothing less, nothing more tardy.


Again, the prophet has known a touch of fire. Mr. Moody once told me that a number of poor women in Chicago who heard him speak said one day, “You are good; but there is something you have not got; we are praying that it may come. Later, one afternoon in New York, he was walking along, when an irresistible impulse came upon him to be alone. He looked around. Where could he go? What was to be done? He remembered a friend living not far away. So into his house he rushed, and demanded a room where he could be alone. There he remained several hours, and there he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When he returned to Chicago and began to speak, the godly women who had spoken to him beforetime said, “You have it now.” And the wonderful power which Moody henceforward exercised over his fellow-men he owed to that touch of fire. It never left him. People were attracted. What happened when he visited England, happened wherever he went. The prophet had the real ring about him. He dealt with things as they are.

There was genuine greatness of heart in Mr. Moody, and it constantly triumphed over sect differences. When his mother died three years ago the Roman Catholics of the neighborhood asked that they might be pallbearers.

A prophet, of course, has his message. His office is not so much that of teacher or preacher as of herald. He sounds the alarm and cries “fire.” With Moody it was not repentance because of hell-fire. The love of God was his proclamation. And how he could speak about that! I have seen him break down, as with trembling voice and tears in his eyes he pleaded with men for the love of God’s sake to be reconciled with Him. A prophet is humble. In this respect Moody was true to the type. He seemed the one person who did not know there was a Moody. He did not know half so much about himself as the newspapers told. This is true greatness.

And now he has gone. My world is very much thinner. A great tree has fallen. One more throbbing voice is silent. Spurgeon is gone. Moody is gone. The voices are dying. Listen to-day to the voice of the Son of God.

Chapter 1 – Introductory Chapter

“I do not know whether I dare say what I am now about to speak to you. I asked a brother minister this afternoon, and he would not take the responsibility, but after thinking it over I will say it. I believe if Christ had actually lived in the body of our dear brother and had been subject to the same limitations that met him, he would have filled up his life much as D. L. Moody filled up his, and for that reason I say, after the most careful thought, I had rather be D.L. Moody lying dead in his coffin than to be the greatest man alive in the world to-day.” This remarkable tribute was paid by Dr. H.G. Weston, of the Crozier Theological Seminary, Chester, Pa., and when he had finished it, there was a wave of sympathetic expression and approval which swept over the entire audience, and his remarkable utterance was greeted with quiet Amens and suppressed sobs. 

I question if this generation has known a man who was more Christlike than D. L. Moody. That he sometimes made mistakes his best friends will allow, but that he was ready to undo these mistakes when they were made, and to make acknowledgment when that was necessary, all who knew him well will testify. 


I have heard his name since infancy. First of all from my mother’s lips when I was a child. For it was at that time his name was being spoken with approval by ministers and Christian workers, and also at that time that the newspapers were making frequent reference to his increasing usefulness and power. 

I am naturally a hero worshipper. There are certain names that have always stirred me and certain personalities that have ever been my inspiration. No name, however, has ever been more sacred among the names of men than that of Moody, and no character has ever so taken hold of my very being, as his. 

When first I felt called to preach the Gospel, I determined there were certain men whom I must hear. In my list of names I had Henry Ward Beecher, and I shall ever recall with grateful appreciation the opportunity of hearing him in the Plymouth Church when his text was: “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom.” And when his prayer reminded me of nothing so much as the running of a mountain stream over the rocks as it hurried on its way to the sea, I came away feeling that I had had a great privilege, not only in hearing Mr. Beecher preach, but in being lifted up to Heaven by his prayer. 


The second name in importance on my list was that of Dr. John Hall, and possibly the deepest impression of my life was made, when he was preaching from the text in I Timothy iv:6: “Thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ.” He closed his sermon by leaning over the pulpit and saying, “I have only one supreme ambition, and that is that I might close my ministry here and have you say concerning me, “he was a good minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” and I came away saying that I had had such an uplift as rarely comes to a young minister. 

Written in large letters on my list was the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, and it has ever been the regret of my ministry that before it was given to me to cross the sea, God had called him to cross over into the better land. 

But of all the names written, none stood out so plainly as that of D. L. Moody. I had somehow made up my mind from what I had heard of him, and from what the newspapers had printed of his work, that he was to move me more mightily than any other man in the world, and I bear glad testimony to the fact that the after-years proved my expectation to be true. He exercised the most profound influence over me from the very first moment I met him, an influence which only increased with the passing years, and still abides, although he is in the presence of his God. 


In the providence of God I was frequently with him in services; notably, at the World’s Fair Meetings in Chicago, when he was not only the genial host of the workers with whom he was surrounded, but was the leader of a great force of Christian ministers and laymen, commanding the city for God with as great genius as ever an officer commanded and led his soldiers against the enemy on the field of battle. 

He invited me to be with him in Pittsburg in 1898, and one of the most tender memories of my life is that which I have of him in connection with the meetings held in the Exposition Building. 

I saw him in frequent conferences when I was pastor in Philadelphia, when his great heart yearned over the cities in the East, much as did the heart of the Master when looking down upon the City of his love, he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” 

I was with him in the special campaign in New York, when from early morning till late at night in the Grand Central Palace, he not only preached himself, but had called to his assistance workers and friends from many other cities. 

It was my great privilege to be frequently at Northfleld where Mr. Moody showed not only his great heart, but his great power as a leader as in no other place in the country, and intimately as I knew him, and devotedly as I loved him, I never came in contact with him that my heart did not beat a little faster and my pulses throb a little more quickly. 


I used to love to watch him in the meetings he conducted. His eyes were always open to take in the most minute detail of the services, and things to which other men would be blind he was ever seeing. I frequently almost lost the message he was giving in my admiration for the messenger. While he was sitting in the first part of the service, he would make a dive into his pocket, take out a little piece of paper and write a message to some of his workers, put down an illustration or record something which was to be the seed thought for a future sermon. Sometimes you would scarcely think he was noticing what was going on, and suddenly he would be on his feet announcing a hymn, and while he could not sing himself, yet he was superb in his power to make other people sing, “Isn’t that magnificent” he would say, as voice after voice took up the great chorus. “Now the galleries sing, that is my choir up in the gallery, now show the people what you can do; now the men, now the women, now altogether,” until it would seem as if greater singing one had never heard in all his life. 

He was ever on the alert in every service. I have heard him many times relate, however, one instance to the contrary, when George O. Barnes was being greatly used in evangelistic effort. Mr. Moody had taken him around to several appointments, and the evening service came so quickly upon them that they did not have time to eat anything except a hasty lunch which they took somewhere together, the principal article of which Mr. Moody said was bologna. When Mr. Barnes arose to speak in the evening, the room was very hot, and Mr. Moody said that that, together with the lunch he had taken, made him very drowsy; he pinched himself to keep awake, but at last he fell asleep. Mr. Barnes did every-thing he could to arouse him, and when he had failed he stopped preaching, and Mr. Moody said, turned to his audience to say, “This is the first time I have ever seen D.L. Moody defeated, but the devil and bologna sausage seem to have gotten the best of him.” I have heard him tell it over and over. No one enjoyed a joke better than himself, even though he might be the subject of it. 

He seemed to know what the people wanted and what they would take, and the things that other men would turn away from he would present with great power. I remember a meeting in Albany, New York, years ago, when short conferences were being held through the country by Mr. Moody and his co-workers, when he turned to Dr. Darling, then of Schenectady, now of Auburn Seminary, and said, “Doctor, tell them the story you told me this morning;” and then the distinguished preacher gave an illustration which he might have thought too simple to use in a crowded assemblage, but which swayed the great audience. 


He was a master in moving men. I can shut my eyes now and see him, with tears rolling down his face, as he plead with men to turn to Christ; sobs breaking his utterance as he told of the love of God to men and of God’s special love to himself. He was as sincere a man as ever stood on the platform to preach, and it was for this reason that people of all classes and grades believed in him. When the New York Dailies came out with great headlines saying, “Moody is dead,” a Jew in one of the courts turned to a friend of mine to say, “He was a good man,” and when his death was being discussed in one of the great clubs in the City of New York, a man who was an infidel said, “I think he was the best man this generation has known, and if I should ever be a Christian I should want to be one just like Moody, if I could.” 

There were times when he was more than eloquent, when every gesture was a sermon. Who can ever forget his description of Elijah going up by a whirlwind into heaven. When carried away by the power of his own emotions, he lifted his hands while his audience seemed to be lifted with him, and raising them higher and higher, I can hear him say the words, “Up, up, up’ I can see Elijah going, and I see heaven open to receive him as he rises.” The impression on his audience was profound. 


To have known him at all was a blessing, but to have known him with any degree of intimacy was one of the rarest privileges of a minister’s life. I would not say that I knew him better than other men, for hundreds knew him far more intimately and for a far longer time than I; but if love, since I have known him, can make up for the years in which I was not acquainted with him, then these recent years with their increasing admiration and love will give me the right to speak and write. Dr. Pierson says concerning George Muller, “A human life filled with the presence and power of God, is one of God’s choicest gifts to His church and to the world.”

“Things which are unseen and eternal seem, to the carnal man, distant and indistinct, while what is seen and temporal is vivid and real. Practically, any object in nature that can be seen or felt is thus more real and actual to most men than the living God. Every man who walks with God, and finds Him a present help in every time of need; who puts His promises to the practical proof and verifies them in actual experience; every believer who with the key of faith unlocks God’s mysteries, and with the key of prayer unlocks God’s treasuries, thus furnishes to the race a demonstration and an illustration of the fact that ‘He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’


“George Muller was such an argument and example incarnated in human flesh. FIesh was a man of like passions as we are, and tempted in all points like as we are, but who believed God and was established by believing; who prayed earnestly that he might live a life and do a work which should be a convincing proof that God hears prayer and that it is safe to trust Him at all times; and who has furnished just such a witness as he desired Like Enoch, he truly walked with God, and had abundant testimony borne to him that he pleased God. And when, on the tenth day of March, 1898, it was told us of George Muller that ‘he was not,’ we knew God had taken him;’ it seemed more like a translation than death,” the same thing can be said of Mr. Moody. He used to say, “Sometime you will pick up a paper and will read of D.L. Moody’s death; don’t believe a word of it; I may be asleep, but I shall not be dead; death has no terror to me, and his words were a prophecy of his triumphant passing into the presence of God. The telegram written by Mr. A. P. Fitt, his son-in-law, to Mr. Louis Klopsch, of the Christian Herald, is a confirmation of this:


“Mr. Moody had a triumphant entry into Heaven at noon. 

“As early as 8 o’clock, A.M. he said: ‘Earth is receding and Heaven is opening. God is calling me.’ 

“He was perfectly conscious to the last, and showed the same courage and faith, unselfishness and thought for his wife and children and his schools as always. 

“His doctor says it was ‘a pure case of heart failure, due to absolute loss of bodily strength.’ 

“In leaving us he gave unflinching testimony to the truths he taught. 

A. P. Fitt”


His was a wonderful life. In one of Tissot’s pictures there is seen a great multitude of people lame and halt and blind in the way along which Jesus of Nazareth is to come, and then there is a view representing him passing, and as he moves along, only those before Him are sick, while all behind him are well. This was Mr. Moody’s life. All that was behind him felt the touch of his power. The Chicago Bible Institute has become an object lesson to Christian workers everywhere. Northfield is a centre of influence forth from which streams of blessing flow to the very ends of the earth. England, Ireland and Scotland have felt the touch of his consecrated life, and millions of lives the world over thank God that he ever lived, those who were lame, halt and blind spiritually now leap and praise God that D.L. Moody ever lived. 

His home life, in the testimony of those who knew it best, was most beautiful. On that memorable day when his body was lying in the casket in the Congregational Church in Northfield, when other speakers had paid their tribute to his distinguished father, Mr. William R. Moody, his eldest son, rose to say: “As a son I want to say a few words of him as a father. We have heard from his pastor, his associates and friends, and he was just as true a father. I don’t think he showed up in any way better than when, on one or two occasions, in dealing with us as children, with his impulsive nature, he spoke rather sharply. We have known him to come to us and say: ‘My children, my son, my daughter, I spoke quickly; I did wrong; I want you to forgive me. That was D.L. Moody as a father.

“He was not yearning to go; he loved his work. Life was very attractive; it seems as though on that early morning as he had one foot upon the threshold it was given him for our sake to give us a word of comfort. He said: ‘This is bliss; it is like a trance. If this is death it is beautiful.’ And his face lighted up as he mentioned those whom he saw. 

“We could not call him back; we tried to for a moment, but we could not. We thank God for his home life, for his true life, and we thank God that he was our father, and that he led each one of his children to know Jesus Christ.”


There was ever a holy atmosphere about this home to me in the few times I was permitted to pass its portals. Mr. Moody used to tell a story of a sick child whose father one day came into his room and to whom the child said, “lift me up,” and the father lifted him gently, and he said “lift me higher,” and he lifted him yet a little higher; “higher,” said the child, faintly, and he lifted him just as high as his arms could reach, and when he took him down he was dead. “I believe,” said Mr. Moody, “that he lifted him into the arms of Christ,” and then his great kindly face glowed, and as the tears rolled down his cheeks he said, “I would rather have my children say that about me than to have a monument of gold that would pierce the clouds,” and his home life clearly bore out the fact that he not only said this in words, but he put it into every action in his home. His personality was charming; he was the centre of every group everywhere. It was a most ordinary thing to see representative men from many parts of the world in his home, but none were ever so prominent as to dim the brightness of his greatness, and yet he was as modest as a woman and as humble as a little child. Who that ever sat about his table can forget his laugh. It was as hearty a laugh as one has ever heard. He knew just how to put every man at his best. His questions always brought forth that which would make a man appear to the best advantage before his hearers. “Morgan,” he would say, speaking to the Rev. G. Campbell Morgan, “tell that story about Joseph Parker; ” and then although he might have heard it before he was the most interested listener; his eyes would gleam and his face light up as the inimitable story teller painted the picture of London’s greatest preacher. 


He was so very thoughtful of other people. The last time I rode with him to Mt. Hermon, he stopped to talk a few minutes with the men at the old ferry, asked them about their homes and spoke a cheering word concerning their work, and said as he drove on, “I want them to know that I am interested in them.” 

Driving up from the station at the last students’ conference at Northfield, he stopped every student trudging along with his baggage and took the bag into his buggy until it was piled up with luggage, and the greater the number of men whose burdens he lifted, the happier he became. 

Walking across his lawn one day when his conversation was, as ever, the evangelising of the great cities, he turned quickly and said, “Chapman, how many children have you?” and when I told him two, as I had then, he turned quickly about and said “come with me,” and he pointed out to me some white turkeys and some ducks of a very rare breed and said, “I will send a pair of these to the children,” and when only a few days had elapsed, sure enough the turkeys and the ducks came safely to my country home, and my children took particular delight in feeding and caring for the ducks and turkeys that came from Mr. Moody’s house. 

Driving along the country road with Dr. Wilton Merle Smith, of New York, when the conversation had been general, he stopped his horse under the shade of a great tree, and, said Dr. Smith, “he poured out his soul in such prayer as I have rarely heard.” 


I shall ever remember one of his illustrations. He had told one of his children that he was not to be disturbed in his study, and after a little while the door of the study opened and the child came in. “What do you want,” said the father, and the little fellow looking Up into his father’s face said, “I just wanted to be with you,” and the tears started into the great evangelist’s eyes as he said, “it ought to be like that between us and our God.” I can well understand how his little child would want to be with him every minute of his time, for there are many of us who counted it our special privilege to be in fellowship with this godly man. 

The first time I saw him is a memorable day in my life. I was a student at Lake Forest University, and he was to speak in Chicago, I think it was in 1878. Four times he preached the Gospel that day and I was in every service; but the service of all services was that of the afternoon in old Farwell Hall; it was for men only. The place was filled to overflowing with men; the singing was superb, so said my friends, but I lost the power of the music in the sight of this man of God of whom I had heard so much. His text was, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The sermon is remembered because, under God, it has been used to lead so many to Christ. Under the power of it I saw my own heart, and then I saw the Saviour who was waiting to make it clean. I halted around with others if only I might have the chance to touch his hand. Just in front of me went a man who held Mr. Moody’s attention for a little time, and who said to him, as he afterwards told me, “I am a defaulter, I have taken money which is not my own, I am a fugitive from justice, what must I do?” And Mr. Moody told him he must take the money back, even though it meant punishment, and he did it; was sent to the penitentiary, was pardoned out just before he died of quick consumption. 


Before the pardon Mr. Moody made his way across the country that he might stand in his cell, and as he entered, the young man sprang to his feet and putting his arms out to Mr. Moody said He has forgiven me, He has forgiven me.” His evangelistic life was filled with just such incidents. In the evening of that great first day I saw him once again and followed him into the after meeting where I had the privilege of a moment’s conversation. I had been in doubt for a long time on the subject of assurance. I did not know certainly whether I was a Christian or not, and Mr. Moody said, when I asked him to help me, “do you believe this verse?” and he quoted the Fifth Chapter of John and the 24th verse, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” I said, “certainly I believe it.” “Are you saved,” he said, and I said, sometimes I think I am, other times I feel I am not.” He put. his hand on my shoulder and said but one sentence, and then he left me; ” young man,” said he, “whom are you doubting?” and then he left me, and it flashed across my mind in an instant that, in my lack of assurance, I was doubting Christ; from that moment to this I have never doubted. 


The next impression was in connection with the brief conferences held throughout the country when five days were spent in Albany and Troy, and the meetings were held in the First Reformed Church of which I afterwards became pastor. I came down from my country church with many other ministers from different parts of the State. The great church was crowded; I was obliged to stand in the aisle, but I forgot all discomfort in the impression that was made upon me by this mighty man of God. I followed him from one city to another and then went back to my own church to preach to my people on the story of the Moody meetings. The power of God was not only on his work, but was on the very mention of it, so that my church officers came together and said that this work must go on, and more than a hundred people came to Christ because of it. In the day when rewards are given for service, I am very sure that my dear friend will share in the glory of these who came to Christ indirectly through his ministry. 

When I became an evangelist his word was always the cheeriest; I never met him that he did not have some word to say concerning the work at large. If ever there was a perplexity in my mind, or any doubt as to what my course of action should be, in settling any problem, Mr. Moody was the first to give advice and always the wisest of all advisers. The last time I saw him was in Boston, in the days when Admiral Dewey was to be welcomed, to the New England Metropolis. He was there that the people might have the privilege of hearing Campbell Morgan. I heard him say, “some people think we ought to give the meetings up because of the excitement outside, but I believe,” he said “that Christ is more attractive to the people than anything in all this world.” The very morning of the parade when Mr. Morgan was obliged to be away and other speakers could not delay, some of his friends suggested that he at least give up this meeting. But he was never easily discouraged and he positively refused to yield in the least, and he preached himself with his old time vigour to a great company of people in Tremont Temple. 


The last picture of him is drawn by the Hon. John Wanamaker. He was on his way to Kansas City, and, as Mr. Wanamaker said, he had turned away from his comfortable home and was going away into the far West, when he might have had all the rest of his home and help of his family, only for the joy of preaching the Gospel. Mr. Wanamaker met him at one of the railroad stations. It just so happened at this time that he was alone he purchased his own ticket, checked his baggage, then said, “we will have a little time now together,” and they sat down in another railway station when Mr. Moody poured out his heart to his old friend concerning some of the interests that were dear to him, and then as they parted he said, with his face flushed and his eyes filled with tears, “if I could only get hold of one more Eastern city I should be grateful to God.” These two friends said good-bye, the one to go into all the comforts of the presence of his loved ones, and the other to hurry away across the country that he might hold his last service, preach his last sermon, and then go from the very thick of the fight into the presence of his God. 

D. L. Moody is dead. Men say it with sobs, and the old world seems lonely without him, but D.L. Moody is in heaven, we say it with thanksgiving, and we can just imagine the joy which rang through all the arches of the heavenly land when he entered in through the gates into the city. So is it strange that many can say the words of Dr. Weston with which this chapter began, “I would rather be D. L. Moody lying dead in his coffin than to be the greatest man alive in the world to-day.” 


In his day no one was closer to Mr. Moody, than Prof. Drummond, and a few years ago he said this of his friend: “Whether estimated by the moral qualities which go to the making up of a personal character, or the extent to which he has impressed these upon communities of men on both sides of the Atlantic, there is, perhaps, no more truly great man living than D.L. Moody. By moral influences in this connection, I mean the influence which, with whatever doctrinal accompaniment, leads men to better lives and higher ideals. I have never heard Mr. Moody defend any particular church. I have never heard him quoted as a theologian. 

But I know of large numbers of men and women of all churches and creeds, of many countries and ranks, from the poorest to the richest, and from the most Ignorant to the most wise, upon whom he has placed an ineffaceable moral mark.”

Chapter 2 – Northfield

It is pleasant to think that the privilege should have been given to Mr. Moody of absorbing his earlier training and of associating his later work with so charming a place naturally as Northfield. God’s children are not denied the fair, the beautiful things of Nature. It is just like our Heavenly Father to give the best to one who walked so close to Him as did this dear friend. 

Those of us who knew Mr. Moody well remember how he loved beautiful things. The song of the brook was music to his soul; the coming of the leaves and flowers of spring was a parable; and his own dear Northfield was beloved by him to the end. He was perfectly happy when driving about through the beauties of the surrounding country. 

In view of his love for Nature, and the unusual beauty of his early environment, it is, perhaps, not surprising that the first doubts to assail the faith of the boy Moody, after his conversion, were pantheistic. He himself has related how a pantheist approached him and told him of God as Nature, and how it troubled him. But his doubts resolved themselves into a firmer belief in Nature, not as God, but as God’s handiwork. 


Its elms whisper a long story of days when men who sought to worship God in freedom of conscience martyred themselves by denial of the comforts of their homes in the old world and faced the terrors of bitter want and of crafty savage foes in the wildernesses of New England. 

Long before this particular spot in the valley of the Connecticut was occupied by the white man, large tribes of Indians dwelt there, living upon the fruits of a generous lowland soil and the trophies of the chase. 

The streams abounded in shad and salmon. The plenty of fish gave the place its Indian name, Squakheag, which signifies, in the Indian tongue, a place for spearing salmon. Wigwams clustered on nearly every knoll and bluff, and along the banks of the river ran the narrow trail of the aborigines. 

A little way back from either side the river, and following its windings, extends a range of hills. Brush Mountain, one of these hills, was regarded by the Indians with a superstitious veneration, as the abode of their Great Spirit. Did not his breath come forth every spring, from a cleft in the rock, and melt the snow? To-day the traveller who climbs Brush Mountain will be shown an opening whence comes a blast of air, warm enough in the winter to keep the snow from accumulating in the immediate vicinity. 


In 1669 ‘a small party of whites, following the trail along the Connecticut northward from Northampton, came upon the lands of the Squakheags. The natives had suffered severely a few years before from the raid of a large party of Mohawks, who had come from the West, laying waste their fields and destroying their villages. To the eyes of the white men the land seemed very fair. About Northampton the tillable soil had been quite completely taken up, and the Squakheag region seemed to offer a good situation for a new settlement. As the Indians were not unwilling to part with their lands, a petition was made to the General Court of Massachusetts by thirty-three settlers, for permission to purchase the land from the Indians. The permission was granted on the condition that not less than twenty families should settle there within eighteen months after the first move. 

The settlers took up the land in 1673, and for two years lived in amicable relations with their Indian neighbours. Then, when King Philip’s war broke out, the Squakheags were moved by the rude eloquence of the chief’s emissaries to take part in the uprising. One morning they attacked the whites in the fields, killing many, and driving those who remained to seek refuge within the stockade. The position of the sixteen families in the fort was perilous. A relief expedition from Deerfield was ambushed while on the way, and fled home with great loss. Another company succeeded in reaching Northfield and rescuing the beleaguered ones, who left the settlement and returned to their former homes. 


Not for seven years did the proprietors of the land take steps towards its re-occupation. Then about twenty families returned. Houses were built along a main street, and were protected by two forts, in 1688 eleven Indians, sent. on the warpath by the French in Canada, six persons in Northfield, and so alarmed the rest that more than one half left the settlement. ‘This so weakened the town that it was abandoned by those who remained. 

The final settlement was made in 1713, and Northfield now prospered, although in 1723 it was again exposed to attacks from savages, who had been incited to make depredations upon the New England villages by the French Governor of Canada. It is said that men were then able to harvest their crops only in armed parties of forty or more. A fort was built a few miles up the river, and a cannon was placed there, that its voice might give warning of the approaching enemy. Peace came after the death of the Governor of Canada. 

The existence of the hamlet continued for a long time precarious, for it was an outpost among the settlements, and therefore especially exposed to danger from the savages. During the French and Indian War Northfleld was in constant terror. Thereafter such dangers gradually disappeared, and time was given to develop the natural resources of the place. Northfield sent her quota to take part in the War of the Revolution, nor did she hesitate to assert the principles of liberty, even to the extent of forcing her parson, against his first desire, to omit from his prayer the usual petition for blessing onhis majesty,” the King of Great Britian. 


After the war the town rapidly acquired a certain culture. A hotel building, erected in 1798, was purchased by a company of citizens in 1829, and made into an academy which did honourable service for education during many years. About this same time the town was deeply affected by the wave of Unitarianism, which was then spreading throughout New England. Schisms arose in the village church, and a new parish was formed. 

Northfield lies where three States meet Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Just south of the Massachusetts State line is the village, scattered for the most part along the main street, two miles long and 160 feet wide, on the east side of the river. On either side of the street is a double row of elms and maples, which have grown old with the village until they bend their lofty heads over the quiet roadway like the nodding guardians of some useless post. Savage neighbours arc no longer near to enforce in alert sentinelship. 

Several roads cross this avenue, and all lead to scenes purely pastoral. Flanking the main street are dwellings, for the most part set well back among their lawns and fragrant gardens. These homes were built to last. They seem as substantial to-day as when they were built, although many of them are very old. The house occupied by Mr. William Alexander, for instance, has been in the hands of his family for one hundred and fifteen years. The present day tendency to flock to the large cities has somewhat affected the younger generation of Northfield’s old families, but the elms and the old houses are still there to perpetuate the atmosphere of old New England days, and better than all this the town has been so sanctified by the labours of her own best-known son that she will be remembered as the home of good works long after pompous cities have crumbled. 


Mr. Moody’s birthplace is a plain, small farm-house, which still stands on the hillside. It looks upon one of the country roads, which winds up from the main street in an easterly direction. The building is two stories high, with green blinds, and is protected from the sun by stately trees. There is one tree, of especial majesty, under which Mr. Moody is said to have planned some of his greatest sermons. 

The home in which Mr. Moody and his family were domiciled after his work had so broadened as to make necessary a larger house than the homestead, stands near the north end of the town, and is not far from his mother’s house. It was purchased for about $3,000. A plain, roomy building it is. From time to time, as the requirements came up, Mr. Moody had additions built to the house, until it spread out its arms with a suggestion of hospitality most inviting to the visitor. The building fronts upon the main street. Mr. Moody’s study is on the first floor, only a few steps within from the entrance. The atmosphere of the house, with its simple but substantial furniture, suggests the home of a man who desires to shape his environment to make it suit his work. 


When Mr. Moody returned to Northfield after his evangelistic tour of Great Britain, he went home to Northfield to rest. With his eyes sharpened by travel, and with his usual alert observance of the needs of those about him, he conceived a plan of making possible education for girls who were born to the unstimulating routine of farm life. The germ of Northfield Seminary lay in this conception. In 1878 Mr. Moody purchased the first sixteen acres of land toward the two hundred and seventy acres which are now owned by the Seminary. Mr. H.N.F. Marshall, of Boston, was a guest of Mr. Moody at that time, and the decision to purchase the land was arrived at with the advantage of his advice. As he and Mr. Moody came to a decision, the owner of the land walked up the street. They invited him in, asked his price for the sixteen acres, paid the money, and had the papers made out before the owner had time to recover from his surprise. 

Work was begun on the building the following year. It was intended to establish this school as a high-class seminary for girls. When it was opened in 1879, twenty-five pupils entered. At first they studied and recited at Mr. Moody’s home, the first dormitory not being opened until 1880. Bonar Hall, the second dormitory, was burned a few years later, but Marquand Hall was opened in 1885. Other buildings have followed. At present the school possesses seven dormitories, a library, a gymnasium, a recitation hall and an auditorium. 

The buildings have been erected with a view to artistic effect as well as adequate accommodations, and add much to the beauty of the situation. From the slopes of the school grounds, one looks up the river valley to the distant green hills of Vermont and New Hampshire, while the placid river meanders through fertile fields which show rich with the fruits of the farm. Well built roads wind through the grounds; shade trees and groups of shrubbery have been set out. Moreover, the land yields practical returns as a farm under the supervision of Mr. Moody’s brother. Six horses and fifty head of cattle belong to this school farm, and from ten to fourteen men are constantly employed. The school now numbers about four hundred pupils, its graduates being admitted to Wellesley, Smith and other high – grade institutions. 


When Mr. Moody was conducting his earliest mission work in Chicago, he laid close to his heart a plan to provide some day a school where boys could secure training in the elementary branches and the Bible. With this still in mind he purchased, in 1880, two farms of 115 acres each, with two farm-houses and barns. They were situated on what was known as Grass Hill, four miles from Northfield Seminary, and in the town of Gill. This school was incorporated as the Mt. Hermon School for Boys. The present buildings include five brick cottages, a large recitation hall, a dining hall and kitchen, Crossley Hall and Silliman Science Hall. This school now numbers about 400 students, and here as at the Seminary the industrial system is a prominent feature, but at Mt. Hermon nearly all of the work of the farm and house is done by the boys. 

The auditorium of the Northfield Seminary was built in 1894 and was planned by Mr. Moody for the use of the summer conferences. It seats nearly 3,000 persons. A grove of white birches on a hillside back of the Seminary becomes, during the summer meetings Camp Northfield “, where young men spend their summer outing periods. 

Henry Drummond describes somewhere his first astonishment at finding this little New England hamlet with a dozen of the finest educational buildings in America, and of his surprise when he stopped to think that all these buildings owed their existence to a man whose name is perhaps associated in the minds of three-fourths of his countrymen, not with education, but with the want of it. 


The eastern part of the town has of late years become known as East Northfield, and has its separate Post Office and stores. New streets have been laid out and new houses have been built. Northfield, in fact, is coming to be known as a summer resort, but not of the usual type. Frivolous recreation gives way there to sane occupation and wholesome exercise. Intemperance, the use of tobacco, card playing and dancing have no place there; but the heart of nature is opened to those, who, with minds bent upon the best things, seek her reverently. 

Northfield then is both a typical New England town and the result of the individual impression of one man’s life. All that is best in American culture is there epitomised, and the elms and the hazy hills and the homes of by-gone generations are witnesses of the regenerating influences which can be brought into play through the devotion and singleness of purpose of one man.

Chapter 3 – Mr. Moody’s Early Life

Dwight Lyman Moody was born in the town of Northfield, Mass., February 5. 1837. He was the sixth of seven sons who, with two daughters, made up the family of Edwin and Betsy Holton Moody. The father had acquired a little farmhouse and a few acres of stony ground on a hillside just without the limits of the town, but the whole was encumbered by mortgage. Mr. Moody worked as a stonemason when the opportunity was afforded, using his leisure time to till his farm. The burden of his responsibilities proved too heavy; reverses crushed his spirit; and, after an illness of only a few hours, he died suddenly at the age of forty-one years, when Dwight was only four years old, leaving a large family unprovided for. 


Young as he was, the picture impressed on the boy’s mind by this sudden upheaval of the household, consequent upon his father’s death, remained vivid. He did not forget the desperate feeling which must have seized the family in that crisis; nor did he ever forget the wonderful fortitude with which his mother met the situation. Only a month after the death of the father two posthumous children were born – a boy and a girl. Neighbours advised Mrs. Moody not to face harsh conditions now confronting her. Keep your twin babies, but bind out your children, they urged. “It will be so long before they can be of any real service to you that their maintenance just now will be a greater burden than you should assume.” 

But Mrs. Moody was not the woman to be daunted by circumstances. The idea of separating from her children was not entertained. She took upon herself the task of snatching some tribute money from an unwilling soil, and of bringing up her children to wholesome manhood and womanhood – how well she succeeded is shown by the results. 


One incident of this early period proved a severe blow to the bereaved family. The oldest son, upon whom the mother was planning to place considerable dependence, ran away from home. Mr. Moody in later years related this incident and its sequel in the following words:

“I can give you a little experience of my own family. Before I was four years old the first thing I remember was the death of my father. He had been unfortunate in business and failed. Soon after his death the creditors came in and took everything. My mother was left with a large family of children. One calamity after another swept over the entire household. Twins were added to the family, and my mother was taken sick. The eldest boy was fifteen years of age, and to him my mother looked as a stay in her calamity, but all at once that boy became a wanderer. He had been reading some of the trashy novels and the belief had seized him that he had only to go away to make a fortune. Away he went. I can remember how eagerly she used to look for tidings of that boy; how she used to send us to the post office to see if there was a letter from him, and recollect how we used to come back with the sad news, ‘No letter.’ I remember how in the evenings we used to sit beside her in that New England home, and we would talk about our father; but the moment the name of that boy was mentioned she would hush us into silence. Some nights when the wind was very high, and the house, which was upon a hill, would tremble at every gust, the voice of my mother was raised in prayer for that wanderer who had treated her so unkindly. I used to think she loved him more than all of us put together, and I believed she did. On a Thanksgiving day – you know that is a family day in New England – she used to set a chair for him, thinking he would return home.


“Her family grew up and her boys left home. When I got so that I could write, I sent letters all over the country, but could find no trace of him. One day, while in Boston, the news reached me that he had returned. While in that city, I remember how I used to look for him in every store – he had a mark on his face – but I never got any trace. One day while my mother was sitting at the door, a stranger was seen coming towards the house, and when he came to the door he stopped. My mother didn’t know her boy. He stood there with folded arms and a great beard flowing down his breast, his tears trickling down his face. When my mother saw those tears she cried, ‘Oh, it is my lost son,’ and entreated him to come in. But he stood still. ‘No, mother,’ he said, ‘I will not come in until I hear first that you have forgiven me.’ Do you believe she was not willing to forgive him? Do you think she was likely to keep him standing there. She rushed to the threshold, threw her arms around him and breathed forgiveness.”

The Moody family were Unitarians. Dwight had early advantages of Christian training, attending, as soon as he was old enough, the church in the village, where the Rev. Mr. Everett was pastor. In his interest in the efforts of Mrs. Moody to earn a livelihood for her family, Mr. Everett once took Dwight into his family for a time, in order that he might attend school, making return for this privilege by running errands and doing chores. It may seem strange that a Unitarian training should have fostered a temperament which afterward became, in its expression, so purely evangelical. By way of explanation, it is said, that Mr. Everett was not one of those who questioned the divinity of our Saviour. Unorthodoxy had not as yet affected this church. The Bible as the Word of God, Jesus as the Son of God, the Church and its Sacraments – these were accepted beliefs of this country pastor. 

Dwight also had the benefits of religious training in the home. Mrs. Moody early taught her children to learn passages of Scripture and verses of hymns. These she would recite at her frugal table, and the children would repeat them after her. 


When Dwight was about six years old, an old rail fence one day fell upon him. He could not lift the heavy rails. Exhausted by his efforts, he had almost given up. “Then,” as he afterward told the story, “I happened to think that maybe God would help me, and so I asked Him; and after that I could lift the rails,” 

Another incident, which Mr. Moody has related, seems to have made so profound an impression upon his youthful mind that its influence in preparing his heart for the Gospel message cannot have been slight. He himself has related the story in these words:

“When I was a young boy – before I was a Christian – I was in a field one day with a man who was hoeing. He was weeping, and he told me a strange story, which I have never forgotten. When he left home his mother gave him this text ‘Seek first the kingdom of God.’ But he paid no heed to it. He said when he got settled in life, and his ambition to get money was gratified, it would be time enough then to seek the kingdom of God. He went from one village to another and got nothing to do. When Sunday came he went into a village church, and what was his great surprise to hear the minister give out the text, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God’ He said the text went down to the bottom of his heart. He thought it was but his mother’s prayer following him, and that some one must have written to that minister about him. He felt very uncomfortable, and when the meeting was over he could not get that sermon out of his mind.


“He went away from that town, and at the end of a week went into another church, and he heard the minister give out the same text, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God.’ He felt sure this time that it was the prayers of his mother, but he said calmly and deliberately, ‘No, I will first get wealthy.’ He said he went on and did not go into a church for a few months, but the first place of worship he went into he heard a minister preaching a sermon from the same text. He tried to drown – to stifle his feelings; tried to get the sermon out of his mind, and resolved that he would keep away from ‘church altogether, and for a few years he did keep out of God’s house. ‘My mother died,’ he said, and the text kept coming up in my mind, and I said I will try and become a Christian.’ ‘The tears rolled down his cheeks, as he said, ‘I could not; no sermon ever touched me; my heart is as hard as that stone,’ pointing to one in the field. I couldn’t understand what it was all about – it was fresh to me then. I went to Boston and got converted, and the first thought that came to me was about this man. When I got back I asked mother, Is Mr. L —– living in such a place?’ ‘Didn’t I write to you about him?’ she asked. They have taken him to an insane asylum, and to every one who goes there he points with his finger up there and tells them to seek first the kingdom of God.’ There was that man with his eyes dull with the loss of reason, but the text had sunk into his soul – it had burned down deep. O, may the Spirit of God burn the text into your hearts to-night, When I got home again my mother told me he was in his house, and I went to see him. I found him in a rocking chair, with that vacant, idiotic look upon him. As soon as he saw me, he pointed at me and said ‘Young man, seek first the kingdom of God.’ Reason was gone but the text was there. Last month, when I was laying my brother down in his grave, I could not help thinking of that poor man who was lying so near him, and wishing that the prayer of his mother had been heard, and that he had found the kingdom of God.”

It is doubtful, however, if young Moody had experienced any real religious feeling up to the time of his conversion in Boston. He was a boy like other boys – unlike the majority, too, in his imperious will, his indifference to obstacles, his boundless energy. He was as fond of mischief as the average boy. The influences of a farm-boy’s life, tempered though they were by the forceful direction of a devoted mother, were not calculated to cultivate in him a taste for the finer things of life. His passionate outbursts of temper are still remembered by those who early came into contact with him. His profanity is a matter of his own record. Still, he was doubtless in this regard merely a type of his environment. The notable thing about the boy was his force; he bore in his endowment great possibilities for good or ill. 


Perhaps only twelve terms at the district school constituted Dwight’s early education. A smattering of the three R’s” a little geography, and the practice of declamation made up the sum of his learning. The truth of the matter seems to be that he did not study faithfully. It was only during his last term that he began to apply himself with diligence, too late to make tip for what he had lost. His reading is described as outlandish beyond description. With his characteristic tendency to jump directly to the heart of a question, he never stopped to spell out an unfamiliar word, but mouthed his sense of it without full dependence upon his training or made up a new word which sounded to his ear as suitable as the original. 

Of his experiences as a schoolboy Mr. Moody has given the following in his sermon on “Law versus Grace”:


“At the school I used to go to when I was a boy, we had a teacher who believed in governing by law. He used to keep a rattan in his desk, and my back tingles now [shrugging his shoulders] as I think of it. But after a while the notion got abroad among the people that a school might be governed by love, and the district was divided into what I might call the law party, and the grace party; the law party standing by the old schoolmaster, with his rattan, and the grace party wanting a teacher who could get along without punishing so much. 

“After a while the grace party got the upper hand, turned out the old master, and hired a young lady to take his place. We all understood that there was to be no rattan that winter, and we looked forward to having the jolliest kind of a time. On the first morning the new teacher, whom I will call Miss Grace, opened the school with reading out of the Bible and prayer. That was a new thing and we didn’t quite know what to make of it. She told us she didn’t mean to keep Order by punishment, but she hoped we would all be good children, for her sake as well as our own. This made us a little ashamed of the mischief we had meant to do, and everything went on pretty well for a few days; but pretty soon I broke one of the rules, and Miss Grace said I was to stop that night after school. Now for the Old rattan, said I to myself; it’s coming now after all. But when the scholars were all gone she came and sat down by me, and told me how sorry she was that I, who was one of the biggest boys, and might help her so much, was setting such a bad example to others, and making it so hard for her to get along with them. She said she loved us, and wanted to help us, and if we loved her we would obey her, and then everything would go on well. There were tears in her eyes as she said this, and I didn’t know what to make of it, for no teacher had ever talked that way to me before. I began to feel ashamed of myself for being so mean to any one who was so kind; and after that she didn’t have any more trouble with me, nor with any of the other scholars either. She just took us out from under the Law and put us under Grace.”


The circumstances which led up to the departure of young Moody from home have been variously stated. He had come to the age of seventeen. In those days a boy of seventeen was supposed to be ready to enter upon the serious business of life. New ambitions were arising in Dwight’s heart. Mr. Edward Kimball, who afterwards led the boy to the Lord, is perhaps as well informed of the circumstances of his life in Boston as any man now living. He gave the facts as he was familiar with them at the time of Mr. Moody’s death. 

“To tell the story correctly,” said Mr. Kimball, “I must go back to Thanksgiving day forty-five years ago. A Thanksgiving family dinner party was assembled at the Moody home, which was on a farm a mile and a half from Northfield, Mass. At the table, among others, were Samuel and Lemuel Holton, of Boston, two uncles of the Moody children. Without any preliminary warning young Dwight, a boy of about seventeen, spoke up and said to his uncle Samuel: “Uncle, I want to come to Boston and have a place in your shoe store. Will you take me?” Despite the directness of the question, the uncle returned to Boston without giving his nephew an answer. When Mr. Holton asked advice in the matter from an older brother of Dwight, the brother told his uncle that perhaps he had better not take the boy, for in a short time Dwight would want to run his store. 


“Dwight was a headstrong young fellow who would not study at school, and who was much fonder of a practical joke than he was of his books. His expressed desire to go to Boston and get work was not a jest that the boy forgot the day after Thanksgiving. The two uncles were surprised when one day in the following spring Dwight turned up in Boston looking for a job. His uncle Samuel did not offer him a place. Dwight, when asked how he thought he could get a start, said he wanted work and he guessed he could find a position. After days of efforts, and meeting nothing but failures the boy grew discouraged with Boston, and told his uncle Lemuel he was going to New York. The uncle strongly advised Dwight not to go, but to speak to his uncle Samuel again about the matter. The boy demurred, saying his uncle Samuel knew perfectly well what he wanted. But the uncle insisted so that a second time the boy asked his uncle Samuel for a place in his store. 

“Dwight, I am afraid if you come in here you will want to run the store yourself,” said Mr. Holton. “Now, my men here want to do their work as I want it done. If you want to come in here and do the best you can, and do it right, and if you’ll ask me when you don’t know how to do anything, or if I am not here, ask the bookkeeper, and if he’s not here one of the salesmen or one of the boys, and if you are willing to go to church and Sunday school when you are able to go anywhere on Sundays, and if you are willing not to go anywhere at night or any other time which you would not want me or your mother to know about, why, then, if you’ll promise all these things, you may come and take hold, and we’ll see how we can get along. You can have till Monday to think it over.’ 

I don’t want till Monday,’ said Dwight; I’ll promise now. And young Moody began to work in his uncle’s shoe store. 

A remark the boy’s uncle made to me afterward will give an idea of the young man’s lack of education at this time. The uncle said that when Dwight read his Bible out loud he couldn’t make anything more out of it than he could out of the chattering of a lot of blackbirds. Many of the words were so far beyond the boy that he left them out entirely when he read and the majority of the others he mangled fearfully.”

Chapter 4 – His Mother

Devotion to his mother was a duty and a privilege second only to devotion to his God, in the mind of Mr. Moody. When at home in Northfield, he never failed to look in upon his mother in her cottage early every morning, to give her a hearty greeting, and to see that she was provided with every comfort and many luxuries. 

When away, no matter how many times a day he preached, nor how many informal meetings he personally conducted, a letter was posted to his mother at frequent intervals in which she was told at length of the success of the meetings. 


During the last years of her life, when failing health prevented her from attending public worship, the devoted son never forgot tile aged mother, and he often arranged for her to hear the noted speakers and singers of the conferences. 

There is one picture associated with Northfield I can never forget It had to do with one of the summer conferences. Some one had been asking about Mr. Moody’s mother, and he had spoken to a few of those who gathered about him and said, “We might have a little service just at her house on the lawn, for she is not able to be out; “and so a number of distinguished Christian workers gathered just outside her window, sang the hymn she loved, prayed Gods special blessing upon her and her distinguished son, and then one after the other spoke some word of appreciation of their visit to Northfield. I was standing just by Mr. Moody’s side, and I heard him say to one of his friends, “I always thought she. had such a beautiful face,” and as he looked at her the tears started in his own eyes, rolled down his cheeks, and he said with much emotion to a distinguished English Christian standing by his side, ” I think she has been the best mother in the world.” 


Once again when many young men were gathered from all over the eastern part of our country in the World’s Students’ Conference, Mr. Moody said:

“You know my mother is an old lady. She is too feeble to attend these meetings. She is deeply interested in this work, and she has prayed earnestly for its success. I want her to hear some of you speak and sing. We are going up the mountain this afternoon to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Meet me at my house at three o’clock. We will have a little service there and then I want you to go on to my mother’s home, and I want some of you to speak, and we will all sing. 

“I want you to receive my mother’s blessing before we go to the mountains to pray, for next to the blessing of God I place that of my mother.”

The three hundred anxious pilgrims who gathered on Mr. Moody’s spacious lawn that afternoon, and who, after a brief service of song and prayer, journeyed on to the mother’s cottage and later to the mountain top, presented a picture never to be forgotten by the members of that company. 

Much that is here written is his own words concerning her. I have an Old mother away down in the Connecticut Mountains,” Mr. Moody used to say,”and I have been in the habit of going to see her ever year for twenty years. Suppose I go there and say, ‘ Mother, you were very kind to me when I was young– you were very good to me; when father died you worked hard for us all to keep us together, and so I have come to see you, because it is my duty. Then she would say to me, ‘Well, my son, if you only come to see me, because it is your duty, you need not come again. And that is the way with a great many servants of God. They work for Him, because it is their duty – not for love. Let us abolish this word duty, and feel that it is only a privilege to work for God, and let us try to remember that what is done merely from a sense of duty is not acceptable to God.” 

And so it was. Year after year, in the very heat of those spiritual campaigns which brought him prominently before the people of the two continents, Mr. Moody would slip away regularly to the spot where, amid the serene surroundings of the Northfield hills, his mother sat with her thoughts upon him and his work, praising God who had permitted her boy to become the instrument of so much blessing. 


Betsey Holton, the mother of Dwight L. Moody, was a descendant in the fifth generation of William Holton, one of the first settlers of Northfield. In fact, this ancestor was one of that committee of the General Council of Massachusetts which laid out the plantation of Northfield, after it had been purchased from the Indians in 1673. The marriage of Betsey Holton to Edwin Moody united two strains of old Puritan blood. Doubtless this lineage accounts in no slight degree for the restless energy and dogged earnestness of the son, Dwight. 

“I always thought that Dwight would be one thing or the other,” the dear old woman once remarked. Where others had failed to see, she had early recognised the hardiness of the boy’s character, – hardiness which she must have seen through its very kinship with her own. For her schooling had not been easy. Left a widow with nine children, a small house, and an acre or so of heavily mortgaged land, she had taken upon her womanly shoulders the full responsibility of bringing up her family. Tilling the ground, and doing odd jobs for the neighbours, she continued to scrape together enough to keep her children fed and clothed, although the margin between plenty and want was frequently so slim as to bar out comfort. There were times when no food seemed forthcoming; but a Providence whose care extends even to the sparrows did not permit the burden to become too heavy for this widowed mother, although her resources were often taxed to the utmost. 


Every day she taught the children a little Bible lesson, and on Sundays accompanied them to the Unitarian Sunday school. They were sent, too, to the village school. Dwight was as loth as the average young boy to endure the discipline of the school-room. It is not hard to picture him “with shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.” But the wise mother knew. Seeds were being scattered in the fertile heart and mind of the boy: and if they did not seem to sprout at once, perhaps it was for the very reason that they had not been sown in a shallow soil. 

The Rev. Dr. Theodore Cuyler, when he first met Mrs. Moody, turned to her son, and said, “I see now where you got your vim and your hard sense!” Others remarked the same resemblance of the son to his mother. I speak of this merely to make it evident how much he owed her. 

However completely she came into sympathy with her son’s work in later years, at the outset of his labours his mother did not give him her sanction. She herself was a member of a non-evangelical church. For a long time she did not even hear her son preach. How he finally not only convinced her of his fitness for his work, but also became the means of leading her into the higher life has been related by a close friend of the family in the following words 


In 1875 he returned to his home in Northfield to preach, shortly after coining back to America from one or his great London successes. The family still lived on the Old farm, and still drove to town to Sunday meeting in the Old farm wagon, just as they used to in the days gone by. Most of the members of the family Were going to drive to town that morning to hear Dwight preach. The mother startled a daughter by saying to her:

“I don’t suppose there would be room in the wagon for me this Morning, would there? “

No one had ever thought of the mother unbending and going to hear her son. 

“Of course there will be room, mother,” said the daughter. 

And the mother was taken down to the church with the rest. Mr. Moody preached from the fifty – first Psalm, and preached with a fervor that was probably inspired by the presence of his mother. When those who wished prayer were asked to arise, old Mrs. Moody stood up. 

The son was completely overcome, and, turning to B. F. Jacobs, now of Chicago, said with emotion, “You pray, Jacobs, I can’t. ” 

When he returned to Northfield after some evangelical tour, Mr. Moody would invariably drive directly to see his mother, to receive her welcome, even before joining his immediate family. Sitting in her sunny room the kindly, keen, Old lady would give to her son kernels of sound wisdom with the blessing of her approval. 

She was permitted to remain in this world until her ninety-first year. When at the last she began to sink, it was not thought by those about her that there was any immediate danger, and Mr. Moody, who was at the time conducting services in a distant city, was not informed as to the state of her health. But toward the close of a week of meetings the evangelist grew restless. He felt a strange intuition that his presence was needed at home, and, for no other reason, he cancelled his engagement and started for Northfield. He arrived in time to receive her blessing. 

At his mother’s funeral, acting upon an impulse, Mr. Moody delivered a touching tribute to her memory. Mrs. William R. Moody had concluded her song “Crossing the Bar,” when the evangelist rose from his place with the family, and, bearing in his hands the old family Bible, and a worn book of devotions, came forward. Standing by the body of his mother, he said: 


“It is not the custom, perhaps, for a son to take part in such an occasion. If I can control myself I would like to say a few words. It is a great honor to be the son of such a mother. I do not know where to begin; I could not praise her enough. In the first place my mother was a very wise woman. In one sense she was wiser than Solomon’ she knew how to bring up her children. She had nine children and they all loved their home. She won their hearts, their affections, she could do anything with them. 

“Whenever I wanted real sound counsel I used to go to my mother. I have travelled a good deal and seen a good many mothers, but I never saw one who had such tact as she had. She so bound her children to her that it was a great calamity to have to leave home. I had two brothers that lived in Kansas and died there. Their great longing was to get back to their mother. My brother who died in Kansas a short time ago had been looking over the Greenfield papers for some time to see if he could not buy a farm in this locality. He had a good farm there, but he was never satisfied; he wanted to get back to mother. That is the way she won them to herself. I have heard something within the last forty-eight hours that nearly broke my heart. I merely mention it to show what a character she was. My eldest sister, her oldest daughter, told me that the first year after my father died she wept herself to sleep every night. Yet, she was always bright and cheerful in the presence of her children, and they never knew anything about it. Her sorrows drove her to Him, and in her own room , after we were asleep, I would wake up and hear her praying, and sometimes I would hear her weeping. She would be sure her children were all asleep before she would pour out her tears.


“And there was another thing remarkable about my mother. If she loved one child more than another, no one ever found it out. Isaiah, he was her first boy; she could not get along without Isaiah. And Cornelia, she was her first girl; she could not get along without Cornelia, for she had to take care of the twins. And George, she couldn’t live without George. What could she ever have done without George? He staid right by her through thick and thin. She couldn’t live without George. And Edwin, he bore the name of her husband. And Dwight, I don’t know what she thought of him. And Luther, he was the dearest of all, because he had to go away to live. He was always homesick to get back to mother. And Warren, he was the youngest when father died; it seemed as if he was dearer than all the rest. And Sam and Lizzie, the twins, they were the light of her great sorrow. 

She never complained of her children. It is a great thing to have such a mother, and I feel like standing up here to-day to praise her. And just here I want to say before I forget it, you don’t know how she appreciated the kindness which was shown her in those days of early struggle. Sometimes I would come home and say, such a man did so and so, and she would say, “Don’t say that, Dwight; he was kind to me”


My father died a bankrupt, and the creditors came and swept everything we had. They took everything, even the kindling wood; and there came on a snowstorm, and the next morning mother said we would have to stay in bed until school-time, because there was no wood to make a fire. Then, all at once, I heard some one chopping wood, and it was my Uncle Sam. I tell you I have always had a warm heart for that uncle for that act. And that night there came the biggest load of wood I ever saw in my life. It took two yoke of oxen to draw it. It was that uncle that brought it. That act followed me all through life, and a good many acts, in fact. Mr. Everett, the pastor of the Unitarian Church, I remember how kind he was in those days. I want to testify to-day how my mother appreciated that. 

“I remember the first thing I did to earn money was to turn the neighbour’s cows up on Strowbridge Mountain. I got a cent a week for it. I never thought of spending it on myself. It was to go to mother. It went into the common treasury. And I remember when George got work we asked who was going to mill the cows. Mother said she would milk. She also made our clothes and wove the cloth, and spun the yarn, and darned our stockings and there was never any complaining. 

I thought so much of my mother I cannot say half enough. That dear face! There was no sweeter face on earth. Fifty years I have been coming back and was always glad to get back. When I got within fifty miles of home I always grew restless and walked up and down the car. It seemed to me as if the train would never get to Northfield. For sixty-eight years she has lived on that hill, and when I came back after dark, I always looked to see the light in mother’s window.


When I got home last Sunday night I was going to take the four o’clock train from New York and get here at twelve I had some business to do; but I suppose it was the good Lord that sent me; I took the twelve o’clock train and got here at five – I went in to my mother. I was so glad I got back in time to be recognised. I said, ‘ Mother, do you know me? She said, ‘I guess I do.’ I like that word, that Yankee word ‘guess.’The children were all with her when she was taking her departure. At last I called, Mother, mother. No answer. She had fallen asleep; but I shall call her again by-and-by. Friends, it is not a time of morning. I want you to understand we do not mourn. We are proud that we had such a mother. We have a wonderful legacy left us. 

One day mother sent for me. I went to see what she wanted, and she said she wanted to divide her things. I said, ‘Well, mother, we don’t want anything you’ve got; we want you. We have got you, and that’s all we want.’ ‘Yes, but I want to do something.’ I said to her, ‘ Then write out what you want, and I will carry it out.’ That didn’t satisfy her. Finally she said, Dwight, I want them all to have something.’ That was my mother, and that was the way she bound us to her. 

“Now, I have brought the old Bible, the family Bible, for it all came from that book. That is about the only book we had in the house when father died, and out of the book she taught us. And if my mother has been a blessing to this world, it is because she drank at this fountain. I have read twice at family worship, and will read here a few verses which she has marked.


“‘Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.’ 

“She has been a widow for fifty-four years, and yet she loved her husband the day she died as much as she ever did. I never heard one word, and she never taught her children to do anything but just reverence our father. She loved him right up to the last. 

“‘She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.’ 

“That is my mother. 

“She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good, her candle goeth not out by night.’ 

Widow Moody’s light had burned on that hill for fifty-four years, in that one room. We built a room for her, where she could be more comfortable, but she was not often there. There was just one room where she wanted to be. Her children were born there, her first sorrow came there, and that was where God had met her. That is the place she liked to stay, where her children liked to meet her, where she worked and toiled and wept. 

“‘She stretcheth out her hands to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.’ 

“Now, there is one thing about my mother, she never turned away any poor from her home. There was one time we got down to less than a loaf of bread. Some one came along hungry, and she says, ‘ Now, children, shall I cut your slices a little thinner and give some to this person?’ And we all voted for her to do it. That is the way she taught us. 

“‘She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.’ 

“She would let the neighbours’ boys in all over the house, and track in snow; and when there was going to be a party she would say, ‘Who will stay with me? I will be all alone; why don’t you ask them to come here?’ In that way she kept them all at home, and knew where her children were. The door was never locked at night until she knew they were all in bed, safe and secure. Nothing was too hard for her if she could only spare her children.


“The seven boys were like Hannibal, whose mother took him to the altar and made him swear vengeance on Rome. She took us to the altar and made us swear vengeance on whiskey, and everything that was an enemy to the human family; and we have been fighting it ever since and will to the end of our days. 

“My mother used to punish me. I honour her for that. I do not object to punishment. She used to send me out to get a stick. It would take a long time to get it, and then I used to get a dead stick if I could. She would try it and, if it would break easily, then I had to go and get another. She was not in a hurry and did not tell me to hurry, because she knew all the time that I was being punished. I would go out and be gone a long time. When I came in, she would tell me to take off my coat, and then she would put the birch on; and I remember once I said,’That doesn’t hurt.’ She put it on all the harder, and I never said that the second time. And once in awhile she would take me and she would say, ‘You know I would rather put this on myself than to put it on you.’ I would look up and see tears in her eyes. That was enough for me. 

“What more can I say? You have lived with her and you know her. I want to give you one verse, her creed. Her creed was very short. Do you know what it was? I will tell you what it was. When everything went against her, this was her stay, ‘My trust is in God. My trust is in God.’ And when the neighbours would come in and I tell her to bind out her children, she would say, Not as long as I have these two hands.’ ‘ Well,’ they would say, ‘you know one woman cannot bring up seven boys; they will turn up in jail, or with a rope around their necks.’ She toiled on, and none of us went to jail, and none of us has had a rope around his neck. And if every one had a mother like that mother, if the world was mothered by that kind of mothers, there would be no use for jails. 

Here is a book (a little book of devotions); this and the Bible were about all the books she had in those days; and every morning she would stand us up and read out of this book. All through the book I find things marked. 

“Every Saturday night – we used to begin to observe the Sabbath at sundown Saturday night, and at sundown Sunday night we would run out and throw up our caps and let off our jubilant spirits – this is what she would give us Saturday night, and it has gone with me through life. Not all of it, I could not remember it all:

‘How pleasant it is on Saturday night
When I’ve tried all the week to be good.’

“And on Sunday she always started us off to Sunday school. It was not a debatable question whether we should go or not. All the family attended. 

“I do not know, of course, we do not know, whether the departed ones are conscious of what is going on earth. If I knew that she was I would send a message that we are coming after her. If I could, I believe I would send a message after her, not only for the family, and the town, but for the Seminary. She was always so much interested in the young ladies of the Seminary. She seemed to be as young as any of them, and entered into the joys of the young people just as much as any one. I want to say to the young ladies of the Seminary, who acted as maids of honour to escort my mother down to the church this morning, that I want you to trust my mother’s Saviour. 

“I want to say to the young men of Mt. Hermon, you are going to have a great honour to escort mother to her last resting-place. Her prayers for you ascended daily to the throne of grace. Now, I am going to give you the best I have; I am going to do the best I can; I am going to lay her away with her face toward Hermon


I think she is one of the noblest characters this world has ever seen. She was true as sunlight; I never knew that woman to deceive me. 

I want to thank Dr. Scofield for the comforting words he has brought us to-day. It is a day of rejoicing, not of regret. She went without pain, without struggle, just like a person going to sleep. And now we are to lay her body away to await His coming in resurrection power. When I see her in the morning she is to have a glorious body. The body Moses had on the Mount of Transfiguration was a better body than God buried on Pisgah. When we see Elijah he will have a glorious body. ‘That dear mother, when I see her again, is going to have a glorified body. (looking at her face) God bless you, mother; we love you still. Death has only increased our love for you. Good-bye for a little while. Mother. Let us pray.”

Chapter 5 – His Conversion

DWIGHT L. MOODY was not the boy to forget his compact with his uncle. He went to church every Sunday– because he had promised to go. – attending the Mount Vernon Congregational Church, of which the Rev. Dr. E. N. Kirk was pastor. He always considered this to be a great church. 

Dr. Kirk was an excellent preacher, but young Moody was at a stage where all sermons sounded alike to him. Frequently he would fall asleep during service, at least until an occasion when he was suddenly awakened from his complete repose by a stern-faced deacon, who, as he roused the lad from his slumbers, pointed to Dr. Kirk, who was preaching – as much as to say, ” Keep your eyes on him! ” Thereafter Dwight remained awake. Moreover, for lack of something else to do, he began to listen to the sermons. For the first time in my life,” he said in later days, “I felt as if the preacher were preaching altogether at me.” 


One Sunday the young man appeared in the Sunday school of Mount Vernon Church. The superintendent, Mr. Palmer, to whom he gave his name, took him to the class taught by Mr. Edward D. Kimball, and he took his seat among the other boys. Says Mr. Kimball, ” I handed him a closed Bible and told him the lesson was in John. The boy took the book and began running over the leaves with his finger away at the first of the volume looking for John. Out of the corners of their eyes the boys saw what he was doing and, detecting his ignorance glanced slyly and knowingly at one another, but not rudely. I gave the boys just one hasty glance of reproof. That was enough – their equanimity was restored immediately. I quietly handed Moody my own book, open at the right place, and took his. I did not suppose the boy could possibly have noticed the glances exchanged between the other boys over his ignorance, but it seems from remarks in later years that he did, and he said in reference to my little act in exchanging books that he would stick by the fellow who had stood by him and had done him a turn like that.” 

This Sunday school teacher was not one of the ordinary type. Mere literal instruction on Sunday did not satisfy his ideal of the teachers duty. He knew his boys, and, if he knew them, it was because be studied them, because he became acquainted with their occupations and aims, visiting them during the week. It was his custom, moreover, to find opportunity to give to his boys an opportunity to use his experience in seeking the better things of the Spirit. The day came when he resolved to speak to young Moody about Christ, and about his soul. 


I started down town to Holton’s shoe store,” says Mr. Kimball. ‘When I was nearly there, I began to wonder whether I ought to go just then, during business hours. And I thought maybe my mission might embarrass the boy, that when I went away the other clerks might ask who I was, and when they learned might taunt Moody and ask if I was trying to make a good boy out. of him. While I was pondering over it all, I passed the store without noticing it. Then when I found I had gone by the door, I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once. I found Moody in the back part of the store wrapping up shoes in paper and putting them on shelves. I went up to him and put my hand on his shoulder, and as I leaned over I placed my foot upon a shoe box. Then I made my plea, and I feel that it was really a very weak one. I don’t know just what words I used, nor could Mr. Moody tell. I simply told him of Christ’s love for him and the love Christ wanted in return. That was all there was of it. I think Mr. Moody said afterward that there were tears in my eyes. It seemed that the young man was just ready for the light that then broke upon him, for there at once in the back of that shoe store in Boston the future great evangelist gave himself and his life to Christ.” 

Many years afterward Mr. Moody himself told the story of that day. When I was in Boston,” he said, “I used to attend a Sunday school class, and one clay I recollect my teacher came around behind the counter of the shop I was at work in, and put his hand upon my shoulder, and talked to me about Christ and my soul. I had not felt that I had a soul till then. I said to myself This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me till lately, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them.’ But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men’s souls and weep over their sins. I don’t remember what he said, but I can feel the power of that man’s hand on my shoulder to-night. it was not long after that I was brought into the Kingdom of God.’ 


One of his first steps after his conversion was to apply for admission into the Mount Vernon Church. 

It is frequently stated that after his application for membership in the Mount Vernon Church, he was looked upon so unfavourably as a candidate that he was kept waiting for a year before he was granted admission. It has also been said, that even after his acceptance by the church his remarks in the church meetings were so far from edifying that his pastor was obliged to suggest to him, that he could serve the Lord much more acceptably by keeping silence. 

While there is a foundation of truth in these statements, they must not be taken too literally. Mr. Moody was undoubtedly at that time ignorant of many of the most important reasons of his profession; but Dr. Kirk’s church was a revival church, and his spirit was not such as to deny the opportunities of grace to any one who deserved them. The Rev. Dr. James M. Buckley, editor of the Christian Advocate, has written quite exhaustively on this matter. He has said

“Those sympathising with his Dr. Kirk’s peculiar work, gathered about him. Among them were such men as Julius Palmer, the brother of Dr. Ray Palmer, the author of ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee’; he was one of the deacons, and all the rest had the same sympathies. Mr. Kimball was not only Mr. Moody’s Sunday school teacher, and, as Mr. Moody expressly informed us, the means of his conversion, but was also one of the examining committee. But the Mount Vernon Church did not receive a person who could not furnish evidence that he was converted, even if he was perfectly orthodox in doctrine.


“About the time Mr. Moody was converted, a young man came from Scotland with a letter from a Presbyterian church. He could repeat the Shorter Catechism, answer all doctrinal questions glibly, but when he was asked of his position before God as a sinner and his conscious relation to Christ as a Saviour, he knew nothing of it and made no reply, except that ‘such questions were never asked him before’. He confessed that he had simply ‘joined’ because he was advised and expected to do so. This young man was advised to wait, and brethren were appointed to try to arouse in him a consciousness of his need of a Saviour and of a work of grace, and to point him to the Lamb of God. About the same time, a young woman applied who was wholly in the dark on ‘doctrines’; tender, tearful, hesitating, distrustful of herself, she could not tell why she thought herself a Christian, but could only say that she loved Christ and the prayer meeting. One of the committee said, ‘Do you love God’s people because they are His?’ Her face brightened, and she said, ‘O, sir, is that an evidence?’ Yes.’Then I am sure I have that if I have no other, for I love to be with Christians anywhere.’ She was promptly received.


“When Mr. Moody appeared for examination, he was eighteen years old. He had only been in the Sunday school class a few weeks; he had no idea and could not tell what it was to be a Christian; even when aided by his teacher, whom he loved, he could not state what Christ had done for him. The chief question put to him was this: ‘Mr. Moody, what has Christ done for us all – for you – which entitles Him to our love?’ The longest answer he gave in the examination was this: ‘ I do not know. I think Christ has done a great deal for us, but I do not think of anything particular as I know of.’ 

“Under these circumstances, as he was a stranger to all the members of the committee, and less than a month had elapsed since he began to give any serious thought to the salvation of his soul, they deferred recommending him for admission to the church. But two of the examining committee were specially designated to watch over him with kindness, and teach him ‘the way of God more perfectly. 

“When he met the committee again no merely doctrinal questions were asked of him; but as his sincerity and earnestness were undoubted and he appeared to have more light, it was decided to propound him for admission. About eight years after this, and when Mr. Moody had become prominent as an evangelist, he expressed his gratitude to one of the officers of the church for the course pursued, and said his conviction was that its influence was favourable to his growth in grace. He also said he was afraid that pastors and church officers generally were falling into the error of hurrying new converts into a profession of religion. To a person of our acquaintance Dr. Kirk himself referred with the deepest grief to these imputations upon the Church, and declared them to be without foundation in truth; as well he might, for if there ever existed a man in New England who was free from the spirit of ‘staid and stiff New England orthodoxy ‘, it was Dr. Kirk. 

“As for the suggestion to say but little in prayer meeting, we have little doubt that some one suggested that, for Mr. Moody has told us of his utter ignorance of the evangelical system. He was converted, he ‘wished to do his duty’, he said, ‘whatever came to his lips, knowing no thing about its consistency or inconsistency; but he acted on John Wesley’s rule, ‘Do every religious, duty as you can until you can do it as you would.'”


One of those who knew Mr. Moody at the time of his conversion was Mr. Charles B. Botsford, of Boston. Shortly after the death of Mr. Moody, Mr. Botsford related what he knew of the life of Moody in Boston.

“I distinctly recall my first interview with Mr. Moody, early in 1856, said Mr. Botsford. “It was at the close of one of the Monday evening religious meetings of the Mt. Vernon Association of Young Men, formed several years before by Dr. Edward N. Kirk, for the benefit of young men of his church and congregation. Antedating the Y. M. C. A. by several years, it continued a vigorous life for several decades, and proved of great value. 

“A literary meeting alternated with a devotional meeting. It was at this, his first attendance, at one of the latter, that in a broken and trembling way, he earnestly stated his purpose to turn over a new leaf and lead a Christian life. When the meeting was over I took him by the hand and conducted him for the first time to the rooms of the Y. M. C. A., in the old Tremont Temple, to attend, as was my custom, the 9 o’clock prayer and conference meeting. Moody spoke, but much more zealously than grammatically, and he continued to be an active participant in the meetings from week to week.


“After a time, one of the most cultured members complained to Mr. Moody’s uncle, a shoe dealer on Tremont Row, between Brattle and Hanover streets, that his nephew was altogether too zealous and conspicuous in the Y. M. C. A. meetings, saying that he wished in some way to have the zealot restrained. When consulted about the matter I said: ‘No, let the leaven work!’ The world knows what Mr. Moody has since done, in, by and for Y.M.C.A.’s, to say nothing of his other work. 

“In the meantime I had taken Moody to a Sunday morning devotional meeting, that I was accustomed to attend, in the vestry of Dr. Neal’s Baptist church, where the Boston University now stands. At that meeting, also, with its strong sectarian atmosphere, Moody spoke, and so stumbled in absolute disregard of the Pilgrim’s English, that, in embarrassment, I bowed my head on the rail of the seat before me. He continued there, also. It was from this church, later, that a good sister, more zealous to steady and guard the ark of the Lord than to encourage unlearned young men to become leaders in Israel, went to Mr. Holton and said: ‘If you have any interest in or regard for your nephew, you had better admonish him not to talk so much, for he is making a fool of himself.’ But still the leaven worked. 

May 4, 1856, Mr. Moody united with the Mt. Vernon Church, where he was a member of Mr. Kimball’s class in the Sunday school. He was not a constant attendant of the mid-week devotional meetings of the church, for, as he expressed it, he did not have liberty there in his utterances, and, naturally enough, perhaps, for the atmosphere of the meetings was strongly intellectual and positively spiritual, with such leaders as Deacons Palmer, Kimball, Pinkerton and Cushing, with Dr. Kirk, at the close, to deepen and seal the impression.”


Concerning his relations to the Mount Vernon Church, Mr. Moody afterward said: “When I first became a Christian, I tried to join the church, but they wouldn’t have me, because they didn’t believe I was really converted.” 

A number of years afterward, Dr. Kirk was attending the anniversary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which was held that year in Chicago. He was entertained by Mr. Moody, the man who as a boy had come into the light, in some measure, under his influence, and he preached on Sunday in the pulpit of his former parishioner. When he returned to Boston Dr. Kirk called upon Mr. Moody’s uncle, Mr. Holton, and said: ” I told our people last evening that we had every reason to be ashamed of ourselves. That young Moody, whom we thought did not know enough to belong to our church and Sunday school, is to-day exerting a wider influence for the Master than any other man in the great Northwest.” 

Speaking of his experience in passing from the life of sin to the life of religion, Mr. Moody once said: “I used to have a terrible habit of swearing. Whenever I would get mad, out would come the oaths; but after I gave my heart to Christ, He took the oaths away, so that I did not have the least disposition to take God’s name in vain.” 

At another time, when waited upon by a journalist, who asked him for a sketch of his life, Mr. Moody said ” I was born in the flesh in 1837; I was born in the Spirit in 1856. What is born of the flesh may die; that which is born of the Spirit will live forever”. 


The Rev. Dr. Savage, of Chicago, used to tell of the way in which Mr. Moody revenged himself upon one of the deacons who had been instrumental in keeping him waiting for admission to the church. Mr. Moody’s action was, of course, good-natured, for he not only bore no malice, but, on the other hand, was thankful for the wisdom which had required of him some sane understanding of his own state before he was allowed full fellowship with God’s people. The earnest inquirer finds only a stimulus to further search when his own unfitness is made clear to him. 

To return to the story. It was during the London campaign, and in the midst of one of the great meetings in Exeter Hall. Mr. Moody, whose sharp eyes never missed a detail in the great audiences which he faced, saw, away back under a gallery, his old friend, the deacon. The good man was travelling at the time, and had come to the meeting largely out of curiosity. Mr. Moody said nothing until toward the close of the service. Then he suddenly exclaimed: “I see in the house an eminent Christian gentleman from Boston. Deacon P., come right up to the platform; the people are anxious to hear you.” 

‘The deacon was far from eager to accept this hearty invitation, but he found that there was no alternative. So, mounting the platform, he began to speak. He told of having been acquainted with Mr. Moody during the evangelist’s early life – of the fact that they had been members of the same church. Here Mr. Moody suddenly interrupted: “Yes, Deacon, and you kept me out of that church for six months, because you thought I did not know enough to join it.” The deacon, at last succeeding in making himself heard above the roar of laughter which greeted Mr. Moody’s sally, retorted that it was a privilege to any church to receive Mr. Moody at all, even though with considerable trepidation, and after long endeavour to know him thoroughly. 


A number of years after his own conversion Mr. Moody found an opportunity to repay his old Sunday school teacher in kind for the help which Mr. Kimball had given to him. After a service in Boston a young man came to Mr. Moody and introduced himself as a son of Mr. Kimball. “I’m glad to meet you,” said Mr. Moody. “Are you a Christian?” The young man admitted that he was not, and Mr. Moody inquired of him as to his age. “I am seventeen, was the reply. “That was just my age, when your father led me to the Lord,” said Mr. Moody, “and now I want to repay him by leading his son to Christ.” 

The coincidence, in age made an impression on the young man. After a brief conversation, he promised to surrender his heart to the Saviour, and a short time afterward Mr. Moody received a letter from him, stating that he had found what he had sought. After his reception into the Mount Vernon Church, Mr. Moody remained in Boston for about five months. The restraint of his conservative surroundings lay heavy upon him. He yearned for freedom – freedom to think, freedom to speak, freedom to work. He must have had some consciousness of the great intuitions, the great feelings, which were struggling’ in him to burst forth into bloom, and he must have realised that the soil of staid Boston was not stimulating to such a growth. He had come into a new life his forceful nature was not the kind to wait for circumstances to develop it. He required broad opportunity. 


His unrest finally decided him definitely to seek a future in the West. His mother, it is said, did not approve of the move, dreading, as do all good mothers, the change which would take her son farther from her, and possibly fearing the dangers of a new environment which might not prove wholesome. Any dread which she may have felt was afterward proved to have been ill-founded. 

Securing a letter from his uncle, Mr. Moody set out for Chicago in September, 1856, and entered the Western Metropolis with small store of earthly goods, but with a large fund of buoyant hope and energy, and a devoted purpose to serve his Divine Master.

Chapter 6 – Sunday School Work

WHEN young Moody arrived in Chicago, he presented a letter which his uncle had given him to Mr. Wiswall, a shoe dealer on Lake Street. The boy was not altogether a prepossessing candidate for a position. He was boisterous and uncouth, and it was with many misgivings that Mr. Wiswall took him into his store. His employer’s decision, however, was fully justified by the young mans work, It was not long before young Moody had the reputation of being the best salesman in the employ of the firm. He especially delighted to take in hand customers who were unusually difficult to deal with, and, while he never over stepped the line between honesty and deceit in his business dealings when it came to a contest of wits he was almost invariably victorious. 


It was not long before the growth of Mr. Wiswall’s business led him to open a jobbing department. Mr. Moody was promoted to a situation in the new department, and in this wider opportunity for the exercise of his business faculties, he continued to win approval as a valuable assistant. His work took him to the rail road stations, hotels and other business places in search of customers, and doubtless did much toward widening his acquaintance, and adding to his experience in dealing with men. The acquirement of practical knowledge of the best way to approach men was a wonderful preparation for the great work of his later years. 

A number of Mr. Wiswall’s clerks slept in rooms in the store building, an arrangement which naturally led to a fraternal intercourse. It is said that in the evenings these young men made it a habit to enter into debates upon the live questions of the day – and sometimes even questions which were not living issues. Politics, theology, business, all supplied topics to these young orators, and frequently discussions became very enthusiastic. The slavery question was often mooted. My Moody was, as might be expected from his vehement nature, an earnest participant in these debates. Unembarrassed by the limitations placed upon him by lack of education, he plunged boldly into whatever subject was under discussion, and generally made his point. In theology the main subject of debate was the old, old question, foreordination versus free will. Mr. Moody had developed strong Calvinistic tendencies, and he found a worthy opponent in one of his fellow clerks who, by bringing up, was a Methodist. The question of amusements was also taken up. Mr. Moody was strongly averse to any frivolous form of amusement, or any amusement which seemed to him frivolous. ‘The story is told that he came into the store one night from some religious meeting, and found two of the clerks engaged in a game of checkers. He dashed the checker board to the ground; then, before any one could protest, dropped upon his knees and began to pray. It must not be thought, however, that he was entirely averse to healthful sports. On the contrary, rough games and practical jokes were a keen delight to him. 


Shortly after his arrival in Chicago, Mr. Moody united by letter with the Plymouth Congregational Church, of which Dr. J. E. Roy was at that time pastor. It was a hospitable church, and Mr. Moody was not slow to find an opportunity to exercise his desire to do practical Christian work. He rented five pews and kept them filled with young men at every service. He also went out and hunted up boys and girls for the Sunday school. The statement has been made that he asked for a class in the Sunday school but was refused. This is doubtful, for Mr. Moody himself recognized and declared at that time that he could not teach. He, however, took part in the prayer meetings, and in his work as a recruiting officer for the church of Christ, began to ignore denominational lines. 


It seemed as if no church could give him enough to do; therefore he began to attend a Sunday morning class in the First Methodist Church, and to work with its Mission Band, which was composed of a number of devoted young men, who every Sunday morning used to visit various public places and invite strangers to attend church services. It will be seen that Mr. Moody’s Christian work was purely practical. This was a characteristic determined by his temperament. Theorizing had no place in his energetic mind, but his whole heart was bent to secure the best results from the means at hand and when means were lacking to find them. We are struck with his method of making use of every opportunity, however slight. He never ignored small things; he felt it as incumbent upon him to to help the clerk who worked beside him in the store, and the stranger hw met casually upon the street, as to endeavor to sway large audiences from the rostrum. As a matter of fact, it is doubtful if, in these humble beginnings of his efforts, he had any realization of the great work that lay in store for him. He simply saw men and children sinking in the moral lazaretto of a great city and stretched out his hand to help them. 

A scientific study of the principles of education has impressed upon our the necessity of dealing with children, if we desire to effect any permanent change in the mental or moral condition of the world; for the children of to-day are the fathers and the mothers of the next generation. Without theorising, Mr. Moody must have had an understanding of this principle. It was not long after he came to Chicago that he began to work among the children. His success in recruiting for the Sunday schools was wonderful. On one occasion he found a little mission Sunday school on the North side, and offered to take a class. The superintendent pointed out that they already had almost as many teachers as pupils, but added that, if Mr. Moody would get his own pupils, he would be at liberty to conduct a class. The next Sunday Mr. Moody appeared with eighteen ragamuffins. They were dirty, unkempt, many of them barefoot, but as the young teacher said, “each had a soul to save”. 


Mr. Moody’s missionary explorations led him into the most evil parts of the city. His face became familiar in the worst saloon districts, among the sailors’ boarding houses, and on the docks. It was on one of these excursions that he fell in with Mr. J. B. Stillson, a business man who was employing his spare time in the same missionary work. The two men cast in their lot together, and, according to one historian, during a single summer helped to recruit twenty mission Sunday schools. 

Mr. Moody recognised that the average mission school was not calculated to reach the lowest strata of society. There was too large a requirement of order, too little allowance for the homes from which the pupils had come. Accordingly, he decided to begin a mission school of his own, On the north side of the Chicago River was a district called The Sands”, sometimes also known as “Little Hell”. To-day, some of the finest residences of Chicago stand there where, in the early fifties and sixties, crime and debauchery reigned supreme. It was to this home of vice Mr. Moody went to begin his work. He found a deserted shanty which had formerly been a saloon and hiring this ramshackle place, started out to drum up children to fill it. At first he found it hard to get at the young street Arabs; then he filled his pockets with maple sugar, and, judiciously distributing it among those who promised to come, soon had his little room overflowing with barbarians. One who visited the school in those days has described his experiences. “When I came to the little old shanty and entered the door,” he said, “the first thing I saw by the light of the few candles, was a man standing up, holding in his arms a Negro boy, to whom he was trying to read the story of the Prodigal Son. A great many words the reader could not make out and was obliged to skip. My thought was, If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honour and glory it will astonish me! When the meeting was over, Mr Moody said to me, ‘I have got only one talent. I have no education, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to do something for Him.’ I have watched him since, and have come to know him thoroughly, and for consistent walk and conversation I have never met a man equal to him.” 


There was probably never another school just like this school on “The Sands” to which young Moody devoted his spare time. Speaking from the steps of the hall entrance, the evangelist could make his voice heard in the doors of two hundred saloons. At first he had no seats for his school, and for some time none of the other usual requisites; no blackboard, no library, no maps; but it was a live school – in fact, it was about as much as the teachers could do to keep the turbulent membership sufficiently quiet to sing a little and hear a little talking. Mr. Moody was helped here by his friend Mr. Stillson. As a cardinal doctrine they held that the worse a boy was the more necessity there was to keep him in the school. There is a story of one young rough who defied for a long time all efforts to tame him, and whose riotous behavior endangered the existence of the school. Having meditated and prayed over the matter all the week, Mr. Moody came to the school on Sunday persuaded that there was but one remedy that would reach this case, and that was a good thrashing. Coming up behind the young rowdy, he seized him and pushed him through the open door of a little anteroom, then, locking the door, proceeded to business. The excitement in the schoolroom was drawn off by singing until the two reappeared after a somewhat prolonged and noisy recess in the anteroom. Both were evidently well warmed up, but the humble bearing of the offending boy made manifest the result of the battle. “It was hard work,” remarked Mr. Moody, “but I guess we have saved him.” This proved to be true; and, moreover, this exhibition of muscular Christianity served as a strong claim on the admiration of the school Mr. Moody had demonstrated his ability to keep order, and thereafter found many helpers. One day an old pupil, coming up the aisle, noticed a new recruit with his cap on. He snatched it off, and with one blow sent the offender to the floor. “I’ll teach you to keep your cap on. in this school,” was the explanation of the young protector as he passed to his own seat with the air of one ready to do his duty. 


After a while the little shanty became too small for Mr. Moody’s purpose, and, with the permission of Mayor Haines, the school was removed to a large hall over the North Market. This hall was generally used on Saturday evenings for dancing, and it often took the whole Sunday morning for Mr. Moody to clean it up so that it would be in condition for his use in the afternoon. There were no chairs, so Mr. Moody set out to secure money to buy them. He went to several rich men, among others to Mr. J.V. Farwell, a prominent merchant. After receiving a contribution, he asked Mr. Farwell what he was doing in a personal way for the unsaved, and invited him to attend the mission. The next Sunday Mr. Farwell appeared at the North Market School. The scene, to his imagination, defied all description. Ragamuffins were darting hither and thither, crying their street cries, and entering upon all sorts of mischief, but from this state of confusion Scripture readings, songs, and speeches occasionally rescued them. Mr. Farwell made a speech, and at the close, to his great consternation was nominated by Mr. Moody superintendent of the school. The election was carried by acclamation before he had time to object. This office, so suddenly pressed upon him was filled by Mr. Farwell for more than six years. 


It was not easy to find suitable teachers for the classes which made up such a school, and it was not always easy to get rid of unsuitable teachers, but a plan was hit upon that worked to a charm. As no teacher could do such pupils good unless he could interest them a rule was made giving the pupils the privilege, under certain limitation, of leaving his class when he chose and going into another one. The result was that the superintendent was relieved from the unpleasant task of taking a dull teacher’s class away from him, for the class, one by one, quickly took itself away. 

Mr. Moody put a vast amount of work into the school. His evenings and Sundays were spent in skirmishing about “The Sands” looking after old pupils or hunting up new ones. Along with the Gospel he gave a great deal of relief for the sick, the unemployed, and unfortunate. He was the almoner not only of his own charity, but also of the gifts of the many friends who became interested in his work. His old employer has stated that as many as twenty children used to come into the store at one time to be gratuitously fitted with new shoes. 

As the school became popular, interest and curiosity brought many visitors, and it became easier to find teachers for the seventy or eighty classes. The attendance at the school increased in the most astonishing fashion, In three months there were 200 pupils in six months 350, and within a year the average attendance was about 650, with an occasional crowd of nearly 1000. The city missionary made objection to the wide range from which Mr. Moody was now drawing his recruits, on the plea that he was infringing on the work of other missions, but the work of the North Market School continued. No uniform lesson leaf was used in the school, but each teacher and pupil was supplied with a copy of the New Testament and from this drew information and inspiration. 


A notable event in the history of the school was the visit of President-elect Lincoln, who came one Sunday at the request of Mr. Farwell. When the carriage went to the house where Mr. Lincoln was visiting, he left an unfinished dinner in order to keep his appointment, and was hurried northward to the unsavoury district in which the North Market was situated. The President-elect was perhaps not accustomed to talk to Sunday schools; at any rate he requested that he should not be asked to make a speech; but when he was introduced to the spirited aggregation in the North Market Hall, the enthusiasm was so great that he yielded and spoke. His words were for right thinking and right acting. When a few months later this man issued a call for 75,000 volunteers, about sixty of the boys who had heard him that day in the North Market Hall answered. To them the words of the man who had told them of duty still rang through the words of the head of the State. 

Conversions and transformations were continually occurring as a result of the work of Mr. Moody’s school. More are related than can possibly be mentioned here, 


It must not be supposed that in his peregrinations among the lowly and the wretched, Mr. Moody always met with a welcome reception. There were many times when he stood in danger of his life. On such occasions he made it a principle to run away just as fast as he could, and he generally escaped because he could run faster than those who pursued him. One Sunday morning he was visiting some Roman Catholic family, with the purpose of bringing the children to the school, when a powerful man sprang at him with a club. The man had sworn to kill him, but a hard run saved the life of the young evangelist. Even after this attack he did not desist in his visit to this house, but continued again and again, until his tact and patience disarmed his adversary. 

On another occasion, one Saturday evening he found in a house a jug of whiskey, which had been stored there for a carouse the following day. After a rousing temperance lecture, Mr. Moody persuaded the women of the house to permit him to pour the whiskey into the street. This he did before departing. Early the next morning he came back to fetch the children of the place to Sunday school. The men were lying in wait for him to thrash him. It was impossible to get away, for he was surrounded on all sides, but before they could touch him, Mr. Moody said, “See here, men, if you are going to whip me, you might at least give me time to say my prayers.” The request was unusual; perhaps it was for that very reason that it was acceeded to. Mr. Moody dropped upon his knees and prayed such a prayer as those rough men had never heard before. Gradually they became interested and then softened, and when he had finished they gave him their hands, and a few minutes later Mr. Moody left the house for his school, followed by the children he had come to find. 


Mr. Moody was not only busily engaged in Chicago, but early in his missionary life he was called to speak in small Sunday school conventions chiefly because he had already gained the reputation of reaching the masses of poor children in the cities. He knew this work thoroughly, and in his own way he could tell about it, not only to the instruction but often to the amusement as well of his audience. At one time he was invited to a place in Illinois and was accompanied by a Christian Association secretary; they two were advertised to speak. The secretary, in speaking of it afterwards said, “If ever two poor fellows were frightened, it was Moody and I.” They reached their destination about two o’clock in the morning, too early to sit up and too late to go to bed, but they determined that they would spend all the time that was given them in prayer. During the rest of the night they sought God for power and guidance. Before the hour came when they were to speak, Mr. Moody secured the use of a public-school room which was quite near the place of the larger meeting. When asked what he wanted to do with it, he said, ” I want it for an inquiry meeting.” Both these young men were to speak, and each agreed that while the other spoke he would pray for him. When Mr. Moody was announced he seemed like one inspired. He pictured to them their need of Christ to help them as Sunday school teachers; told them it was an awful sin to do their work in a careless manner, and alter an address of an hour called upon all who wanted to meet him and to know Christ, to come with him to the school-room next door, where great numbers were helped. This was the beginning of a widespread spirit of revival, but it was also the beginning of a new life for Mr. Moody. From 1858 to 1865, Mr. Moody, Mr. Jacobs and Major Whittle, who were closely identified in conventions held in different parts of the country, became deeply impressed with the need of more of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The annual convention was to meet in Springfield, and these three workers were deeply concerned that it should be the best convention in the history of the State. They reached Springfield before the association convened, and held revival meetings as a prelude to what was to follow afterward. Seventy persons were converted. This became the Revival Conference. The next year the Sunday school workers met in the city of Decatur, and a record was brought up of ten thousand persons brought to Christ in a year. From this time on Mr. Moody was constantly invited to other States, and from Maine to Texas, from Montreal to San Francisco, from St. Paul to New Orleans, he went year after year, preaching and praying, rousing the Christian Associations into activity, inspiring the pastors to labour for revivals, helping the Sunday school teachers to reach their scholars for Christ; and in all his work as an evangelist throughout the world, deeper impressions were never made than in the first days of his active work as a Sunday school teacher and leader.

Chapter 7 – The YMCA And The Chicago Avenue Church

MR. MOODY had not been long identified with active Christian work in Chicago, before he saw an opportunity for service in connection with the Young Men’s Christian Association. This organisation had been established in Chicago as a result of the great revival of 1857 – 8, but after a few years the interest in the daily noon prayer meeting began to wane. To increase this interest impressed Mr. Moody as his duty. His abilities were soon recognised by those in charge of the work, and he was appointed chairman of the Visiting Committee to the sick and to strangers. His work in behalf of the noon meetings was blessed moreover with large results. 


He had found the Association made up of conservative men of middle or advanced years, but his advent among them was, as an officer of the Association has said, “like a stiff north-west breeze,” and under his influence the institution became free and popular, and its influence was extensively widened. His abilities were especially eminent in raising money, but of the thousands of dollars he secured he would take nothing for himself. Among other schemes devised by him was one which federated the mission schools of the city under the Association, and brought them under the care of the stronger churches. The report of the first year of the work of his committee on visitation gives the number of families visited as 554, and the amount of money used for charitable purposes as $2350. 

Meanwhile, the growing strength of the North Market Mission taxed the ingenuity of the young superintendent to provide room for its expansion. He set himself to work to secure a suitable edifice, and, collecting personally about $20,000, saw a neat chapel rise in Illinois Street, not far from the old North Market Hall. This was in 1863. Mr. Moody had ever aimed, as the converts of the Mission grew in number, to recommend them to regular church homes, but an increasing unwillingness on the part of the converts to leave the influences of his personal presence seemed to necessitate the organisation of a regular church to be made up of the converts of the Mission. 


The Illinois Street Church” was therefore organised under Congregational auspices. Members were baptised and received into the church by regular pastors of other Congregational churches, but the communion service was conducted by Mr. Moody without reference to established forms. He was the pastor of the church, although he never received ordination. For this reason, probably, the church, although organised by Congregationalists, was not reckoned a Congregational Church. Its discipline and confession of faith were made up with the end that no true lover of the Lord should be kept from the fellowship of this Christian band by any non-essential of doctrine or observance. 

The membership of this church in the beginning was unique. Almost every communicant had been rescued from degradation by the work of the Mission. And it was a working congregation. Labour was so divided that every member had something to do, and every night saw some service in the chapel. The meetings seemed to be a continuous revival. Boundless energy and great physical strength, with the constant dwelling of God’s spirit in him, alone enabled Mr. Moody to bear up under the great strain. At times he would find himself completely exhausted and almost ready to give up, but a few hours of rest or a slight change I occupation generally sufficed to put him very quickly on his feet again. 


The story is told of how he made two hundred calls on New Year’s Day. “At an early hour the omnibus which was to take him and several of his leading men was at the door, and, with a carefully prepared list of residences, they began the day’s labour. The list included a large proportion of families living in garrets and the upper stories of high tenements. On reaching the home of a family belonging to his congregation he would spring out of the ‘bus, leap up the stairways, rush into the room, and pay his respects as follows 

I am Moody; this is Deacon De Golyer; this is Deacon Thane; this is Brother Hitchcock. Are you well? Do you all come to church and Sunday-school? Have you all the coal you need for the winter? ‘Let us pray? And down we would all go upon our knees, while Mr. Moody offered from fifteen to twenty words of earnest, tender, sympathetic supplication.

“Then springing to his feet, he would dash on his hat, dart through the doorway and down the stairs, throwing a hearty ‘good bye’ behind him, leap into the ‘bus, and off to the next place on his list the entire exercise occupying about one minute and a half. 

Before long the horses were tired out, for Mr. Moody insisted on their going on a run from one house to another; so the omnibus was abandoned, and the party proceeded on foot One after another of his companions became exhausted with running upstairs and downstairs, and across the streets, and kneeling on bare floors, and getting up in a hurry; until, reluctantly, but of necessity, they were obliged to relinquish the attempt, and the tireless pastor was left to make the last of the two hundred calls alone. He returned home in the highest spirits to laugh at his exhausted companions for deserting him.”

The next year Mr. Moody went on foot through another such day – reminding his friends that on the previous New Year they had often felt obliged to leave the ‘bus before reaching a house, lest the sight of the vehicle should hurt the poor they visited, as an apparent waste of money. 


The increase of the work of the Young Men’s Christian Association during the Civil War called for increased accommodations. Mr. Moody’s success with his Mission, and his well-known energy and boldness, led to the proposal that he be elected president of the Association. His lack of learning and his bluntness caused considerable opposition to his election, but he received a small majority. A building committee was immediately organised. Mr. Moody’s plan was to organise a stock company, with twelve trustees, who should erect and hold the building in trust. The stock was to bear six percent interest, from the completion of the building, and the interest on the stock was to be paid out of the rentals of such portions of the building as were not needed for the use of the Association, and also from the rent of the great Hall. The excess of the rentals over the interest was to be used to buy up the stock, at par, in behalf of the Association. Mr. Moody succeeded in placing the stock to the value of $101000. 

The new building was erected in Madison Street, between Clark and La Salle Streets. The large hall had a seating capacity of three thousand. There were in the building a large room for the noon prayer meetings, a library, offices, etc. The hall was dedicated September 29, 1867. The report of the treasurer, Mr. John V, Farwell, on that occasion, showed that the entire cost of land, building, etc., was $199000. Stock had been subscribed to the amount of $135000; $50000 had been loaned on mortgages. The remaining indebtedness was at once cleared up by subscriptions. 


Among the speakers at the dedicatory service was Mr. George H. Stuart, president of the United States Christian Commission. His address sketched the history of the Association, and described the possibilities that were open to its efforts. The effect of his speech was marvellous. It seemed as if the words of this great Christian man had loosened the heart-strings of every individual in the large audience. The hall was still unnamed, but on Mr. Moody’s nomination it was christened “Farwell Hall,” in honour of Mr. John V. Farwell. 

Under the management of Mr. Moody, Farwell Hall became very popular. The daily noon prayer meeting was so well attended that occasionally the one thousand seats in the prayer room were not sufficient to hold the people, and it was necessary to adjourn to the large hall. Monday evening a special meeting was held for strangers. Every noon Mr. Moody would go to the street in front of the hall a few minutes before the meeting, and endeavour to send within as many of the passers-by as he could approach. Then, as the clock struck twelve, he would hurry up the stairs and take his usual seat, near the leader, where, if the meeting seemed to drag or to require a stimulus, he would take it in hand and do everything necessary to animate it. 

Mr. Moody began to be known in Young Men’s Christian Association work throughout the United States and Canada, and his services were in frequent demand for conventions and revival services. 

Four months after its dedication, Farwell Hall was burned, in January, 1868. Mr. Moody did not lag when this catastrophe overtook the enterprise in which he was bound up. Subscriptions were opened immediately, and most of the original stockholders came to the front with renewed support. On the old foundations a new Farwell Hall was erected. It was dedicated in 1869, to an only too brief period of noble service for the Master. 


Mr. Moody continued president of the Association for four years. He then declined re-election, but consented to act as vice-president, with Mr. J. V. Farwell in the chair. The Sunday evening meetings in the new hall were wonderful. Mr. Moody would there preach the same discourse he had delivered to his congregation in Illinois Street in the morning. Such throngs attended these evening meeting that they came to compose, with one exception, the largest protestant congregation in Chicago. The sermon was followed by an inquiry meeting. 

Farwell Hall soon became a great religious centre. That its success as an institution was due in large degree to Mr. Moody cannot be doubted. His energy made possible the erection of the first structure; his perseverance called forth the second, phoenix like, from the ashes of the first; his devotion filled the prayer meetings; his faith led hundreds to a changed life; and his directness, his singleness of purpose, prevented any deviation of the work from the paths of Christian helpfulness. The second Farwell Hall went down in the great fire of 1871, but its work still lived. 

Mr. Moody used to give an incident of his last service in Farwell Hall on the night of the great fire. He said: 


The last time I preached upon this question was in Farwell HaIl. I had been for five nights preaching on the life of Christ. I took Him from the cradle and followed Him up to the judgement hall, and on that occasion I consider I made as great a blunder as ever I made in my life. If I could recall my act I would give this right hand. It was upon that memorable night in October, and the Court House bell was sounding an alarm of fire, but I paid no attention to it. You know we were accustomed to hear the fire-bell often, and it didn’t disturb us much when it sounded. I finished the sermon upon ‘What shall I do with Jesus?’ And I said to the audience, ‘Now I want you to take the question with you and think over it, and next Sunday I want you to come back and tell me what you are going to do with it.’ What a mistake It seems now as if Satan was in my mind when I said this. Since then I have never dared to give an audience a week to think on their salvation. If they were lost, they might rise up in judgement against me, ‘Now is the accepted time.’ We went down stairs to the other meeting, and I remember when Mr. Sankey was singing and how his voice rang when he came to that pleading verse:

‘To-day the Saviour calls;
For refuge fly.
The storm of justice falls,
And death is nigh.’

After the meeting we went home. I remember going down La Salle street with a young man who is probably in the hall to-night, and saw the glare of flames. I said to the young man, ‘This means ruin to Chicago.’ About one o’clock Farwell Hall went; soon the church in which I had preached went down, and everything was scattered. I never saw that audience again. My friends, we don’t know what may happen to-morrow, but there is one thing I do know, and that is, if you take the gift, you are saved. If you have eternal life, you need not fear fire, death, or sickness. Let disease or death come, you can shout triumphantly over the grave, if you have Christ. My friends, what are you going to do with Him tonight? Will you decide now?”


The Illinois Street Church was also burned in the great fire, and Mr. Moody at once began the work of feeding and sheltering the homeless. Complaints were made of his too bountiful distribution, for he would refuse no one who asked. He therefore withdrew from the relief work, and went East, to hold revival meetings and to raise money toward rebuilding his church. With the large assistance of Mr. George H. Stuart and Mr. John Wanamaker, of Philadelphia, he obtained three thousand dollars for the erection of a rough structure in the burned district, not far from the ruins of the old church. This ” North Side Tabernacle,” as it was called, covered a plot of ground one hundred and nine feet long and seventy-five feet wide. All around it were the ruins. There was some doubt whether the situation of the Tabernacle would permit a large attendance, but on the day of dedication more than one thousand children came together. 

The meetings in the Tabernacle were distinguished by a remarkable revival. During the year following the fire eight services were held every Sunday. A wide relief work was also instituted by the indefatigable pastor. Mr. Moody had returned from the eastern tour refreshed spiritually and blessed by a large access of power. He has told us how, while he was in New York City on that memorable journey, God revealed Himself especially to his servant. This baptism of the Divine Love vivified his later work and made it tell with the unconverted as never before. And so, in the Tabernacle among the ashes, sprang up a wonderful manifestation of God’s presence, and hundreds were led to Christ. 


The new church, which afterward came to be known as “The Chicago Avenue Church”, was partly erected in 1873. From that time it was used by the congregation, a temporary roof being built over the first floor, but not until 1876 was it completed, freed of debt, and dedicated. Up to this time the preaching and pastoral work was done chiefly by Mr. Moody and Mr. Watts Dc Golyer. Since then the Rev. W. J. Erdman, the Rev. Charles H. Norton, the Rev. G. C. Needham, President Blanchard, the Rev. Charles F. Goss and the Rev. F. B. Hyde have occupied the pulpit and acted as pastors. The present pastor is the Rev. Dr. R. A. Torrey. The church has always maintained its early character as an undenominational, evangelical and aggressive congregation. The sittings and other privileges are all free, and the motto selected at the organisation of the church, and still inscribed over the main entrance, is “Welcome to this House of God are strangers and the poor.” It has always been dependent upon the offerings of the people for its support, and the expenses are met through the systematic weekly giving of the congregation.