>he ChuversUv ol Lbicar\o i
. i d- T d V I C S
vf! 1,,-y^y-t (! r * ;.< .."> -y:;-- i
Gift of The American Institute
of Sacred Literature
MOODY STILL LIVES
WORD PICTURES OF D. L. MOODY
ARTHUR PERCY FITT
Fleming H. Revell Company
LONDON AND EDINBURGH
Copyright, MCMXXXVI, by
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
All rights reserved; no part of this book may be
reproduced in any form without permission fro_m
the Publisher, except by a reviewer desiring to
quote brief passages for inclusion in a notice to
be inserted in a newspaper or periodical.
H V" ^ '"/ '~ r
V-- * : --J / :>'
GIFT OF THE AMEP.JCAH
INST'T'JT 1 ?: "F SACRED
! IT^:- ATMPE
New York : 158 Fifth Avenue
London : 21 Paternoster Square
I. THREE WORD PICTURES 9
My First Interview Mr. Moody in Action At
Home in Northfield.
II. How DID A NEW ENGLAND COUNTRY LAD BE-
COME A WORLD POWER? 18
How He Came to Believe in Jesus How He Be-
came a Soul-Winner How He Became a Man of
the Bible Filled with the Holy Spirit.
III. NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO AND TO-
Pioneer and Colonial History New England Herit-
age A Hundred Years Ago To-day.
IV. BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER, 1854-73 . 42
Boston Chicago Growth in Technique Beyond
the Confines of Chicago.
V. IN ACTION OVERSEAS 53
VI. IMPRESS UPON AMERICA, 1875-93 68
At Home Again in Northfield Campaigning in
America Memories Persist Interdenominational
Fraternity Key to Career.
VII. BEGINNINGS OF CONTINUING INFLUENCE,
Moody Memorial Church Northfield Schools
Northfield Conferences Moody Bible Institute
VIII. WORLD'S FAIR EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN, 1893 99
Facing Death on the Atlantic A Daring Project
Plan of Campaign Some Notable Meetings Head-
quarters Staff At the Close of the Campaign.
IX. LATER MINISTRY, 1893-9 Ill
Some Questions Answered At Northfield Preach-
ing the Gospel in Print Large Cities Revisited.
X. WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 124
The Family Circle Mr. and Mrs. Moody's De-
XI. PERSONALIA 134
What Mr. Moody Was Not Sundry Word Pictures
Some Revealing Anecdotes This Changing
XII. How SHALL A MAN'S INFLUENCE BE MEAS-
URED AFTER HE Is GONE? 147
Through His Writings Through His Momentum
Through His Ideas and Institutions Through
D. L. MOODY'S LIFE AT A GLANCE
1837 Born, February 5, at Northfield, Massachusetts.
1854 Left home.
1855 Converted to God in Boston.
1856 Joined Mount Vernon Congregational Church, Bos-
ton; went to Chicago.
1860 Gave up business.
1862 Married Emma Charlotte Revell.
1863 Organized Illinois Street Church.
1867 First visit to Great Britain.
1871 Chicago home consumed in the Great Fire.
1872 Filling with the Holy Spirit; second visit to Great
1873-5 First extended campaign in the British Isles.
1875 Bought home in Northfield.
1879 Founded Northfield Seminary.
1880 First conference held in Northfield.
1881 Founded Mount Hermon School.
1881-4 Second campaign in the British Isles.
1886 First College Students' Conference held; Chicago
Evangelization Society founded, now the Moody
Bible Institute of Chicago.
1891-2 Third campaign in the British Isles.
1892 Visit to the Holy Land; facing death on the Atlantic.
1893 World's Fair Evangelistic Campaign, Chicago.
1894 Founded the Bible Institute Colportage Association
1899 Last public service November 16, in Kansas City,
Mo.; died December 22 at Northfield.
THREE WORD PICTURES OF MR. MOODY
MY FIRST INTERVIEW
E scene is laid in Edinburgh Temperance Hotel
8 on O'Connell (once Sackville) Street in Dublin,
-- Ireland, in October 1892. It is after 10 P.M. I
am waiting at the hotel desk. Presently the street door
opens, and in walks briskly a broad-shouldered, stockily-
built bearded man, dressed in an unassuming black suit
and overcoat, with a Bible in his hand. It is D. L.
Moody, returning after his meeting in the Rotunda.
I am there by appointment, and introduce myself. We
step into the "lift," and go up to his room.
While I am apologising for coming at this late hour be-
cause I was reading hard for my impending final gold
medal degree examination in Dublin University, Mr.
Moody goes to the centre table, takes up a dish of lovely
hothouse grapes which friends had sent him, and wants
me to take them.
"Good for a dry throat when you are reading under a
lamp," he urges.
That kindly thoughtfulness was a never-failing charac-
teristic of his.
Major D. W. Whittle, his associate in evangelistic
work, whom I had met the previous Christmas vacation,
had written me a note some days before saying Mr.
Moody wanted to see me; so I asked what he wanted
to see me about.
"I want you to come to America as my secretary during
the World's Fair in Chicago for six months next sum-
mer. . . . Great opportunity for a young man. . . . The
whole world will come to Chicago. . . . Worth a year's
10 MOODY STILL LIVES
travel. ... I will pay all your expenses and give you
$100 a month. . . ."
It was a generous offer, but did not attract me spe-
cially, because my prospects at the Irish Bar were good.
Besides, I had not even heard him preach, as I was
too occupied to go to even one of his meetings. And I
had never been markedly active in church relations or
That interview must have lasted about an hour. I
watched him every moment, studied him, was amazed at
his simplicity, sincerity and kindness as he parried my
hesitations. Finally he said: "Well, come anyway, and
you can return home at any time if you are not satis-
fied ! "
Who could resist such generous pressure from so
prominent a man, of whom I had heard all my life from
my older brothers and sisters and friends in admiring and
respectful terms? I knew of the mighty spiritual results
God had wrought through him in Great Britain and Ire-
land in 1873-5, and again in 1881-4. I was raised on
Sankey's Songs and Solos. The upshot was that after
receiving my degree I sailed for America in January
1893, and have been with him ever since. My respect
for his position and ministry as an evangelist, and the
spiritual values in being associated with him, together
with his winning and commanding personality as revealed
in our interview, were the weighty factors in my decision.
They outweighed personal considerations. And I was not
to be disappointed.
If some reader asks if that was the crazy way Mr.
Moody picked up his young associates, my answer is, I
don't know; I am telling about his dealings with me.
But it was not so unbelievable as it seemed to me at the
time. The background of his action was this. He and
Mr. Sankey had held meetings in the city of Limerick,
my home town, in the visit of 1881-4. My older brother
Frank was secretary of the meetings ; he was bright, full
of proverbial Irish wit and rollicking stories. Mr.
THREE WORD PICTURES 11
Moody and Mr. Sankey used to have him come to the
hotel after the evening meetings, and they would swap
stories until they were ready for sleep. Neither of them
ever forgot Frank : the mention of his name would bring
reminiscent smiles to their faces.
Again in 1892 Mr. Moody held meetings in Limerick,
with Frank as local secretary. Mr. Moody wanted him
to join him in evangelistic work, with the World's Fair
Evangelistic Campaign in mind, but Frank was now
settled in a good law business, he was one of the smart-
est younger lawyers in Ireland, which is saying a good
deal, was married, and had a family. Mr. Moody's next
question was, were there any younger brothers. Frank
told him I was soon to graduate at Dublin University.
So Mr. Moody sent for me when he came to Dublin, on
the strength of being Frank's brother, and apparently
sized me up as worth the risk. Doubtless he had made
other inquiries and knew my record in school and college,
for he was a Yankee with both feet on the ground, and
generally knew what he was doing. He seems to have
had some reputation for acting on impulse, or by in-
tuition, but in most cases, as here, he had given careful
thought and had previous knowledge on which to form a
quick decision when the time came. And when he
wanted anything he usually had his way.
MR. MOODY IN ACTION
The next time I saw Mr. Moody was in action.
He wrote to me in New York to join him in Wilming-
ton, Delaware, where he and Mr. Sankey were to hold a
series of meetings. It was the first time I heard him
preach. I also served him at close quarters as his secre-
tary answering correspondence, attending to details of
the meetings, interviewing callers, and in other ways.
He had more power over an audience, day in and out,
than any man I have ever observed. The moment he
stepped up to the rostrum you felt he was master of the
12 MOODY STILL LIVES
situation. A meeting never got out of hand, not even a
few times when a serious accident happened ; he usually
turned such occurrences to account. His eye caught
everything that was taking place. He would ask an usher
to seat a person who was at a loss, or to hand some one
a hymn book. If the air became oppressive close air
would give him a headache, he would have the windows
opened during the singing of a hymn, or if he noticed
people were getting restless because of a draught he
would have the windows closed. He knew the impor-
tance of having his audience at ease while he preached,
free from physical discomfort, hence his attention to such
There was nothing sensational about his preaching in
matter or method, rather the reverse ; but his downright
sincerity and spiritual power won the people and led
them to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and
Lord, whether in the big meeting or in the smaller after-
meeting. He never preached anything but the Bible, at
its face value, as the revelation of God. He never left
the people up in the air, but always pressed for im-
mediate decision under the plain preaching of the gospel.
His one object in life was to awaken men to their stand-
ing before God and win them to Him. The masses at-
tended his meetings to hear him preach, but after the
mass meeting he and his fellow workers dealt one by one
with those who professed a willingness to receive Christ.
He had no specious pulpit or platform artifices, but he
had an uncanny flair was it not the ready gift of the
Holy Spirit? for saying the right thing in the right way
at the right moment. His speech was vivid and moving.
He spoke straight forward, loud enough always to be
heard distinctly to the end of the sentence. He used few
gestures, except when reliving some dramatic episode like
Elijah's translation. Without ever having heard of psy-
chology he learned and practised the best ways to move
hearts and consciences, and so to get decision and sur-
render to Christ. He regarded seriously his commission
THREE WORD PICTURES 13
from God. One listened to what he was saying, and for-
got the speaker. Often an indescribable hush would
brood over a meeting, everybody still and listening in-
He knew the value of hymns in preparing the audience
for his message. Singing opens the heart's door for faith.
He could not sing a note himself, or rather, all he ever
did was to sing-song along on one note, perhaps speaking
the words of the hymn. He used to say he could sing as
well as Mr. Sankey. "I sing as well as I can, and Sankey
can do no better." He watched how a hymn took or
failed to take with the people, and would announce one
hymn after another, choosing the character of it care-
fully, until his audience was fused into spiritual pre-
paredness. At times he would himself be completely
bowed under the words of some hymn that specially
Here let me pause to speak of Mr. Sankey, identified
more or less for some 30 years with Mr. Moody! Of
all the gospel singers I have heard Ira D. Sankey was the
greatest, and I have heard them all except P. P. Bliss,
who was killed in a railroad accident in 1876. Others
have had more polished voices, more musical technique,
but even at the age of about 50 Mr. Sankey could capture
an audience more quickly with his resonant voice and
hold them spell-bound or Spirit-bound more fully than
any singer I ever heard. He had to be great to fill the
great opportunity Mr. Moody gave him.
Is it beyond the facts to say that he sang to more
people (in person, I mean : with the radio it is different)
than any man or woman who ever lived? I think not.
He sang to multitudes twice a day or oftener, six days a
week, from fall to spring, and sometimes during the
summer, over a long course of years. True, his solos
were not grand music, yet they had the grandeur of sim-
plicity, and they captured the people. Hearers did not
come expecting a glorious rendition of anthem or or-
atorio. His simple hymns and tunes gripped hearts and
14 MOODY STILL LIVES
consciences with the directness of their message, wrought
a sense of the divine presence, and frequently brought
people to decision. Mr. Moody fully recognised his
colleague's power in song, and gave him plentiful op-
portunity. As with Mr. Moody himself, the secret was
spiritual power. What would human accomplishment be
without that in the serious work of saving men?
I met Mr. Sankey first at the Wilmington meetings.
He liked me, and I liked him, ever afterward.
After Wilmington we went to Baltimore, Charlotte and
Wilmington, North Carolina. What a rare privilege it
was to be intimately associated with those two servants
of God, so mighty in action, so simple and straightfor-
ward and kind at all times ! What a privilege to meet the
finest Christian people in those cities! For the leading
business and professional men and the preachers and
church people had confidence in Mr. Moody and Mr.
Sankey and rallied to their side. It was an unusual in-
troduction to America, to the best in America, for a
young fellow. I have never forgotten the kindnesses and
courtesies I received myself, especially in Baltimore,
where Mr. Moody had spent the winter of 1878-9 (his
younger son Paul was born then), and where he had
multitudes of dear friends. They loved him and trusted
him. They opened their hearts and their homes. Mrs.
Moody joined him in Baltimore. All four of us were
entertained in private homes, not in hotels. Madame
("Grandma") Levering took me as her guest and gave me
a suite of rooms convenient for my secretarial duties in
her lovely home on Eutaw Place. The whole Levering
family snowed me great kindness and hospitality. A
complete stranger, I was thus favoured because I was
associated with Mr. Moody.
In Baltimore I learned another thing about him. He
wanted me to take in everything that was worthwhile
wherever we were, so he sent me over to Washington to
see the inauguration of Grover Cleveland. Boss Croker
led the Tammany cohorts, the retiring president Har-
THREE WORD PICTURES 15
rison was in the open carriage with Cleveland, and all the
leading politicians were on view. It was an effective in-
troduction to American political life. It was a gala day
for a college boy used to occasional ructions in Dublin in
the days of Balfour and Parnell. Mr. Moody was keen
on those things, and had me tell him all about it when I
got back to Baltimore ; and he laughed over my reactions
Mrs. Moody was her husband's treasurer. She settled
with me for salary and expenses. Mr. Moody never kept
any money. He turned over all his income to his wife.
They were always kindness personified to me. A cloud
never arose between them and myself.
April was to be a month of rest before going to
Chicago, May 1, for the six months World's Fair Evan-
gelistic Campaign. So we found ourselves in Northfield,
Massachusetts, the town where he was born and had his
AT HOME IN NORTHFIELD
Mr. Moody at home, with his family and neighbours
and schools, presented a different picture, not in his
personal character, but in his habits, occupations and
his clothes. He laid aside his black suit in favour of some
informal free-and-easy suit. His character remained
always the same, simple and unassuming ; he never posed,
he never put on a false front in public or in private. His
life was an open book. Nothing subtle or changeful or
temperamental in his character or conduct. Always
frank, open-hearted, open-minded. Built solidly enough
to inspire confidence, capable of a hearty laugh, enjoying
a joke, even on himself. Greatly loving and beloved in
his own family. True and loyal as a friend, kindly and
generous with his relatives and neighbours. Those who
knew him best loved him most. Tactful and sympathetic
as a benefactor. Paternal in his relations with students
of his schools at Northfield and Mount Hermon. Always
far and broad visioned in temporal and spiritual affairs.
16 MOODY STILL LIVES
Forceful in performance when it came time to act. Un-
dismayed by difficulties, rather, spurred to attack them
courageously. I never went to him with a problem but
he would clear the air with a few words. All because of
his Christlike nature, his spiritual insight, his filling with
the Holy Spirit. The nearer we can get to the truth
about Mr. Moody, the more rigid the examination of the
spiritual, ethical and social results of his work, the
greater is the impression of him as a remarkable living
demonstration of the grace and power of God.
From Northfield I went to Chicago the first of May,
travelling with D. B. Towner, one of Mr. Moody 's singer
colleagues, from whom I learned much about the new life
I was facing. In a later chapter I will give a brief survey
of the World's Fair Evangelistic Campaign that occupied
the next six months: a gigantic enterprise that brought
me in continuous contact not only with the faculty and
students and business staff of the Bible Institute, but
also with a host of ministers, evangelists and singers,
Bible teachers, and Christian leaders generally from all
over the world, who cooperated more or less in the
campaign under Mr. Moody's direction. The impression
made upon me by Mr. Moody himself, and by the whole
personnel, was that here was a sphere of usefulness of a
higher order than even a successful career at the Irish
or English Bar. It would mean the surrender of good
prospects for a life of sacrificial service, such as Mr.
Moody and his associates lived. But I made the higher
choice, and have never regretted it. As long as Mr.
Moody lived he gave me his confidence and more than
friendship. I remained with him till his death and ever
since. For he is as living and real to me to-day as ever,
only absent, away, until I join him again.
I am not alone in this vivid sense of Mr. Moody's
reality and influence, all these years after he went away.
I know numbers living who are bound to him still with
bands of love and loyalty. His personality and character
inspired that attachment, especially on the part of men.
THREE WORD PICTURES 17.
I do not feel that another formal "Life" of Mr. Moody
is needed just now. Immediately after his death I wrote
a Shorter Life, which is still in print. Later that same
year his elder son, William Revell Moody, issued the
official Life of Dwight L. Moody, fully illustrated. Again
in 1930 Will wrote his father's life, D. L. Moody, having
made a study of backgrounds and added some new data
that had come to light. Dr. Charles R. Erdman of
Princeton Theological Seminary delivered and published
a series of lectures on D. L. Moody, His Message for To-
Day in 1928, a balanced and discerning book by one who
knew Mr. Moody personally. And yet his life story has
not been worn threadbare; innumerable incidents and
anecdotes not put in print remain to be assembled. What
is needed now and always is to know the secret of his life
and power, that a multitude of other hearts and lives
may be quickened. I wish I could portray the man as he
was and the highlights of his career so realistically that
generations that have grown up since he died might
visualise him and understand him. They would like him,
and believe in him.
HOW DID A NEW ENGLAND COUNTRY LAD
BECOME A WORLD POWER?
TARTING from nothing, Mr. Moody became the
most influential spiritual figure that America has yet
produced. February 5, 1937, the centennial of his
birth, will always be remembered for its observance by
Christian people around the world. How account for his
Sam P. Jones, the great Georgia evangelist of over a
generation ago, was once attacked by a newspaper man
who said the papers had made him.
Sam replied, with his characteristic drawl,
"Let them make another!"
It is sometimes said that Northfield made D. L.
Moody, meaning his sturdy ancestry and the rugged life
of New England. While granting certain values to he-
redity and environment we can still ask,
"If so, why has not Northfield produced another D. L.
The secret of his power and influential career must be
found in quite other directions.
Biologists might claim that Mr. Moody was an ac-
cidental deviation from the normal conditions and ante-
cedents into which he was born, like Benjamin Franklin,
amazingly unique among thirteen children. I agree he
was a unique phenomenon, but that would be to judge on
a merely materialistic plane, ignoring important factors
in his life. I would rather list him with a few outstanding
men in church history like John Wesley, Martin Luther,
and with men of the Bible like Paul, John the Baptist,
Moses, where in every case there were spiritual crisis and
vision and enduement by God for special work appropri-
ate to a special time and need.
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 19
Four decisive events in his life, major crises, account
step by step for his rise. They are, chronologically :
1. His acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth as his Saviour,
in Boston as a lad of 18 in 1855 ;
2. His first impressive experience in soul-winning in
Chicago in 1860, aged 23 ;
3. His first realization of the immeasurable fulness of
the Bible in Chicago in 1867;
4. His filling with the Holy Spirit in New York in
He became a believer in Jesus Christ under his Sunday
school teacher's leading in Boston. He got a taste of
soul-winning by observing a dying teacher of his Sunday
school in Chicago. He became a man of the Bible under
the ministry of Harry Moorehouse, an English evangelist
and Bible teacher. His Pentecostal experience made him
a soul-winning evangelist to nations.
I. HOW HE CAME TO BELIEVE IN JESUS
His conversion to God. Young Moody left home early
in 1854, and after a time found a job with two uncles in
their shoe store in Boston. Among conditions they im-
posed on the boy was attendance at Mount Vernon Con-
gregational Church and Sunday school. It was a revival
church, with a zealous and eloquent minister, Dr. Ed-
ward Norris Kirk, but it was in connection with the Sun-
day school he found God. Here he was assigned to a
young men's class taught by one Edward Kimball. He
knew little about the Bible or its teachings, but he gave
close, respectful attention to his teacher, and his de-
meanour in class was always earnest. Let Mr. Kimball
take up the story :
"I determined to speak to him about Christ and about
his soul, and started down to Helton's shoe store. When
I was nearly there I began to wonder whether I ought to
go in just then during business hours. I thought that
possibly my call might embarrass the boy, and that when
20 MOODY STILL LIVES
I went away the other clerks would ask who I was, and
taunt him with my efforts in trying to make him a good
boy. In the meantime I had passed the store, and discov-
ering this I determined to make a dash for it and have it
"I found Moody in the back part of the building wrap-
ping up shoes. I went up to him at once, and putting
my hand on his shoulder I made what I afterwards felt
was a very weak plea for Christ. 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. It seemed the young
man was just ready for the light that then broke upon
him, and there, in the back of that store in Boston, he
gave himself and his life to Christ."
How tenderly he used to refer to that unforgettable
transaction between himself and his Saviour! I heard
him preaching in Tremont Temple, in 1897, when he said :
"I can almost throw a stone from Tremont Temple to
the spot where I found God over forty years ago. I wish
I could do something to lead some young man to the
same God. I wish I could make people understand what
He has been to me. He has been a million times better
to me than I have been to Him."
At another time he said :
"The morning I was converted I went outdoors and
fell in love with everything. I never loved the bright
sun shining over the earth so much before, and when I
heard the birds singing their sweet songs I fell in love
with the birds. Everything was different."
Mr. Moody did not often refer to his conversion. But
then he was reticent about other great experiences in his
own life, and about his evangelistic campaigns. He did
not live on the past. He seemed to face forward toward
coming opportunities in full assurance of faith.
He took me to see that shoe store, 43 Court Street, in
1897. A marker was placed on the building in 1930.
Since then the building has been torn down and a new
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 21
building erected, on which a worthy bronze marker will
identify the site in coming years.
2. HOW HE BECAME A SOUL-WINNER
Mr. Moody was led to give up flattering business pros-
pects in Chicago in 1860 through a heart-searching experi-
ence of soul-winning which he witnessed and shared in.
The story can be told in his own words, quoting from my
Shorter Life :
"I had never lost sight of Jesus Christ since the first
time I met Him in the store at Boston, but for years I
really believed that I could not work for God. No one
had ever asked me to do anything.
"When I went to Chicago I hired four pews in a church,
and used to go out on the street and pick up young men
and fill these pews. I never spoke to those young men
about their souls: that was the work of the elders, I
thought. After working for some time like that, I started
a mission sabbath school. I thought numbers were every-
thing, and so I worked for numbers. When the attend-
ance ran below one thousand it troubled me, and when
it ran to twelve or fifteen hundred I was elated. Still
none were converted, there was no harvest.
"Then God opened my eyes.
"There was a class of young ladies in the school who
were without exception the most frivolous set of girls I
ever met. One Sunday the teacher was ill, and I took
that class. They laughed in my face, and I felt like
opening the door and telling them all to get out and
never come back.
"That week the teacher of the class came into the store
where I worked. He was pale, and looked ill.
" 'What is the trouble?' I asked.
" 'I have had another hemorrhage of my lungs. The
doctor says I cannot live on Lake Michigan, so I am
going to New York State. I suppose I am going home to
22 MOODY STILL LIVES
"He seemed greatly troubled, and when I asked the
reason he replied:
" 'Well, I have never led any of my class to Christ.
I really believe I have done the girls more harm than
"I had never heard any one talk like that before, and
it set me thinking. After awhile I said :
" 'Suppose you go and tell them how you feel ! I will
go with you in a carriage, if you want to go.'
"He consented, and we started out together. It was
one of the best journeys I ever had on earth. We went
to the house of one of the girls, called for her, and the
teacher talked to her about her soul. There was no
laughing then! Tears stood in her eyes before long.
After he had explained the way of life he suggested that
we have prayer. He asked me to pray. True, I had
never done such a thing in my life as to pray God to con-
vert a young lady there and then. But we prayed, and God
answered our prayer.
"We went to other houses. He would go upstairs, and
be all out of breath, and he would tell the girls what he
had come for. It wasn't long before they broke down
and sought salvation.
"When his strength gave out I took him back to his
lodgings. The next day we went out again. At the end
of ten days he came to the store with his face literally
" 'Mr. Moody,' he said, 'the last one of my class has
yielded herself to Christ!'
"I tell you we had a time of rejoicing.
"He had to leave the next night, so I called his class
together that night for a prayer meeting, and there God
kindled a fire in my soul that has never gone out. The
height of my ambition had been to be a successful mer-
chant, and if I had known that meeting was going to take
that ambition out of me I might not have gone. But how
many times I have thanked God since for that meeting !
"The dying teacher sat in the midst of his class, and
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 23
talked with them, and read the 14th chapter of John. We
tried to sing 'Blest be the Tie That Binds/ after which
we knelt down to pray. I was just rising from my knees
when one of the class began to pray for her dying teacher.
Another prayed, and another, and before we rose the
whole class had prayed. As I went out I said to myself :
" '0 God, let me die rather than lose the blessing I have
"The next evening I went to the depot to say good-bye
to that teacher. Just before the train started, one of the
class came, and before long, without any prearrangement,
they were all there. What a meeting that was! We
tried to sing, but we broke down. The last we saw of
that dying teacher he was standing on the platform of the
rear car, his finger pointing upward, telling us to meet
him in heaven.
"I didn't know what this was going to cost me. I was
disqualified for business: it had become distasteful to
me. I had got a taste of another world, and cared no
more for making money. For some days after the great-
est struggle of my life took place. Should I give up busi-
ness and give myself wholly to Christian work, or should
I not ? God helped me to decide aright, and I have never
regretted my choice. Oh, the luxury of leading some one
out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light
and liberty of the gospel ! "
He gave up business for personal profit once for all,
and never afterward tried to accumulate wealth.
3. HOW HE CAME TO BE A MAN OF THE BIBLE
The next great crisis in Mr. Moody's career occurred
when he came to realise the immeasurable fulness of the
Bible. The story is most suggestive.
It begins early in 1867, when the doctor advised a sea
voyage for Mrs. Moody, who had a harassing cough.
They decided to go to England for two reasons: Mrs.
Moody was born in London and a sister was still living
24 MOODY STILL LIVES
there, and Mr. Moody wanted to hear and meet some
of the great Christian leaders in England, such as Charles
Haddon Spurgeon of London, George Williams, founder
of the Y.M.C.A., and George Miiller of Bristol.
In the course of that trip Mr. Moody also went to
Dublin, where he met Harry Moorehouse, "the boy
preacher," who introduced himself and said he would like
to come to Chicago and preach. This incident had an
important sequel which we want, and which can be told
in Mr. Moody's own words, again quoting from my
Shorter Life :
"I looked at him. He was a beardless boy ; didn't look
as if he was more than seventeen ; and I said to myself,
'He can't preach ! ' He wanted me to let him know what
boat I was going on as he would like to return with me.
I thought he could not preach, and did not let him know.
But I had not been in Chicago a great many weeks be-
fore I got a letter which said he had arrived in this coun-
try, and that he would come to Chicago and preach for
me if I wanted him. I sat down and wrote a very cold
letter: 'If you come West, call on me.' I thought that
would be the last I should hear of him, but soon I got
another letter, saying that he was still in this country
and would come on if I wanted him. I wrote again, tell-
ing him if he happened to come West to drop in on me.
In the course of a few days I got a letter stating that
next Thursday he would be in Chicago. What to do with
him I did not know. I had made up my mind he couldn't
preach. I was going to be out of town Thursday and
Friday, and I told some of the officers of the church :
" 'There is a man coming here Thursday who wants to
preach. I don't know whether he can or not. You had
better let him try, and I will be back Saturday.'
"They said there was a good deal of interest in the
church, and they did not think they should have him
preach then; he was a stranger, and he might do more
harm than good.
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 25
"'Well/ I said, 'you had better try Mm. Let him
preach two nights' ; and they finally let him preach.
"When I got back Saturday morning I was anxious to
know how he got on. The first thing I said to my wife
when I got in the house was :
" 'How is that young Irishman coming along?' (I had
met him in Dublin and took him to be an Irishman, but
he happened to be an Englishman.) 'How do the people
" 'They like him very much.'
"'Did you hear him?'
"'Did you like him?'
" 'Yes, very much. He has preached two sermons from
John 3. 16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life" ; and I think
you will like him, although he preaches a little different
from what you do.'
'"How is that?'
" 'Well, he tells sinners God loves them.'
" 'Well,' said I, 'he is wrong.'
"She said : 'I think you will agree with him when you
hear him because he backs up everything he says with
the Word of God.'
"I went down to church that night, and I noticed every
one brought his Bible.
" 'My friends,' began Moorehouse, 'if you will turn to
the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you
will find my text.'
"He preached a most extraordinary sermon from that
verse. He did not divide the text into 'Secondly' and
'Thirdly' and 'Fourthly.' He just took it as a whole,
and then went through the Bible from Genesis to Revela-
tion to prove that in all ages God loved the world ; that
He sent prophets and patriarchs and holy men to warn
them, and last of all sent His Son. After they murdered
Him, He sent the Holy Ghost.
26 MOODY STILL LIVES
"I never knew up to that time that God loved us so
much. This heart of mine began to thaw out, and I
could not keep back the tears. It was like news from a
far country. I just drank it in.
"The next night there was a great crowd, for the people
like to hear that God loves them, and he said, 'My friends,
if you will turn in your Bible to the third chapter of John
and the sixteenth verse you will find my text!' He
preached another extraordinary sermon from that won-
derful verse, and he went on proving God's love again
from Genesis to Revelation. He could turn to almost
any part of the Bible and prove it. I thought that ser-
mon was better than the other one. He struck a higher
chord than ever, and it was sweet to my soul to hear it.
"The next night it is pretty hard to get out a crowd
in Chicago on Monday night, but they came. Women
left their washing, or if they washed they came and
brought their Bibles. He said again, 'My friends, if you
will turn to the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of
John you will find my text,' and again he followed it out
to prove that God loves us. He just beat it down into
our hearts, and I have never doubted it since.
"I used to preach that God was behind the sinner with
a double-edged sword, ready to hew him down. I have
got done with that. I preach now that God is behind
the sinner with love, and he is running away from the
God of love.
"Tuesday night came, and we thought surely he had
exhausted that text and would take another, but he
preached the sixth sermon from that wonderful text, 'God
so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have' not going to have when you die, but have it right
here, now, 'everlasting life.' Although many years
have rolled away his hearers never have forgotten it.
"The seventh night came, and he went into the pulpit.
Every eye was upon him. All were anxious to know what
he was going to preach about. He said, 'My friends, I
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 27
have been hunting all day for a new text, but I cannot
find one as good as the old one, so we will go back to
the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse/ and
he preached the seventh sermon from that wonderful text.
I remember the closing of that sermon. Said he:
" 'My friends, for a whole week I have been trying to
tell you how much God loves you, but I cannot do it with
this poor stammering tongue. If I could borrow Jacob's
ladder, and climb up into heaven and ask Gabriel, who
stands in the presence of the Almighty, if he could tell
me how much love the Father has for the world, all he
could say would be, "God so loved the world that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." ' "
It was a revelation to Mr. Moody of the inexhausti-
bility of Scripture such as he had never dreamed of.
From that time he became a more diligent student of
the Bible. He asked Moorehouse how to study, and in-
vited friends to his Chicago home for probably the first
"Bible readings" ever held in America.
4. FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is difficult to give an accurate account of the next
outstanding crisis in Mr. Moody's life. We are face to
face with divine mystery, but yet reality. Mr. Moody
told the story of it several times during the seven years
I was with him, but never in close detail, and I think his
words were never reported in full. He regarded it as
almost too solemn to talk about in public, but sometimes
when he was speaking on God the Holy Spirit, he would
testify to his own overpowering experience.
Let us begin in Chicago in the 1860's, after a church
was organised out of his Sunday school converts and their
families. Illinois Street Church was the scene of con-
tinuous revival activity, with Mr. Moody as its moving
spirit, and frequently the preacher.
Two faithful and devout women used to attend his
28 MOODY STILL LIVES
meetings and sit on the front seat. He could see by the
expression on their faces that they were praying, and at
the close of the service they would tell him they were
praying for him. They sensed something lacking.
Praying for him! Why? What for? Wasn't he
full of zeal and activity for God? Why didn't they pray
for the people?
"We are praying for you that you may receive the
"Haven't I got the power?"
"No, we are praying for you because you need the
power of the Holy Spirit."
"I need the power ! Why," said Mr. Moody, speaking
of it in after years, "I thought I had power. I had the
largest congregations in Chicago, and there were many
conversions. I was in a sense satisfied. But right along
those godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest
talk about anointing for special service set me to think-
ing. I asked them to come and talk with me, and we got
down on our knees. They poured out their hearts that
I might receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. There came
a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was.
I began to cry as I never did before. The hunger in-
creased. I really felt that I did not want to live any
longer if I could not have this power for service."
Chicago was laid in ashes while he was in this mental
and spiritual condition. The Great Fire commenced on
October 8, 1871, and swept out of existence the whole
north section of the city where he lived and worked. His
church was burnt and his flock scattered.
Under these circumstances he left for the East to raise
money for relief and the wherewithal to build a new
Mr. Douglas Russell, an English evangelist, supplies
a link here. He says he was holding meetings in New
York early in 1872 when he heard that Mr. Moody was
at work in Brooklyn. Having met and worked with Mr.
Moody previously, he crossed to Brooklyn and attended
NEW ENGLAND LAD A WORLD POWER 29
a Bible reading when the subject happened to be "The
Holy Spirit: His Person, Offices and Work." Asked by
Mr. Moody to speak, Mr. Russell made some remarks on
Galatians 4, saying at one point that all believers have
the Spirit of sonship, though all believers do not have
the Spirit of power for service. Every believer is a child
of God, being born of the Holy Spirit, but not every
believer has received the filling of the Holy Spirit for
"At this point Mr. Moody, standing by my side, struck
the desk with his fist and exclaimed with vehemence :
" 'I never saw that before ! Been troubled about that
for years ! Never saw it before.' "
I can visualise that episode: Mr. Moody listening
eagerly to Mr. Russell, catching his point, clinching it
instanter in his own experience in that expressive way.
Mr. Russell says it was the following day, in the streets
of New York, that Mr. Moody became conscious of a
power coming upon him and flooding his whole being with
an overwhelming sense of the love of God in Christ. It
was God the Holy Spirit !
Mr. Moody once said that during that trip East the
hunger for spiritual power was ever upon him. The Chi-
cago Fire did not dismiss or displace his yearning.
"My heart was not in the work of begging. I could
not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would
fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New
York ah, what a day! I cannot describe it, I seldom
refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name.
Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for four-
teen years. I can only say God revealed Himself to me,
and I had such an experience of His love that I had to
ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again.
The sermons were not different, I did not present any
new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would
not now be placed back where I was before that blessed
experience if you should give me all the world. It would
be as the small dust of the balance."
30 MOODY STILL LIVES
Unquestionably something supernatural happened that
day analogous to the marvels of the Day of Pentecost for
the apostles and others, as stated in Acts 2, It was a
pivotal experience that explains the remarkable change
that began and matured in Mr. Moody. His personal
character gained an elevation that he never lost. The
Bible became a new book to him under the revealing
light of God, establishing his convictions and giving him
that vivid realisation of things divine. As with Paul,
God revealed His Son in Mr. Moody that he might
preach Him among nations. The great British campaign
followed the next year. His singular power in preaching,
which baffled both friendly and hostile critics on the
merely human level, kept its high plane to his dying day.
But he used to say : "We are leaky vessels, and must take
pains to have grace replenished daily."
It was my privilege to know Mr. Moody intimately,
and I see in his Pentecost adequate explanation of his
Christlike character and power. The seven years I was
with him I never saw him do an ignoble deed, never heard
him speak a mean or unkind word, never perceived in
him selfish ambition or self-seeking.
I have heard of an address he gave at the College Stu-
dent Conference at Northfield in 1893 when he divided
his life into three definite periods : a period of nature (be-
fore conversion), a period of grace (after conversion),
and a period of POWER (after his filling with God the
Of course, Mr. Moody was not unique in this Pente-
costal experience. Many another can testify to the same
blessed fact, each in his or her own definite way, even
though they were not lifted to the eminence and useful-
ness that Mr. Moody attained under God. An individual
Pentecost is the prerogative of every believer.
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO
PIONEER AND COLONIAL HISTORY
TO UNDERSTAND all about Mr. Moody one must
understand all about Northfield as it was a hun-
dred years ago and as it is to-day. Here he was
born. Here he came back to make his home, and his
home base. Here he developed a religious and educa-
tional centre. Here he died, and was buried. Let us
then delve briefly into its history.
The centennial of his birth takes us back to 1837, but
behind that are two hundred years of Northfield history.
When the tercentenary of the granting of a royal charter
to the colony of Massachusetts was celebrated in 1930,
Northfield was able to keep step with its own tercen-
Before the coming of the white man the territory was
occupied by a tribe of river Indians called the Squak-
heags. Reliable indications of their settlement abound
to-day in such forms as sites of villages, granaries, burial
places, arrowheads and stone chips, stone implements,
fire stones, council fires, and skeletons. Literally miles of
Indian trails and trenches are still observable in the
In 1669, that is, 49 years after the landing of the Pil-
grims, a committee of four men was deputed by the Pro-
vincial Court to seek new sites for English settlement.
They worked their way West from Boston along Indian
trails, and on reaching Crag Mountain they looked down
on what is now the township of Northfield. Here was a
cleared area of river lowlands where the squaws used to
32 MOODY STILL LIVES
cultivate fields of corn and pumpkins. The men fished in
the river and hunted in the woods and hills. Of course,
these features made the place desirable for white settle-
ment, so upon the recommendation of the explorers these
lands were reserved for a town site by the Provincial
Court. Early in 1671 a party from Northampton came
up and purchased over 10,000 acres from the Indians.
The deed is still in existence. In 1673 a further purchase
was made, a town was laid out, and settlers arrived.
Relations with the Indians were peaceable until 1675,
when King Philip organised a collective inter- tribal effort
to drive out the whites. A massacre of some Northfield
settlers occurred, and the survivors abandoned the town.
A second settlement in 1685 had to be abandoned in 1690
for similar reasons. It was not until 1714 that the situa-
tion was sufficiently relieved to effect a third and perma-
nent settlement. The Treaty of Utrecht ended Queen
Anne's War in 1713. By its terms France relinquished
all claims to the allegiance of the Indian tribes known as
the Five Nations. But hostilities were renewed in
Father SRalle's War, 1722-25. A blockhouse named after
Governor Dummer of Massachusetts was now erected
some eight miles up the Connecticut valley, and there-
after Northfield was relieved of its exposure to direct
attack by Indians. For upward of 75 years it had been
the most northerly white settlement in the Connecticut
But permanent peace had not yet arrived. The Old
French and Indian War, 1744-49, and the Last French
and Indian War, 1754-63, both occasioned by wars be-
tween France and England, brought battle and bloodshed
to Northfield. General Wolfe's brilliant victory on the
Heights of Abraham and the capture of Quebec in 1759
were followed by the capture of Montreal in 1760. The
whole province of Quebec and its dependencies surren-
dered to the British, the power of France in Canada was
eliminated, and so the Indian peril waned.
With the restoration of stable peace Northfield reor-
-? 4 ..*,
*" fe. ' *f **"
THE HOMESTEAD, 1886
D. L. MOODY'S HOME AT NORTHFIELD
FROM A WOOD-CUT, WHICH APPEARED
IN HARPER'S WEEKLY, IN 1886
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO 33
ganised its life, growth and reconstruction ensued, new
industries sprang up. Then the Revolution 1 Northfield
of course lined up with the rest of Massachusetts, organ-
ised a company of "Minute Men" in 1775, raised a com-
pany of soldiers in 1776, and did its part against the
British. It shared the common lot of political confusion
and economic distress after independence from the
mother country had been won. However, order and
prosperity were soon recovered, and foundations laid for
modern Northfield. But the small industries faded away
before the invention of labour-saving machinery and the
advance of the capitalistic system.
This brief outline of pioneer and colonial history shows
that Northfield has a past full of adventure and romance.
A few Indians from the North used to spend summers
in Northfield until about fifty years ago.
NEW ENGLAND HERITAGE
Dwight Lyman Ryther Moody was born in Northfield
on February 5, 1837, sixth in a family of the nine children
of Edwin and Betsey Holton Moody. Lyman is a family
name in the town. Ryther also was the name of a local
family of no special interest or permanency. Its use was
His Moody and Holton forbears were of pure English
John Moody of the county of Suffolk, England, reached
America in 1633, and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Two years later he joined a party that moved West into
the Connecticut valley and founded Hartford, Connecti-
cut. His name is listed on the monument in the Ancient
Burial Ground erected in memory of those first settlers.
Thence his descendants moved up the valley, until finally
in 1796 one Isaiah Moody came to Northfield. He ap-
pears as a landowner in 1797, when he bought four acres
of land, which were in possession of the family until
acquired by Northfield Seminary in 1920. Edwin, a son
34 MOODY STILL LIVES
of Isaiah, born here in 1800, married a local girl, Betsey
The Holton family stems from William Holton, who
reached America from England a year later than John
Moody, 1634. Like the latter, William Holton settled
in the Connecticut valley, and his name is on the Hart-
ford monument. A grandson came to Northfield over
200 years ago. He acquired a grant of land from King
George II on Bennett's Hill, on the west side of the river,
near the entrance to Mount Hermon School, and the
family has held possession of it ever since, so that a deed
of transfer has never passed on the property. Betsey
Holton was born in this homestead in 1805.
There are no Moodys now in Northfield except de-
scendants of Edwin and Betsey Moody. They have not
kept in touch with collateral branches of the family, nor
vice versa. But the Holton connections form a numerous
tribe in the vicinity, and a biennial Holton Family re-
union brings many more from afar.
Edwin Moody and Betsey Holton were married in
1828, and lived in a homestead in Northfield built five
years before. Here Dwight was born. The house now
bears a bronze tablet, "Birthplace of D. L. Moody."
This outline shows how Mr. Moody was descended
from English and New England stock. I wonder if he
did not inherit his build from the English. The typical
New England Yankee is pictured like Uncle Sam, lean
and lanky. Some of his brothers fitted that picture, but
Mr. Moody weighed about 250 pounds, and was about
five feet ten inches tall, though his broad shoulders and
substantial build deceived one as to his height. President
Theodore Roosevelt reminded me of Mr. Moody in his
stocky build and dynamic energy. One sees more men of
his build in England than in New England. However
that may be, we may agree that he exhibited the best
qualities of the God-fearing Puritans in his personal life
and in his career.
Edwin Moody was a mason by trade, which in those
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO 35
days included brickmaking as well as building. I have
in my possession the old-fashioned leather-bound ledger
in which he kept his accounts. It was given to me by Mr.
Moody's sister, Aunt Cornelia Walker.
A HUNDRED YEARS AGO
What was the Northfield like into which Mr. Moody
was born a hundred years ago ?
The township straddles the Connecticut River, about
eight and a half miles long, North and South, and five
miles wide on the average, East and West. The northern
boundary is the state line separating Massachusetts from
New Hampshire and Vermont.
Its population in 1830 was 1,757; in 1840, 1,673. A
hundred years ago the population was distributed over
the township in prosperous farms, with a village at the
centre that had a post office (established 1797), two
churches, schools, a Masonic Lodge (instituted in 1796,
its charter being signed by Paul Revere), two or three
private water companies (the first organised in 1797),
lawyers and doctors, stores, grain and other mills. The
well-to-do residents lived in their own substantial colo-
nial frame houses, many of which are standing to-day,
often occupied by descendants of the original families.
The town had been laid out with one Main Street
running North and South, ten rods (165 feet) wide, with
side roads leading to the river lands and to the wooded
hillsides. Over a hundred years ago this street was lined
with double rows of elms on each side, a noble avenue.
Replacements have since been made as needed. The
original home lots were laid out on Main Street in gen-
erous slices that ran to the river on the West side and to
the wood lots on the hills on the East side. The original
lot lines have been hopelessly scrambled in most cases
with the passing of the years.
In the early New England settlements the church was
36 MOODY STILL LIVES
financed and directed by the town. About the turn of
the century the controversy between Orthodoxy and Uni-
tarianism broke out. The Northfield minister of that
time was liberal in thought, joined the Unitarian denom-
ination when it was organised, and carried his church
and most of his parishioners with him. They included
the elite of the town. Thirty men and women, however,
could not accept the new deflated theology, withdrew
from the first congregation, and incorporated the Trini-
tarian Society of Northfield. The Moodys remained ad-
herents of the Unitarian Church. Every Sunday the
children were sent there to Sunday school, over a mile
away; but what was a walk of a mile in those days?
Rev. Oliver Capen Everett, minister from 1837 to 1848,
is remembered for his kindness and help to Widow
Moody and her children in the days of her struggle
against poverty. The only baptism Mr. Moody ever
received was at the hands of Mr. Everett, but it was in
the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
The story is that on May 28, 1841 a neighbour stuck
his head in at the window of the little red district school-
house and asked if any of Ed. Moody's children were
there, and said their father had just died suddenly. He
had gone about his work as usual that morning, but a
pain in his side sent him home. About one o'clock in
the afternoon he was found dead, kneeling beside his
bed as if in prayer. Heart disease was said to be the
trouble. Mr. Moody had to guard against the same
trouble for a score of years, and died of it.
Dwight was four years old when his father died. The
shock of his sudden death was about the earliest thing
he could remember.
The widow and young children were now left in trying
circumstances. The father had not been provident. The
homestead was mortgaged. Mrs. Moody had no one to
rely on but herself. What little the older children could
earn was trifling. But she held on bravely, kept her
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO 37
brood together, triumphed over adversity, and lived to
enjoy a happy old age under the old roof, generously
cared for by her famous son.
The old family Bible containing the record of family
births, a book of devotions, and a catechism, which were
Widow Moody's only books, are still preserved.
Those early years of privation and hardship did not
embitter Dwight. On the contrary, his mother's cour-
ageous character and firm family control were thankfully
remembered all his life. Lessons of hard work, thrift
and sympathy for the needy were ingrained in his own
character. In many lives it would seem as if early
privations built a character foundation for future great-
I have often interrogated older men and women who
were contemporaries of young Moody, but never could
get much satisfaction. They had almost nothing to tell
about him. He was just one of themselves, no better, no
worse. No one ever saw indications that he would be-
come a great man.
In 1829 some leading citizens organised the Northfield
Academy of Useful Knowledge. They purchased the old
Hunt's Tavern (still standing), and refitted it to serve
their purpose. The school was continued until 1845.
Another select private school was also conducted in this
building later, and was attended by some of the older
residents still living. D. L. Moody is listed among the
pupils in one or more of the old prospectuses, but his
education was meagre at best, and its deficiency proved
more or less of a handicap all his life.
I have been told by contemporaries that Widow Moody
and her family were regarded or disregarded about as
we to-day think of the poverty-stricken families that
live on the fringes of our towns and villages. Out of these
disheartening but not dishonourable conditions came
this man who was to enjoy the confidence and friendship
of the greatest in the land. His humble origin never
38 MOODY STILL LIVES
bothered him. As I have said, he did not live in the
past. His native essential worth proved itself in his
The present era of Northfield's expansion and well-
being may be said to have begun with the return of
Mr. Moody to his home town in 1875 as a world-famous
evangelist. But Northfield had already progressed in
several directions. The Vermont and Massachusetts
Railroad built its road through Northfield and opened a
depot there in 1850, a double-deck bridge over the Con-
necticut River and a roadway under the rail tracks. Two
town-supported ferries were other picturesque conven-
iences for crossing the river ; one of them is still operated
every summer. The Connecticut and Passumpsic divi-
sion of the Boston and Maine Railroad followed the val-
ley West of the river.
The Civil War and the opening up of the West had
their repercussions in the family and business life of the
town. Many of the young men and women heard the
call of the cities and of the West: among them Dwight
Moody. I cannot find record of any return visits until
1875. His daughter recalls some visits as a girl, but they
had no special significance. He went to England for his
first great campaign in 1873, and remained there until
August 1875, reaching in some respects the highest peak
of his remarkable career. His Chicago home having been
swept away in the Great Fire of 1871, he had no home
in America, so he came to Northfield to see his aged
mother, with whom he had kept up unbroken correspond-
ence all the years of his absence. He was now 38 years
His future lay in evangelistic work, which would take
him from city to city during the winter months. The
summer would be spent in rest and study and prepara-
tion for the next winter. But where? A trifling cause
became a deciding factor as to the place. His mother's
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO 39
land adjoined a twelve acre farm belonging to a neigh-
bour who was annoyed because her hens trespassed in
his cornfield. Mr. Moody wished to remove this friction,
and finding that Mr. Alexander would sell out for $3,500,
he closed the deal at once. The sum of 500 had been
given him by a wealthy convert in England, Mr. Edward
Studd, as a thankoffering. He returned the cheque, say-
ing he had no use for it. Mr. Studd sent it back to him,
but again Mr. Moody returned it. Mr. Studd insisted,
and sent the cheque a third time, and now Mr. Moody
used it toward the purchase of this farm for a home. It
was his only home until he died there. The knoll called
Round Top where he and Mrs. Moody were buried is
part of that property.
But his summers were not to be so easy. It became his
custom to invite neighbours and visitors to his home for
Bible readings, as he had done in his Chicago home.
Then in 1879 he started Northfield Seminary for girls on
land adjoining his own place. September 1880 saw the
first of the famous Northfield Bible Conferences. Mount
Hermon School for boys was founded in 1881. The an-
nual College Student Conference followed in 1886. The
Northfield Training School for women was opened in the
hotel in the fall of 1890. A Young Women's Conference
held its first session in 1893. The magazine "Northfield
Echoes" began publication in 1894. An Eastern depot
of the Bible Institute Colportage Association of Chicago
was established in 1895, also Camp Northfield in 1895.
The "Record of Christian Work" came to Northfield in
1898. To-day, some of these enterprises have been
merged or discontinued, but four other annual summer
conferences and a score of other conventions which are
not under Northfield management, meet in Northfield
throughout the year.
These activities soon transformed the north end of the
town, which is known as East Northfield. The horse-
and-buggy era passed. Public utilities were introduced.
New roads have been built, hundreds of all-the-year
40 MOODY STILL LIVES
residences have been erected, and in addition a hundred
or more summer cottages on the hillsides and highlands.
A new Trinitarian church was built in 1888-9 at a cost of
$28,000. Its capacity is 1,200, perhaps the largest in the
county, being intended to accommodate not only the
townspeople but also the students and faculties of the
two schools, which had no chapels of their own at that
time. A first-class hotel, erected in 1888 and several
times enlarged, open all the year, accommodates hun-
dreds of visitors ; there are also other hotels and inns of
less capacity. The whole town has benefited culturally
and economically by the presence of thousands of visitors
at the summer conferences, and by the student and fac-
ulty constituencies of over 600 in each of the two
schools; for though Mount Hermon is located over the
township line in Gill, it enters largely into the business
and social life of Northfield. The town has, however,
retained much of its oldtime attractiveness. Its popula-
tion, not including the constituencies of the schools under
present census regulations, is now 1,950.
Northfield is one of the beauty spots of New England.
There is a quiet charm that captivates the visitor. From
the front porch of his home Mr. Moody had a restful
view that he loved of the Connecticut River valley, with
hills to the West and North, reminiscent of the English
Lake country. The eye and the mind can feast on beau-
tiful landscapes in any direction all the year round.
Winter sports attract hundreds of enthusiasts, while
thousands of summer residents, vacationists and con-
ference delegates find plenteous opportunities for all
kinds of outdoor life and diversion in an atmosphere of
purposeful Christian upbuilding and inspiration. Main
Street, nearly two miles long, is perhaps the finest old
avenue of its kind in New England. It is a grand town
to live in. The people make fine neighbours.
When first he returned to Northfield after his triumphs
overseas, Mr. Moody a prophet in his own country was
viewed with a certain amount of jealousy and suspicion
NORTHFIELD A HUNDRED YEARS AGO 41
or incredulity by the Unitarian oldtimers but most of
them came to appreciate him highly. A few were bitter
and hostile as long as they lived, but he was always a
simple, unaffected man among his neighbours. When the
end came the townspeople were unanimous in feeling
that they had lost the town's most famous son and their
best friend. He had never held aloof from town interests.
He was always ready to do his share for its advance-
ment, and to help needy individuals, regardless of their
religious connections or social standing; and he did it
sympathetically and unostentatiously. They believed in
his genuine goodness of heart, and they were glad to hear
him preach. Northfield is a different place without him,
but the fragrance of his life and Mrs. Moody's abides.
The gist of this chapter is that Mr. Moody rose out of
humble beginnings, with extremely limited religious,
social and cultural advantages, "a root out of dry
ground," but with great possibilities for organisational
initiative. He made the town famous by his life and
work, lifting it into world prominence and usefulness,
and it has not dropped back. There are "Northfields" in
all the continents, with conferences modelled after Mr.
Moody's Bible conferences. Yet strange to say, neither
the town of Northfield nor the schools has a marker or
monument to which his name is attached except a bronze
bust in Sage Chapel and a bronze tablet on his birth-
place. He once said he would rather save one soul from
death than have a monument of solid gold reaching from
his grave to the heavens. "The monument I want after
I am dead and gone is a monument with two legs going
about the world, a saved sinner telling about the salva-
tion of Jesus Christ." Still, as in the case of Sir Christo-
pher Wren and St. Paul's Cathedral in London, come to
Northfield and look around and you will see a noble mate-
rial monument !
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER, 1854-73
r~|~~iHIS chapter spans nineteen years of Mr. Moody's
life, from the time he left Northfield in 1854 until
he embarked on his unexpectedly phenomenal
evangelistic career in Great Britain and Ireland in 1873.
The chief source of autobiographical material is a
number of his letters found in a small bag of his mother's
after she died in 1896. The earliest letters were from
Boston, where he spent the years 1854-6. He went to
Chicago in the fall of 1856, and that was his base until
he left for England. Other autobiographical material is
found in the many personal anecdotes he used in his
During the years in Boston he was only an unsophisti-
cated country lad of 17-19 years. His letters home are
short. They tell of experiences in city life, and how he
was getting along in his shoe-store job, and make en-
quiries about home affairs ; such as the planting, the corn
crops, the potatoes and similar topics. After he was
converted a religious note is seen in his letters.
The light of heaven that flashed upon him at his con-
version never afterward even flickered or grew dim. His
whole life was changed, as well as his outlook on life.
Religion and the Church had meant little to him before,
but now they began to loom large in his daily life. Stor-
ies may be found in print of one and another trying to
rebuke young Moody for speaking at prayer meetings
and seeking to repress his zeal. It can easily be credited
that he was whole-hearted and active in religion just as
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER 43
he was in other things. But Mr. Kimball, whose interest
in his Sunday school scholar never abated, said that while
the lad attended the Friday evening church prayer meet-
ings quite regularly, he had no recollection of hearing
him speak except a few times when he was invited by the
leader of the meeting to take part. "I can truly say, and
in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as be-
stowed upon Mr. Moody," wrote Mr. Kimball, "that I
have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually
darker when he came into my Sabbath school class, or
one who seemed more unlikely ever to become a Christian
of clear, decided views of gospel truth, still less to fill
any sphere of extended public usefulness."
He sought membership in Mount Vernon Congrega-
tional Church in May 1855. A minute in the committee
book indicates that while he had something to his credit
in personal belief and practise, he was not sufficiently in-
structed in routine doctrine to satisfy the committee.
His case was therefore deferred, and three members of
the committee were appointed to instruct him as needed.
A second minute, dated March 12, 1856, is more satis-
factory; he was apparently recommended for member-
ship, for his name appears on the roll of members under
date May 3, 1856.
His restless ambition to get on in business soon yielded
to the lure of Chicago. This young city, so strategically
situated between the East and the expanding West,
offered boundless possibilities to an energetic and push-
ing young man like D wight Moody. Boston was too
conservative, and perhaps his relations with his uncles
had not been too pleasant. In September 1856 he was in
He soon found a position in a leading shoe store, and
began to make good money. When a jobbing department
was added to the business he had fuller opportunity for
44 MOODY STILL LIVES
his own initiative and push, and presently was a travel-
ling salesman covering the adjoining states. He stayed
in the shoe business, with three successive firms.
But neither his determination to get on in business nor
the stirring current political agitations crushed out his
religious impulses. He brought his religion with him to
Chicago, and put it in practise immediately. His first
Sunday there he attended a Baptist Sunday school in the
morning. He also joined a Methodist Young Men's Mis-
sion Band which visited boarding-houses and hotels early
Sunday mornings with tracts and invitations to church
services. Sunday afternoons he identified himself with a
mission school on the North side. We have no record of
such interdenominational activities in Boston. Denomi-
nations never did mean much to him, however. He used
to say he had not a sectarian hair in his head.
Apparently he obtained a letter of transfer from
Mount Vernon Church before leaving Boston. He joined
Plymouth Congregational Church immediately, and in
1863 he transferred to New England Congregational
Church. When Illinois Street Church was organised for
converts of his own Sunday school and religious meetings
in 1863, he joined it. This church was started only on
the advice of several church friends and ministers whom
he consulted. His converts were non-church-going
people, who would not be at home, even if they were
welcome, in any existing church.
His Sunday school, first held in a vacant saloon, had
to seek larger quarters in the North Market Hall in 1858,
and became the largest school in the West, second in size
only to John Wanamaker's school in Philadelphia.
All things flourished until 1860, when Mr. Moody was
led to give up business and devote all his time and effort
to Christian work, as told in Chapter II. He now be-
came a recognised religious leader, independent, and
without salary or assured support. He was able to push
his Sunday school activities with increased zeal, and to
add evening and prayer meetings, welfare and recrea-
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER 45
tional work, with new pastoral opportunities and respon-
sibilities. He became associated with a group of active
Sunday school men, including John H. Vincent and B. F.
Jacobs, who promoted organisation and advance in the
Sunday school and conceived and started the Interna-
tional Sunday School Lesson system. A Young Men's
Christian Association had been started in Chicago, and
there also Mr. Moody found a congenial outlet for his
burning enthusiasm. Soon he was dominant there, for
in those early days the "Y" was a simple religious and
social institution, an interdenominational centre for lay
members, and he had the will, the ability and the time to
push it. A minute spread on the records of the Chicago
Y.M.C.A. at the time of his death reads :
"It will ever remain a precious memory of this Associa-
tion that he began here his larger ministry. He was ac-
tive in securing its first, second and third buildings. The
first Farwell Hall, which was also the first Association
building in the world, was opened in 1867 when Mr.
Moody was president. The Chicago Association honours
and cherishes the memory of Dwight L. Moody for what
he wrought here, and for the greater work which he has
since pursued with such success for the world's evangeli-
When the Civil War broke out and thousands were
called to the colours, he assisted in forming an Army and
Navy committee of the "Y," which later was affiliated
with the Christian Commission. He held meetings with
soldiers passing through Chicago and in the army camps,
in due course went to the front, nine times in all, and
later visited camps of Confederate prisoners.
After Mr. Moody's death I interviewed several men who
had grown up with him in the business and religious life
of Chicago, but I gained nothing essential not already
found in the biographies. I know one gentleman who
boarded at the same place as Mr. Moody during his first
years in Chicago, and who is still living. Mr. James M.
Hitchcock, an intimate associate of his in his Sunday
46 MOODY STILL LIVES
school and church work and in the "Y," once regaled me
with stories of devices he tried for raising money for the
"Y," including the sale of soaps, perfumes, and what not.
Apparently he never lost his Yankee instincts as a trader.
As with his boyhood contemporaries in Northfield, these
Chicago friends somehow did not realise at the time that
here was a great man in the making. It was because he
was so natural, so unassuming, so free from self-seeking,
so generous to others, so intent on his sole purpose in
life, to win men to Christ. During the years I was with
him, when I might have been his Boswell, he never once
tried to create a sense of self-importance : it was so for-
eign to his character that I feel I was lacking in appre-
ciation of his genuine greatness. Great characters are
not self-obtrusive. They do not need to be such.
Another friend who attended the Chicago "Y" about
1865 wrote me:
"Mr. Moody was greatly misunderstood and reviled in
the city because his desire to win souls made him aggres-
sive, and he disturbed the calm serenity of careless and
indifferent souls, and made them angry. I heard the
severest criticisms of him everywhere, until the people
began to understand that his deep hunger for souls made
him ask searching questions. His deep inward feelings
were expressed in his face. He seemed to me earnest and
sorrowful and profoundly anxious for souls."
GROWTH IN TECHNIQUE
While prosecuting activities in these various lines Mr.
Moody was himself being developed as a Christian leader.
He got his gait in Chicago. This young city had amazing
growth in the sixties. Business was rushing. Men acted
quickly in seizing opportunities. After Mr. Moody laid
down his business career he was never tempted to take it
up again, but he found its equivalent in Christian activity
that was an outlet for his tremendous push and energy.
His Sunday school work called for the greatest alertness
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER 47
and ingenuity in handling the tough crowds he gathered
in. He learned the value in dealing with them of novelty,
publicity, devices that would challenge their attention.
His organising ability was also exercised to the limit in
promoting the activities that centred in the "Y." In the
parlance of to-day, he transferred his ability as a shoe-
salesman to selling the gospel.
Mr. Hitchcock, referred to above, told me that at the
first Mr. Moody did not think he could teach a class or
give an address, but he could always hold the rowdiest
audience by telling a story well. Perhaps he felt dis-
qualified by his limited education, and he had not taken
time even to make systematic study of the Bible. But
in the nature of the case the time came when he must
preach and teach the Bible.
All these years he was gathering a large stock of first
hand anecdotes and illustrations. Read his early sermons
and you will find numerous references to his own early
experiences. Later on he drew upon his hectic Sunday
school experiences. The Civil War greatly enlarged his
fund of pathetic stories and cases of decision for Christ.
He was adept in the faculty of seeing illustrative mate-
rial all along the way, and skilful in the use he made of
it. His liberal use of telling, unhackneyed illustrations
made his sermons most popular, understandable and per-
suasive. His use of humour was never artificial. He
once said, "People don't seem to understand why I use
these stories. It is to touch the heart, and while it is
softened, send right in the arrow of truth."
He used to say that his first attempt at a Bible reading
was with his own church people. The subject was "The
Bible." He would hand out slips of paper with texts
written on them, and would then call upon some one to
read a certain text. He would say a few words to explain
and open it up and apply it to themselves. Then he
would call for other texts, on which he would continue
his comments. It was a new, simple and effective co-
operative plan, and the people liked it. Before long he
48 MOODY STILL LIVES
received an invitation from Dr. E. P. Goodwin of the
First Congregational Church to repeat one of these Bible
readings in his church.
"I rubbed my eyes to see who I was," he said.
Invitations to give Bible readings and to conduct meet-
ings soon began to come from other city pastors and
from outside the city. He also came to be in demand as
a speaker at Sunday school and "Y" conventions, where
his unconventional addresses, bursting with good ideas
and gospel appeals and fine illustrations, often swept the
conventions into evangelistic channels and sent the dele-
gates home fired with soul-winning fervor. I have talked
with many who never forgot some of those conventions.
When the time came to preach formal sermons and
undertake series of meetings, he devised a system for pre-
paring sermons which served him well all his life. Hav-
ing decided upon a text or topic, he would take a large
blue linen envelope, of which he kept a stock on hand,
measuring about 9 by 6 inches, and write on it the title
or the Scripture reference : "Sowing and Reaping," "Psalm
23," and so on. In these envelopes he stored his own
thoughts, outlines and anecdotes, cuttings from papers,
extracts copied from other men's sermons and from com-
mentaries and other writings, newspaper reports of a
sermon whenever it got into print, anything that had
bearing upon the subject of the envelope. When he
wished to preach on a subject he would go through the
contents of the envelope as an auxiliary to his study of
the Bible itself, and organise his address. Then he would
take double sheets of writing paper, write on these in his
large script catchwords or phrases that would recall his
prepared material, and slip these sheets in his Bible under
elastic bands which Mrs. Moody had fastened there for
him. Thus, with his open Bible in his hand or on the
pulpit as he preached, he had before him the outline of
his sermon. He never memorised a sermon verbatim,
and was of course free to improvise on his feet. Many
of his most effective epigrams were born in this way.
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER 49
Though he repeated many of his sermons hundreds of
times they always sounded fresh and spontaneous, and
were actually that. After the address he would place the
sheets of notepaper in the envelope, and write on the out-
side of it the name of the town or church where the
address was delivered. This enabled him to see at a
glance where it had already been given. The plan for-
tunately enabled his biographers to check up evangelistic
tours and campaigns after the lapse of years.
But he was no slave to any one method of preparing
sermons. Once he preached a sermon on the compassion
of Christ, "under which the great audience was moved
like the forest swept by winds," said Dr. J. E. Roy, a for-
mer pastor of his at Plymouth Church, who was present.
When Dr. Roy asked him how he prepared that sermon
he answered :
"I got to thinking the other day about the compassion
of Christ, so I took my Bible and began to read it over
to find out what it said on that subject. I prayed over
the texts as I went along until the thought of his infinite
compassion overwhelmed me, and I could only lie on the
floor of my study, with my face in the open Bible, and
cry like a child."
Mr. Moody's life and ministry were founded on the
Bible. He believed it "from cover to cover," and made
it central in his own conduct and preaching and planning.
He had the faculty of making Bible incidents as real as
daily life. His imagination was vivid, but it never ran
away with him into improbabilities ; perhaps spiritual in-
sight would be a better word here than imagination. He
was well grounded in Bible narrative and history, and
did not split hairs on doctrinal issues. Speaking con-
tinually to new audiences, he never exhausted the broad
lines of Bible history and of the plan of salvation. He
preached the gospel from Old Testament incidents and
texts, as well as from the New Testament. He found
God's love there, as well as in the New Testament, where
of course Jesus of Nazareth exemplified it in the full
SO MOODY STILL LIVES
measure of substitutionary self-sacrifice. He also intro-
duced neglected Bible themes, such as the doctrine of the
Holy Spirit and the personal second coming of Christ.
He was always ready to learn from others. At the
Northfield conferences he would often leave the platform
before an address and sit right under the speaker, note-
book and pencil in hand. As a young man he spared
himself no trouble to gain instruction. Harry Moore-
house of England, who taught him the fulness of the
Bible and of the love of God, also gave him light on the
second coming of Christ. He asked Harry if he knew of
anyone who was well posted on it. Harry told him of
a Mr. Richard Owens, a Dublin man, a floor-walker in
A. T. Stewart's dry goods store in New York. He found
Mr. Owens, who referred him to a Dr. Inglis in Phila-
delphia, so Mr. Moody went to see him. That was the
beginning of his study and teaching of that glorious
In his earlier years Mr. Moody is said to have talked
like greased lightning, but I have no recollection that he
talked unduly fast, or that he made serious verbal and
grammatical mistakes. He still used New England col-
loquialisms and pungent phrases which a pedant or a
purist might avoid, but there was never anything out of
place in popular address. He could still pronounce
"J'ru-s'lem" and "Dan'el" in two syllables, but one hardly
noticed such small things in the absorbing earnestness
and inspiration of his preaching. His sermons were easily
reported, and required no more editing for publication
than other preachers' extemporaneous sermons.
BEYOND THE CONFINES OF CHICAGO
Before the close of this period in Mr. Moody 's career
which we have under consideration, he had become a
definite religious force, well known in the East as well as
in the Middle West. His war work had brought him to
BEGINNINGS OF SPIRITUAL POWER 51
the notice of multitudes from all over the North, and
gave him many dear and lifelong friends. After the Civil
War he became a member of the Illinois Sunday school
executive committee, and went throughout the state to
attend county and district conventions. His success
brought invitations from nearby states. The Y.M.C.A.
also opened wide doors and effectual for him, bringing
him before another influential element in the nation.
He attended state and international conventions in
Pittsburgh (1867), Albany (1868), Baltimore (1869),
Indianapolis (1870), and many other cities. It was in
Indianapolis that he first met Ira D. Sankey, who was a
delegate from New Castle, Pennsylvania. Impressed with
his singing, he asked him there and then to come to
Chicago and join him in the work. So these two men
with complementary gifts became yokefellows in the
gospel with such rich harvests of souls.
"This looks like slow work," remarked Dr. Theodore
L. Cuyler to Mr. Moody in the little prayer room of Cal-
vary Chapel in Brooklyn one day during the winter of
"Yes," responded Mr. Moody, "it is slow, and it looks
like a small work. But if you want to kindle a fire you
collect a handful of sticks, light them with a match, and
keep blowing until they begin to blaze. After the fire is
once fairly started you may heap on as much wood as you
can get. So I am working here with a handful of Chris-
tians endeavouring to consecrate themselves fully to
Jesus, and if they get well warmed with divine love I have
no fear but that a genuine revival will begin, and sinners
will be converted."
He was right. The handful of believers in that meet-
ing did receive a fresh baptism, and within two months
over a hundred were converted and received into the
fellowship of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church.
This incident gives a clue to Mr. Moody's strategy in
his evangelistic campaigns, and shows that his success
52 MOODY STILL LIVES
was not accidental. The climax of this period was the
accession of new spiritual power and vision that came
to him later in 1872, as recorded in Chapter II. He was
on the threshold of much greater experiences as an evan-
IN ACTION OVERSEAS
MR. MOODY'S ministry overseas embraced the
1867 Four months in England and Scotland,
including ten days in Paris,
1872 Three months in England and Ireland,
1873-5 First great campaign in the British Isles, the
turning point in his career,
1881-4 Second extended campaign in the British Isles,
including a brief visit to Paris,
1891-2 Third extended campaign in the British Isles,
including a two-months vacation visit to the
W. R. Moody says in his Life (1900) that his father
long cherished the idea of making a tour of the world,
with missions in Japan, China and India. He left home
in the fall of 1888 with this purpose in view, but found
when he got to the Pacific Coast that he could not get
released from engagements he had made out there. Again
in the fall of 1891 while he was in England he thought of
a world trip, but the doctors advised against it, chiefly
on account of his heart. A bulky invitation to hold meet-
ings in Australia and New Zealand, signed by all the
evangelical forces in those lands, was received in Feb-
ruary 1899, but was declined. However, he said to his
son Paul in 1899 that when Paul was through college he
would take him on a world tour, visiting India, Australia
A dozen or more Japanese attended a College Stu-
dent Conference at Northfield as delegates in 1898.
Mr. Moody entertained them at afternoon tea. One of
them said they hoped he would some day visit Japan.
"Wouldn't you like to see Japan, Mr. Moody?"
54 MOODY STILL LIVES
"Would I like to see Japan? I would like to see the
whole world for which Christ died!"
His first visit to England was in 1867 for four months.
Mrs. Moody accompanied him. He was quite unknown
over there, but not for long, because he began attending
meetings of all kinds where he might learn something
for his own growth and knowledge, and also become fa-
miliar with British ways of working. Soon he was being
called on for accounts of his own activities in Chicago,
and the unconventional methods and successes which he
related, so different from anything in static England,
made a stir and gained him many friends.
He is credited with having started a noon prayer meet-
ing in the Aldersgate Street Y.M.C.A., in the heart of
London, similar to the noon prayer meeting in the Chi-
cago "Y." The first meeting was held on May 13, 1867,
and it is still being held daily. Similar prayer meetings
were started at other points in London and in the prov-
On this trip he visited Edinburgh, and also spent ten
days in Paris, where a great Exposition was being held.
Daily prayer meetings were also started there.
The Chicago Fire of October 1871 laid waste a large
area in which the North Side Tabernacle had been
promptly erected not far from the site of the Illinois
Street Church. Sunday services were large and fruitful,
but pastoral work and visitation were not possible as
there were no homes anywhere near, only ruins. Finding,
therefore, that he could be spared from Chicago Mr.
Moody decided to visit England again to learn more of
the Bible at the feet of English Bible students. He
started in June 1872 with Mr. Douglas Russell, the Eng-
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 55
lish evangelist mentioned in Chapter II in connection
with his filling with the Holy Spirit earlier in the year.
The two attended the Believers' Meetings in Dublin
in July. These meetings were an outcome of the revival
in Ireland in 1860-1. They were held annually in the
city of Dublin, and were attended not only by believers
from all parts of Ireland, but also by Bible students and
teachers from England and other lands. Public meetings
were held in the commodious Metropolitan Hall, and
friends were also invited to the hospitable home of Mr.
Henry Bewley at Willow Park for more private services
Mr. J. W. C. Fegan of London, one of England's out-
standing Christian philanthropists, has told of Mr. Moody
being present and of his keenness in gathering "nuggets."
One day he asked a speaker :
"What's the best anecdote you know to explain justifi-
It happened that this speaker was not favourably dis-
posed toward anecdotes. He was serious and emphatic
in his ministry. He was aghast at the manner and matter
of Mr. Moody's interrogation and retorted:
"There is no anecdote to explain justification. Justi-
fication is a conception so absolutely divine that it cannot
be illustrated by anything earthly."
"Say," said Mr. Moody, "that's the best thing I've got
this morning! Say that again! That's a better point
than an anecdote."
Another of the speakers, Mr. Bland, asked Mr. Moody :
"Do you know anything of dispensational truth?"
"Never heard of it," was the reply.
"It is the key to God's plan in the Scriptures," said Mr.
"That's what I'm over here for, to understand my Bible
better. Where can I get hold of dispensational truth?"
He spent the rest of that day and the next with Mr.
Bland, all the time the latter could give him.
Mr. Russell has said that a number of evangelists who
56 MOODY STILL LIVES
were present repaired to a hay-loft where they might
together seek an increase of power from God. Except
for prayers, only one sentence was uttered, when Henry
Varley of Australia voiced the sentiment that has become
a universal challenge :
"The world has yet to see what God will do with a man
wholly consecrated to him."
Evidently that thought lodged in Mr. Moody's soul.
Mr. Varley told me that Mr. Moody spoke to him about
it later on. Did he become such a man ?
This visit is remembered for another incident that had
Mr. Moody was determined not to get into work, but
one day he went to the Old Bailey prayer meeting, and
at the close of the service he was invited by a pastor in
the north of London to preach for him the next Sunday.
The morning service seemed dead and cold. The peo-
ple did not appear to be much interested. It seemed to
him as if he had been beating the air. He said he felt
it was a lost morning.
At the evening service, however, it seemed to him as
if the atmosphere was charged with the Spirit of God
while he was preaching. There came a hush from heaven
upon the people, which showed that God was searching
hearts. When he finished his sermon he asked all who
would like to become Christians to rise, so that he might
pray for them. They rose by hundreds all over the
church. It seemed as if the whole audience was rising.
Mr. Moody said to himself: "These people did not
understand me. They do not know what I meant when
I asked them to rise." So he put the test again. "All
of you," he said, "who want to become Christians just
step into the inquiry room."
They went in and crowded the room so that they had
to bring in extra chairs to seat them all. The minister
was surprised, and so was Mr. Moody. Neither had ex-
pected such results. When Mr. Moody asked those who
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 57
really wanted to become Christians to rise, up rose the
whole crowd. What to do he did not know, so he told all
who were really in earnest to meet the pastor there the
Next morning he went over to Dublin, but on Tuesday
morning he got a dispatch urging him to return, and say-
ing there were more inquirers on Monday than on Sun-
day. He went back and held meetings for ten days, and
four hundred were taken into that church.
After some time the secret of that marvellous manifes-
tation of the Holy Spirit's working was revealed.
There were two sisters who belonged to that church,
of whom one was bed-ridden. One day as the shut-in
was bemoaning her condition the thought came to her that
she could pray, and she began to pray God to revive her
church. Before long she read in a paper an account of
some meetings D. L. Moody had held in America, and
she began to pray God to send him to their church.
Her sister came home the day Mr. Moody preached
there and said:
"Well, who do you think preached this morning?"
She guessed the names of those with whom the pastor
was in the habit of exchanging. Finally her sister said :
"It was Mr. Moody from America."
The bed-ridden saint answered, "I know what that
means. God has heard my prayers ! "
She spent the afternoon in fasting and prayer, and in
the evening the answer came in fire from heaven. Mr.
Moody believed that that revival brought him back to
England the next year. As a result of it he received in-
vitations from Rev. William Pennefather, rector of St.
Jude's, Mildmay Park, London, and from a Mr. Bain-
bridge, a prominent Methodist layman of Newcastle-on-
Tyne, to hold meetings. But he had not come prepared
for a long stay, so he returned to America after three
months by the ship he had promised his wife. "But I
have decided to return with my wife and children next
58 MOODY STILL LIVES
summer. I am persuaded that God is going to do a
mighty work in Great Britain."
This visit differed from previous ones in that it enjoyed
unlimited publicity in print. A weekly religious paper
called The Christian, originally The Revival, made a
business of giving full reports week by week of the work
of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, as well as of its offshoots.
These reports are available to any biographer or student
of the campaign. W. R. Moody made copious use of
them and other documentary material of the period. In
his 1900 Life and again in his 1930 Life, just a hundred
pages in each are occupied with this campaign.
Being the first invasion of Britain of its kind, there
had been no general plan of campaign beforehand, no
definite dates for local meetings, no idea of the length of
the evangelists' stay, although they had not thought of
more than six months or so. As a matter of fact, the two
invitations Mr. Moody had received the previous year had
fallen through by reason of the death of the friends who
invited him and offered to pay travelling expenses. So
they began at zero. But as soon as their arrival in Liver-
pool was known, a door opened, and in due time invita-
tions came in, and continued as long as they would accept
From Liverpool they went to York to hold their first
meetings. Thence their itinerary took them through
several North of England towns to Edinburgh. Success
there opened all Scotland to them, and after a number
of missions they went to Dublin. From Ireland they re-
turned to England, and after some campaigns in the prov-
inces they finally spent four months in London, April to
July inclusive, 1875.
England at that day was not as open as it is in our
day. Social class distinctions were cast-iron. Sectarian
prejudices, shot through also with class distinctions, hope-
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 59
lessly divided church-going people. Tradition ruled in
all avenues of life. No Britisher would have a chance to
do what an outlander might do, and what Mr. Moody
actually did. He was accepted by all classes. He had
not been identified with any denomination, and stood on
a platform which any evangelical believer could indorse.
He was unconventional in his messages and manners, but
not wilfully brusque or controversial. Naturally at first
some of his methods rather shocked and disconcerted
some people. They were novel, but never irreverent or
merely sensational or fanatical, so they won their way
by their proved value. Both in personal character and
bearing he proved himself a gentleman and a good Chris-
tian. His spiritual success validated both himself and
All through his career a critical or hostile person had
only to hear Mr. Moody and investigate his work first-
hand to overcome his dislike and wish him Godspeed.
And there were criticisms and hostilities and prejudices
in England and in America: ministerial criticisms, false
rumors and insinuations, ridicule, misjudgments, opposi-
tions of atheism and other "isms." But he outlived them
all. He turned criticism into a means of grace, and
learned from it. He was ever ready to rectify mistakes
in judgment or conduct, to ask forgiveness for even un-
intentional hurts and wrongs, and he tried never to repeat
his mistakes. He could not work until he was at peace
Through Mr. Moody's introduction Rev. Charles F.
Goss was elected pastor of Chicago Avenue Church in
Chicago. He had liberal views, and left the church in a
few years. He came to Northfield to talk with Mr. Moody
about his tenets, social and political as well as religious.
Mr. Moody heard his story and then said to him, as Dr.
Goss related the incident :
"Goss, whatever you do, keep sweet ! I have been mis-
understood, maligned, abused, but I made up my mind to
60 MOODY STILL LIVES
keep sweet. . . . You cannot do any good unless you
keep sweet. . . , My advice to you is to keep sweet."
Perhaps his most notable innovation was the after-
meeting. After a sermon Mr. Moody "drew the net,"
expecting immediate decisions for Christ. He would ask
those who decided there and then to receive Jesus Christ
as personal Saviour to say out loud "I will," or to
raise a hand or rise to their feet, actions that publicly
clinched and confessed their inner decision of heart and
will. Then bringing the meeting to a close he would in-
vite all who had thus indicated their decision, and any
others who were wavering, to meet him and the ministers
and other Christian workers in an adjoining enquiry
room, where further guidance on their great choice would
be given them. These plans may seem familiar to many
readers, but it was Mr. Moody who first introduced and
demonstrated their effectiveness even on the largest scale.
They assured hard-headed decision, and cut out super-
ficial emotion. Though he never counted converts, this
individual dealing meant business, and led to numbers
going on to the next step of joining the churches.
Another innovation that had good results was the all-
England had been set on fire by the revival under
George Whitefield and John Wesley a hundred years
before. Messrs. Moody and Sankey achieved similar
large results, not only in England but in Scotland and Ire-
land too. They are singing Sacred Songs and Solos
throughout the British empire right down to the present
The size of their audiences? No buildings were large
enough to' hold the crowds. Their closing meetings in
the open air in Glasgow and Edinburgh were conserva-
tively estimated at 30,000.
The spread of interest? People came from long dis-
tances, both ministers and lay people, and carried back
the fire to their own communities and churches.
The results ? The outstanding feature of the campaign
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 61
was the large number of decisions for Christ. This fol-
lowed because the people, especially in Scotland, were
largely church-going people more or less instructed in
the gospel. Mr. Moody came along with a challenge to
immediate decision and confession of Christ, and he
reaped a ready harvest. The converts joined the churches
and revivified them. Many of them are living yet. Fur-
ther, large numbers of professing Christians, and even
Christian ministers, were moved to full and renewed con-
secration for service, and began to engage in definite and
varied forms of Christian work. Even to this day many
of the older evangelists and workers look back to the
Moody and Sankey meetings as the beginning of their
life work. Many philanthropic and social activities exist-
ing over there to-day were born or quickened into new
life and energy under the influence of the revival, for Mr.
Moody always had social as well as spiritual vision and
sympathy. An experienced newspaper man said some-
"Drop out the leaders of Christian philanthropy in
London that are Moody men, and you drop out the back-
bone of that philanthropy."
The people who were reached for Christ? Rich and
poor, aristocrats and down-and-outs, church-going people
and the indifferent, university men and the less privileged,
old and young, all classes. Thrilling stories of individual
Mr. Moody's daughter was in Stockholm in 1888. She
was taken by a friend to visit the palace. There she was
introduced to a certain baroness who was a cousin of the
king and lived in a wing of the palace. After a gracious
reception the baroness said that every American was a
welcome visitor because of what a great American, D. L.
Moody, had meant to herself and to Sweden.
"Did you ever know him?"
"Oh," said Miss Moody's friend, "you did not catch
this young lady's name. She is D. L. Moody's daughter."
At this the baroness showed extreme pleasure and
62 MOODY STILL LIVES
friendliness. Miss Moody was accorded the special privi-
lege of being shown through the private living rooms of
the royal family. At the head of the beds of each of the
young princes she saw bookcases each supporting a marble
bust of Christ, and on the shelf copies of several of her
father's books of sermons that had been translated, into
Swedish, bound in rich red Russia leather. The fire of
the 1873-5 revival in England had been carried to Swe-
den. Many of Mr. Moody's sermons and Mr. Sankey's
hymns were translated into Swedish. The great revival
of 1877 in Sweden is considered a result. The Swedish
people have been warm to Mr. Moody ever since. During
the World's Fair evangelistic campaign in Chicago, in
1893, he organised meetings for Swedes. A contingent
comes to Northfield every summer for the General Con-
In driving through Norway on that same trip Miss
Moody found many of her father's books in Norwegian
in the country homes.
It seems from The Letters of Queen Victoria, 1862-78,
published by authority of King George V (1926), that
the Queen drew the line at the Moody and Sankey meet-
ings. "It would never do for me to go to a public place
to hear them." She thought the meetings were sensa-
tional, while as a matter of fact, had she but known their
real character, they exactly suited her taste as she ex-
pressed it : "Eloquent, simple preaching, with plain prac-
tical teaching, seems to me far more likely to do real and
permanent good." Could Mr. Moody's preaching and
teaching be more aptly described ?
Sir George Adam Smith has written: "The religious
movement in Great Britain from 1873 to 1875 stands
supreme and deserves most thorough treatment. The
history of this has never been written. The present gen-
eration do not know how large it was, and with what
results upon the life of the nation." He threw himself
into it, and speaks from personal experience.
John Wesley, by his preaching of righteousness and
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 63
the revival in which he was God's principal human in-
strument, saved England from such conditions as gave
birth to the French Revolution. So the revivifying of
the churches through Mr. Moody's influence was a
powerful and salutary antidote and corrective of the
materialism and doubt and repudiation of the Bible, its
theism and supernaturalism, which followed as a wave
the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. This
book, however intended, was a potent and dangerous
weapon in the hands of unbelief. Mr. Moody's one
foundation being the Bible as the Word of God, he un-
questionably stayed the wavering faith of multitudes
and made the impact of evolutionary thought and teach-
ing far less disastrous and disintegrating than it would
otherwise have been. Some questions could not thrive
in the warm evangelical atmosphere his meetings pro-
At this time Mr. Moody was 36-38 years of age.
How did he stand his unmeasured success ? Did it spoil
him ? Or did he learn and grow by his large and varied
opportunities in service for God?
He remained quite unspoiled in character, unharmed
by popularity and praise. Reputation and eminence sat
lightly on him. He realised that success was not in him-
self, but in the power of God the Holy Spirit. His reli-
ance was at all times in God, and that saved him from
the fear of man and circumstance. He never toadied to
the rich, or even to royalty. He never patronised the
poor or sin-smitten, but had compassion on them. He
was honest and to the point with all classes.
He never commercialised his success. Never once did
I hear him, in public or in private, refer to his British
campaigns or any other meetings, to discuss them. He
might use incidents by way of illustration, that is all.
One would never conjecture, living with him and hearing
him preach day after day, as I did, that he had been the
principal in such outstanding work. He so magnified the
grace and power of God that he attracted no attention to
64 MOODY STILL LIVES
himself. He taught converts that they were saved by
Christ alone and must keep looking to Him for success
in everyday Christian living. They must keep in touch
with Christ through the Bible and prayer and witnessing
Further, he was rich in friends, but never abused the
many friendships he formed and confidences he gained for
In her Recollections of D. L. Moody Mrs. Peter Mac-
kinnon of Scotland gives a pleasing etching of him as she
entertained him in 1874:
"It was delightful having him at leisure : he is so sim-
ple, unaffected and lovable, plays so heartily with the
children, and makes fun with those who can receive it.
He is brimful of humour."
Reviewing this first extended British mission in the
light of over 60 years, we must conclude that it has been
unique in the history of the Church. Even Mr. Moody's
later missions did not reach such magnitudes, and, of
course, they lacked the thrill of newness. Others from
America have followed in his steps, notably R. A. Torrey
with Charles M. Alexander as song-leader, and J. Wilbur
Chapman accompanied by Charles M. Alexander, but
they would be the first to admit that in Australia and
India and other lands, as well as in the British Isles, their
reception and such results as they had were largely due
to the welcome and support they received from Mr.
Moreover, the 1873-5 British campaign has never been
duplicated in any other land, not even by Mr. Moody
himself. Britishers have come to America with good
results. George Whitefield did a wonderful work in the
early colonies. Gipsy Smith is the greatest of recent
English evangelists known in America. But this country
has never since been so homogeneous in population,
so geographically compact, and above all so widely Bible-
taught and church-going, and therefore as a whole so
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 65
ready for harvest, as were the British Isles in the Seven-
It seems as if that campaign must remain unique. Yet
Mr. Moody would be the first to pray God to sweep the
world once again with revival fire. Does it not need it?
Would it not be a blessing in all spheres of life ? It was
his constant prayer and hope during his closing years.
It may seem like an anti-climax to speak of another
mission in the British Isles after that of 1873-5. Could
such heights of usefulness and blessing be reached again?
Could Mr. Moody reach or surpass his previous level of
power in preaching and teaching?
There were similarities and differences in the two mis-
sions. Now, he did not arrive as an unknown evangelist
with no actual engagements : instead, he came in answer
to urgent invitations proffered in person at Norfhfield by
Dr. Andrew A. Bonar of Glasgow, and by other friends of
the previous mission. His name was a household word
throughout the British Isles. Clergy and people trusted
him, and were friendly. Every town where he had been
wanted him again. Mr. George C. Stebbins was his music
director and leading soloist in this mission.
He began with a month in Ireland, then crossed to
Scotland, and later was in Wales and England. During
this visit he received invitations from Cambridge and
Oxford Universities, which he accepted and filled with
history-making results. During the summer of 1883 he
and his family came home for three months, and in No-
vember he began a campaign in London which lasted
until June, 1884. This London campaign was carefully
planned by a committee. In 1875 five large halls or
theatres had been rented in different parts of London.
Now the committee decided that instead of asking people
to come to such halls they would go to the people in dif-
ferent sections of the city. Two movable halls of cor-
66 MOODY STILL LIVES
rugated iron were planned for, each seating 5,180 people.
While a three-weeks meeting was being held in a given
locality, the other hall was being erected elsewhere.
Eleven different sites were used in crowded areas, where
the halls could be filled at afternoon and evening sessions
daily except Saturday, with four or five meetings on
It was at one of those meetings in the slums of Camber-
well that a young medical student, passing by on out-
patient maternity duty, stepped into the hall out of
curiosity. Some one was leading in prolonged prayer.
Mr. Moody stepped to the front and kindly suggested
that while the brother was finishing his prayer the audi-
ence might sing hymn number so-and-so. This informality
attracted the student. Mr. Moody's address impressed
him still more as the real thing. He left the hall with
his life purpose changed. This was Wilfred T. Grenfell,
now Sir Wilfred of Labrador fame.
At the close of this campaign, Mr. Moody told a news-
paper man who interviewed him that he felt the work in
London had been better than in 1875 : less of novelty and
sensation, but more people reached and a deeper impres-
sion made. The weekly attendance was about 75,000 for
thirty weeks, making a gross total of over two millions.
The next overseas mission was in answer to a rather
dramatic invitation. At the Northfield conference in 1891
Rev. John Smith and Dr. Moxey of Edinburgh were
present. One night Mr. Smith stepped to the platform
with a bulky package in his hands that proved to be an
invitation to Mr. Moody from the Christian forces in
fifty towns and cities in Scotland, asking him to make
another evangelistic tour in that country. He said it was
the most remarkable united memorial ever presented to
a Christian worker by Scotland. The roll contained
2,500 names. Mr. Moody accepted the invitation with
IN ACTION OVERSEAS 67
Mr. Sankey, and that fall they visited ninety-nine towns
in ninety days, usually holding three or four meetings a
day. It must have been on some such mission as this
that someone says he heard Mr. Sankey rise in a brief
prayer before going on to the platform and say:
"O God, do tire Moody, or give the rest of us super-
In April and May 1892 Mr. Moody fulfilled a long-
desired plan: he took a two-months vacation and with
Mrs. Moody and their younger son Paul, was the guest of
Scottish friends on a trip to Palestine. Going and com-
ing, time was spent in France, Italy, Egypt, Switzerland,
and he preached in a number of cities in these lands, as
well as in Palestine. Mr. Moody was a keen observer,
and learned all he could on such trips.
During this overseas visit Mr. Moody also conducted
missions in Ireland and England as well as Scotland, al-
ways with spiritual results as formerly.
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA, 1875-93
'ANY people are living to-day who attended Mr.
Moody's meetings and conferences and who can
witness to the powerful impress he made upon
this country on his return from overseas in 1875 up to
the end of his life. His campaigns were covered by the
newspapers when he laid siege to the largest cities in the
United States and Canada, for Mr. Moody was front-page
news, and newspaper men had full faith in his honesty
and sincerity. To read a description of one series, say
in the New York Hippodrome in 1876, is to get the tech-
nique of all his campaigns. For his plans were simple,
and modified only by local conditions.
As the work of Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey overseas
in the seventies leaped into power and prominence, re-
ligious leaders in America of course began to hear of it.
Several volumes that can be found in the older libraries
were hurriedly published over here containing extracts
from English papers describing the meetings and giving
reports of Mr. Moody's sermons. Satisfied that such a
reception would never be given the evangelists in sober
England and Scotland unless their work was genuine and
thorough and lasting, many ministers and Church men
on this side of the Atlantic became eager to see the same
results realised in their own communities. So even before
they returned to America they received numerous invi-
tations to hold meetings.
Here let us pause a moment to ask what was Mr.
Moody's bearing and character now that he was back in
IRA D. SANKEY
THE GOSPEL SINGER, WHO WAS LONG
ASSOCIATED WITH MR. MOODY
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA 69
America a world-famous evangelist. Let us follow him
AT HOME AGAIN IN NORTHFIELD
Two days after landing in New York he and his family
took train for Northfield. No special fuss was made
over their arrival. They stayed in the old home with his
mother. He and Mrs. Moody had corresponded with her
fairly regularly while abroad, and had sent her news-
papers with accounts of his meetings. Back again under
the old roof he was a loving and dutiful son as ever. His
heart was in Northfield, and almost immediately, as we
have seen, he bought a homestead adjoining his mother's
place. Here he could spend the summer months, he
figured, resting and studying and preparing new sermons
and Bible readings for the next winter campaigns, while
his two children Emma and Will could enjoy the blessings
of life in the country.
Apparently a week or more passed by quietly, but com-
plete isolation and leisure were not to be his. He reached
Northfield on August 16. The county paper, the Green-
field Gazette and Courier, said in its issue of August 23
that he would "preach for the first time since his return
to this country in the Trinitarian Church, Sunday, Sep-
tember 5, at 5 P.M." The issue of September 13 had this
to say :
"To the Sunday afternoon meeting of the 5th large
delegations came from surrounding towns to hear Mr.
Moody, making an audience of some 800, too great for
the church, so that Mr. Moody spoke from the church
steps. He read for the Scripture lesson the story of Cor-
nelius, found in the 10th chapter of Acts. . . . The text
was taken from Acts 11:14, 'Who shall tell thee words,
whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.' Then
followed a very earnest practical address, urging the
danger of leading an indifferent life. He talked in very
plain language. Though simple, his discourse was pointed
70 MOODY STILL LIVES
and effective, and produced a marked impression, the
audience, which had come mostly out of curiosity, going
away in noticeably solemn mood."
Analyse that paragraph and you get a graphic word
picture: the crowds driving in from long distances;
moving out of the small church to the open air to accom-
modate them; the immediate and urgent challenge of
salvation ; the speaker's earnest, practical, plain language ;
the simple, pointed, effective discourse; the marked
impression; the solemnised audience. What more could
one ask for as an index of the present Mr. Moody as a
man and as an evangelist? And this impromptu gather-
ing was held on Main Street in a small New England
village, without any publicity or organised effort, within
a month of having addressed literally millions in the
largest city in the world!
The next week's issue had this bit of correspondence:
"Moody and Sankey held services in Northfield on
Sunday the 12th, the people coming from all over the
country around, so that the orthodox church proved too
small, and Mr. Moody spoke from the church steps to
an audience of a thousand in the morning. At 5 o'clock
he preached again to an audience of 2,000. The town
has been thronged with strangers during the week who
have come mainly from curiosity to see the evangelist."
Remember, the town of Northfield and the neighbour-
ing towns were predominantly Unitarian at this time. An
audience of 2,000 would be considered large to-day, with
all the accumulated prestige and publicity of sixty years.
Not all the visitors were curiosity-mongers. Mr. Moody
had written to several of his fellow workers to come to
Northfield to confer about the work of the coming win-
ter: Ira. D. Sankey, D. W. Whittle, P. P. Bliss, and
others. Urgent invitations were reaching him from many
cities. Prominent ministers, leading laymen, and "Y"
secretaries came in person to secure the promise of dates.
So great was the local interest and attendance of people
that meetings were held every night, led by Mr. Moody
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA 71
or some of his associates. The Gazette and Courier cor-
respondent wrote in the issue of October 25 :
"Mr. Moody delivered his last discourse Wednesday
evening. It was delivered in the north church, which was
filled to overflowing. An extra train came down from
Brattleboro with a crowd to hear him."
A revival was started in the little old white church,
since destroyed by fire, which is remembered by many
still living. A number professed conversion and joined
the church, among them his mother and other members of
the family. An active Y.M.C.A. was formed, which func-
tioned among the young men for some years. Summer
after summer Mr. Moody had the spiritual interests of
the village at heart. One year when the little church at
Warwick, about six miles back in the hills, had no pastor
he preached there every Sunday, of course without com-
pensation. Judge from such indications as these what
manner of man D. L. Moody was, in spite of his world-
wide fame and power, as he took up work in America !
CAMPAIGNING IN AMERICA
Messrs. Moody and Sankey neither of them was or-
dained, began in the Brooklyn Rink in October 1875,
and afterward went to Philadelphia, November 21, 1875
to January 21, 1876. Their next point was New York,
where meetings in the Hippodrome, February 7 to April
19, 1876, commanded nation-wide attention and interest.
That fall Chicago was visited, October 1876 to January
16, 1877. Then Boston. A number of the larger New
England towns were visited in the fall and winter of
1877-8. The next three winters were on a different plan.
Mr. Moody spent the winter of 1878-9 in Baltimore evan-
gelising at different points and building up the churches,
1879-80 in St. Louis, 1880-1 in San Francisco. The years
1881-4 were given to England. Their campaigns con-
tinued every winter, sometimes Mr. Moody and Mr.
Sankey together, later Mr. Moody with some other gospel
72 MOODY STILL LIVES
song leader, until even smaller towns in most of the
States were visited.
As a result of this work, Mr. Moody became the rec-
ognised leader of a galaxy of evangelists and Bible teach-
ers and gospel singers, of whom the sweet-spirited and
musically cultured George C. Stebbins is the only present
survivor. Some evangelist would occasionally work in a
large city with Mr. Moody. More often the other would
follow him and continue the good work begun, gathering
up and stabilising the results. Other evangelists would
be recommended to committees whose invitations Mr.
Moody himself could not accept. It was the heyday of
Compensation never entered into his dealings with a
committee. He would not allow any sum to be set, nor
any collections to be taken for him. Before he left town
the treasurer of the meetings usually handed him a sealed
envelope, which he put in his pocket without looking at
it ; and no one but his wife, to whom he handed all his
income, ever knew what compensation he received. Even
when he received no personal compensation, which hap-
pened a few times, he never said a word.
The largest halls in the country could not hold the
crowds that flocked to the meetings. The intense public
interest drew many not specially interested in religion.
The size of the gatherings was in itself a magnet for
many. The program appealed to others: a chorus of
several hundred voices, hearty congregational singing,
plenty of life and action at all times. As soon as the
hall filled up, the song service would begin. Always, in
communities large or small, there are heart-hungry and
sin-sick people who never go near a church, but who
would not feel conspicuous or out of place in a theatre
or hall. Straight gospel preaching, followed by a chal-
lenge to immediate decision for Christ, gets a response
from such people, and accounts for many most interesting
cases of conversion in Mr. Moody's ministry. Whatever
the motive that drew the crowds, they responded to the
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA 73
spell of the speaker and singer as each in his own way
heralded the gospel message. But they did not claim
credit for results. Once when some one spoke of results
to Mr. Moody he said :
"For weeks past people in this city have been praying
for these meetings, praying in groups, and congregations,
and alone, and here is the answer of the Holy Spirit 1 "
Writing in Princeton, New Jersey, I am continually
reminded of his visits to this town. Dr. McCosh was the
first president of an American college to throw open his
institution to Mr. Moody and give him most cordial
cooperation. While the Philadelphia campaign was in
progress in 1876 Dr. McCosh went there to invite him to
conduct the "Day of Prayer for Colleges" meetings in
Princeton College. He accepted, and had a warm recep-
tion, and spiritual results were marked.
President Patton is quoted by one who heard him as
having rated Mr. Moody among those who "come along
only once in about 400 years."
Dr. Frederick G. Coan, veteran Presbyterian mission-
ary to Persia, was a student in Princeton Theological
Seminary in 1884 when Mr. Moody held meetings in New
Brunswick, seventeen miles distant. Dr. Archibald
Hodge suspended his classes one day in order that the
young theologues might attend the meetings. Next day
in class he said :
"Gentlemen, I would give all I am and all I know if
I could preach like that man ! "
Dr. John Finley Williamson, president of Westminster
Choir School, says he owes a debt of gratitude to Mr.
Moody accruing before he was born. His father was a
Methodist minister in Gateshead, England, in 1873, when
Messrs. Moody and Sankey held meetings in those parts.
His father was caught up in the revival, and never lost
74 MOODY STILL LIVES
the blessing, so that he was born into and grew up as a
lad in that atmosphere.
In one Princeton family a brother was converted under
Mr. Moody. Another resident remembers as a lad climb-
ing up to a window of the First Presbyterian Church to
see and hear him preach. A Princeton graduate recalls
incidents of his own student days when Mr. Moody held
meetings here. Somehow he so often burned himself
into the memory of those who heard him preach: they
remember him after the lapse of forty or fifty years.
Of how many preachers can that be so widely said ?
A recent writer in a Chicago paper has this to say :
"I remember Moody. I recall when an adolescent
youth sitting as one of an audience that packed a great
hall in my native city while Moody held the multitude
enthralled by his homely eloquence. The subject of his
address I have forgotten. It was some variation of his
favourite theme, no doubt, some vital application to men's
souls of the message of God's love. But I can still see
the speaker in the vision of memory, a stocky, bearded
man, who held in his hands an open Bible, and talked to
your heart in a voice flexible to every thought and emo-
tion. An inner light illuminated his face as he touched
the chords that sounded the music of human redemption.
There was no suggestion of oratorical artifice, no striving
for brilliance of phrase. He was a man with a message
in which he manifestly believed with his whole being,
a man who felt that his message must be told to others
because it meant so much to him."
Denominationalism was excluded from Mr. Moody's
meetings. He believed in the Church. He was a church
member himself, but he never preached any church. He
preached Christ, and those who were quickened spir-
itually were urged to seek a church home of their own
choice. Hence sectarian issues were avoided, denomina-
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA 75
tional differences did not arise, not even antagonism
between Protestantism and Romanism was aroused.
The relations between Mr. Moody and Romanism
throw a pleasing light on what he was and what he stood
for. When he had trouble in his Sunday school activities
in Chicago, he overcame annoyance and hostility by going
straight to the Roman Catholic bishop. To the credit of
both men the outcome was mutual understanding and
good will. When he held meetings in Dublin the leading
Roman Catholic paper frowned upon hostility to the
campaign and wrote:
"Let Messrs. Moody and Sankey do all they can to
make Protestants earnest in religion! Irish Catholics
desire to see Protestants imbued with religious feeling
rather than tinged with rationalism and infidelity. So
long as the religious services of our Protestant neighbours
are honestly directed to quickening religious thought in
their own body, without offering aggressive or intentional
insult to us, it is our duty to pay the homage of our
respect to their conscientious convictions: in a word, to
do as we would be done by."
At Northfield, where some thirty Irish Roman Catholic
families had settled in the 1850's, the relations were al-
ways cordial. Mr. Moody paid for a number of their
boys and girls in Mount Hermon School and Northfield
Seminary after these schools were started. Some of them
are still living in Northfield. When a Roman Catholic
church was erected in town in 1886, Mr. Moody made a
donation and gave them an Estey organ. He was absent
from Northfield when the church was dedicated, but his
family attended and were courteously seated in the front
pew. The Romanists returned the kindness by hauling
loads of stone for three days for the foundation of the
new Trinitarian church which was erected in 1888-9.
After I joined Mr. Moody, a letter arrived one day
from some one in England, bitterly assailing him for
aiding and abetting Romanism by helping to build their
church. My Irish was up as I read the exaggerated and
76 MOODY STILL LIVES
unwarranted importance he gave to the neighbourly ac-
tion, and I proposed to answer the attack in kind. Mr.
Moody just laughed at me ; the writer was entirely mis-
informed ; he had had his say anyway ; throw the letter in
the waste basket! He would never engage in a scrap
with anyone, even when the other was in the wrong.
One day in the 1880's an old priest called at the house
in Northfield to see Mr. Moody. Unfortunately he was
not in town, and his daughter received the priest instead.
He said he had heard her father preach on "Sowing and
Reaping" twelve years before, and knew about his work,
and had come up from Boston just to meet him face to
face. His disappointment was great.
At the time of Mr. Moody's death several of the Ro-
man Catholic hierarchy spoke cordially of him, and said
they had heard him preach and had read his sermons and
knew of his work.
THE KEY TO HIS CAREER
Examine his sermons and campaigns in the British
Isles and throughout the length and breadth of this
continent, and what do you find? The same personal
Christian experiences as in his letters home after his
conversion, and in the same vocabulary. The same
seed convictions and plans as he used in his earliest work
in Chicago, expanded and embellished by his enlarged
experience. The same Bible doctrines and methods, and
more of them.
In Chicago he developed a technique that suited his
temperament, energy and ability. He learned by doing ;
he learned what not to do a second time. He used his
tact and his wits, subject to God's guidance. He also
found by experience how to grip his hearers and bring
them to the one grand decision which was his aim in life.
He used many of his best sermons right through his ca-
reer, adding new sermons as the result of study and expe-
rience and the demands of new needs. Why should he
IMPRESS UPON AMERICA 77
discard effective sermons based on foundation Bible
teachings when he was preaching all the time to chang-
The characteristics that brought success in his early
Chicago career proved successful in broader and more
complex fields, if that were possible. No situation ever
feazed him. He met and mastered every situation that
As to the man himself, he became readier with his
Bible, more skilled in personal work with individuals and
in capturing great crowds, more of a general in the con-
duct of meetings; but off the platform, right up to the
end of his life, he was the same single-hearted person,
only more mature, more experienced, more human. Get
an understanding of his personality and his religious con-
victions, and you have the key to his whole career. I
believe that if he were alive to-day he would be the same
D. L. Moody, only greater, wiser, mellower, more likable,
more understanding of others, firmer in his belief in the
Bible and more intense in his zeal for God.
BEGINNINGS OF CONTINUING INFLUENCE,
"T WAS inevitable that a man of Mr. Moody's practical
sympathy, physical energy and spiritual vision should
* do something about the temporal and spiritual condi-
tions he found in the course of his evangelistic work. It
was always so after his conversion. Recall his Sunday
school and church and "Y" activities, with their social
implications. Witness his Civil War efforts, and his in-
stant help of sufferers after the Chicago Fire. Recall
the many religious and philanthropic agencies that were
born or generously nourished wherever he held extended
His chief fame and influence rest upon his power as
an evangelist. His evangelism, in its objective, its con-
tent and its methods, was based upon the Bible. Hence
his efforts to promote a knowledge of the Bible, issuing
in changed lives, by means of the Sunday school and the
"Y," and later by Bible conferences and Bible training
schools. When his sympathy moved him to provide
better educational opportunities in a day when multi-
tudes of young people had no facilities for such, his plans
were definitely religious in character, by-products so to
say of his soul- winning efforts. Later, when evangelism
by the printed page seemed to be needed and possible,
he initiated somewhat new methods to realise his desires.
Northfield and Chicago have figured in preceding pages
as the two bases with which Mr. Moody's early career
was definitely associated. Northfield and Chicago are
the locations of organisations and institutions, founded
by him, that are power-houses generating his world-wide
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 79
influence to-day. At Chicago the organisations represent
the founder on his evangelistic and Bible-teaching side.
At Northfield the great academic schools are more promi-
These may be listed chronologically as follows, giving
their present titles :
1. Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, founded 1863;
2. Northfield Seminary for girls, Northfield, 1879;
3. General Conference for Christian Workers, North-
4. Mount Hermon School for boys, now linked with
Northfield Seminary under the corporate name The
Northfield Schools, 1881 ;
5. Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1886;
6. Bible Institute Colportage Association, Chicago,
These exhibit Mr. Moody's genius as a man of affairs
as well as an evangelist.
D. L. MOODY MEMORIAL CHURCH, CHICAGO
An imposing church block built of red brick is to be
seen near the southern tip of Lincoln Park, Chicago. It
represents an investment of a million dollars, on a plot
of ground valued at half a million more. It is the D. L.
Moody Memorial Church.
It was erected in 1924-5, the fourth in its family line,
for this great church is in direct descent from the Illinois
Street Church which was dedicated in 1864. When that
building was wiped out in the Great Fire of October 8,
1871 a temporary building known as the North Side
Tabernacle was erected not far away from the old site,
and dedicated on December 24, 1871. Plans to erect a
new permanent church were initiated within a year. A
plot on Chicago Avenue was bought. Many Sunday
school children all over the land contributed five cents
each to buy bricks. For two years, only the basement of
the proposed building was erected and used, but hymn
80 MOODY STILL LIVES
book royalties from the British campaigns of 1873-5,
voluntarily surrendered by Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey,
paid for the completion of the building, which was known
for fifty years as Chicago Avenue Church. This is still
standing, but being long outgrown by the increase of
religious and social activities in vogue to-day, it was sold
to the Moody Bible Institute, and the Memorial Church
All through its history this organisation has been a re-
vival church. It is an independent church, that is, not
officially connected with any denomination. It began
that way, taking into membership converts of all the
evangelical denominations and of none. Mr. Moody was
never ordained or installed as its pastor, though he per-
formed most of the pastoral functions in the early years.
He was a member of it till his death, and active in its
interest at all times. A book could be written about its
long history, its success in gaining converts and members
and building them up in the faith, its world reach in
mission fields. It has had the reputation in Chicago of
welcoming any person who wanted to be saved. Not
infrequently at the weekly prayer meeting there have
been confessions of faith. The Sunday evening meetings
have always been evangelistic. Indeed, the door of sal-
vation has always been kept open at every meeting held
in the church or in the open air.
Perhaps a brief summary of reports given at the an-
nual meeting last October will be appropriate here, to
show how this organisation is carrying on, as its mem-
bers wish to do, in the steps and the spirit of Mr. Moody.
The church auditorium has 4,040 seats, of which 254
are in the choir section, 2,200 on the floor, the rest in the
balcony. There are 19 main rooms in the church proper
and the adjoining Sunday school unit. These rooms were
used for over 2,500 meetings last year.
The present pastor is Harry Allen Ironside. Other
church officers are two associate pastors, an Italian mis-
sion pastor, 15 elders, 33 deacons, five trustees, a treas-
urer and an assistant treasurer, a director of the Sunday
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 81
school, a director of music, and a director of ushers.
Numerous members are officers in a score of church
organisations and committees.
The membership stood last October at 3,950, 160 new
members having joined during the year. Over 5,000
personal calls were made by the pastors and visitors.
The church carries on a large and aggressive mission-
ary program. It helped to support no less than 1 14 home
and foreign missionaries last year, 68 of whom were
carried in full in the annual budget. Total receipts for
missions were $35,511. A Missionary Library is actively
patronised by young and old.
The Sunday school has seven departments, and last
year enrolled 1,723, with an average attendance of 1,350.
The teaching staff and officers numbered 203. The school
supports 26 of the church missionaries. It conducted a
Daily Vacation Bible School last summer, with an enrol-
ment of 550.
During the last fiscal year $386,230 were received for
the needs of the home base, including the sale of bonds
toward the building debt. Adding the missionary bud-
get, the sum of $421,742 was raised. The church has no
The church motto throughout its history has been:
"Ever Welcome to This House of God Are Strangers and
the Poor." And it has lived up to it. Repeated tests in
the services have shown a large number of out-of-town
visitors or strangers who have settled in Chicago, while
continuous activity prevails winter and summer among
the poor and needy and sinful.
In any estimate of Mr. Moody's surviving influence
throughout the world, surely the Moody Memorial
Church is noteworthy.
THE NORTHFIELD SCHOOLS
Though Mr. Moody made his mark in the world with
only a meagre formal education he realised what he
missed and coveted better advantages for other young
82 MOODY STILL LIVES
people. It is said that as he built up a constituency in
the slums of Chicago he thought of starting night classes
for the boys and girls. When he settled in Northfield in
the '70s the same need became apparent to him from a
different angle. Here it was focused in a family of three
girls living on a hill road a mile or more outside the vil-
lage. The father was an educated man, but a helpless
paralytic. Neighbourhood schooling was inferior, and
what was the outlook afterwards? Boys might leave
home and seek work elsewhere, as he himself did at the
age of 17, but girls? New England was full of widows
and maiden ladies at that time.
The case referred to awakened Mr. Moody to action.
There were other large families of girls among his rela-
tives and neighbours. He determined to start a higher
or secondary school for girls in their teens, girls of
ambition and purpose who would make something of
themselves if they got the chance.
During his evangelistic campaign in Boston in the
early months of 1877, Mr. Moody stayed at the home of
Mr. Henry F. Durant. He was a godly retired lawyer
who devoted a large portion of his time to evangelistic
work in New England. Mr. Moody had met him in the
'60s, and with him had visited Mount Holyoke Seminary,
a pioneer college of pronounced and practical Christian
character for young women, where Mary Lyon's ideal
was that the girls should "live for God and do some-
thing." In 1875 Mr. Durant had founded Wellesley Col-
lege for young women, based on Christ and the Bible,
with academic standards intended to equal those of Har-
vard College, with charges fixed at the moderate sum of
$250 a year, and the students sharing in the domestic
work. Mr. Moody saw these plans in successful opera-
tion. They were a model for the school he was incubat-
ing in his mind and heart for girls of a younger age. He
established a scholarship and became a lifelong trustee
of Wellesley College, and Mr. Durant later became a
trustee of Northfield Seminary.
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 83
Incidentally, at the time we are speaking of, most of
the newer colleges and higher schools, East and West,
were avowedly founded as Christian institutions and for
Christian ends. Christianity was foster-mother of higher
In the fall of 1878 the first purchases of land for what
is now the Northfield Seminary campus were made, about
a hundred acres lying between Mr. Moody's own house
and the river and adjoining his place on the north. I
marvel at the improvement in the campus to-day com-
pared with what it was even forty years ago, the beau-
tiful buildings, the many wide-spreading elms and maples,
the well-kept greensward, the flowering shrubbery.
What must it have looked like in 1878 when the area
was mostly bare sandhills, without roads or trees or even
pasturage? However, it was conveniently situated for
Mr. Moody's purpose, and there were gorgeous views.
The rest has been man's achievement, under God.
Northfield Seminary opened in November 1879. A
recitation hall, since transformed into Revell Hall, was
nearly ready for occupation. No school dormitory yet
existed. But characteristically Mr. Moody had classes
meet temporarily in the dining room of his house and
had alterations made upstairs to accommodate the first
group of 25 resident students who were knocking for ad-
mission. Two of the girls seen in that mountain home
were among them. They soon justified his efforts on
their behalf. One of them is still living. The first Semi-
nary dormitory, East Hall, was built in 1880, "sung up"
by hymn book royalty proceeds. Other buildings followed
every year or two: dormitories, a new recitation hall,
library, infirmary, gymnasium, a large farm equipment.
A similar school for boys was a natural sequel. The
first purchase of land took place in November 1879, but
the school was not opened until 1881. Its location is four
miles down the Connecticut valley and across the river.
Here one has an extensive view of the broadening valley,
with hills banked to the East. As at the Seminary, the
84 MOODY STILL LIVES
farms and brush lots and stony hillsides have been trans-
formed into a beautiful campus and fruitful orchards
and arable acres.
If there is ennobling influence in location, in the far
view of woods and river, of hills and valley, the two
Northfield schools are highly favoured by nature.
In both these institutions Mr. Moody had clear con-
ceptions of at least some things he wanted. The Chris-
tian life, according to his experience, was the true life,
the full life. The motto chosen for the Seminary was
Isaiah 27 :3 : "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every
moment : lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."
The name Mount Hermon was adopted, "for there the
Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore"
(Psalm 133 :3). A Bible rests in the cornerstone of every
main building. They were not to be merely two more
preparatory schools, competing with existing academies.
Their justification was that they were to be distinctive
in several particulars. Education was to be only a means
to a useful Christian life. Everyday life and Christianity
were to be blended or welded into one. Intelligent, prac-
tical religion and all-round Christian character were to
be their goal rather than mere academic education. They
were to be definitely Christian in spirit and aim, in
dormitory and classroom, on the part of both faculty and
students. They must make the Bible prominent in every-
day life and teaching. At the dedication of Overtoun
Hall we heard Mr. Moody say:
"May these buildings crumble to the ground if these
schools are untrue to the Word of God ! "
Only purposeful boys and girls from homes of limited
means and lacking educational privileges where they
lived should be admitted, so that those accepted were
most likely to value the opportunity given and profit by
it. As Mr. Moody used to say, he did not propose to
spend $100 on a ten cent boy. To learn the dignity of
labour, and to help reduce expenses, every student must
do his or her daily bit in manual or domestic work under
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 85
supervision. This may sound commonplace to-day, but
it was novel then. All the boys and girls in the early
days were probably used to such work at home.
The cost per student was about $200 a year. Mr.
Moody said he wanted to help those who would help
themselves, and if the student would raise half the cost
he would raise the other half : so he assumed the financial
burden of $100 per student every year. He had to raise
it by appealing to friends of Christian education of this
type. These friends, by the way, were practically all of
them men and women who had known him as an evan-
gelist and trusted him in his practical applications of the
Students of those earlier years testify not only to the
helpful religious life of the schools, but also to the excel-
lent quality of the teaching. "Teaching," said one, "was
regarded as a sacred privilege," characterised by earnest-
ness of purpose and purity of motives. Students of both
schools who went to college almost invariably made envi-
able records for brains and character, so that colleges
were keen to welcome Hermon men and Seminary girls.
Mr. Moody always wanted the best. He was fortunate
in the teaching staffs of both schools, noble groups of
men and women who laboured in genuine sacrificial spirit.
Their consecrated influence counted for much with the
students. It was they who personified and carried for-
ward the "Hermon spirit" and the "Northfield spirit"
from the earliest days.
It was Mr. Moody's intention that from these schools
a continual stream of consecrated and gifted young people
should flow into the lay activities of the church. In the
early years many Hermon men went into missionary and
Y.M.C.A. work or into the ministry, while Seminary girls
found life vocations as home and foreign and city mis-
sionaries. Actual Christian work was carried on by stu-
dents in neighbouring villages and districts in Sunday
schools, Sunday evening services in schoolhouses, home
visitation and meetings, etc. Many Hermon men are
86 MOODY STILL LIVES
now prominent ministers, foreign missionaries, and "Y"
secretaries, while Seminary graduates have achieved dis-
tinction in home and foreign fields, in city mission and
Y.W. work. In the chapels of both schools there are
wall tablets in memory of former students who have
laid down their lives on foreign fields. Whatever their
sphere in life, Mr. Moody wanted the students to exer-
cise an active Christian influence. He wanted to see
young men acquire a readiness or ability to do anything
anywhere at any time, or as he once put it, "We want to
send out from Hermon young men who are able to eat
soup with a one-tine fork."
Though the schools were incorporated separately, and
each had its own board of trustees and administrative
staff, Mr. Moody was the unifying link between the two.
Their work ran parallel to each other. He was a trustee
of each institution, but held no other official position.
The trustees were men and women of large calibre and
of sympathetic vision, who were glad to cooperate with
the founder in such promising work. They were never
Let it be understood that Mr. Moody did not pose as
an educator! He never learned or practised the tech-
nique of education, but left the administrative direction
to competent principals. His personality permeated
rather than dominated. He was a practical adviser, and
tactful in advancing his ideas, but he did not interfere
arbitrarily in details. Everybody believed in him and
wanted to please him. He brought out the best that
was in them. Being an evangelist, he watched over the
genuine Christian tone of the schools, and planned for
a balanced place in their curricula for the English Bible.
Other teachers were engaged by the principals, but he
had his say in selecting the Bible teachers. He wanted
those who knew and could teach the Bible constructively
and spiritually. Teachers who would discredit the Bible
and undermine the faith of adolescent boys and girls
were out of the question.
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 87
His personal influence and power were felt among the
students in several intimate ways.
First of all in his personal relationships. The students
loved him like a father : many of them in the early days
had no father, no home. After school opened in Septem-
ber until he left town for evangelistic work, and again
after he returned in May until the close of school, the
students saw more or less of him every day. He used
to drive around in a buggy or a four-wheeler wagon: it
refreshed and rested him, and gave him opportunities to
be kind. The students would wave and call to him as
he passed. He would invite one or another to "get in
and ride," especially if they were carrying a suitcase or
bundle. Sick boys and girls were not forgotten. He
would often plead for a boy who was in trouble that he
be given another chance. Both schools telegraphed greet-
ings on his birthday.
They also got close to him in his preaching and Bible
teaching. He was all the time interested in their spiritual
life, and at the beginning of the school year he would
urge them to become out-and-out believers in Christ.
There was no undue pressure, but he wanted every stu-
dent to be a wholesome, happy Christian. As oppor-
tunity presented itself he might talk with individuals, or
those who sought his advice, but his chief contact as
numbers increased was by taking daily chapel. Per-
haps he would give a series of Bible talks extending over
a week. Students and faculty loved to hear him, he was
so animated and practical. Occasionally he would preach
on a Sunday. On the other hand, he would ask the
schools to pray for him when he was away preaching,
keeping them informed of his whereabouts, so that they
might follow him intelligently with their prayers. And
They saw the lighter side of his character in various
ways. He believed in hard work, but also in recreation
and fun and social comradeship. He was interested in
88 MOODY STILL LIVES
their athletics and outdoor sports, and in their social life
indoors. He would give and take in practical jokes.
Walking down Northfield street one day he joined .two
girls and in a loud voice demanded:
"Your money or your life ! "
"You will have to take our lives, Mr. Moody, for we
haven't any money," they laughingly rejoined.
"Well, your life is worth more than money; see that
you use it well," he replied as he passed on.
"A penny for your thoughts," he said once to another
"I was thinking of something my mother said to me,"
was the answer, which pleased him so much that he
immediately handed her five cents. By the next mail he
received four cents in change, and that pleased him still
The tenor in a Mount Hermon quartet caught cold and
could not sing at one meeting. The next day when he
was explaining his absence Mr. Moody said:
"You don't want to catch cold : you want to catch fire."
One occasion is recalled when he brought a party of
visitors into a room where a spelling class was in session.
Presently he aroused enthusiastic rivalry among the
pupils by calling out:
"I'll give a silver dollar to the first one that spells
The success of the schools was apparent from the start.
Applications for admission poured in from near and far,
from just the class that he wished to give a better start
in life. In the early years many whose education had
been cut short by the necessity of self or family support,
or other reasons, were now glad of a school where their
advanced years were not a handicap. Applications for
admission have always largely outnumbered accommoda-
The new or newly emphasised ideas that Mr. Moody
incorporated in his schools have since come to be regarded
by professional educators as thoroughly sound, and even
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 89
essential for well-rounded citizenship in an intelligent
Henry Drummond wrote that no stronger proof of Mr.
Moody's breadth of mind need be demanded than that
he should have inaugurated this work:
"For an evangelist seriously to concern himself with
such matters is unusual, but that the greatest evangelist
of his day, not when his powers were failing but in the
prime of life and in the zenith of his success, should di-
vert so great a measure of his strength into educational
channels is a phenomenal circumstance. . . . Mr.
Moody saw that the object of Christianity was to make
good men and good women. Hence he founded institu-
tions for turning out such characters. His pupils should
have a chance of becoming useful, educated, God-fearing
His example was soon followed by others. I could
name evangelists and other Christian leaders in the home-
land and missionaries in other lands, who started schools
on his model, and found his aims and methods workable.
THE NORTHFIELD CONFERENCES
There had been conferences before, but nothing any-
where quite like the conferences Mr. Moody built up at
We have seen how in the late '70s when he was in
Northfield during the summer months he opened his
home for Bible readings, to which neighbours and visi-
tors in town crowded. Before long a history-making
event occurred when he called the first public conference.
It was apparently suggested by an experience he had at
Cleveland, Ohio, in November 1879, when he was hold-
ing an evangelistic campaign in that city. One morning
at a gathering for prayer a brief address on "Prayer for
the Church" was made by Dr. H. B. Hartzler. "Mr.
Moody sat immediately in front of me," said Dr. Hartz-
ler. "He listened with bowed head. Suddenly he raised
90 MOODY STILL LIVES
his head, flashed a glance at me as if struck with a
thought, and then resumed his former position." As soon
as the meeting was over he asked Dr. Hartzler to come
to Northfield the next summer to hold a similar meeting.
The following August (1880) he wrote Dr. Hartzler:
"Enclosed you will find a circular that will explain
itself. I got a start towards it in your city when you
spoke at the convention there about November 1st."
The circular was a call for "A Convocation for Prayer,"
to be held September 1-10. "The object is not so much
to study the Bible, (though the Scriptures will be
searched daily for instruction and promises), as for
solemn self-consecration, for pleading God's promises,
and waiting upon him for a fresh anointment of power
from on high. . . ." Signed "D. L. Moody."
A goodly number of people from this and other lands
attended. The gathering followed the lines laid down in
the Call, and marked spiritual blessing was evident.
That first gathering was a convocation for prayer.
Next year 1881 the plans were quite different, and Bible
teaching was more prominent. Dr. Andrew A. Bonar
of Glasgow, Scotland, spent the month of August in
Northfield, and with other well known leaders conducted
meetings for the study of the Bible twice daily. There-
after the annual gatherings became known as Bible con-
ferences, though of course prayer and Christian service
had their place in the programme.
Mr. Moody's platform was distinguished for catholic-
ity, for utmost breadth consistent with loyalty to the
Bible. "A well-rounded Christian lives not on parts but
on the whole Bible," he used to say. Hence no one truth
was exalted at the expense of others. He allowed no
theological hobbies or extravagances, no rationalistic
speculations. Northfield has been singularly free from
"isms." Men of every branch of the Church Universal
were heard from the platform, and since they had the
good judgment to avoid controversial topics and minor
differences, as out of place there, the effect was a grand
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 91
affirmation of evangelical truth and a warm enjoyment
of understanding fellowship. Many fast friendships
have been formed at Northfield among speakers of diverse
persuasions, as also among those who composed the
Mr. Moody constantly sought to secure the foremost
living Bible expositors and preachers. Hence well known
men were brought from abroad, and younger men were
developed. Among the speakers were the ablest men in
modern Christian life, college presidents and professors
from theological seminaries; pastors, teachers and evan-
gelists; missionaries, home and foreign; reformers and
philanthropists; business men and leaders of young
people. It was therefore impossible to treat other than
seriously the testimony that went out from Northfield.
The way the attendance increased at these conferences
may be inferred by noting the successive places where
they met: first in the parlours and porches of his own
home, next in the first Seminary recitation hall seating
about a hundred, and the small Trinitarian church hold-
ing a couple of hundred, then in 1880 a tent to accommo-
date over 300, next the upper room in Stone Hall capable
of crowding in over a thousand, and which served as the
place of gathering from 1885 until the present Audito-
rium was erected in 1894, with a seating capacity of 2,500.
The problem of taking care of these increasing num-
bers in a small village had also to be solved. At the first
visitors could find rooms in the village homes, though
many townspeople did not relish seeing the place over-
run by outsiders. However, there was money in it, and
the best class of people. Some lived in tents. Mr.
Moody pioneered once again in using the school buildings
during the summer recess for accommodating the visitors,
and so men and women who wished to spend a week or
two during vacation, sitting at the feet of great Bible
teachers and preachers, were comfortably taken care of.
One conference led to a second, a college students' con-
ference. The project was suggested to Mr. Moody by
92 MOODY STILL LIVES
Luther D. Wishard, a secretary of the International
Y.M.C.A. committee who devoted his time to work in
colleges. Mr. Moody did not feel drawn to pose as a
leader of college men, but finally it was agreed that if
Mr. Wishard and his associate secretary., Charles K. Ober,
would work up the attendance, the delegates might use
the Mount Hermon buildings and he would have a num-
ber of prominent men to address them. And so the first
intercollegiate religious conference was born, assembling
on July 7, 1886, and continuing through the month. Two
hundred and fifty-one students from 89 colleges in
the United States and Canada were present. Next year
it began to meet at Northfield, where greater conven-
iences were available. Soon similar student conferences
were established in other sections of the country, but
Northfield still attracted hundreds of delegates from
about ISO schools and colleges in the East, Yale sending
nearly a hundred one year. A World's Student Christian
Federation was then formed, which carried the conference
plan around the world, John R. Mott being its general
secretary. In 1898 the Northfield conference was interna-
tional in character. Among the six hundred young men
who attended there were about sixty foreign delegates,
representing twenty-seven different nations. At one
meeting prayer was offered in twenty-seven different
tongues. Who can tell what it meant thus to bind to-
gether in Christian work students from all parts of the
world ? Think what this movement meant. Picked reli-
gious leaders in the colleges were receiving Bible teaching,
training, vision and inspiration, which they carried back
to their own institutions, inaugurating systematic Bible
study and developing men in more active Christian work
and witness for Christ.
That first "College Students' Summer School for Bible
Study" is also memorable for another quite unexpected
product. One of the greatest missionary movements of
modern times was born at Mount Hermon but conceived
at Princeton. For among the delegates was a Princeton
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 93
man Robert P. Wilder, a member of the Princeton For-
eign Missionary Society that had been organised in 1883,
who himself expected to go as a missionary to India. He
and two other Princeton men came to Mount Hermon
with a deep conviction that God would call some in that
conference into foreign mission work. To that end they
gathered a few like-minded men to pray that a missionary
spirit might pervade the gathering. Following some ad-
dresses by missionaries and mission leaders the interest
rose to such fervour that by the end of the month a full
hundred had signified that they were "willing and desir-
ous, God permitting, to become foreign missionaries." A
bronze wall tablet identifies the room in which they met.
It was decided to extend this missionary interest by
sending a deputation to visit colleges. This was done
with such encouraging success that at the Student Con-
ference of 1888 it was decided to organise "The Student
Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions." Its watch-
word was "The Evangelisation of the World in This Gen-
eration." John R. Mott, one of the original hundred,
was chairman. Robert E. Speer became one of its first
travelling secretaries. It found entrance into a thousand
institutions of higher learning in this country and Can-
ada, both of men and women, organising the systematic
and progressive study of missions and enrolling thousands
of volunteers. Immediately the movement spread to the
British Isles and other lands. For years the mission
forces of all evangelical denominations were recruited
from this choice band of young college people. Over 13,-
000 members of the movement on this continent have
become foreign missionaries. Many of them on foreign
fields to-day look back to Northfield as the place where
they formed life decisions and gained courage and im-
THE MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
As Mr. Moody moved up and down the land holding
meetings, he realised that multitudes of people were not
94 MOODY STILL LIVES
being reached by the churches. In his own meetings
many young people of both sexes were being converted
and revived. He saw possibilities in these, if only they
were taught the Bible and trained in Christian service,
of supplementing the efforts of the regular ministry by
lay activities. But how solve the problem of supply and
demand? Once again he was facing a practical but
untried task. The Moody Bible Institute was the final
It was, however, a slow evolution. It began in Bible
classes for women led by Miss Emma E. Dryer in con-
nection with the North Side Tabernacle immediately
after the Fire. Training women for Bible reading and
home visitation in connection with churches was the next
step. Then the idea of a training school began to take
shape. At first it was for women only, but when it was
seen that men were also needed, the plan for a Bible
school was widened to include them. Miss Dryer for a
time engaged rooms in the central "Y" building as head-
quarters for her Bible work. The need of a home for
the workers was then felt. At length on January 22,
1886 Mr. Moody delivered an address in Chicago on
"City Evangelisation." He pictured the needs of the
unreached workingmen and their families, and spoke of
the churches closed six days a week and in many cases
all summer. "We have got to have gap-men," he said,
"men who are trained to fill the gap between the min-
isters and the common people."
At that time theological seminaries confined their train-
ing strictly to preparation for the ordained ministry. Mr.
Moody had no idea of trespassing on that field. He had
something quite different in mind.
The Chicago Evangelisation Society was the next ad-
vance. A nucleus of friends was formed, funds were
raised, an evangelist was engaged whose base was a tent
located in a lawless section of the city. Tent meetings
were held every night, and the workers visited in the
neighbourhood in the afternoon. After a few weeks the
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 95
tent was moved to another location. In winter the band
held meetings in missions and churches. Numbers were
reached with the gospel, and those who were converted
were turned over to the churches. Was it not the plan
of his London campaign in a new setting ?
One feature of the Bible work was an institute in May,
when some prominent Bible teacher was engaged to give
lectures in morning sessions which were open to all. Mr.
Moody himself was a speaker in 1889, and the attendance
of about 200 workers satisfied him that the time was
ripe for an all-the-year school. So land and three build-
ings adjoining Chicago Avenue Church were acquired.
The buildings were used for the women, and a men's
building was erected on the land, and was formally
opened on September 26 of that year with the title of
the Bible Institute for Home and Foreign Missions.
It proved to be not only the beginning of a new institu-
tion, but of a new movement in training for Christian
The Rev. R. A. Torrey, a Congregational minister,
graduate of Yale College and Divinity School, and at the
time superintendent of the Congregational City Mission
Society of Minneapolis, was selected by Mr. Moody for
the post of superintendent and Bible instructor. It was
his responsibility to devise a course of instruction in the
Bible and methods of Christian work, suited to the special
character and aims of the institution, and to direct stu-
dents in all kinds of actual Christian service in the city. He
was assisted by Mrs. S. B. Capron, a retired missionary
from India, as superintendent of women. Within a few
years the curriculum was systematised on an academic
and practical basis in a two-year course, two years of
twelve months each, for the Institute never closed from
the day it opened. Mr. Moody always said the summer
was the best time to reach the masses in the open air.
In addition to the Bible and Practical Work courses
there was also a Music course, intended not only to
give thorough training to those who wished to become
96 MOODY STILL LIVES
evangelistic singers and church choristers, but also to
impress the whole student body with the power and value
of the gospel in song.
In addition to the regular instructors, it was the plan
to have prominent teachers and preachers of this and
other lands spend some time at the Institute, giving the
cream of their knowledge and experience in condensed
form. Personal contact with these great men was inval-
uable to the students.
The student personnel consisted mostly of men and
women who felt called to devote their lives to forms of
Christian work outside the regular ministry. But there
were always those who desired to supplement the valu-
able education received at other schools by intensive
study of the English Bible and methods of aggressive
Christian work, besides many who only desired to know
their Bibles better in order to be able to win others to
Christ while remaining in their secular callings.
At the Northfield schools we have seen that Mr.
Moody kept his hands off because he did not pretend to
know the technique of academic education. At the Bible
Institute it was different. He knew just what he wanted,
and how to get it.
"Let us take our stand here," he said, "that any man
can teach upon our platforms with absolute freedom
whatever he finds in the Bible, but no man shall be
allowed to pick the Bible to pieces."
He was himself president of the Institute, he made
friends and raised the money for it, he kept tab on the
teaching and training, he lived in the men's building
when he was in Chicago. Room 10 on the second floor
was his office or parlour, Room 1 1 his bedroom, with bath-
room between, Room 9 on the other side was kept for
interviews, faculty conferences, etc. He took his meals
in the dining room with the students at the faculty table.
Thus closely did he enter into the school life while in Chi-
cago. Dr. Torrey dictated a letter to him the first thing
every Monday morning, telling him what sort of a Sunday
BEGINNINGS OF INFLUENCE 97
he had in Chicago Avenue Church, of which he was pastor,
and inclosing a statistical report of the Institute for the
At the time of Mr. Moody's death the Bible Institute
had completed its first decade. Over 3,000 men and
women had been enrolled for the full course or shorter
terms. He was pleased with the fitness and capacity of
students for undermanned positions in the expansion of
the Church in needy fields.
Under date of February 24, 1890 he wrote a friend,
relative to the Bible Institute:
"I am thankful to tell you that I have some splendid
men and women in the field. My school work will not
tell much until the century closes, but when I am gone
I shall leave some grand men and women behind."
A week before his health broke down he was pointedly
"Do you consider the Bible Institute a success? If
you were starting over again, would you follow the same
"Yes," was his reply, "it has been a great success and
a wonderful blessing. I would do the same again."
As a matter of fact, after the hotel was built at North-
field, he used it during the winter months for a training
school for women, giving the same kind of training as at
the Chicago Institute, but with more special reference to
village problems. After his death Dr. C. I. Scofield
of Scofield Bible fame, then pastor of the local church,
became its president and leading Bible instructor. After
he left Northfield the school was merged in the Bible
department of Northfield Seminary. On his last visit to
Glasgow, in 1892, Mr. Moody organised a similar Bible
Institute for Scotland, which is still functioning.
BIBLE INSTITUTE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION
At the beginning of this chapter I listed one more
organisation among existing sources of Mr. Moody's con-
98 MOODY STILL LIVES
timiing power and influence, namely, the Bible Institute
Colportage Association of Chicago. As this was not
started until 1894, however, I will postpone the story of
it until a later chapter.
A colporter is a man or woman who carries books and
other gospel literature from door to door for sale or dis-
tribution. This form of Christian work originated in
Europe, and has been well adapted to the needs of this
WORLD'S FAIR EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN, 1393
A MERICA and England were appalled in November
/A 1892 when the North German Lloyd liner, "Spree,"
^ westward bound from Southampton to New York
with 700 passengers on board, became overdue. Seven
days, eight days, nine days passed without word. Mr.
Moody and his son Will were passengers on that boat.
Mrs. Moody had gone down to New York to meet them,
and was almost beside herself. On the tenth day news
was flashed that the "Spree" was limping into Queens-
town (Ireland) in imminent danger of foundering at any
moment. Three days out, her driving shaft had broken
and thrashed a hole in the vessel's stern. The two after
compartments filled with water. Three forward bulk-
heads were closed, but the ship settled down at the stern
and her bow tilted high in the air. The engines were
useless, the vessel could only drift helplessly. It was
long before the day of wireless. The captain's hope was
that she might keep afloat and not drift out of the track
of other steamers without being seen. She was a thou-
sand miles from Queenstown. And now she had made
port safely in tow of the S.S. "Lake Huron," seven days
after the accident.
It was with joyful relief that Mr. Moody's multitudes
of friends in the British Isles heard of their safety after
such a narrow escape.
I mention the terrible experience at this point because
it seems to me to be a spiritual prelude to the remaining
seven years of Mr. Moody's life. The testimony of
Major-General Oliver Otis Howard and other fellow
passengers was that he demonstrated moral leadership
100 MOODY STILL LIVES
in this near-tragedy, comparable to that of the apostle
Paul in the awful shipwreck of Acts 27. He conducted a
service in the saloon on Sunday evening, which nearly
every passenger attended, "and I think everybody
prayed, sceptics and all."
He said afterwards that he did not want to die. "As
my thoughts went out to my loved ones at home, my
wife and children, my friends on both sides of the sea,
the schools and all the interests dear to me, and as I
realised that perhaps the next hour would separate me
forever from all these, so far as this world was concerned,
I confess it almost broke me down. It was the darkest
hour of my life." Relief came in prayer. "God heard
my cry and enabled me to say, 'Thy will be done ! ' " He
went to bed, "almost immediately fell asleep, and never
slept more soundly" in all his life.
That was Sunday night, the second night after the
accident. About 3 A.M. the lights of the "Lake Huron"
were seen drawing near. She had seen the "Spree's"
flaming signals of distress.
The rest of the story, from the "Lake Huron's" side,
has not been incorporated in any biography of Mr.
Moody. I give it here, by permission of Mr. J. Ritchie
Bell, superintendent of the Montreal Sailors' Institute,
who was a passenger on the "Lake Huron," en route to
help continue the work started by Mr. Moody in Scot-
land. Captain Carey, a Christian man and a native of
County Dublin, asked Mr. Bell to hold a meeting on
Sunday evening. All entered heartily into the singing of
"Pull for the Shore, Sailor," "Throw Out the Life Line,"
"Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," and other hymns
of the sea.
"Our service ended about 9 :30, and I was taking my
walk on deck before retiring when the boatswain's mate
accosted me. The meeting had evidently impressed him,
for he said :
" 'I am going around to see our lights are trimmed
and burning, for it may be some one will be glad to see
those lights before morning.' "
1936 CHICAGO NEEDS ANOTHER MOODY!
A CARTOON DRAWN BY V. R. SHOEMAKER. IT APPEARED
IN THE CHICAGO DAILY NEWS. FEBRUARY 5, 1936 AND
IS USED BY PERMISSION
EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN 101
The second officer, on the bridge shortly before mid-
night, was attracted by the illumination caused by the
flare-lights of the "Spree." Thinking it was a ship on
fire he called the captain, who came to the conclusion
after observation that it was a vessel in distress.
"Change our course, Potter, and let us bear down on
her and see if we can render assistance. We may be in
need of help some day ourselves."
The "Lake Huron" came alongside the "Spree" after
steaming two and a half hours. About three o'clock
Monday morning, after two vain attempts in the dark to
throw a line aboard, she signalled:
"I'll stand by until morning."
"At dawn God seemed to speak to the waters, the wind
ceased, and there was a great calm." A boat from the
"Spree" brought an officer on board to tell of their des-
perate condition. Captain Carey offered to take them in
tow, and if that was impossible, to transfer the passengers
and crew to his vessel. He promised with God's help to
save all on board the disabled liner. Soon tow-lines were
made fast and a start was made for Queenstown. "Would
the lines hold should a storm break, and would our coal
supply last were problems pondered by the captain, with
these seven hundred lives now dependent on him. With
strong faith he brought us daily nearer land."
The "Lake Huron" steamed into harbour at 5 A.M. Sat-
urday. She did not have enough coal left to keep steam
up another fifteen minutes.
"I made my way immediately to the cable office to
notify friends of my arrival," says Mr. Bell. "Here I
met Mr. Moody, who exclaimed, 'Hello, Bell, where did
you come from ? ' I replied that I was on the 'Lake
Huron.' 'You were I ' he cried, 'I was on the "Spree." '
Calling to the crowd he said, 'Here's a friend of mine who
was on the "Lake Huron" ; he'll tell us all about it' ; and
pushing me up on a chair he insisted upon my telling how
God had answered their prayers.
"As I got down he said to me, 'Bell, was your captain a
Christian?' I replied, 'Oh yes, a splendid Irish Method-
102 MOODY STILL LIVES
1st ! ' He replied, 'I thought so. I knew God would have
one of his own to send to our rescue.' "
Mr. Moody and fellow passengers sailed for New York
on the "Etruria" next day, and landed safely the follow-
What a reception he got when he reached home that
night at 10 o'clock! As the train stopped at Mount Her-
mon station, 300 students and teachers and neighbours
swarmed around with torches and a brass band and cheers
to welcome their benefactor and friend. At the next stop
he was met on alighting by a crowd of Northfield friends.
The buildings of Northfield Seminary across the valley,
as well as many private dwellings, were ablaze with in-
numerable lights in the windows. At Revell Hall, first of
the Seminary buildings to be reached, all the girls and
teachers were assembled to repeat the glad welcome.
Next morning, Sunday, the church was crowded with
townspeople and the students of both schools. In place
of a sermon, Mr. Moody told in simple, heartfelt words
the thrilling story of the accident and their rescue from
the jaws of death.
"When the announcement was made that the steamer
was sinking, and we were in a helpless condition in mid-
ocean, no one on earth knows what I passed through as I
thought my work was finished, and that I should never
again have the privilege of preaching the gospel of the
Son of God. And on that dark night, the first night of
the accident, I made a vow that if God would spare my
life and bring me back to America, I would come to Chi-
cago and at the World's Fair preach the gospel with all
the power that He would give me."
Let us see how he kept that vow !
A DARING PROJECT
Mr. Moody must be credited with conceiving the idea
of a gospel campaign simultaneous with the Columbian
Exposition or World's Fair in Chicago. (It was intended
EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN 103
to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of
Columbus, but was not ready in 1892.) He knew Chi-
cago thoroughly. He foresaw a great opportunity to
preach the gospel, and that it should be met by a great
undertaking. During his visit to the British Isles in
1891 he made frequent public reference to it, and asked
Christians to pray for it. He raised money to add two
more stories to the men's building at the Bible Institute.
He arranged with John McNeill, the Scottish evangelist,
to spend the six months of the Fair in Chicago. He
brought me to America to be his secretary. In other
ways he made serious preparation for the campaign, in-
tending to spend the whole summer in Chicago himself.
And he did it alone, without any committee.
His vision was justified by results. It proved to be
easily the greatest single project he ever undertook. We
have already described his marvellous evangelistic cam-
paigns of the '70s and '80s in this country and overseas,
but this was not a one-man campaign. It was a six-
months campaign of which he was the commanding gen-
eral, directing the concerted action of a large number of
prominent preachers, teachers, evangelists, gospel singers,
and a corps of nearly 300 students and their instructors.
There has been nothing in the history of Christianity
quite comparable to it before or since. Nothing ever
tested so severely his organising genius, his singular pru-
dence, his fertility and versatility of resource, his skill
and power to command, his spiritual might.
The city problem is one of the most serious the Church
has to face, and in Chicago the problem was immeasur-
ably increased during the World's Fair period. Its ordi-
nary cosmopolitan population was swollen by the inflow
of thousands, many of whom belonged to the most lawless
classes of society. Add to this that in summer there is
unfortunately a lull in Christian activity, and you have
an outlook anything but promising. Mr. Moody was
perfectly cognizant of what he would have to face. He
had no precedent to follow. But difficulties never ap-
104 MOODY STILL LIVES
palled him, or clouded his faith in God. He believed that
if a man is called of God to a certain work, He will be
with him in that work, and he will succeed no matter
what the obstacles may be. He daringly projected this
movement that proved to be unique in its conception and
consummation, world-wide in its influence, unparalleled
in its success.
He had passed his 56th birthday on February 5, 1893.
He had been warned that his heart was weakening, and
that he must let up in his work. If he did, nobody no-
ticed it. He never talked of his age or his heart. He did
not spare himself under the unceasing responsibility of
those six months.
"We shall beat the Fair," he said good-naturedly when
he arrived on the ground. That is what he set out to do,
by furnishing such gospel attractions, in cooperation with
the churches, that the multitudes visiting the Fair, no
less than the people of Chicago themselves, should be
won and kept true to Christ.
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
His plan of campaign was simple in outline. Chicago
is naturally divided into three sections by the forking
river, the North side, the West side, and the South side.
In each section a church centre was secured to begin with.
General headquarters was the Bible Institute, with Chi-
cago Avenue Church adjoining, on the North side, but
within a mile of the heart of the far-flung city. We lived
in the Institute buildings, Mr. Moody occupying his usual
suite. Here he had all the strings in his hand.
The campaign opened on the first Sunday in May. Mr.
Moody, himself, preached in Chicago Avenue Church
morning, afternoon, and evening. During the week fol-
lowing, praise services were held each night in this
church. The work expanded weekly, and it was pres-
ently necessary to call other churches into use. But
churches were not always suitably located to reach the
EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN 105
masses, so he determined to hire theatres. It seemed for
a time, however, as if desirable halls and theatres could
not be secured at any price on account of previous en-
gagements ; they were expecting a fortune from the Fair.
But a footing was obtained in the Haymarket theatre,
and here Mr. Moody preached every Sunday morning un-
til the end of the campaign, with the exception of two
Sundays when he was absent from the city. As the mo-
mentum grew, while the amusement trade lagged, other
theatres and halls were rented, until ten came under his
control, some on Sundays only, but some throughout the
week. Five tents were in constant use, being pitched at
strategic points in non-churched districts. Two gospel
wagons were operated for open air meetings. A vacant
store on the West side was rented and fitted up as
a mission hall. A number of Institute students lodged
overhead, and meetings were held not only every after-
noon and evening, but a special squad came on at 10 P.M.
in order to try to rescue drunks and harlots who haunted
the vicinity far into the morning hours.
Special efforts were made to reach people near the Fair
grounds. Here, on the open prairie, hotels and other
buildings had sprung up like mushrooms without any
effort to provide church accommodations. But Mr.
Moody secured the use of half a dozen tents and hotel
SOME NOTABLE MEETINGS
The most notable meetings of the campaign, from the
popular standpoint, were probably those held in Tatter-
sail's hall and Forepaugh's circus tent. When Mr. Moody
announced the meeting in Tattersall's, with seating ca-
pacity of ten thousand or more, he said :
"We have something better than a military tourna-
ment, and we must get a bigger audience than they do."
Forepaugh's circus came to Chicago in June, and lo-
cated on the lake front opposite the heart of the city.
The manager rented the tent for Sunday morning, but
106 MOODY STILL LIVES
reserved it for his own shows in the afternoon and eve-
ning. This is how he advertised the day's program :
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Three Big Shows !
Moody in the Morning
Forepaugh in the Afternoon and Evening
The great canvas ellipse covered an immense area, hav-
ing a seating capacity of ten thousand, with standing
room for ten thousand more. In the centre of the arena
a rude platform was erected for the speakers and a few of
the singers, while the rest of the song corps were massed
around them. The surroundings were the usual circus
furniture and gaudy decorations, while in an adjoining
tent was the large menagerie, including eleven elephants.
Clowns, grooms, all the circus people mixed in with the
visitors, about 18,000 in all.
When that mighty throng took up the hymn, "Nearer,
My God, to Thee," a sense of awe laid hold of the multi-
tude. After an hour of singing and prayer, Mr. Moody
preached on the text, "The Son of man is come to seek
and to save that which was lost." The hush of heaven
was on the gathering. Toward the close of the address
there was a slight disturbance, and a lost child was passed
up to the platform. Mr. Moody held her up so that her
parents might see her, and when the anxious father
reached the platform Mr. Moody placed the child in his
arms and said:
"That is what Jesus Christ came to do : to seek and to
save lost sinners and restore them to their heavenly
The circus tent was rented for two Sundays. It was a
revelation to Forepaugh that so many people should
come to listen to songs and sermons. His afternoon and
EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN 107
evening shows were abandoned because they were so
THE HEADQUARTERS STAFF
All this time the regular routine of the Bible Institute
went on. Two Bible classes and two music classes were
held daily. Several special conferences were held, lasting
a week or ten days each. The lecture room of the Insti-
tute seated about 500, but the attendance increased during
August and September so that the daily lectures were
transferred to the church nearby.
For his preaching staff Mr. Moody gathered around
him evangelical preachers and Bible teachers and gospel
singers of both sexes from the ends of the earth. Pindor
of Silesia came to preach to the Poles; Rabinowitz of
Russia, to the Jews; Monod of Paris, to the French;
Stocker of Berlin, to the Germans. John G. Paton of the
New Hebrides, Thomas Spurgeon and Henry Varley of
Australia, and many from England and Scotland also
As months passed by and the Fair brought increasing
numbers to Chicago, the gospel campaign also gathered
momentum. At the beginning of September, the Central
Music Hall was rented for two months for a two-hours
service daily from 11 A.M to 1 P.M. Even on Labour Day
the hall was overcrowded.
As October, the last month of the Fair, approached,
Mr. Moody urged his hearers everywhere to pray and
labour with unremitting diligence. "It seems as if we have
been only playing the past weeks, now we are going to
work," he said. "We have just been fishing along the
shore, now we are going to launch out into the deep.
Friends, help fill up the churches! Let us see whether
we can't wake up the whole city ! . . . We want to press
the battle these closing days of the Fair as never before.
Now is our time and opportunity ! "
On several of the last Sundays Mr. Moody controlled
108 MOODY STILL LIVES
as many as 125 different meetings, assuming the expenses
of rent and incidentals when necessary, furnishing speak-
ers and singers and working up the attendance, which
would aggregate upward of a hundred thousand per Sun-
day. High water mark of attendance on week-days was
reached on Chicago Day, October 9. Chicago determined
to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of the Great
Fire on a colossal scale. The Fair arranged special at-
tractions and drew over seven hundred thousand visitors
that day. Mr. Moody determined to keep pace with it.
Continuous meetings were held in Central Music Hall
and two other downtown halls, and so great was the
crush that in some cases the speakers could not push
their way in.
The entire expense of the six months work was $60,000,
exclusive of the ordinary expenses of the Institute. It
was met by collections taken at the meetings, and by
voluntary contributions of Christian friends. The man-
agement of the campaign involved an immense amount
of organisation and adjustment. Mr. Moody always
looked on the bright side. He inspired others with his
faith and courage, and spurred them on by word and
deed. No man or woman worked harder than he those
"When we commenced work six months ago," said Mr.
Moody at the closing meeting of the campaign, "the ques-
tion was, Can we reach the people who are coming up to
attend the Fair ? Would they have the heart for religious
services ? . . . God has outdone all our expectations. He
has gone away beyond our faith."
Millions heard the simple gospel preached by some of
the most gifted preachers in the world. Apparently thou-
sands were genuinely converted to God. Christianity
was proved to be a living thing. The summer was proved
to be a good time for Christian work, and also the masses
can be reached if we "go and reach them." Men often
formed seventy-five per cent of audiences. Sin in its
EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGN 109
vicious forms was not left to reign in the city. Ministers
attended and cooperated in great numbers. In a sen-
tence, the gospel was found to have its old power over
human hearts, in spite of the tumultuous activities and
distractions of that great enterprising city of Chicago
during the busiest period of its existence up to that time.
AT THE CLOSE OF THE CAMPAIGN
How Mr. Moody stood the physical strain for six
months in the heat of a Chicago summer is a mystery.
He observed one day of rest each week, but spoke or pre-
sided at one or two meetings every other day, in addition
to all his other responsibilities. Being a strict sabbath
observer, he would not use a public means of transporta-
tion on Sundays, so a horse and cab were bought for the
exclusive purpose of driving speakers to their meetings,
and horse and driver had Monday religiously as a day of
Imagine yourself in my shoes in relation to Mr.
Moody, if you can, at the close of the World's Fair
Campaign ! Six months, from May to October inclusive,
of downright hard but happy religious work at his call
and under his direction. Living with him and sharing his
confidence and comradeship, I observed his strong and
masterful personality at all points and under most diverse
conditions: aggressive, authoritative, but kindly, gentle,
persuasive, magnetic; wholly concentrated upon bring-
ing Christ to men and men to Christ; possessed of con-
tagious moral and spiritual enthusiasm that balked at
no obstacles; always eager to learn and to sharpen his
tools; never shrinking from any duty or opportunity;
humble before God, but undaunted before men ; speaking
with authority as the messenger of God, yet so humanly
as to find entrance into people's hearts.
Human and friendly at all times, he enjoyed amusing
incidents that occurred, finding relief in laughter and
happiness in the midst of the exacting cares and burdens
110 MOODY STILL LIVES
of the campaign. Living a healthy, normal life with the
rest of us, eating and sleeping well, he was absolutely free
from irritation and nerve strain. I do not recall his being
laid aside by sickness for a single day during the six
Commanding the hearty cooperation of numerous
strong and successful men, who willingly submitted to his
direction because they believed in his purpose and sin-
cerity and ability as a born leader. Sane, forceful, tact-
He was easily the biggest drawing card in the cam-
paign. People wanted to hear D. L. Moody. Yet he
shrank from prominence and publicity as much as he
could, and put others to the front. He was glad to pre-
side at meetings addressed by lesser known speakers. He
rejoiced in the success of others: that was what he
Looking back in the perspective of the years I see
Ms figure looming up more massive and imposing than
At the close of the campaign Mr. Moody resumed his
evangelistic work in a month's mission in Toronto. He
rewarded me with a gold watch with the inscription,
"A. P. Fitt from Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Moody. 1893."
LATER MINISTRY, 1893-9
SOME thoughtful reader may like to ask questions:
Did Mr. Moody reduce his pace these last years?
Did his earlier zeal for God grow cool ? Did he rest
on his laurels and plan to take life more leisurely ? Did he
change in his convictions and let down his evangelistic
urge? Were the churches and cities less eager to have
his missions? Were the people less drawn to hear his
No, to the last he stood firm and steadfast on the old
and well tried Bible foundation, he was just as concerned
as ever over men and women without Christ, just as single-
minded to win souls, just as tireless in preaching the
gospel, maturer and riper in Christlike character, fully
assured that his Christian experience was the only true
reality. His sermons and his actions will be scanned in
vain for any other conclusion. One must get behind my
brief story in order to have the full record.
He had more invitations to hold meetings than he
could accept, and his multiplied responsibilities in his
schools and conferences were not a hindrance. Indeed,
they supported each other. The Toronto meetings in
1893, at the close of the World's Fair, were largely due to
a Mount Hermon man, the Rev. T. B. Hyde, a minister
there. The Kansas City campaign in 1899 was initiated
by three other Hermon men, the Rev. D. Baines-Griffiths,
Sydney Bishop,, secretary of the local Y.M.C.A., and
Charles M. Vining, a banker. And so with many other
His reputation was now so widespread, and so many
people who had heard him once wanted to hear him
112 MOODY STILL LIVES
again, that he always held afternoon meetings which
would be filled with these friends. As he was addressing
mostly Christians at these gatherings, his messages would
be chosen accordingly. He tried to arouse church people
to action, holding that if believers would go to work, a
thousand times more would be accomplished in the long
run than if he should try to do it all himself. But he
used to urge committees to fill the buildings at evening
services with unsaved and non-church-going people to
whom he might preach the gospel. Where this was ac-
complished, he followed his old plan and found it still
effective : the gospel message, the net drawn, the enquiry
meeting following. The newspapers always reported his
meetings, and so spread his sermons through the country-
The pastor of a down-town New York City church re-
ported that when Mr. Moody spent a month in a run-
down Presbyterian church in lower New York City, now
known as Labour Temple, his work was a failure, his
methods were not successful. But if the neighbourhood
was anything like what it is to-day, filled with non-Eng-
lish-speaking aliens, extreme radicals in political thought,
mostly anti-Christian or anti-Protestant, without know-
ing further details one can see how he might be a misfit
A long list of new achievements during these last years
can be compiled. He retained his elevation of character
and his commanding influence to the end.
The schools and conferences at Northfield and Mount
Hermon had a healthy growth during the years under
consideration. He hoped to live to see a thousand stu-
dentSvin each of the schools.
A Young Women's Conference was begun in 1893, and
The need of a larger and more convenient meeting
LATER MINISTRY 113
place for the August Bible conference led to the erection
of a new Auditorium in 1894. It seemed like a huge
building for a small village, and many thought Mr.
Moody had overcalculated. But the first Sunday it was
used it was crowded and overcrowded. It was before the
day of fire laws. Seats and aisles on the floor were filled,
also platform and choir loft. There were no pews in the
gallery as yet, only tiers that were packed solid with
people. More than 3,000 had seats, and there were liter-
ally hundreds who were standing downstairs and up-
stairs. Northfield had not dreamed of anything like it!
A magazine, Northfield Echoes, began in 1894 to pub-
lish reports of addresses delivered at the conferences.
Camp Northfield was opened in Cathedral Pines on the
easterly hills in 1895, and ran for many years as a boys'
and men's camp. It is now used as a fresh air camp for
underprivileged girls from New York City.
The Bible Institute Colportage Association of Chicago
had been organised, and its Eastern depot was opened in
Northfield in 1895. This was later merged in the Book-
store, a subsidiary of the Northfield Schools.
Another project due to the growth of the conferences
was the development of the nearby hillsides as a summer
colony. They were only rough, rocky pastures, with some
natural growth of timber. Dr. Arthur N. Thompson,
now a permanent resident of the town, had been a min-
ister in the West. He acquired a plot of ground and
erected a bungalow for summer occupation. The idea
took like wildfire. It was seen that such a development
would solve the problem of housing hundreds of summer
visitors. To-day Rustic Ridge and the Highlands are dot-
ted with summer homes in eight or nine levels. Some of
the houses, indeed, are substantially built, and have all
modern household conveniences.
The Mount Hermon constituency used to attend the
Trinitarian Church at Northfield, having no school
chapel. It meant a four-mile walk there and back for
the boys. There is a rocky prominence on Hermon hill,
114 MOODY STILL LIVES
which Mr. Moody called Temptation Point in the hope
that some day some one would be tempted to build a
chapel there. The hint was not taken, but as his sixtieth
birthday approached (1897), certain friends in this coun-
try and England, who wanted to signalise it by some gift
and who knew a personal gift would not be welcome, de-
cided to raise money for a memorial chapel. This was
done, but Mr. Moody would not allow his name to be
attached to it.
At Mount Hermon the schedule of studies was rear-
ranged to cover the whole year by adding a summer term.
This plan had many practical advantages, and worked
well. The buildings over there were not used for con-
ferences as at Northfield Seminary.
One day Mr. Moody came home and told us that he
had offered to buy a large tract on Main Street. What
for? For the purpose of starting a school for younger
boys. Thinking of the extra burden involved at his age,
we were relieved a week later to learn that the owner
stood out for a higher price, so Mr. Moody cancelled his
In 1898 the monthly magazine, Record of Christian
Work, was acquired to be the Northfield organ, with W.
R. Moody as editor. In addition to religious news it re-
ported conference addresses, and printed daily Bible
notes by Major D. W. Whittle, which Mr. Moody used to
urge people everywhere to read.
When the Spanish War broke out and thousands of
young men again gathered into army camps, Mr.
Moody's interest went out to them as it had to the sol-
diers in the Civil War. He became chairman of the evan-
gelistic wing of the Army and Navy Christian Commis-
sion, and financed the preaching of the gospel in the
camps by prominent preachers and evangelists and sing-
ers, and the supply of religious literature.
The last August conference over which he presided, in
1899, was possibly the largest ever assembled. Weston
Hall was reserved for the presbytery of New York, and
LATER MINISTRY 115
over 60 ministers and members were entertained, a plan
that had never been undertaken before. Further, special
meetings for young people were held for a week under the
direction of John Willis Baer, general secretary of the
Christian Endeavour movement. This evolved later into a
separate state Christian Endeavour Conference at North-
field. As in all his other activities, Mr. Moody saw ex-
pansion and added usefulness right up to the last.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN PRINT
"Pick out ten of those books," said a mother to her
daughter in a frontier town in Minnesota.
The books were copies of the Moody Colportage Li-
brary, which had been brought to their door by an agent
of the Association. He had found it hard to interest this
family. No, they did not want any books; they had
more than they could read already ; they had no time for
books anyway. Might he read to them? Reluctantly
they gave consent, but kept at work washing the dishes
and pans, seemingly making as much noise as possible.
Presently, after he had read for a little while, they
stopped work, and when the colporter finished, the
mother said to her daughter :
"Pick out ten of those books! We must have some
reading of that kind."
The next day the father met the agent on the road and
"Mr. M , we must have a Bible too."
This incident is a sample of the circulation of those
books all over the country, in crowded cities as well as
on the Western prairies, and among all classes of society.
Mr. Moody was holding meetings in a Wisconsin town
in the fall of 1894, and wanted some books to give to
enquirers, as he had been used to doing all through the
years of his ministry. He called at a local bookstore, but
though the shelves were loaded with fiction of all kinds,
he could not find a single religious book. This led him to
116 MOODY STILL LIVES
make investigation, and he found that such few book-
stores as existed outside of the large cities, hardly ever
pretended to carry religious books. Should not some-
thing be done, he asked himself, to counteract the flood
of degrading and demoralising literature that was poison-
ing the minds of the young and vitiating their tastes?
While the devil sows tares, should not the Church sow
He returned to Chicago determined to do something to
fill the new gap he had discovered. He consulted prom-
inent Christian workers about it, who said:
"People won't buy religious books. They are too ex-
"Then their price must come down," he said.
But the only way to bring down the price on a self-
supporting basis would be to print large editions, and no
publisher felt justified in taking the risk in the absence
of any demand. Mr. Moody therefore proceeded to or-
ganise a Colportage Association in connection with the
Bible Institute at Chicago. It was the last large project
that he started.
In the spring of 1895 the distinctive feature of the
enterprise was begun, the Colportage Library, a series of
128 page books that were to combine these salient points:
low retail price ; popular, readable style ; good workman-
ship; well known authors, or books of existing reputa-
tion; strictly evangelical and unsectarian character.
In order to cut the retail price to ten cents to compete
with dime novels, without depreciating the quality of the
paper and general make-up, editions started at 25,000,
but 100,000 copies of Mr. Moody's own book of sermons,
"The Way to God, and How to Find It," were ordered.
He did not go into this enterprise blindly and igno-
rantly. He was not a novice at publishing and distribut-
ing books and papers. He had done it ever since his
early days in Christian work. Among the souvenirs now
in possession of Mrs. W. R. Moody is a small hymn book,
words only, "adapted to church, Sunday school and re-
LATER MINISTRY 117
yival services," entitled The North-Western Hymn Book,
which he compiled and published in 1868. That same
year he was publishing a periodical called Heavenly Tid-
ings. In the British campaign of 1873-5 it became neces-
sary to publish a book containing the American hymns
and tunes which Mr. Sankey introduced. No English
publisher would accept the risk at the time, so Mr.
Moody assumed the financial liability : but the publisher
was soon glad to take over the project. In the height of
that campaign he raised 2000 to have copies of The
Christian, with reports of the meetings, mailed every
week for three months to ministers throughout the land
to spread the fire. On his return to America he got his
brother-in-law, Fleming H. Revell, to publish certain
English books that he had been giving to converts. Busi-
ness foresight was natural to Mr. Moody, and he enjoyed
promoting the business end of publications calculated to
spread the gospel and instruct believers: but he was
never personally interested financially in these ventures.
There are two main channels by which the gospel mes-
sage can be mediated to mankind, the living voice and the
printed page. The former can never be dispensed with,
but the latter has always been a powerful ally, and may
often reach places where the human messenger cannot or
does not penetrate. If two-thirds of the population
never go inside a church, the gospel must be carried to
them, if they are to be won for Christ. Can this be bet-
ter done than by books ? There are still vast areas where
church privileges are practically non-existent. In every
community there are many who cannot go to church if
they would : mothers with young children, shut-ins, those
engaged in certain occupations; but these can all be
reached by printed matter.
So this colportage work grew quickly to such propor-
tions that it spread not only over this continent, but also
extended to foreign lands. In 1898, appeals reached Mr.
Moody from several quarters in India, for instance, for
books for distribution in that great empire. There were
118 MOODY STILL LIVES
estimated to be five millions of English-speaking natives
there, in addition to the English soldiers and civilians.
There was nothing elevating or satisfying in the native
literature. A steady supply of suitable literature was felt
to be an urgent need. Workers on the field said the Col-
portage books were just suited for the purpose. Mr.
Moody therefore invited contributions for a special fund,
so that books could be given free to the missionaries. In
this way 30,000 volumes were presently shipped to India,
and the stream continues as long as contributions permit.
Other foreign lands, especially in South America, have
also been supplied.
But it is in penal institutions in this land that most has
been done outside the primary work through colporters.
The way Mr. Moody's interest was enlisted illustrates
once again how he proceeded to meet the challenge of a
need when it was brought home to him. Prison work was
not new to him. He preached in a penal institution
every Sunday morning the winter he spent in Baltimore.
He said :
"In 1895 I heard to my amazement that no less than
three-quarters of a million men in this country belong to
the criminal class, that is, the number in and out of our
jails. I could hardly believe it until I made investiga-
tion. I began to visit the jails and prisons wherever I
went. In the state penitentiaries they have reading mat-
ter, though not always live religious books, but a great
many jails that I visited, and one jail in Texas with no
less than 300 inmates, I found had not a solitary thing to
read. I asked the prisoners if they would read sermons
or religious books. They said yes ; anything to kill time.
So I sent some books into that prison. Before long I
began to hear of men being converted. . . .
"It must not be supposed that all prisoners are hardened
criminals. Records show that nearly half the prisoners
are under 25 years of age. At that time of life a young
man is not supposed to have become set in character. If
he can be reached by the gospel message before he sinks
LATER MINISTRY 119
lower and lower, there is every hope for his salvation for
this life and the life to come.
"Now just stop and think for a moment I Isn't it just
the nick of time to reach a man? He is away from his
old haunts, from his old associates, away from whiskey
and gambling. He gets sobered up, and has nothing to
do but read and think. That is what you want to get a
man to do. What brought home the prodigal? He be-
gan thinking. Prisoners are glad of a book or paper to
occupy their minds, and Christian influences may be
brought to bear on them by this channel, and their whole
destiny may be changed for good. . . .
"The work in jails and prisons has been about the most
encouraging thing I have done outside of regular evangel-
This prison distribution appealed strongly to Mr.
Moody during his remaining years. He often took offer-
ings at his meetings to help the Prison Fund supply chap-
lains and Christian workers with books free.
LARGE CITIES REVISITED
During these last years he revisited many of the larg-
In Boston he crowded Tremont Temple in 1897. We
stayed in the Bellevue Hotel. One day a bellboy brought
up a card, "Wilfred T. Grenfell, M.D." Mr. Moody did
not know him.
"Oh," said I, "I know about him. Our Sunday school
contributes toward a bed in his hospital on the Labra-
Mr. Moody asked me to bring him up. Dr. Grenfell
introduced himself, and told him that his life purpose had
been changed through a meeting of his in the London
campaign in 1883.
"Good! What have you been doing ever since?" was
the question Mr. Moody shot at him.
Dr. Grenfell told him of his work from the Bay of
120 MOODY STILL LIVES
Biscay to the coast of Labrador, instead of staying in
"No, sir, I should rather say not ! "
"Could you come and tell them about it in the after-
noon service in Tremont Temple in three minutes ?"
"I can try."
"Then I'll be grateful if you'll do so."
"If not the actual words used," wrote Dr. Grenfell,
"yet that is the impression left in my mind of that inter-
view, and I loved the man for it. There was no unctu-
ousness, no snobbery, no cant; and yet again he had
moved my heart to want to do things more than ever."
It was the only time those two met face to face.
In New York Mr. Moody held meetings in Cooper
Union in 1896, and at another time in the old Grand
Central Palace. He enjoyed both engagements because
in both places the neighbourhood was such that numbers
of unsaved people did attend.
A Wall Street man who had joined Mr. Moody's party
in the Holy Land in 1892, and who soon after became a
fervid Roman Catholic, wanted him to meet Archbishop
Corrigan while he was holding the meetings in Grand
Central Palace. He finally accepted, and told me to be
ready to go with him. This friend brought a carriage
and pair to the Murray Hill Hotel and drove us to the
Archbishop's residence. We were ushered into a recep-
tion room. Presently the Archbishop entered. Greetings
were exchanged as man to man, and immediately Mr.
Moody told him that he wanted to see New York shaken
for Christ, and wouldn't it be a grand thing if all the
churches swung into a simultaneous effort to win people
to Christ ? The Archbishop had the power to do it with
the Roman Catholic churches, and Mr. Moody felt sure
the other churches would follow the lead.
The Archbishop listened to the daring proposal and
said, "Yes, yes," and in a few minutes, after expressions
of mutual good will, the interview ended.
LATER MINISTRY 121
In Philadelphia Mr. Moody interested a number of
leading laymen in a summer tent movement, such as he
had launched in Chicago in 1886. He said he had long
before stopped using the hymn, "Hold the Fort." He had
come to the conclusion that holding the fort was wrong,
they should get out from behind their breastworks and
attack. As a result Mr. John H. Converse established
summer tent services in the city.
In Chicago one of the most striking demonstrations of
his power occurred in 1897. Morning and afternoon
meetings were arranged for a Tuesday-Friday series in
the Auditorium, the largest hall in Chicago. The crowd
began to assemble at 8 A.M., two hours before the begin-
ning of the morning meeting. Six thousand people
jammed the hall at every meeting, with thousands unable
to get in. This in a city where Mr. Moody was well
known and a frequent visitor! He was still front-page
news. Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis said of these meetings :
"No preacher in the land is comparable to Mr. Moody
in personal popularity or in power to influence and hold
Early in 1899 he sent me to Kansas City, Missouri, to
see the Civic Auditorium, in which he was invited to
hold a campaign. It was the largest hall of its kind I was
ever in, seating about 15,000 people; its capacity was
later reduced, I believe. The only man who had ever
filled it was William Jennings Bryan. I reported the
facts, and Mr. Moody promised to go. The strain of that
huge hall proved too much for his heart, already weak-
"Some people say the old gospel has lost its power," he
used to say toward the close of his life. "I have not
found it so." To make a test he preached his old sermon,
"Sowing and Reaping," to four different types of audi-
ences within a couple of weeks: at a men's meeting in
Denver, in a Western penitentiary, at Yale University,
and in one of the leading churches in New York.
122 MOODY STILL LIVES
"It seemed to me to bring greater results than ever,"
was his verdict.
In the call for his last August Conference in North-
field, in 1899, he said:
"Many thoughtful men have come to feel strongly that
the hope of the church to-day is in a deep and widespread
revival. The enemy has come in like a flood ; it is time
for those who believe in a supernatural religion to look
to God to lift up a standard against him. Oh for a re-
vival of such power that this tide of unbelief and world-
liness that is sweeping upon us shall be beaten back, that
every Christian shall be lifted to a higher level of life
and power, and multitudes of perishing souls be con-
verted to God! Why not? God's arm is not shortened,
nor his ear heavy. . . ."
He made an address on "Revivals" at this conference,
in which he said :
"There is nothing I am more concerned about just now
than that God should revive his church in this country.
I believe it is the only hope for our republic. I don't
believe a republican form of government can last without
righteousness, and it seems to me that every patriot,
every man that loves his country, ought to be anxious
that the Church of God should be quickened and re-
vived. . . .
"If I should live ten thousand years I could not be a
pessimist. I haven't any more doubt about the final re-
sult of things than that I stand on this platform. I be-
lieve the time is coming when God's will is going to be
done on earth as it is in heaven. I am not under the
juniper tree, either. If I look on the dark side, it is to
stir you up and get you to fighting. . . ."
While on his way to Kansas City, on his last mission,
he stopped over in Philadelphia to see about plans they
were making for him to hold a series of meetings there
in the beginning of 1900. Said he to his friend Mr. John
"I want to capture one of the large Eastern cities for
LATER MINISTRY 123
Christ before I go hence, because I believe that if one
gets stirred, the movement will spread all over the coun-
Does it look, from these incidents and quotations, as
if Mr. Moody was slowing up in his ministry, or losing
his vision, or toning down his message ?
His first Sunday meetings in Kansas City were filled,
and thousands were unable to gain admittance. He
preached both afternoon and evening on "Sowing and
Reaping," from the text Galatians 6. 7, 8. Thursday of
that week was the last day he preached. In the after-
noon his subject was "Grace in a Threefold Aspect,"
from Titus 2. 11-14. His last sermon was on "Excuses,"
based on the parable in Luke 14. 16-24. It ended with a
most urgent and characteristic appeal for immediate
decision for Christ. "Be wise to-night and accept the
invitation! Make up your mind that you will not go
away till the question of eternity is settled!" He died
as he had lived in the full faith of the gospel.
126 MOODY STILL LIVES
the baby for me and give her a good hug for me ! Your
When we were absent in Great Britain in the spring
of 1899 Mr. and Mrs. Moody took care of Emma in their
home. One of his letters to his daughter says :
"I have not heard her cry but once since I came home,
and then she wanted the girl to shut the door so I should
not hear her, and she only cried for a few minutes. She
helps me feed the chickens, and goes to see the two calves.
One is named Irene and the other Emma, and she is fond
of them. I do not think you will find a girl in all the
valley so happy."
Again he wrote:
"She is picking all the field flowers she can get, and
says she wants me to keep them for you when you come
home. It is a joy to have her in the house. I wish I had
a hundred grandchildren and a thousand great-grandchil-
In the summer months he would usually be seen with
one or both of the grandchildren as he drove about town.
"He has learned to perfection the art of being a grand-
father," wrote Dr. G. Campbell Morgan. "I saw him one
morning driving with his little four-year-old granddaugh-
ter into the yard of his house. The child had gone to
sleep in the buggy, leaning against him. Rather than
disturb her he had the horse quietly unharnessed and
taken away while they sat on. Presently he too was
overcome by sleep."
But his great happiness was not unbroken. His only
grandson and namesake, born to Mr. and Mrs. W. R.
Moody in 1897, died when a year old, and Irene in 1899
after a protracted attack of pneumonia which soon de-
veloped into tuberculosis. A second daughter Mary was
born to them a month before Mr. Moody himself passed
away. The parents brought the infant to his sickroom
to receive his blessing.
Mr. Moody had both of his sons go through Mount
WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 127
Hermon School, Will graduating with the first class in
1887. He also sent them both to Yale College.
His younger son, Paul, relates an incident of his boy-
hood that is typical of his father. "When I was a small
boy I was on one occasion quite unintentionally disobedi-
ent in respect to going to bed. Father spoke with un-
wonted abruptness and severity, and I sought my bed
crying. I was hardly there before he was kneeling by my
side, sobbing like a child and imploring my pardon for
his impatience and harshness. The strength which en-
abled him to humble himself to his little boy, combined
with such tenderness, feminine in its beauty, seemed
then and now both wonderful and Christlike."
Mr. Moody's mother was a woman of wisdom and de-
cision of character. She lived in the pne house from the
time she married to the end of her life. A hundred years
ago the house stood half a mile from the built-up part of
Main Street, but after the Seminary was started, and new
roads built, and new houses began to appear, her corner
became a busy place. He had a many-windowed sunny
extension added to the house, where his mother might sit
and see everything that went on. Her birthday and his
coincided, February 5, and every year he sent her filial
messages. He never let a day go by without calling on
her when he was at home, usually bringing her some little
delicacy or some vegetables from his garden. When she
lay dying at the advanced age of 91 (1896) he had his
granddaughter Emma, then six weeks old, brought so
that she might lay her hand on the infant's head and give
a matriarchal blessing. That child is the only member
of the third generation who has any personal recollection
of her grandfather.
Mr. Moody kept in close touch with the other mem-
bers of his family, his brothers and sisters and their
children, several of whom resided in Northfield. He put
several of his nephews through Mount Hermon School,
and of his nieces through Northfield Seminary.
128 MOODY STILL LIVES
A touching relationship was revived during Mr.
Moody 's last sickness. For many evenings his brother
George (Uncle George to us) would come to the sickroom
between 6 and 7 o'clock, before he settled down for the
night, and they would talk of childhood days. George
was a few years older than Dwight, and fathered him
when their father died. I felt as I listened and watched
them that they were living over again the days of SO
years or so before, and Dwight was looking up to his
older brother as then.
Uncle George's son, Ambert George, was a lad of 15
when Mr. Moody started Northfield Seminary. His
uncle found him helpful in business and farm matters.
As the Northfield interests expanded, Ambert had ever
increasing responsibilities, and has spent his whole life
in the work. He had experiences with his uncle such as
no other person ever had.
Such is the lasting favourable impression that Mr.
Moody made on people, that being a relative of his, or
being connected with his work, is a passport to the good
will of Christian people anywhere to-day.
MR. AND MRS. MOODY's DESCENDANTS
Dwight Lyman Moody, born Feb. 5, 1837; died Dec. 22,
1899; married 1862
Emma Charlotte Revell, b. 1843 ; d. 1903
Emma Reynolds Moody, b. Oct. 24, 1864; m. 1894
Arthur Percy Fitt
Emma Moody Fitt, b. Dec. 16, 1895; m. 1917
Edward Merriam Powell
Virginia Moody Powell, b. Feb. 8, 1919
Edward Merriam Powell II, b. Dec. 27, 1923
John Douglas Powell, b. March 31, 1930
David Stephen Powell, b. March 31, 1930
WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 129
William Revell Moody, b. March 25, 1869; d. Oct. 12,
1933; m. 1894
Irene Moody, b. Aug. 20, 1895; d. Aug. 22, 1899
Dwight Lyman Moody, II, b. Nov. 7, 1897 ; d. Nov.
Mary Whittle Moody, b. Nov. 13, 1899; m. 1927
Arthur Worthington Packard
David Bruce Packard, b. March 5, 1930
William Moody Packard, b. Sep. 2, 1933
Constance Annie Moody, b. April 25, 1901 ; m. 1936
Charles Estell Dickerson, III
Emma Charlotte Moody, b. Sep. 16, 1904; m. 1928
Frank Raymond Smith
Beatrice Hanson Moody, b. March 13, 1906; m. 1935
Charles Thomas Malbon
Virginia Holden Moody, b. Nov. 8, 1909 ; d. Nov. 28,
Paul Dwight Moody, b. April 11, 1879; m. 1904
Charlotte May Hull
Charlotte Moody, b. May 11, 1905
Margaret Emma Moody, b. Aug. 27, 1908; m. 1931
Charles Marion Rice
David Rice, b. Aug. 5, 1933
In the above list it is seen that Mr. Moody has no
living male descendant in the third generation, so that
his name will disappear from his decendants' surnames.
Mr. Moody had a multitude of friends as a result of his
spiritual help and edification, for he had large capacity
for enduring friendship in Christ. And he had many
friends on a more personal basis. One incident shows
how genuine his friendship could be.
When we were in Glasgow, in 1899, I heard of a dear
130 MOODY STILL LIVES
friend of his who had had labour troubles in his indus-
trial works. A bitter feeling was aroused against him, he
was even accused of being unconcerned about dangerous
working conditions. When I mentioned this to Mr.
Moody on my return he was much agitated ; said he did
not believe a word of the insinuations ; and immediately
cabled his friend his love and confidence.
When Major D. W. Whittle was lying in pain in his
house at Northfield, racked with rheumatic fever due to
his evangelistic labours among the troops at Chicka-
mauga Park during the Spanish War, aggravating similar
trouble contracted as a soldier during the Civil War, Mr.
Moody went over to Mount Hermon School one morning
at 6 A.M., asking for volunteers to go and put the major's
garden in shape for planting. Three boys jumped into
his wagon, and he left them at the major's, telling them
what to do. At noon he called for them and took them to
the village inn for dinner. Late in the afternoon he came
again to see if the job was finished, paid them gener-
ously for the day's labour, and drove them back to Her-
Dr. D. B. Towner arrived at Northfield one summer to
conduct the singing at the College Student Conference
with face swollen with ivy-poisoning. His eyes were in
danger, so Mr. Moody sent him down to the Manhattan
Eye and Ear Hospital in New York City. He wrote Dr.
Towner constantly, encouraging him, telling him that the
conference was praying for him. Dr. Towner had the
nurse write him that he would lose the sight of one eye,
if not of both eyes. When Mr. Moody got that word he
wrote to comfort him, telling him of great men he knew,
useful men, who had only one eye. Finally he wrote :
"I am going to write you with one eye closed."
When the nurse read that she stopped.
"Go on!" said Dr. Towner.
"I can't make it out," she replied.
That was the part he had written with one eye closed.
Toward evening that day Mr. Sankey called to see Dr.
WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 131
Towner. He was familiar with Mr. Moody's writing, so
Dr. Towner asked the nurse to hand him the letter to
read. Presently he stopped, and cleared his throat.
"What is it, Sankey?" asked Dr. Towner.
"I can't quite make this out."
"That's what Mr. Moody wrote with one eye closed."
"Well, I should think he was writing with both eyes
closed ! " remarked Mr. Sankey.
During those days Mr. Moody had the responsibility
of the conference with hundreds of college boys in at-
tendance, but he was thinking of his friend in the hos-
pital, and took time to write him words of comfort and
One of the happiest lasting results of the Scottish cam-
paign in 1874 was the inseparable linking together of the
lives of Henry Drummond and Mr. Moody in a unique
friendship. I never heard of any other man whom Mr.
Moody loved and admired as he did Henry Drummond.
Outwardly such a relation would seem most unlikely.
Drummond was of the cream of Scottish gentility: cul-
tured, scholarly, elegant. At the time of Mr. Moody's
visit to Edinburgh he was a divinity student, about 22
years old, while Mr. Moody was 37. He was won by
Mr. Moody's evident sincerity and wisdom, and was es-
pecially intrigued by his personal work with individuals.
He began to assist in the enquiry room, and soon he was
making addresses in men's meetings. In this work he
was associated with other brilliant young men, of whom
James Stalker, John Watson (Ian Maclaren), and George
Adam Smith became widely known in later years. Drum-
mond joined forces with Mr. Moody for two winters,
specialising on meetings for students and other young
men, not only in Scotland but also in Ireland and Eng-
During Mr. Moody's next visit to Scotland in 1882,
Henry Drummond, who was now professor of Natural
Science in New College, Glasgow, and making a name for
himself, joined Mr. Moody again during the summer in
132 MOODY STILL LIVES
meetings in Edinburgh. During these months he usually
gave Saturdays to the two older Moody children, now in
their teens, taking them off on unforgettable excursions
and otherwise endearing himself to the whole family.
At the close of his London mission, in 1884, Mr.
Moody and his family and a score of young friends who
had assisted valiantly in the mission were invited to
spend a week, resting at a friend's estate in the country
before returning to America: a house-party we would
call it to-day. On the Sunday they asked Mr. Moody to
lead in devotions. He said No, he was tired and they
had been hearing him for eight months, but let Henry
Drummond, who was in the party, give them a Bible
reading. Without more ado, as they sat around the fire,
Professor Drummond drew a small Testament from his
pocket and gave an exposition of the 13th chapter of
First Corinthians. Mr. Moody was thrilled to hear it
and said Drummond must come to Northfield to repeat
it. He came for the College Student Conference in 1887,
and gave the address, which has since had world-wide
circulation under the title, The Greatest Thing in the
Professor Drummond had recently published his Natu-
ral Law in the Spiritual World, which was anathema to
many good people in England and America because of its
evolutionary trend. Some dear friends and supporters
cut off Mr. Moody for having him at Northfield. Mr.
Henry W. Rankin remembers walking down Highland
Avenue in Northfield one day with Mr. Moody and a
friend from London who made some severe remarks
about Drummond. Mr. Rankin spoke up in his defense,
and Mr. Moody showed his feelings by ejaculating:
"Pitch into him, Rankin ! "
When Professor Drummond came to America in 1893
to deliver the Lowell Lectures in Boston he greatly hesi-
tated to come to Northfield lest he embarrass Mr. Moody
still more. However, Mr. Moody sent Mr. Rankin to
Boston, as his personal representative, to urge his coming
WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 133
and to assure him of an undiminished welcome. He came
again for the College Student Conference. Mr. Moody
was in Chicago for the World's Fair Campaign, but Mrs.
Moody entertained Professor Drummond in their home
with the old mutual love and friendship. He gave four
or five addresses at the conference.
When he came to Chicago to repeat the Lowell Lec-
tures he called on Mr. Moody one day .at the Bible In-
stitute. They were mutually refreshed by this visit.
One who was with Mr. Moody in 1897, when he got
word of Professor Drummond's death, said he burst into
tears and declared he was the most Christlike man he had
ever known. Later he wrote a tribute for the Record of
Christian Work, in which he said:
"My own feelings are akin to those of David on the
death of Jonathan. . . . When at last we meet again be-
fore our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, whom we both
loved and served together in years gone, things which we
could not see alike here below we shall fully know in the
light of His countenance Who brought our lives together
and blessed them with a mutual love."
From Kansas City he wrote to a mutual friend in Scot-
"I cannot tell you how I miss dear Drummond."
Mr. Sankey also loved and admired Professor Drum-
mond. He spoke to me about him on his dying bed in
1905. He had a beautiful portrait of Drummond painted,
which is now in our home.
HAVE thought that a chapter with the title "What
Mr. Moody Was Not" would help to limn his char-
acter and career in sharp outline.
He was not narrow or bigoted.
He was not soft or sentimental.
He was not ascetic, unsociable, unapproachable.
He never showed the least sign of professionalism.
He was never small or undignified.
Though full of fun and good humour, he had a serious
purpose in life, and never forgot it or prostituted it. He
picked up good stories as he picked up good illustrations
for his sermons. He could unbend with young and old.
He could throw back his head and laugh all over, wiping
the tears from his eyes. How he enjoyed the stories told
by newer associates like Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, for
He was not a hard taskmaster. He was a hard worker
himself, but was solicitous that others should not over-
work. In his relations with his fellow-workers he was
never nagging, or dictatorial, or domineering. It was
easy to work for him. When he wanted something done
he told some one what to do and how to do it, and let it
go at that. "Get there in your own way, but get there,"
he would say. When he died the evangelists and singers
who had been his associates thanked God for his life and
leadership. No one was jealous of him. They felt he
was a true friend, and made it easier for all of them.
He was not a formal theologian or creed-maker. The
answer is well known that he gave to a committeeman in
London, who wanted to know what his creed was :
"You will find it in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah."
It satisfied the committee, and it satisfied multitudes
ever after, who listened to his preaching of the suffering
and exalted Saviour.
He was not critical of others. He knew how to keep
He was not censorious or bitter against those who dif-
fered from him. After hearing a speaker denounce with
great severity those who differed from him he said :
"I am doubtful if you get anywhere by calling people
names. When I began to preach I prepared a sermon on
the Devil, in which I called him all the names I could
think of, and ripped and tore with all my power. When I
got through the people seemed to think the Devil was
not so bad after all, and I put away that sermon and
confined myself to preaching Jesus Christ."
"I used to be afraid I would hurt somebody's feelings,"
he said again. "I've got over that. I am afraid now that
I won't, for if folks are not living right, I want to make
them know it."
He was not a controversialist. He did not pose as a
Bible scholar. He accepted the assured results of devout
scholarship regarding the Bible, and assimilated both
meaning and application. But while he was not a contro-
versialist, he had no use for cheap, destructive specula-
tion about the Bible. He preached the truth as he under-
stood it, and never advertised another's doubts and spec-
ulations. If necessary, he might refer to views he
disapproved, but he never attacked individuals by name.
An interesting revelation of his openness and honesty
of mind is seen in his relations with Dr. Henry G. Wes-
ton, then president of Crozer Theological Seminary.
Like other men of the learned type, Dr. Weston was
prejudiced against Mr. Moody because he found his
students were guilty of faulty exegesis which they de-
fended on the ground that Mr. Moody had preached on
certain texts as though such exegesis was correct. When
he was finally induced by friends to come to Northfield,
136 MOODY STILL LIVES
and Mr. Moody learned he was there, he asked Dr.
Weston to speak. The latter said he was not a public
speaker, and they compromised on an afternoon service
when Dr. Weston was to give a Bible reading. Mr.
Moody attended, and sat in front under the speaker. Dr.
Weston had not been speaking long when Mr. Moody
"There goes one of my sermons!"
Dr. Weston asked him what he meant.
"I have always treated that text as if it meant some-
thing else, and you have shown me that I was wrong, and
I cannot use it again."
This happened more than once, and it completely al-
tered his attitude toward Mr. Moody, of whom he became
a great admirer and friend.
Asked once if John 3 :16 was uttered by our Lord or
was John's expression, Mr. Moody made the interesting
and illuminating reply that he always wished he could
regard it as the utterance of Jesus, but his judgment told
him it was a comment made by John himself.
. He was not a schismatic. Throughout his whole career
he used his strength and energy in support of existing
churches and other institutions, and never initiated any-
thing new until he found a great need which was not
and would not be met by existing agencies. He believed
in the Church as the home and power-house of Christian-
ity, and all his evangelistic efforts had for their definite
objective the building up of bigger and better churches.
One secret of his large accomplishments, as also of his
readiness of mind, was that he never procrastinated. If
anything had to be done he did it. He never postponed
attention to business matters, meeting obligations, run-
ning errands, writing or answering letters, or anything
else that ought to be done. His mind was not cluttered
with held-over matters. He kept the docket clear, and
so was ready for the next call upon his time and atten-
tion. He was always punctual at appointments.
It was not always smooth sailing. Problems common
to school life and administration everywhere would be
brought to him by the principals. Financial burdens
were continuous. Disappointments with plans or persons
would appear. But he kept on top at all times, never
lost his faith and nerve, and won out. One could not
be down-hearted or defeated in his presence. He could
always pray if no open door presented itself. He was
emphatically a man of prayer.
SUNDRY WORD PICTURES
At home in Northfield Mr. Moody was often mistaken
for a local farmer, to his own amusement and the embar-
rassment of the other party. In his public relations he
wore a plain black suit because he did not want to draw
attention to himself, for the same reason he wore no
jewelry, but at home he got into old clothes. Just as he
slipped his watch into a waistcoat pocket without any
fob or chain, so he slipped his glasses (pince-nez) into a
breast pocket of his waistcoat.
They say that as a younger man he was fleet of foot.
In my day his chief diversion was buggy-riding. It
enabled him to get around quickly and to see everything
and everybody. For exercise he would walk a mile or
two a day at least. His kitchen garden, which was half
a mile from the house, was his hobby. Mrs. Moody or
his daughter looked after the flower beds and lawns
around the house, but he loved to putter around the
vegetable garden with the help of a hired man, and to
feed the chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, swans, or
whatever he happened to have from year to year. It was
his ambition to beat every one in Northfield with the
earliest vegetables and berries. He gave away every-
thing he raised, after his own household needs were met.
One Christmas we gave him a krokinole set when that
game was new. He never got tired of playing it, and
could usually win the game. Halma was another game
he liked to play. Both had the elements of action, com-
138 MOODY STILL LIVES
petition, skill, without too arduous mental effort. He
liked to play Halma after a night meeting, to rest his
mind before retiring.
A photo of Mr. Moody exists which was taken at the
time he left Northfield as a lad of 17. Half a dozen
more photos were taken in the '60s in Chicago. But
after he became prominent in Christian work he would
not be photographed again, partly because he shrank
from publicity, and largely because in the big English
campaigns fake photographs of him were sold by ped-
dlers on the streets. Only twice did he yield to sit again.
Once was in 1882, when he placed his daughter in a
boarding school in Paris, and she insisted on his being
photoed for her sake. Two poses were taken, one stand-
ing, one his bust. He got the plates from the photogra-
pher and broke them in the presence of the family. The
second time was in 1894, when his daughter was to be
married and to live in Chicago. He went up town in
New York to a photographer who did not know him, had
three poses taken, ordered three dozen copies of each,
and brought them home to Mrs. Moody with the plates.
Only a few copies were given out at the time, but after
his death the full supply was released. This was known
as his latest photograph, and showed him as he looked
during the last years. We have those plates in our pos-
session. After grandchildren were born, his daughter,
who had foresight to appreciate the value of photos, took
him to the photographer again and again for a number
of family groups, including Mrs. Moody and Grandma
Moody and others at times. How thankful everybody
was that she did ! Snapshots of him became more num-
erous after the invention of kodaks.
On one occasion when he was in New York, some firm
persuaded him to make two disc phonograph records
when that invention was in its infancy. One is the 91st
Psalm, the other the Beatitudes. We have both discs
in our possession.
Mr. Moody was careful about his mail. It was re-
mailed to him if he was away from home. He opened
it himself, and disposed of it at once. Letters were never
neglected or allowed to accumulate. When a letter con-
tained a cheque for school work, he immediately endorsed
it to the proper treasurer and dispatched it to him by
mail. Ordinary correspondence he turned over to me to
answer. Sometimes I would dictate an answer for him
to sign, but usually he left it to me to answer in his
name. Letters in confidence, or seeking advice, he might
hand to Mrs. Moody to answer, especially if the writer
was a woman. I see him now sitting at the desk in the
library opening his mail. If other members of the family
were present he might hand them unimportant letters
to attend to. If some one asked him what he should say
in reply, he might look at him over his glasses, which
would be poised low down on his nose, and say with a
"I don't intend to hire a dog and do the barking ! "
He always wrote his letters by hand. I never knew
him to dictate to a stenographer; he never had a sten-
ographer. He wrote with a large script. His letters
were usually short and to the point, unless it was a letter
of condolence or the like. An idea would come to his
mind, a suggestion for some phase of his enterprises per-
haps, and he would sit down and write the proper party
about it. This promptness and directness were one secret
of how he was able to accomplish so much and keep the
machines running smoothly.
He always signed his name, "D. L. Moody." To those
who knew him and worked with him he was plain "Mr.
Moody." Strangers thought to show him courtesy by
giving him the professional ministerial title "Doctor
Moody," but it always fell flat. He did not like the name
Dwight, and would not let Mrs. Moody use it. He de-
clined several honorary degrees that were offered to him.
His personal tastes and habits were simplicity itself.
His personal expenses were trifling, but he had a generous
hand and hobbies that cost something. He was never
140 MOODY STILL LIVES
on the payroll of any of his institutions, and never re-
ceived a cent of compensation for his services on their
behalf. Instead, they were a continual drain on him as
he paid his own expenses.
Since he turned over all his income to Mrs. Moody, he
had no bank account. She paid all the bills and bene-
factions. He was "money-clean," quite free from the
love of money and the will to amass it. Money never
weighed with him as a motive or inducement. But he
knew that money had value and utility. He raised un-
counted sums for Y.M.C.A. buildings in this country
and Great Britain, and for other causes. He had to
raise many thousands of dollars every year for his own
institutions. Though he never solicited his friends on
his own behalf, he laid the needs of the work before them.
People of means, large or small, knew he was personally
disinterested in his appeals. They knew, too, that their
gifts would be carefully and conscientiously expended,
without waste or extravagance. Prayer in faith was his
underlying reliance in all this, but to faith he added
works by soliciting any likely donor in person or by
To get nearest to his early pulpit style and language,
the volumes of sermons preached in the British Isles and
in the large cities of this country in the '70s are best.
These were reported and first printed in leading news-
papers, but were not subjected to much editing. None of
these volumes are now in print, but copies can some-
times be picked up in second hand bookstores, or may
be found in older public libraries. Mr. Moody was not a
book author, a writer in the usual sense. He never wrote
out even a sermon, preaching from brief notes, catch-
words and phrases. His books are all compilations of
sermons or of other material like anecdotes, notes from
his Bibles, and so on. During his last seven years I was
usually his "ghost" writer, but not exclusively, as his sons
and colleagues might undertake to prepare calls for the
conferences, articles for magazines, etc.
I remember my first attempt. It was during the first
month I was with him in Wilmington, Delaware. The
editor of some small Christian Endeavour monthly wrote
and asked him for an article on one of the Christian
Endeavour topics. He gave me the letter, told me to
prepare the article, and he would sign it. I had never
done such a thing before, but I looked through his sermon
notes and reports, and compiled something that suited
him. It was his way to test people by setting them to
work. I heard later that he told Mrs. Moody how pleased
he was that I had gone ahead and done my best to get
his thoughts without pestering him.
All but one or two of his books that were published
after 1893 were compiled by me. I came to know his
vocabulary and mannerisms of language so well that I
could do him justice and reproduce his true flavour.
He had the English Bible on the tip of his tongue.
Often, when I asked him what this or that meant, he
would answer without a moment's hesitation. He knew it
by personal experience ; that is how he was able to make
it relive in his preaching. Experience verified, certified his
understanding of it. He was a practical, not a speculative
student of the Bible. He had not an analytical mind or
training. At least, I never knew him to sit down with
pencil and paper to analyse a passage, or indeed any
problem that presented itself.
He was careful, but not narrow, as to whom he invited
to speak on his platform, requiring loyalty to Christ and
the Bible and enough common sense and courtesy not to
get off on sidetracks. Occasionally he had to cut off
One year a lady who was holding successful Bible
classes in New York was warmly commended to him
for Bible classes for women at the August Conference.
He put her on for an afternoon hour. After the first ses-
sion, several came to him and asked if he knew that the
teacher had discredited the opening chapters of Genesis
by branding them myths and legends. He got his buggy
142 MOODY STILL LIVES
and called on the lady. She left town on the five o'clock
Another year an Indian national was present and gave
some helpful talks on Round Top on the deeper life.
The following year he came again, sponsored by a New
York lawyer. But Mr. Moody was quietly informed of
immoral acts during his past winter's work, and he too
left town on the first train.
A converted Hebrew who was making some stir in
New York made censorious remarks about Unitarians
one year. Next morning Mr. Moody publicly repudiated
this censoriousness, and that speaker never came back.
During the World's Fair Campaign in Chicago it was
naturally considered that a prominent younger evangelist
should be invited as a speaker. But Dr. Torrey said No,
he was not sound on the atonement, so he was not in-
vited. Within a year or two he announced his adhesion
to the Unitarian persuasion.
SOME REVEALING ANECDOTES
President Mary E. Woolley of Mount Holyoke was
one of several guests at breakfast at Mr. Moody 's home
one morning. Breakfast was followed by morning
prayers as usual. Mr. Moody read a portion of Scripture,
then knelt and led in prayer. Immediately after the
"Amen" he turned to his son and said:
"Paul, be sure those cows don't get into the corn ! "
"I have never forgotten that picture," says President
Woolley. "It showed both his spiritual and practical
Once at a gathering he was leading, some one suggested
a clever plan in Sunday school work.
"What do you think of it ?" Mr. Moody asked a superin-
tendent who was present.
"We've been aiming to do it for two years," was the
"Don't you think it's about time to fire?" Mr. Moody
A Bible Institute student has told how after having
been refused by three theological seminaries in his desire
to become a Christian minister, he applied to Mr. Moody,
through a mutual friend, for admission to the Bible In-
stitute. When the friend met Mr. Moody and put the
case up to him he asked one question :
"Has he sand?"
What did he mean by "sand" in this connection? Well,
if a man has it he can acquire the necessary knowledge
and training and consecration to make a success.
Another Institute student tells this story on himself.
His assigned work brought him in daily contact with
Mr. Moody, who one day related an anecdote of Charles
H. Spurgeon of London. Spurgeon was dismissing his
theological students for the Christmas vacation and said
he would like to make them each a present. "For in-
stance, here's Smith. I would like to give him a cork-
screw. He has a good deal in him, but it wants letting
out. As for Jones, I'd give him a funnel, so that he could
get more in. . . ."
In applying this Mr. Moody said : "You know, I'd like
to fasten about quarter of a pound of gunpowder to the
tail of your coat and set fire to it ! "
The student, now a city missionary in London, caught
the lesson and loved Mr. Moody all the more for it.
Once when D. B. Towner was helping Mr. Moody
with the singing in meetings in Boston, he suffered from
a bad throat.
"Thank God, Towner," said Mr. Moody, "when the
Almighty created me, he set my head so close to my body
that he gave me hardly any throat, and what little there
was he macadamised."
Mr. George Irving, secretary of the Spiritual Emphasis
department of the Y.M.C.A., says that the only time he
got next to Mr. Moody was when he was holding meet-
ings in Montreal. He was a student in McGill Univer-
144 MOODY STILL LIVES
sity, and wanted to ask advice, so at the close of a
meeting he went forward to speak to Mr. Moody, who
shook hands and shot at him the question :
"Young man, are you a Christian?"
"Then speak to this young man," and he handed Irving
over to speak to the other, who happened to be a student
of McGill and a leading athlete. Mr. Irving uses the
incident to show how Mr. Moody got people to work,
not by discussing and lecturing, but by setting them to
witness as to what they know.
President Woodrow Wilson told this story:
"I was in a very plebeian place. I was in a barber
shop, sitting in a chair, when I became aware that a per-
sonality had entered the room. A man had come quietly
in upon the same errand as myself, and sat in the chair
next to me. Every word that he uttered, though it was
not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in
the man who was serving him ; and before I got through
with what was being done for me, I was aware that I
had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. Moody
was in the next chair. I purposely lingered in the room
after he left and noted the singular effect his visit had
upon the barbers in that shop. They talked in under-
tones. They did not know his name, but they knew that
something had elevated their thoughts. And I felt that
I left that place as I should have left a place of worship."
Asked to verify the truth of that incident, President
Wilson did so, and added:
"My admiration and esteem for Mr. Moody were very
THIS CHANGING WORLD
Of course, he realised that he lived in a changing
world. He is quoted as having said :
"Thirty years ago pretty much everybody believed that
the Bible was true. They did not attack it or question
it. They believed that the Lord Jesus Christ by dying
on the cross had done something for them, and that if
they received Him they would be saved. And my work
was to bring them to a decision to do what they already
knew they ought to do. But all is different now. The
question mark is raised everywhere, and there is need
for teachers who shall teach and show the people what
the gospel is. I believe that God will raise up a teaching
evangelism through which this work shall be done."
Did that mean that he would change the content of
his message, as distinct from his method ? By no means !
"Ministers are abreast of the time if they preach the
old gospel faithfully. . . . The gospel has stood the test
of nineteen centuries, and it has never failed once. I
know what the gospel will do for sin-sick souls, for I
have seen its power for 40 years. Why should I try a
new remedy of whose value I know nothing? Why
should I spend years in studying up a possible cure for
sin when I have a sure remedy. . . ? I have only one
message for men of every class. The gospel is fitted for
all people. So long as men sin, there will need to be
sermons on repentance and faith. All alike need to be
born again. . . ."
Those who say he would change his convictions if he
was alive to-day, are not fair to him. They do not know
him. Had there not been outward changes from the year
one? Were not these changes just history repeating it-
self in different dress? But has the world changed in
its basic attitude to God? Has human nature changed,
for the better ? Did not social and religious and political
conditions change during his own ministry of over 40
years? Did not the people who crowded his meetings
represent all sorts and conditions of men in different
lands? Did he not live and preach through learned and
popular attacks of infidelity and atheism, of scientific
and Biblical speculation? Did he not see the rise and
wane of plausible religious fanaticisms and follies ? Then
why should he change now? To which of the transient
146 MOODY STILL LIVES
and conflicting opinions should he change? Has not his
position on the Bible and the gospel been increasingly
buttressed by devout scholarly research and by the find-
ings of archeology, no less than by triumphant Christian
experience? On all sides to-day we hear a call for a
revival of the old affirmations and honesties, the well
approved essentials of the Christian faith, issuing in
honest and helpful lives.
Nothing in the present moral condition of society the
world over would surprise him to-day. A few years
before he died he said :
"The facts which every one who is not blinded by
prejudice must see about him on every hand, as well as
the teaching of Scripture, clearly indicate that in the last
days perilous times shall come. There is every indica-
tion that the present dispensation will end in a great
smash-up. But I believe that out of the smash-up the
most glorious age in the world's history will come. So I
look into the future not with despair, but with un-
He was so vitally human in his living and preaching
that he would be abreast of the times, in touch with the
needs of each day and generation, whatever changes
came. Dr. Gaius Glenn Atkins said in a Founder's Day
address at Northfield :
"If he lived to be a hundred and were here to-day, he
would belong to our world, he would understand our
minds, and his gospel would meet our needs."
HOW SHALL A MAN'S INFLUENCE BE
MEASURED AFTER HE IS GONE?
THROUGH HIS WRITINGS
SOMETIMES through his writings.
We think of men of old who are a powerful in-
fluence to-day by reason of their sayings and
writings still in circulation.
Such an one is John Bunyan, 1628-88. His Pilgrim's
Progress is a living book after nearly three centuries,
wielding influence perhaps next to the Bible throughout
the world as it is translated into more and more lan-
Mr. Moody stands this test of survival. A total of
three and a half-million copies of 36 volumes of his ser-
mons have been published since 1895 by one firm alone,
the Bible Institute Colportage Association, not counting
the output of other American and British publishers
since the 70s, which would easily run into millions more.
Being so vital, they are still in demand throughout the
world in at least ten languages that I know of : English,
Spanish, Danish-Norwegian, Swedish, German, Chinese,
Gaelic, French, Portuguese, Italian, with single sermons
translated by missionaries into many heathen tongues.
A volume of sermons in Gaelic was distributed in the
Highlands of Scotland, 8,000 in 1884 and 5,000 in 1891.
An advertisement in recent issues of the London
Christian is worded simply thus :
148 MOODY STILL LIVES
For SACRED SONGS AND SOLOS
Go to Any Bookshop
This is the hymn book Mr. Sankey compiled in 1873 for
use in the meetings in England, with other hymns added
in subsequent editions. Are there many other books
that could be advertised that way after 60 years ?
THROUGH HIS MOMENTUM
Sometimes by the intangible but effective momentum
of his character and convictions: all he was and all he
Within a generation of his going Mr. Moody has
taken an assured place in Church history as an outstand-
ing soul-winner and evangelist. He is still a construc-
tive force in the religious life of English-speaking nations.
Throughout the world wherever Christ is known and
preached, he is quoted as the author of pithy sayings and
pointed anecdotes that clarify and drive home the teach-
ings and applications of the Bible. Indeed, he is being
idealised, and sayings are attributed to him that did not
originate with him, but are in his style.
Just as there are "Northfields," conference centres, in
all the continents, so there are "Moodys." We hear of
individuals being called the "Japanese Moody," the
"Chinese Moody," and so on.
Northfield is a Mecca for Christian people from all
over the world when they are visiting America, drawn
hither to visit Mr. Moody's grave and the scenes identi-
fied most closely with his life. Of course, they came
when he was still alive.
The triennial meeting of the committee of the Interna-
tional Missionary Council was held at Northfield in
1935. This Council represents the common interests of
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 149
the foreign missionary efforts of the Protestant churches
in all the world. Why at Northfield? Because "it is
associated so intimately with the entire life of the great-
est evangelist of the 19th century." At the request of
the chairman, Dr. John R. Mott, Mrs. W. R. Moody
placed the Homestead (Mr. Moody 's old home) at the
convenience of the sixty committee members from over
a score of nations, for a session. These missionary states-
men and leaders were deeply moved at the house and at
his grave on Round Top nearby. One of them told Mr.
Moody's daughter who was present that he was led to
Christ by her father when he was a student at Oxford
University. Dr. Mott marked the occasion by speaking
of eight tests of greatness, and showed how Mr. Moody
was supreme in them all : great in strength and gentleness
of character, great in his entire yielding to the will of
God, great in human sympathies, great in his power to
move vast multitudes to changed lives, great to command
the hearing and respect of scholars, great as a unifying
force among Christians, great to multiply doers of the
Word, great to inspire unselfishly the consecration of
wealth to Christian enterprises, especially to Christian
education. And so the momentum of his life is trans-
mitted once again through living media to all nations on
Not long after his father's death, W. R. Moody called
on President McKinley at the White House to invite
him to Northfield. He was given preference over other
callers and ushered into an inner room. Alone with the
president Will sought to extend his invitation as quickly
as possible, but the president bade him sit down, saying :
"I want to talk with you, Mr. Moody. Do you realise
that your father was a very great man?"
"I am sure he was a good man," was the guarded reply.
"But he was a great man too," persisted President Mc-
Kinley, "and when greatness and goodness are combined
you have a rare character."
150 MOODY STILL LIVES
THROUGH IDEAS AND INSTITUTIONS
Sometimes by ideas he promulgated and institutions he
John Wesley, Martin Luther, Mohammed and a hun-
dred others of ancient times live on in the philosophic
and religious systems they originated.
Dr. Gaius Glenn Atkins, of Auburn Theological Semi-
nary, says that when he was writing the life of Cardinal
Newman and a study of religious movements in America
through the last forty years, he found the names of
Cardinal Newman and D. L. Moody in the indexes of
the biographies and autobiographies of religious leaders
in Great Britain and America more often than the names
of any other men in the field of religion during the last
two generations. "A striking testimony to their wide
and persistent influence."
Mr. Moody preached and propagated Bible truth, and
only that. He invented no new "ism," he indulged in no
novel speculation, he started no new denomination. Ex-
amine the origin of the organisations he founded, and it
will be seen that he never duplicated or rivalled existing
organisations; but ever since his voice was silenced, his
power and influence have been perpetuated, his ideas
and words have been reproduced in these foundations.
In previous chapters we have identified his schools and
other agencies, and have seen how these grew up to the
time of his going. What is their status to-day?
A general observation will first be in order here, re-
flecting credit upon him as an organiser, and explain-
ing the smooth continuance of his power.
When he died there was a man or woman in every
key position who loved him and had worked long enough
under him to be familiar with his wishes and convictions,
and who was imbued with his spirit of reliance on God.
The trustees in every case were solid in sympathy and
support. The working staffs all knew him, and were
loyal and faithful in their respective positions. So there
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 151
was no breakdown when his impressive personality was
withdrawn, no stoppage, no friction or rivalry. A mar-
vellous spirit of unity prevailed. Every one concerned
recognised his son Will as his father's successor, and
gave him allegiance. It was a remarkable tribute to his
father. "What would Mr. Moody do ?" was the decisive
question in any plans under consideration, so long as
those who had worked under him remained in adminis-
trative posts. To-day there are still three men in active
service who were connected with the institutions in Mr.
Moody's lifetime, and they have not wavered in their
loyalty. They are Stephen Stark, head of the Latin De-
partment in Mount Hermon School since 1896; Aymer
F. Gaylord, business manager of the Moody Bible Insti-
tute since 1891 ; and William Norton, manager of the
Bible Institute Colportage Association since 1897. None
of the trustees of Mr. Moody's day are living, except A.
G. Moody and myself, but on the board of the Northneld
Schools there are several trustees who knew him as stu-
dents or otherwise. This is also true of some on the
teaching and administrative staffs. A. G. Moody is clerk
of the corporation of the Northneld Schools.
Advantage was taken of the attendance of many trus-
tees at his funeral, to hold a meeting that evening at Ho-
tel Northneld to reconsider an intended enlargement of
the hotel in view of the founder's death. The hotel is a
separate corporation, whose organization was financed by
several trustees as an auxiliary of the schools and con-
ferences. All the directors were trustees. The meeting
decided unanimously to go forward with the projected
plans, feeling assured that the reasons therefor were still
sound because we believed the work would go forward
successfully under Will's leadership, vitalised and given
endurance by the spirit that created it.
It was a great heritage that Will entered upon at
Northneld. There were over 600 students in the two
schools, with plants valued at $800,000 and endowment
of half a million. He took up the task with high vision.
152 MOODY STILL LIVES
as well as with efficient business judgment and ability.
His father's trustees and fellow workers stood by him,
and he enlisted the continued support of the many donors
his father had secured in aid of the work. As the years
passed he added new friends and supporters. Soon new
buildings began to rise to meet the needs of increasing
numbers of students. When he laid down the presidency
he was succeeded by the Rev. Elliott Speer, under whose
administration the progress of the schools continued.
To-day the roster of the two schools is over 1,100, the
plants are valued at over three and a quarter millions,
and the endowment has grown to three millions. There
are over 20,000 living alumni, many of them prominent
in the life of the nation, and many showing their loyalty
to the schools by personal and financial support.
As with the schools, so with the conferences, Will main-
tained the high level of usefulness set by his father.
America gradually became conference-minded, every
group in the fields of education, industry, recreation, re-
ligion and the professions holding its own conventions,
but Northfield retained its distinctive character and its
front-rank standing. The speakers are eminent and ex-
perienced preachers, teachers, and workers in the varied
avenues of Christian service. The conferences are cen-
tres of interdenominational fraternity. Will organised
every year and presided at the General Conference for
Christian Workers, which is in direct succession to the
unique parent conference originated by his father in 1880.
Since his death in 1933 his brother, Paul Dwight Moody,
president of Middlebury College (Vermont), has been
organizer and presiding officer. This is the only confer-
ence under Northfield management and responsibility,
but the school facilities are placed at the disposal of other
summer conference committees in the interest of home
and foreign missions, religious education, and allied ob-
jects. Hotel Northfield is also a favourite place for con-
ferences throughout the year.
Will carried the spirit and teachings of Northfield fur-
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 153
ther afield by two other branches of work under his per-
sonal direction. One was the monthly magazine, Record
of Christian Work, which gave world-wide circulation to
the leading addresses delivered on the Northfield plat-
form. The other effort was called Northfield Extension.
Men mightily used of God, like Dr. F. B. Meyer of Lon-
don, were secured and sent on extended itineraries in
this country and Canada, holding miniature conferences
in the large centres for Bible study and deepening of
Christian experience. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, prince
of expository preachers and teachers, devoted his whole
time for several years to this fruitful work under North-
Northfield became a great religious centre not alone
because Mr. Moody himself was a great man, but also
because he drew great religious leaders to his side. A
year ago I went through the files of the several magazines
and books and other literature connected with Northfield,
and compiled a list of nearly a thousand names of men
and women prominent in Christian circles in this and
other lands, who had been speakers on the Northfield
platform. What an inspiring roll it is ! The names of a
large number are imperishably inscribed in the annals of
the Church Universal. Taking the list as a whole, one
may wonder if any other conference platform anywhere
has offered such a varied and illustrious grouping of min-
isters and evangelists, Bible teachers and theological pro-
fessors, foreign missionaries and home workers, leaders
in gospel singing and lay activities.
Turning to Chicago, I gave in a previous chapter some
data from the last annual report of the Moody Memorial
Church, showing Mr. Moody's surviving power in its ex-
pansion in spiritual activities and in material things.
The Moody Bible Institute also exhibits marvellous
growth in recent years. The trustees met within a month
of the founder's going, with full confidence in the struc-
ture he had built. We took action to honour his memory
by changing the corporate name of the Chicago Evangeli-
154 MOODY STILL LIVES
sation Society to "The Moody Bible Institute of
When he passed away the student enrolment was
about 300, with separate buildings for men and women
students. In the annual report for 1935 the correspond-
ing enrolment was 1,079, with a plant embracing 38
buildings, and two others rented. The challenge of one
express need after another had led to changes and addi-
tions in the Day school curriculum, which now offers
seven courses in all ; but the English Bible is still central
and basic throughout. In 1903 an Evening school was
launched, offering to men and women who could attend
evening classes the same courses as studied in the Day
school, only spread over a longer period. In the 1935
report 1,570 Evening students were enrolled. In 1901
came a Correspondence department, which enrolled 14,-
854 students in 1935, with an average of about 10,000 at
any one time. They live all over this continent and in
27 foreign lands. Fifteen courses are offered, from which
each person chooses for himself. Nine years ago a Radio
School of the Bible was started by the Correspondence
department, thus bringing 1,443 more students under
Bible instruction in several courses. In these four schools
or departments of the Moody Bible Institute a gross
total of 112,222 persons have been enrolled. It has be-
come perhaps the richest source of foreign mission recruits
in the world. Some 1,936 students have gone into foreign
service under various boards in 43 countries, with over
1,400 still on the field. Twelve have suffered martyrdom.
All these departments conduct examinations and grant
diplomas or certificates upon the completion of stated
requirements. The Institute does not confer degrees.
Still other activities include a 5,000-watt radio station,
W.M.B.I. ; an Extension department, whose staff con-
ducts evangelistic meetings and Bible conferences
throughout the United States and Canada ; and a monthly
magazine, Moody Bible Institute Monthly, with average
circulation of 31,125.
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 155
The Institute had not been long in operation before
its ideas attracted attention. On the one hand, theologi-
cal seminaries began to establish parallel courses in the
English Bible and in methods of Christian work, separate
from the regular course for ministerial candidates, thus
training classes of students for whom they had no pro-
vision before. On the other hand, similar Bible Insti-
tutes or training schools were opened in other cities and
other lands, until to-day there are over 75 Bible Insti-
tutes, large and small.
The Moody Bible Institute has not swerved from the
doctrinal basis and the governing purpose of the founder.
It stands four-square on the integrity of the Scriptures
as a divine revelation. It has a teaching force of 40
instructors. When Dr. Torrey resigned in 1904 to enter
the evangelistic field, Dr. James M. Gray of Boston be-
came dean, and later president. During his brilliant
administration the Institute enjoyed great expansion.
Upon his retirement in 1935 Dr. Will H. Houghton of
New York became president.
While missing the tremendous aid of Mr. Moody him-
self the Colportage Association has gone forward, largely
under the same management, and has branched out in
other avenues of usefulness. A resume of 41 years shows
a total publication of over ten million copies of the
Colportage Library in six languages and 161 titles. The
total of Testaments, Gospel portions, hymn books, tracts
and all else reaches a grand total of over seventy million
THROUGH CHANGED LIVES
Once again, a man's influence can be measured after
he is gone by changes wrought in other lives who live on
for many years and pass on the torch of truth to succeed-
Mr. Moody's influence through this channel may be
proved by myriad examples. There are multitudes yet
living in America and throughout the world, who were
converted to God under his personal ministry or through
156 MOODY STILL LIVES
his printed sermons, or who were led into deeper Chris-
tian experience, or stimulated to enter into active Chris-
tian service. Spiritual forces released under his ministry
are still in action, fructifying all the churches.
The 50th anniversary of his phenomenal campaign of
1873-5 in the British Isles was joyously celebrated in
numerous centres by large numbers who recalled their
own experiences. These converts were then prominent
Christian workers at home or abroad, or leading laymen
and women in church and philanthropic activities. Their
testimony and thanksgiving were definite and spontaneous
and had stood the test of 50 years. One would have
thought it hardly likely that he should influence the
classes he did. The compactness of Britain has made it
easier to conserve results over there.
When Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman was holding meetings
in Glasgow in 1914, a gentleman recalled that when Mr.
Moody was there in 1874 there were 54 boys converted
in a boys' meeting. Their names were taken. Twenty
years later the list was examined, and 42 of the 54 could
be traced. Of the 42 only five had back-slidden ; 27 were
Christian workers, some of them quite prominent. Other
statistics of this kind are available.
On Tuesday, March 3, 1874 Mr. Moody concluded the
day's services in the Glasgow campaign by meeting a
large number of young men in a church. Seventy re-
sponded to his appeal for public confession of Christ.
Among them was David J. Findlay, aged 16. Last
March he observed the 62d anniversary of his conversion.
During all these years he has been active in evangelical
service in Glasgow, for over 50 years as pastor of St.
George's Tabernacle, an aggressive independent church.
He has also been a leader in the Quarrier Orphan Homes
of Scotland. Mrs. Findlay is a daughter of the founder,
Similarly Mr. Moody's campaign in the British Isles
in 1881-4 is recalled by men like Sir J. E. Kynaston
Studd, president of the London Polytechnic and a recent
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 157
Lord Mayor of London; Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell of the
Labrador; Mr. D. E. Hoste, late director of the China
Inland Mission; and numbers of others in both promi-
nent and humble walks of life.
In 1932 I asked Sir Wilfred to autograph a copy of his
new book, Forty Years for Labrador, for a Christmas
present to my granddaughter. On the blank flyleaf he
deftly drew a pen and ink sketch of a snowy Labrador
hillside, with a white hare scurrying to cover toward a
patch of evergreens. This was his inscription :
"My best wishes to Virginia Powell. I'm an
unredeemed debtor to the Moody family.
Wilfred T. Grenfell."
In October 1933 a meeting was held in the Central
. Baptist Church of Hartford, Connecticut, in honour of
all those who had been members of the church for fifty
years or more. Some 38 such were present. It was
observed that 16 of these became members in 1878.
Inquiry revealed that Moody and Sankey meetings were
held in the Hartford Rink in 1878. Here, after 55 years,
was fruitage of 16 people still faithful in the service of
one of the city churches. Think of that record! Most
of them are still living.
After Gamaliel Bradford had written his study of
Mr. Moody he wrote in his Journal, under date of July
25, 1926, that "the religion of Moody stirred such enor-
mous and profound depths" in his spiritual experience,
that it gave him the trick and habit of self-revelation
which pushed him forward to write his Darwin and Life
I am often struck by hearing or reading in print the
testimony of prominent people to Mr. Moody's influence
in their life and service for Christ. Dr. Albert D. Belden
of London has testified on Round Top at Northfield to
his abiding influence in the religious and church life of
England He said it reached undimmed to the second
and third generations, so that to-day the pillars in the
158 MOODY STILL LIVES
churches look back in many cases to Mr. Moody as their
How explain the fact that so many to-day say they
knew Mr. Moody well and worked with him, persons of
whom the family and associates never heard? Perhaps,
the explanation is that their association with him on his
tours, though brief and local, was so real, the impression
he made on them was so vital, that he remains a living
force to them until now.
Of these several streams of influence Mr. Moody's
printed sermons are the most permanent. A man's ideas
are too often discarded and the institutions he founded
diverted by new administrators. The momentum of his
character and convictions slows down as those who knew
him die off. Other lives influenced Godward by him
likewise pass away with the years. But printed matter
abides unchanged. We may expect Mr. Moody's influ-
ence to be permanently saved to the Church and the
world in the last resort through his writings and biogra-
phies. His voice will not be silent as long as his sermons
In the peroration of a Founder's Day address, Dr.
Robert E. Speer recalled a sermon once given at a Stu-
dent Conference by Henry Clay Trumbull entitled "Our
Duty to Make the Past A Success." Referring to Mr.
Moody he said :
"Great as his life and work and character were, even
he, like the rest of the great roll in the llth of Hebrews,
having obtained a good report through faith, received not
the promise, God having provided some better thing for
us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Let us listen to the summons of it to-day as we take up
anew the tasks which he began and has bequeathed to
Let us hope and pray that the centennial celebrations
of his birth will invigorate those influences toward con-
version to God, full surrender to Him, intelligent belief
A MAN'S INFLUENCE 159
in the Bible as the revelation of God, and obedience to
its teachings, aggressive soul-winning effort, and every
element of Christlike character, that flowed from his
life and ministry! And he would have all praise and
thanksgiving be to God 1
Toward the close of his life he uttered this prophetic
"Some day you will read in the papers that D. L.
Moody is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! . . ."
I do not, Mr. Moody.
"I shall be more alive than ever. . . ."
I believe it, Mr. Moody.
Printed in the United States of America
"Some day you will read in the pa-
pers that D. L. Moody is dead. Don't
you believe a word of it! At that
moment I shall be more alive than I
am now. I shall have gone up higher,
that is all; gone out of this old clay
tenement into a house that is immor-
tal, a body that death cannot touch,
that sin cannot taint, a body like unto
His own glorious body. I was born
of the flesh in 1837. I was born of
the Spirit in 1855. That which is
born of the flesh may die. That which
is born of the Spirit will live forever."
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
I I 344 628
i > . ,.
/ .> x^y / .,-'- *l*t J>
/ AJ // U /?
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO