Why God used D.L. Moody - by
R. A. Torrey
Some day you will
read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, 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, out of this old clay tenement into a
house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a
body fashioned like unto His glorious body.
I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is
born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.
Henry Varley, a
very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in the earlier days of his work, loved to tell
how how he once said to him: "It remains to be seen what God will do
with a man who gives himself up wholly unto Him." When Mr. Henry
Varley said that Mr. Moody said to himself: "Well I will be that man."
Dwight Lyman Moody was the first
evangelist since Whitefield to shake two continents for God.
It was on his mother's birthday that Moody
was born on a small New England farm. He was only four when his father, Edwin, a
bricklayer and an alcoholic, died suddenly at 41. His mother, Betsy (Holton),
was now a widow at 36 with seven children...the oldest being thirteen, and D.L.
being the youngest. Twins were born one month after the death of the father
bringing the total to nine. Their uncle and the local Unitarian pastor came to
their aid at this time. The pastor also baptized Moody (age five) in 1842. This
was undoubtedly sprinkling and his only "baptism" experience.
Six-year-old Moody never forgot seeing his
brother Isaiah leave home. The reconciliation, years later, became an
illustration in a sermon depicting God welcoming the wanderer home with
outstretched arms. Moody's education totaled seven grades in a one-room school
house and during his teenage years he worked on neighboring farms.
On his seventeenth birthday (1854), Dwight
Moody went to Boston to seek employment. He became a clerk in Holton's Shoe
Store, his uncle's enterprise. One of the work requirements was attendance at
the Mount Vernon Congregational Church, pastored by Edward Kirk. Church seemed
boring, but a faithful Sunday School teacher encouraged him along. One Saturday,
April 21, 1855, the teacher, Edward Kimball, walked into the store and found
Moody wrapping shoes. He said, "I want to tell you how much Christ loves
you." Moody knelt down and was converted. Later he told how he felt,
"I was in a new world. The birds sang sweeter, the sun shone brighter. I'd
never known such peace." Not sure of his spiritual perception, it was a
year before the church admitted him for membership!
On September 18, 1856, he arrived in
Chicago where another uncle, Calvin, helped him obtain a position in a shoe
store operated by the Wiswall brothers. His interest in church work continued as
he joined the Plymouth Congregational Church. He rented four pews there to
provide lonely boys like himself a place of worship. Then he joined the mission
band of the First Methodist Church, visiting and distributing tracts at hotels
and boarding houses. Here he met wealthy dry goods merchant John V. Farwell, who
later would be a great help. He also worked out of the First Baptist Church
where he was later married. The prayer revival that was sweeping the nation in
1857-59 also contributed to his enthusiasm for the things of God. Discovering a
little afternoon Sunday School on the corner of Chicago and Wells he offered his
help. He was told there were already nearly as many teachers as students so he
began recruiting. The first week he brought in eighteen students, doubling the
Sunday School! Soon his recruiting overflowed the place.
He withdrew to the shores of Lake Michigan
in the summer of 1858 and taught children, using pieces of driftwood as chairs.
He was dubbed "Crazy Moody" about this time, but respect came through
the years as the title slowly changed to "Brother Moody," "Mr.
Moody," and finally, "D.L. Moody."
In the fall of 1858, he started his own
Sunday School in an abandoned freight car, then moved to an old vacant saloon on
Michigan Street. A visiting preacher reported his favorable impressions...seeing
Moody trying to light the building with a half-dozen candles and then with a
candle in one hand, a Bible in the other, and a child on his knee teaching him
The school became so large that the former
Mayor of Chicago gave him the hall over the city's North Market for his
meetings, rent free. Farwell visited the Sunday School and became the
superintendent upon Moody's insistence. The use of prizes, free pony rides and
picnics along with genuine love for children soon produced the largest Sunday
School in Chicago, reaching some 1,500 weekly. Moody supervised, recruited, and
did the janitor work early Sunday morning, cleaning out the debris from a
Saturday night dance, to get ready for the afternoon Sunday School.
It was in June, 1860, that Moody decided
to abandon secular employment and go into the Lord's work full time. He was now
23 and in only five years had built his income up to $5,000 annually and had
saved $7,000. Friends believed he could have become a millionaire had he
concentrated his efforts in business. Income for the first year in his Christian
ventures totaled no more than $300.
This decision was prompted by the
following incident. A dying Sunday School teacher had to return east because of
his health and was greatly concerned about the salvation of the girls in his
class. Moody rented a carriage for him and the teacher and went to each girl's
home winning them all to Christ. The next night the girls gathered together for
a farewell prayer meeting to pray for their sick teacher. This so moved Moody
that soul- winning seemed to be the only important thing to do from then on. He
made a vow to tell some person about the Savior each day, even though it
eventually meant getting up out of bed at times.
On November 25, 1860, President-elect
Abraham Lincoln visited Moody's Sunday School and gave a few remarks.
In 1861 Moody became a city missionary for
He married Emma Charlotte Revell on August
28, 1862 when he was 25 and she nineteen. The three Moody children were Emma
(October 24, 1864), William Revell (March 25, 1869), and Paul Dwight (April 11,
With the advent of the Civil War, Moody
found himself doing personal work among the soldiers. He was on battlefields on
nine occasions serving with the U.S. Christian Commission. At the Battle of
Murfreesboro in January, 1863, under fire, he went among the wounded and dying
asking, "Are you a Christian?"
During the Civil War, he was also back at
his Sunday School from time to time, where popular demand forced him to start a
church. A vacant saloon was cleaned, rented and fixed up for Sunday evening
services with the Sunday School continuing at North Market Hall until it burned
in 1862. Then Kinzie Hall was used for a year. In 1863, when only 26, he raised
$20,000 to erect the Illinois Street Church with a seating capacity of 1,500. It
began February 28, 1864 with twelve members. This was the official beginning of
what is now known as Moody Church. He preached Sunday evenings until a pastor,
J.H. Harwood, was called in 1866 and served until 1869, during which time Moody
served as a deacon.
The Chicago Y.M.C.A. was moving ahead
also, as Moody rose to its presidency from 1866 to 1869. He had a part in
erecting the first Y.M.C.A. building in America when he supervised the erection
of Farwell Hall in 1867, seating 3,000. That year he also held his first revival
campaign in Philadelphia.
In 1867, primarily due to his wife's
asthma, the couple went to England. He also wanted to meet Spurgeon and Mueller.
On this trip, while they sat in a public park in Dublin, Evangelist Henry Varley
remarked, "The world has yet to see what God will do with, and for, and
through, and in, and by, the man who is fully consecrated to Him." John
Knox allegedly originated this saying that was now to burn in Moody's soul (some
historians put this Varley conversation in an 1872 trip). Moody met Henry
Moorhouse also in Dublin, who said to him, "Some day I am coming to
America, and when I do, I would like to preach in your church." Moody
agreed to give him the pulpit when he came.
Three incidents prepared Moody for his
world-famous evangelistic crusades. First, in February, 1868, Moorhouse came as
promised to Moody's pulpit in Chicago. For seven nights he preached from the
text, John 3:16, counselling Moody privately, "Teach what the Bible says,
not your own words, and show people how much God loves them." Moody's
preaching was much more effective after that.
A second incident was the meeting of Ira
A. Sankey, while attending a Y.M.C.A. convention in Indianapolis in July of
1870. Moody was to speak at a 7 a.m. prayer meeting on a Sunday morning. Sankey
was there. When Moody asked for a volunteer song, Sankey began to sing, There Is
a Fountain Filled with Blood. Moody's reaction? "You will have to come to
Chicago and help me. I've been looking for you for eight years!" Sankey
left his post office job in Pennsylvania and joined Moody in Chicago in early
A third incident was the Chicago fire and
the ensuing filling of the Holy Spirit. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, while
preaching at Farwell Hall, which was now being used because of the increased
crowds, Moody asked his congregation to evaluate their relationships to Christ
and return next week to make their decisions for Him. That crowd never
regathered. While Sankey was singing a closing song, the din of fire trucks and
church bells scattered them forever, for Chicago was on fire. The Y.M.C.A.
building, church, and parsonage were all to be lost in the next 24 hours. The
church was reopened on December 24, 1871, and it was now called the North Side
Tabernacle, located on Ontario and Wells Street, close to the former building.
There was no regular pastor at this church in its brief history 1871-1876.
While out east raising funds for the
rebuilding of this church, Moody describes a life-changing experience he had
upon locking himself in a room of a friend's house: "One day, in the city
of New York, oh what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it. It's
almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he
never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God was revealed to me, and
I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His
In 1872, he returned briefly to England
where he accepted an invitation to the Arundel Square Congregational Church in
London. The evening service ended with nearly the entire congregation in the
inquiry room. He continued on for ten days with some 400 people saved. It was
learned that an invalid had been praying for two years for him to come to the
Three English men invited him back the
following year. With their families, Moody and Sankey left June 7, 1873. Little
did they know that they were going to shake England as Whitefield and Wesley had
125 years previously. Two of the sponsors had died by the time they arrived and
they were fortunate to get an invitation to conduct some meetings at the York
Y.M.C.A. Five weeks of meetings saw 250 won to Christ. F.B. Meyer was the
principal supporter. Then they traveled on to Sunderland for five weeks with
Arthur A. Rees, the host. Next came Newcastle where the meetings were gigantic
with special trains bringing people in from surrounding areas. Here a novel
all-day meeting was held and their first hymn book was introduced to the public.
Now being invited to Scotland, the
evangelists began in Edinburgh on November 23. For hundreds of years, only
Psalms had been sung here with no musical instruments. Now Sankey began
"singing the Gospel" and crowds packed out the 2,000-seat auditorium.
By the time the last service was over on January 20th, Moody was receiving
requests from all over the British Isles. They spent two weeks in Dundee and
then began the Glasgow, Scotland, crusade on February 8, 1874. These meetings
soon moved into the 4,000-seat Crystal Palace and after three months climaxed
with a service at the famed Botanic Gardens Palace. Moody was unable to even
enter the building surrounded by 15,000 to 30,000 people, so he spoke to them
from a carriage and the choir sang from the roof of a nearby shed! Later the
team returned to Edinburgh for a May 24 meeting held on the slopes of
"Arthur's Seat" with a crowd of 20,000. An estimated 3,500 converts
were won in each of these two places.
Now Ireland was calling, so they began at
Belfast on September 6, 1874. People flocked to hear them and the largest
buildings of each city were used. A great climactic service was held in the
Botanic Gardens on October 8, in the open air with thousands attending. One
final service was held October 15 with admission by ticket only. Tickets were
given only to those who wanted to be saved. Two thousand, four hundred came.
Next it was Dublin (October 26-November 29,) where even the Irish Catholics were
glad at the awakening amongst their Protestant neighbors. The Exhibition Hall
seating 10,000 was filled night after night with an estimated 3,000 won to
Back in England on November 29, the
Manchester crusade was held at the Free Trade Hall. No hall was large enough! As
many as 15,000 were trying to gain admission for a single service. Next came
Sheffield for two weeks beginning on December 31st, then Birmingham with untold
blessing. The January 17-29, 1875 crusade noonday prayer meetings drew 3,000.
Bingley Hall seated only 11,000 but crowds of 15,000 came nightly. Liverpool was
next, where the 8,000-seat Victoria Hall was used from February 7 to March 7.
Finally, it was the London Crusade
climaxing the tour. It was a four-month encounter from March 9 to July 11. Five
weeks of preaching began in the Agricultural Hall in the northern part of the
city. Then he moved to the east side in the 9,000-seat Bow Road Hall for four
weeks. Next came the west side in The Royal Haymarket Opera House. Often, during
this time, Moody would hold a 7:30 meeting with the poor on the east side, and
then shuttle over for a 9 p.m. service with the fashionable. Then on the south
side of London he spoke for several weeks in the Victoria Theatre until a
special tabernacle seating 8,000 was constructed on Camberwell Green where he
finished this crusade. A total of two and one-half million people attended! The
awakening became world news and it was estimated that 5,000 came to Christ. A
final preaching service was held in Liverpool on August 3rd before sailing for
America. He arrived home August 14 and hurried to Northfield to conduct a
revival. His mother, many friends and relatives were saved there. Invitations
for city-wide crusades were coming from many places in America now.
His first city-wide crusade in America was
in Brooklyn beginning October 31, 1875, at the Clermont Avenue Rink, seating
7,000. Only non-church members could get admission tickets as 12,000 to 20,000
crowds were turned away. Over 2,000 converts resulted.
Next came Philadelphia starting on
November 21 with nightly crowds of 12,000. The Philadelphia crusade was held at
the unused Pennsylvania freight depot which John Wanamaker had purchased. It was
located at Tenth and Market. His ushers were very well trained, capable of
seating 1,000 people per minute, and vacating the premises of some 13,000 in 4
minutes if needed. The doors were opened one and a half hours early and in 10
minutes the 12,000 seats were taken. On January 19, 1876 President Grant and
some of his cabinet attended. Total attendance was 1,050,000 with 4,000
decisions for Christ.
Next it was the New York crusade running
from February 7 to April 19, 1876. The meetings were held in the Great Roman
Hippodrome on Madison Avenue, where the Madison Square Gardens now stands. Two
large halls gave a combined seating attendance of 15,000. Moody had just turned
39 for this crusade. Some 6,000 decisions came as a result of his ten-week
crusade. Three to five services a day were held with crowds up to 60,000 daily.
Back in Chicago, his beloved church was
expanding. Property had been purchased on Chicago Avenue and LaSalle Street.
Thousands of children contributed five cents each for a brick in the new
building. The basement, roofed over, served as a meeting place for two years,
then in 1876 the building was completed and opened on June 1, 1876, and formally
dedicated on July 16 with Moody preaching. It was now called the Chicago Avenue
Church, and W.J. Erdman was called as pastor.
The Chicago crusade started October 1,
1876 in a 10,000-seat tabernacle, closing out on January 16, 1877. The
sixteen-week crusade was held with estimates being from 2,500 to 10,000
converts. Moody never kept records of numbers of decisions, hence reports vary.
The meetings were held in a temporary tabernacle erected on Farwell's companies'
property, located at Monroe and Franklin, which was converted to a wholesale
store after the crusade.
The Chicago crusade started October 1,
1876 in a 10,000-seat tabernacle, closing out on January 16, 1877. The
sixteen-week crusade was held with estimates being from 2,500 to 10,000
converts. Moody never kept records of numbers of decisions, hence reports vary.
The meetings were held in a temporary tabernacle erected on Farwell's companies'
property, located at Monroe and Franklin, which was converted to a wholesale
store after the crusade.
Moody went back to England in September
1881, returning home for the summer of 1882. He returned for an important
student crusade at Cambridge University in the fall of 1882, then back to
America, and returned the following fall for a crusade in London from November
4, 1883 to January 19, 1884, where some two million heard him in various
auditoriums. Wilfred Grenfell was among those saved and young C.T. Studd was
also won indirectly.
From 1884 on, his crusades were smaller
and limited to October to April. He spent his summer months in Northfield,
Massachusetts for study, rest, family and development of his schools.
From 1884-1886 he was in many of the
smaller cities of the nation, remaining about three days in each place. In
1888-1889 he was on the Pacific coast from Vancouver to San Diego. In 1890 he
held his second crusade in New York, in November and December.
A last trip was taken in 1891-92 to
England, Scotland (99 towns), France, Rome and Palestine, where he preached on
the Mount of Olives on Easter Sunday morning. On his trip home to America, he
endured a shipwreck, a dark hour of his life, but God spared him.
Peter Bilhorn, who substituted for Sankey
in the 1892 Buffalo, New York, crusade, tells his amazement at Moody's personal
work, observing him lead the driver of a carriage to the Lord in the midst of a
In 1893 he had the "opportunity of
the century." The World's Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) was to be
held in Chicago from May 7 to October 31. He had a burden to saturate Chicago
with the gospel during this time. Using many means and meetings in different
languages, including 125 various Sunday services, thousands were saved. Exactly
1,933,210 signed the guest register of the Bible School.
In 1895 he had a large crusade in Atlanta.
That same year a roof collapsed on a crowd of 4,000 at Fort Worth, Texas.
Fortunately, there were no deaths.
In 1897 he conducted another large Chicago
crusade, packing out a 6,000-seat auditorium.
His church which was renamed Moody Church
in 1901 (two years after his death) continued to progress with the following
pastors: Erdman (1876-78), Charles M. Morton (1878-79), George C. Needham
(1879-81), no regular pastor (1881-85), Charles F. Goss (1885-90), Charles A.
Blanchard (1891-93), and Reuben A. Torrey, who began as pastor in 1894.
Moody's interest in schools left him a
lasting ministry. The forming of the Northfield Seminary (now Northfield School
for Girls) in 1879, and the Mount Hermon Massachusetts School for Boys (1881)
was the beginning. The Chicago Evangelization Society (later Moody Bible
Institute) was opened with the first structure completed on September 26, 1889
with R.A. Torrey in charge. The school was an outgrowth of the 1887 Chicago
In 1880 he started the famous Northfield
Bible Conferences which continued until 1902, bringing some of the best speakers
from both continents to the pulpit there. The world's first student conference
was held in 1885 and the Student Volunteer Movement started two years later as a
In 1898 Moody was chairman of the
evangelistic department of the Army and Navy Christian Commission of the Y.M.C.A.
during the Spanish-American War.
He started his last crusade in Kansas City
in November, 1899. On November 16, he preached his last sermon on Excuses (Luke
14:16-24) and hundreds were won to Christ that night. He was very ill afterward,
the illness thought to be fatty degeneration of the heart. Arriving home in
Northfield November 19 for rest, he climbed the stairs to his bedroom--never to
leave it again. He died about seven a.m. December 22, with a note of victory. He
is reported to have said such things as the following at his death: "I see
earth receding; heaven is approaching (or opening). God is calling me. This is
my triumph. This is my coronation day. It is glorious. God is calling and I must
go. Mama, you have been a good wife...no pain...no valley...it's bliss."
The funeral was on December 26 with C.I.
Scofield, local Congregational pastor, in charge. Memorial services were held in
many leading cities in America and Great Britain. Moody left to the world
several books, although he never wrote a book himself. His Gospel sermons, Bible
characters, devotional and doctrinal studies were all compiled rom his spoken
word, those after 1893 by A.P. Fitt. However, he read every article and book
before they were published. His innumerable converts were estimated by some as
high as 1,000,000.
R.A. Torrey, one of his closest friends,
writes his conclusions in his famous why God used D.L. Moody:
(2) man of prayer,
(3) student of the Word of God,
(4) humble man,
(5) freedom from love of money,
(6) consuming passion for the lost,
(7) definite enduement with power from on high.
Perhaps the world HAS seen what one man
totally consecrated to God can do.
USED D. L. MOODY
R. A. Torrey
Close associate and friend of D. L. Moody
Eighty-six years ago (February
5, 1837), there was born of poor parents in a humble farmhouse in Northfield,
Massachusetts, a little baby who was to become the greatest man, as I believe,
of his generation or of his century -- Dwight L. Moody. After our great
generals, great statesmen, great scientists and great men of letters have passed
away and been forgotten, and their work and its helpful influence has come to an
end, the work of D. L. Moody will go on and its saving influence continue and
increase, bringing blessing not only to every state in the Union but to every
nation on earth. Yes, it will continue throughout the ages of eternity.
My subject is "Why God Used D. L. Moody," and
I can think of no subject upon which I would rather speak. For I shall not seek
to glorify Mr. Moody, but the God who by His grace, His entirely unmerited
favor, used him so mightily, and the Christ who saved him by His atoning death
and resurrection life, and the Holy Spirit who lived in him and wrought through
him and who alone made him the mighty power that he was to this world.
Furthermore: I hope to make it clear that the God who used D. L. Moody in his
day is just as ready to use you and me, in this day, if we, on our part, do what
D. L. Moody did, which was what made it possible for God to so abundantly use
The whole secret of why D. L. Moody was such a mightily
used man you will find in Psalm 62:11: "God hath spoken once; twice have I
heard this; that POWER BELONGETH UNTO GOD." I am glad it does. I am glad
that power did not belong to D. L. Moody; I am glad that it did not belong to
Charles G. Finney; I am glad that it did not belong to Martin Luther; I am glad
that it did not belong to any other Christian man whom God has greatly used in
this world's history. Power belongs to God. If D. L. Moody had any power, and he
had great power, he got it from God.
But God does not give His power arbitrarily. It is true
that He gives it to whomsoever He will, but He wills to give it on certain
conditions, which are clearly revealed in His Word; and D. L. Moody met those
conditions and God made him the most wonderful preacher of his generation; yes,
I think the most wonderful man of his generation.
But how was it that D. L. Moody had that power of God
so wonderfully manifested in his life? Pondering this question it seemed to me
that there were seven things in the life of D. L. Moody that accounted for God's
using him so largely as He did.
(1) A Fully Surrendered Man
The first thing that accounts
for God's using D. L. Moody so mightily was that he was a fully surrendered man.
Every ounce of that two-hundred-and-eighty -pound body of his belonged to God;
everything he was and everything he had, belonged wholly to God. Now, I am not
saying that Mr. Moody was perfect; he was not. If I attempted to, I presume I
could point out some defects in his character. It does not occur to me at this
moment what they were; but I am confident that I could think of some, if I tried
real hard. I have never yet met a perfect man, not one. I have known perfect men
in the sense in which the Bible commands us to be perfect, i.e., men who are
wholly God's, out and out for God, fully surrendered to God, with no will but
God's will; but I have never known a man in whom I could not see some defects,
some places where he might have been improved.
No, Mr. Moody was not a faultless man. If he had any
flaws in his character, and he had, I presume I was in a position to know them
better than almost any other man, because of my very close association with him
in the later years of his life; and furthermore, I suppose that in his latter
days he opened his heart to me more fully than to anyone else in the world. I
think He told me some things that he told no one else. I presume I knew whatever
defects there were in his character as well as anybody. But while I recognized
such flaws, nevertheless, I know that he was a man who belonged wholly to God.
The first month I was in Chicago, we were having a talk
about something upon which we very widely differed, and Mr. Moody turned to me
very frankly and very kindly and said in defense of his own position: "Torrey,
if I believed that God wanted me to jump out of that window, I would jump."
I believe he would. If he thought God wanted him to do anything, he would do it.
He belonged wholly, unreservedly, unqualifiedly, entirely, to God.
Henry Varley, a very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in
the earlier days of his work, loved to tell how he once said to him: "It
remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to
Him." I am told that when Mr. Henry Varley said that, Mr. Moody said to
himself: "Well, I will be that man." And I, for my part, do not think
"it remains to be seen" what God will do with a man who gives himself
up wholly to Him. I think it has been seen already in D. L. Moody.
If you and I are to be used in our sphere as D. L.
Moody was used in his, we must put all that we have and all that we are in the
hands of God, for Him to use as He will, to send us where He will, for God to do
with us what He will, and we, on our part, to do everything God bids us do.
There are thousands and tens of thousands of men and
women in Christian work, brilliant men and women, rarely gifted men and women,
men and women who are making great sacrifices, men and women who have put all
conscious sin out of their lives, yet who, nevertheless, have stopped short of
absolute surrender to God, and therefore have stopped short of fullness of
power. But Mr. Moody did not stop short of absolute surrender to God; he was a
wholly surrendered man, and if you and I are to be used, you and I must be
wholly surrendered men and women.
(2) A Man of Prayer
The second secret of the great
power exhibited in Mr. Moody's life was that Mr. Moody was in the deepest and
most meaningful sense a man of prayer. People oftentimes say to me: "Well,
I went many miles to see and to hear D. L. Moody and he certainly was a
wonderful preacher." Yes, D. L. Moody certainly was a wonderful preacher;
taking it all in all, the most wonderful preacher I have ever heard, and it was
a great privilege to hear him preach as he alone could preach; but out of a very
intimate acquaintance with him I wish to testify that he was a far greater pray-er
than he was preacher.
Time and time again, he was confronted by obstacles
that seemed insurmountable, but he always knew the way to surmount and to
overcome all difficulties. He knew the way to bring to pass anything that needed
to be brought to pass. He knew and believed in the deepest depths of his soul
that "nothing was too hard for the Lord" and that prayer could do
anything that God could do.
Often times Mr. Moody would write me when he was about
to undertake some new work, saying: "I am beginning work in such and such a
place on such and such a day; I wish you would get the students together for a
day of fasting and prayer" And often I have taken those letters and read
them to the students in the lecture room and said: "Mr. Moody wants us to
have a day of fasting and prayer, first for God's blessing on our own souls and
work, and then for God's blessing on him and his work."
Often we were gathered in the lecture room far into the
night -- sometimes till one, two, three, four or even five o'clock in the
morning, crying to God, just because Mr. Moody urged us to wait upon God until
we received His blessing. How many men and women I have known whose lives and
characters have been transformed by those nights of prayer and who have wrought
mighty things in many lands because of those nights of prayer!
One day Mr. Moody drove up to my house at Northfield
and said: "Torrey, I want you to take a ride with me." I got into the
carriage and we drove out toward Lover's Lane, talking about some great and
unexpected difficulties that had arisen in regard to the work in Northfield and
Chicago, and in connection with other work that was very dear to him.
As we drove along, some black storm clouds lay ahead of
us, and then suddenly, as we were talking, it began to rain. He drove the horse
into a shed near the entrance to Lover's Lane to shelter the horse, and then
laid the reins upon the dashboard and said: "Torrey, pray"; and then,
as best I could, I prayed, while he in his heart joined me in prayer. And when
my voice was silent he began to pray. Oh, I wish you could have heard that
prayer! I shall never forget it, so simple, so trustful, so definite and so
direct and so mighty. When the storm was over and we drove back to town, the
obstacles had been surmounted, and the work of the schools, and other work that
was threatened, went on as it had never gone on before, and it has gone on until
As we drove back, Mr. Moody said to me: "Torrey,
we will let the other men do the talking and the criticizing, and we will stick
to the work that God has given us to do, and let Him take care of the
difficulties and answer the criticisms."
On one occasion Mr. Moody said to me in Chicago:
"I have just found, to my surprise, that we are twenty thousand dollars
behind in our finances for the work here and in Northfield, and we must have
that twenty thousand dollars, and I am going to get it by prayer." He did
not tell a soul who had the ability to give a penny of the twenty thousand
dollars' deficit, but looked right to God and said: "I need twenty thousand
dollars for my work; send me that money in such a way that I will know it comes
straight from Thee." And God heard that prayer. The money came in such a
way that it was clear that it came from God in direct answer to prayer.
Yes, D. L. Moody was a man who believed in the God who
answers prayer, and not only believed in Him in a theoretical way but believed
in Him in a practical way. He was a man who met every difficulty that stood in
his way -- by prayer. Everything he undertook was backed up by prayer, and in
everything, his ultimate dependence was upon God.
(3) A Deep and Practical
Student of the Bible
The third secret of Mr. Moody's
power, or the third reason why God used D. L. Moody, was because he was a deep
and practical student of the Word of God. Nowadays it is often said of D. L.
Moody that he was not a student. I wish to say that he was a student; most
emphatically he was a student. He was not a student of psychology; he was not a
student of anthropology -- I am very sure he would not have known what that word
meant; he was not a student of biology; he was not a student of philosophy; he
was not even a student of theology, in the technical sense of the term; but he
was a student, a profound and practical student of the one Book that is more
worth studying than all other books in the world put together; he was a student
of the Bible.
Every day of his life, I have reason for believing, he
arose very early in the morning to study the Word of God, way down to the close
of his life. Mr. Moody used to rise about four o'clock in the morning to study
the Bible. He would say to me: "If I am going to get in any study, I have
got to get up before the other folks get up"; and he would shut himself up
in a remote room in his house, alone with his God and his Bible.
I shall never forget the first night I spent in his
home. He had invited me to take the superintendency of the Bible Institute and I
had already begun my work; I was on my way to some city in the East to preside
at the International Christian Workers' Convention. He wrote me saying:
"Just as soon as the Convention is over, come up to Northfield." He
learned when I was likely to arrive and drove over to South Vernon to meet me.
That night he had all the teachers from the Mount Hermon School and from the
Northfield Seminary come together at the house to meet me, and to talk over the
problems of the two schools. We talked together far on into the night, and then,
after the principals and teachers of the schools had gone home, Mr. Moody and I
talked together about the problems a while longer.
It was very late when I got to bed that night, but very
early the next morning, about five o'clock, I heard a gentle tap on my door.
Then I heard Mr. Moody's voice whispering: "Torrey, are you up?" I
happened to be; I do not always get up at that early hour but I happened to be
up that particular morning. He said: "I want you to go somewhere with
me," and I went down with him. Then I found out that he had already been up
an hour or two in his room studying the Word of God.
Oh, you may talk about power; but, if you neglect the
one Book that God has given you as the one instrument through which He imparts
and exercises His power, you will not have it. You may read many books and go to
many conventions and you may have your all-night prayer meetings to pray for the
power of the Holy Ghost; but unless you keep in constant and close association
with the one Book, the Bible, you will not have power. And if you ever had
power, you will not maintain it except by the daily, earnest, intense study of
Ninety-nine Christians in every hundred are merely
playing at Bible study; and therefore ninety-nine Christians in every hundred
are mere weaklings, when they might be giants, both in their Christian life and
in their service.
It was largely because of his thorough knowledge of the
Bible, and his practical knowledge of the Bible, that Mr. Moody drew such
immense crowds. On "Chicago Day," in October, 1893, none of the
theaters of Chicago dared to open because it was expected that everybody in
Chicago would go on that day to the World's Fair; and, in point of fact,
something like four hundred thousand people did pass through the gates of the
Fair that day. Everybody in Chicago was expected to be at that end of the city
on that day. But Mr. Moody said to me: "Torrey, engage the Central Music
Hall and announce meetings from nine o'clock in the morning till six o'clock at
night." "Why," I replied, "Mr. Moody, nobody will be at this
end of Chicago on that day; not even the theaters dare to open; everybody is
going down to Jackson Park to the Fair; we cannot get anybody out on this
Mr. Moody replied: "You do as you are told";
and I did as I was told and engaged the Central Music Hall for continuous
meetings from nine o'clock in the morning till six o'clock at night. But I did
it with a heavy heart; I thought there would be poor audiences. I was on the
program at noon that day. Being very busy in my office about the details of the
campaign, I did not reach the Central Music Hall till almost noon. I thought I
would have no trouble in getting in. But when I got almost to the Hall I found
to my amazement that not only was it packed but the vestibule was packed and the
steps were packed, and there was no getting anywhere near the door; and if I had
not gone round and climbed in a back window they would have lost their speaker
for that hour. But that would not have been of much importance, for the crowds
had not gathered to hear me; it was the magic of Mr. Moody's name that had drawn
them. And why did they long to hear Mr. Moody? Because they knew that while he
was not versed in many of the philosophies and fads and fancies of the day, he
did know the one Book that this old world most longs to know -- the Bible.
I shall never forget Moody's last visit to Chicago. The
ministers of Chicago had sent me to Cincinnati to invite him to come to Chicago
and hold a meeting. In response to the invitation, Mr. Moody said to me:
"If you will hire the Auditorium for weekday mornings and afternoons and
have meetings at ten in the morning and three in the afternoon, I will go.
" I replied: "Mr. Moody, you know what a busy city Chicago is, and how
impossible it is for businessmen to get out at ten o'clock in the morning and
three in the afternoon on working days. Will you not hold evening meetings and
meetings on Sunday?" "No," he replied, "I am afraid if I
did, I would interfere with the regular work of the churches."
I went back to Chicago and engaged the Auditorium,
which at that time was the building having the largest seating capacity of any
building in the city, seating in those days about seven thousand people; I
announced weekday meetings, with Mr. Moody as the speaker, at ten o'clock in the
mornings and three o'clock in the afternoons.
At once protests began to pour in upon me. One of them
came from Marshall Field, at that time the business king of Chicago. "Mr.
Torrey," Mr. Field wrote, "we businessmen of Chicago wish to hear Mr.
Moody, and you know perfectly well how impossible it is for us to get out at ten
o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon; have evening
meetings." I received many letters of a similar purport and wrote to Mr.
Moody urging him to give us evening meetings. But Mr. Moody simply replied:
"You do as you are told," and I did as I was told; that is the way I
kept my job.
On the first morning of the meetings I went down to the
Auditorium about half an hour before the appointed time, but I went with much
fear and apprehension; I thought the Auditorium would be nowhere nearly full.
When I reached there, to my amazement I found a queue of people four abreast
extending from the Congress Street entrance to Wabash Avenue, then a block north
on Wabash Avenue, then a break to let traffic through, and then another block,
and so on. I went in through the back door, and there were many clamoring for
entrance there. When the doors were opened at the appointed time, we had a
cordon of twenty policemen to keep back the crowd; but the crowd was so great
that it swept the cordon of policemen off their feet and packed eight thousand
people into the building before we could get the doors shut. And I think there
were as many left on the outside as there were in the building. I do not think
that anyone else in the world could have drawn such a crowd at such a time.
Why? Because though Mr. Moody knew little about science
or philosophy or literature in general, he did know the one Book that this old
world is perishing to know and longing to know; and this old world will flock to
hear men who know the Bible and preach the Bible as they will flock to hear
nothing else on earth.
During all the months of the World's Fair in Chicago,
no one could draw such crowds as Mr. Moody. Judging by the papers, one would
have thought that the great religious event in Chicago at that time was the
World's Congress of Religions. One very gifted man of letters in the East was
invited to speak at this Congress. He saw in this invitation the opportunity of
his life and prepared his paper, the exact title of which I do not now recall,
but it was something along the line of "New Light on the Old
Doctrines." He prepared the paper with great care, and then sent it around
to his most trusted and gifted friends for criticisms. These men sent it back to
him with such emendations as they had to suggest. Then he rewrote the paper,
incorporating as many of the suggestions and criticisms as seemed wise. Then he
sent it around for further criticisms. Then he wrote the paper a third time, and
had it, as he trusted, perfect. He went on to Chicago to meet this coveted
opportunity of speaking at the World's Congress of Religions.
It was at eleven o'clock on a Saturday morning (if I
remember correctly) that he was to speak. He stood outside the door of the
platform waiting for the great moment to arrive, and as the clock struck eleven
he walked on to the platform to face a magnificent audience of eleven women and
two men! But there was not a building anywhere in Chicago that would accommodate
the very same day the crowds that would flock to hear Mr. Moody at any hour of
the day or night.
Oh, men and women, if you wish to get an audience and
wish to do that audience some good after you get them, study, study, STUDY the
one Book, and preach, preach, PREACH the one Book, and teach, teach, TEACH the
one Book, the Bible, the only Book that is God's Word, and the only Book that
has power to gather and hold and bless the crowds for any great length of time.
(4) A Humble Man
The fourth reason why God
continuously, through so many years, used D.L. Moody was because he was a humble
man. I think D. L. Moody was the humblest man I ever knew in all my life. He
loved to quote the words of another; "Faith gets the most; love works the
most; but humility keeps the most. "
He himself had the humility that keeps everything it
gets. As I have already said, he was the most humble man I ever knew, i.e., the
most humble man when we bear in mind the great things that he did, and the
praise that was lavished upon him. Oh, how he loved to put himself in the
background and put other men in the foreground. How often he would stand on a
platform with some of us little fellows seated behind him and as he spoke he
would say: "There are better men coming after me." As he said it, he
would point back over his shoulder with his thumb to the "little fellows.
" I do not know how he could believe it, but he really did believe that the
others that were coming after him were really better than he was. He made no
pretense to a humility he did not possess. In his heart of hearts he constantly
underestimated himself, and overestimated others.
He really believed that God would use other men in a
larger measure than he had been used. Mr. Moody loved to keep himself in the
background. At his conventions at Northfield, or anywhere else, he would push
the other men to the front and, if he could, have them do all the preaching --
McGregor, Campbell Morgan, Andrew Murray, and the rest of them. The only way we
could get him to take any part in the program was to get up in the convention
and move that we hear D. L. Moody at the next meeting. He continually put
himself out of sight.
Oh, how many a man has been full of promise and God has
used him, and then the man thought that he was the whole thing and God was
compelled to set him aside! I believe more promising workers have gone on the
rocks through self-sufficiency and self-esteem than through any other cause. I
can look back for forty years, or more, and think of many men who are now wrecks
or derelicts who at one time the world thought were going to be something great.
But they have disappeared entirely from the public view. Why? Because of
overestimation of self. Oh, the men and women who have been put aside because
they began to think that they were somebody, that they were "IT," and
therefore God was compelled to set them aside.
I remember a man with whom I was closely associated in
a great movement in this country. We were having a most successful convention in
Buffalo, and he was greatly elated. As we walked down the street together to one
of the meetings one day, he said to me: "Torrey, you and I are the most
important men in Christian work in this country," or words to that effect.
I replied: "John, I am sorry to hear you say that; for as I read my Bible I
find man after man who had accomplished great things whom God had to set aside
because of his sense of his own importance." And God set that man aside
also from that time. I think he is still living, but no one ever hears of him,
or has heard of him for years.
God used D. L. Moody, I think, beyond any man of his
day; but it made no difference how much God used him, he never was puffed up.
One day, speaking to me of a great New York preacher, now dead, Mr. Moody said:
"He once did a very foolish thing, the most foolish thing that I ever knew
a man, ordinarily so wise as he was, to do. He came up to me at the close of a
little talk I had given and said: 'Young man, you have made a great address
tonight.'" Then Mr. Moody continued: "How foolish of him to have said
that! It almost turned my head." But, thank God, it did not turn his head,
and even when pretty much all the ministers in England, Scotland and Ireland,
and many of the English bishops were ready to follow D. L. Moody wherever he
led, even then it never turned his head one bit. He would get down on his face
before God, knowing he was human, and ask God to empty him of all
self-sufficiency. And God did.
Oh, men and women! especially young men and young
women, perhaps God is beginning to use you; very likely people are saying:
"What a wonderful gift he has as a Bible teacher, what power he has as a
preacher, for such a young man!" Listen: get down upon your face before
God. I believe here lies one of the most dangerous snares of the Devil. When the
Devil cannot discourage a man, he approaches him on another tack, which he knows
is far worse in its results; he puffs him up by whispering in his ear: "You
are the leading evangelist of the day. You are the man who will sweep everything
before you. You are the coming man. You are the D. L. Moody of the day";
and if you listen to him, he will ruin you. The entire shore of the history of
Christian workers is strewn with the wrecks of gallant vessels that were full of
promise a few years ago, but these men became puffed up and were driven on the
rocks by the wild winds of their own raging self-esteem.
(5) His Entire Freedom from
the Love of Money
The fifth secret of D. L.
Moody's continual power and usefulness was his entire freedom from the love of
money. Mr. Moody might have been a wealthy man, but money had no charms for him.
He loved to gather money for God's work; he refused to accumulate money for
himself. He told me during the World's Fair that if he had taken, for himself,
the royalties on the hymnbooks which he had published, they would have amounted,
at that time, to a million dollars. But Mr. Moody refused to touch the money. He
had a perfect right to take it, for he was responsible for the publication of
the books and it was his money that went into the publication of the first of
Mr. Sankey had some hymns that he had taken with him to
England and he wished to have them published. He went to a publisher (I think
Morgan & Scott) and they declined to publish them, because, as they said,
Philip Phillips had recently been over and published a hymnbook and it had not
done well. However, Mr. Moody had a little money and he said that he would put
it into the publication of these hymns in cheap form; and he did. The hymns had
a most remarkable and unexpected sale; they were then published in book form and
large profits accrued. The financial results were offered to Mr. Moody, but he
refused to touch them. "But," it was urged on him, "the money
belongs to you"; but he would not touch it.
Mr. Fleming H. Revell was at the time treasurer of the
Chicago Avenue Church, commonly known as the Moody Tabernacle. Only the basement
of this new church building had been completed, funds having been exhausted.
Hearing of the hymnbook situation Mr. Revell suggested, in a letter to friends
in London, that the money be given for completion of this building, and it was.
Afterwards, so much money came in that it was given, by the committee into whose
hands Mr. Moody put the matter, to various Christian enterprises.
In a certain city to which Mr. Moody went in the latter
years of his life, and where I went with him, it was publicly announced that Mr.
Moody would accept no money whatever for his services. Now, in point of fact,
Mr. Moody was dependent, in a measure, upon what was given him at various
services; but when this announcement was made, Mr. Moody said nothing, and left
that city without a penny's compensation for the hard work he did there; and, I
think, he paid his own hotel bill. And yet a minister in that very city came out
with an article in a paper, which I read, in which he told a fairy tale of the
financial demands that Mr. Moody made upon them, which story I knew personally
to be absolutely untrue. Millions of dollars passed into Mr. Moody hands, but
they passed through; they did not stick to his fingers.
This is the point at which many an evangelist makes
shipwreck, and his great work comes to an untimely end. The love of money on the
part of some evangelists has done more to discredit evangelistic work in our
day, and to lay many an evangelist on the shelf, than almost any other cause.
While I was away on my recent tour I was told by one of
the most reliable ministers in one of our eastern cities of a campaign conducted
by one who has been greatly used in the past. (Do not imagine, for a moment,
that I am speaking of Billy Sunday, for I am not; this same minister spoke in
the highest terms of Mr. Sunday and of a campaign which he conducted in a city
where this minister was a pastor.) This evangelist of whom I now speak came to a
city for a united evangelistic campaign and was supported by fifty-three
churches. The minister who told me about the matter was himself chairman of the
The evangelist showed such a longing for money and so
deliberately violated the agreement he had made before coming to the city and so
insisted upon money being gathered for him in other ways than he had himself
prescribed in the original contract, that this minister threatened to resign
from the Finance Committee. He was, however, persuaded to remain to avoid a
scandal. "As the total result of the three weeks' campaign there were only
twenty-four clear decisions," said my friend; "and after it was over
the ministers got together and by a vote with but one dissenting voice, they
agreed to send a letter to this evangelist telling him frankly that they were
done with him and with his methods of evangelism forever, and that they felt it
their duty to warn other cities against him and his methods and the results of
his work." Let us lay the lesson to our hearts and take warning in time.
(6) His Consuming Passion for
the Salvation of the Lost
The sixth reason why God used D.
L. Moody was because of his consuming passion for the salvation of the lost. Mr.
Moody made the resolution, shortly after he himself was saved, that he would
never let twenty-four hours pass over his head without speaking to at least one
person about his soul. His was a very busy life, and sometimes he would forget
his resolution until the last hour, and sometimes he would get out of bed,
dress, go out and talk to someone about his soul in order that he might not let
one day pass without having definitely told at least one of his fellow-mortals
about his need and the Savior who could meet it.
One night Mr. Moody was going home from his place of
business. It was very late, and it suddenly occurred to him that he had not
spoken to one single person that day about accepting Christ. He said to himself:
"Here's a day lost. I have not spoken to anyone today and I shall not see
anybody at this late hour." But as he walked up the street he saw a man
standing under a lamppost. The man was a perfect stranger to him, though it
turned out afterwards the man knew who Mr. Moody was. He stepped up to this
stranger and said: "Are you a Christian?" The man replied: "That
is none of your business, whether I am a Christian or not. If you were not a
sort of a preacher I would knock you into the gutter for your
impertinence." Mr. Moody said a few earnest words and passed on.
The next day that man called upon one of Mr. Moody's
prominent business friends and said to him: "That man Moody of yours over
on the North Side is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without
knowledge. He stepped up to me last night, a perfect stranger, and insulted me.
He asked me if I were a Christian, and I told him it was none of his business
and if he were not a sort of a preacher I would knock him into the gutter for
his impertinence. He is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without
knowledge." Mr. Moody's friend sent for him and said: "Moody, you are
doing more harm than you are good; you've got zeal without knowledge: you
insulted a friend of mine on the street last night. You went up to him, a
perfect stranger, and asked him if he were a Christian, and he tells me if you
had not been a sort of a preacher he would have knocked you into the gutter for
your impertinence. You are doing more harm than you are good; you have got zeal
Mr. Moody went out of that man's office somewhat
crestfallen. He wondered if he were not doing more harm than he was good, if he
really had zeal without knowledge. (Let me say, in passing, it is far better to
have zeal without knowledge than it is to have knowledge without zeal. Some men
and women are as full of knowledge as an egg is of meat; they are so deeply
versed in Bible truth that they can sit in criticism on the preachers and give
the preachers pointers, but they have so little zeal that they do not lead one
soul to Christ in a whole year.)
Weeks passed by. One night Mr. Moody was in bed when he
heard a tremendous pounding at his front door. He jumped out of bed and rushed
to the door. He thought the house was on fire. He thought the man would break
down the door. He opened the door and there stood this man. He said: "Mr.
Moody, I have not had a good night's sleep since that night you spoke to me
under the lamppost, and I have come around at this unearthly hour of the night
for you to tell me what I have to do to be saved." Mr. Moody took him in
and told him what to do to be saved. Then he accepted Christ, and when the Civil
War broke out, he went to the front and laid down his life fighting for his
Another night, Mr. Moody got home and had gone to bed
before it occurred to him that he had not spoken to a soul that day about
accepting Christ. "Well," he said to himself, "it is no good
getting up now; there will be nobody on the street at this hour of the
night." But he got up, dressed and went to the front door. It was pouring
rain. "Oh," he said, "there will be no one out in this pouring
rain. Just then he heard the patter of a man's feet as he came down the street,
holding an umbrella over his head. Then Mr. Moody darted out and rushed up to
the man and said: "May I share the shelter of your umbrella?"
"Certainly," the man replied. Then Mr. Moody said: "Have you any
shelter in the time of storm?" and preached Jesus to him. Oh, men and
women, if we were as full of zeal for the salvation of souls as that, how long
would it be before the whole country would be shaken by the power of a mighty,
One day in Chicago -- the day after the elder Carter
Harrison was shot, when his body was lying in state in the City Hall -- Mr.
Moody and I were riding up Randolph Street together in a streetcar right
alongside of the City Hall. The car could scarcely get through because of the
enormous crowds waiting to get in and view the body of Mayor Harrison. As the
car tried to push its way through the crowd, Mr. Moody turned to me and said:
"Torrey, what does this mean?" "Why," I said, "Carter
Harrison's body lies there in the City Hall and these crowds are waiting to see
Then he said: "This will never do, to let these
crowds get away from us without preaching to them; we must talk to them. You go
and hire Hooley's Opera House (which was just opposite the City Hall) for the
whole day." I did so. The meetings began at nine o'clock in the morning,
and we had one continuous service from that hour until six in the evening, to
reach those crowds.
Mr. Moody was a man on fire for God. Not only was he
always "on the job" himself but he was always getting others to work
as well. He once invited me down to Northfield to spend a month there with the
schools, speaking first to one school and then crossing the river to the other.
I was obliged to use the ferry a great deal; it was before the present bridge
was built at that point.
One day he said to me: "Torrey, did you know that
that ferryman that ferries you across every day was unconverted?" He did
not tell me to speak to him, but I knew what he meant. When some days later it
was told him that the ferryman was saved, he was exceedingly happy.
Once, when walking down a certain street in Chicago,
Mr. Moody stepped up to a man, a perfect stranger to him, and said: "Sir,
are you a Christian?" "You mind your own business," was the
reply. Mr. Moody replied: "This is my business." The man said,
"Well, then, you must be Moody." Out in Chicago they used to call him
in those early days "Crazy Moody," because day and night he was
speaking to everybody he got a chance to speak to about being saved.
One time he was going to Milwaukee, and in the seat
that he had chosen sat a traveling man. Mr. Moody sat down beside him and
immediately began to talk with him. " Where are you going?" Mr. Moody
asked. When told the name of the town he said: "We will soon be there;
we'll have to get down to business at once. Are you saved?" The man said
that he was not, and Mr. Moody took out his Bible and there on the train showed
him the way of salvation. Then he said: "Now, you must take Christ."
The man did; he was converted right there on the train.
Most of you have heard, I presume, the story President
Wilson used to tell about D. L. Moody. Ex-President Wilson said that he once
went into a barber shop and took a chair next to the one in which D. L. Moody
was sitting, though he did not know that Mr. Moody was there. He had not been in
the chair very long before, as ex-President Wilson phrased it, he "knew
there was a personality in the other chair," and he began to listen to the
conversation going on; he heard Mr. Moody tell the barber about the Way of Life,
and President Wilson said, "I have never forgotten that scene to this
day." When Mr. Moody was gone, he asked the barber who he was; when he was
told that it was D. L. Moody, President Wilson said: "It made an impression
upon me I have not yet forgotten."
On one occasion in Chicago Mr. Moody saw a little girl
standing on the street with a pail in her hand. He went up to her and invited
her to his Sunday school, telling her what a pleasant place it was. She promised
to go the following Sunday, but she did not do so. Mr. Moody watched for her for
weeks, and then one day he saw her on the street again, at some distance from
him. He started toward her, but she saw him too and started to run away. Mr.
Moody followed her. Down she went one street, Mr. Moody after her; up she went
another street, Mr. Moody after her, through an alley, Mr. Moody still
following; out on another street, Mr. Moody after her; then she dashed into a
saloon and Mr. Moody dashed after her. She ran out the back door and up a flight
of stairs, Mr. Moody still following; she dashed into a room, Mr. Moody
following; she threw herself under the bed and Mr. Moody reached under the bed
and pulled her out by the foot, and led her to Christ.
He found that her mother was a widow who had once seen
better circumstances, but had gone down until now she was living over this
saloon. She had several children. Mr. Moody led the mother and all the family to
Christ. Several of the children were prominent members of the Moody Church until
they moved away, and afterwards became prominent in churches elsewhere. This
particular child, whom he pulled from underneath the bed, was, when I was the
pastor of the Moody Church, the wife of one of the most prominent officers in
Only two or three years ago, as I came out of a ticket
office in Memphis, Tennessee, a fine-looking young man followed me. He said:
"Are you not Dr. Torrey?" I said, "Yes." He said: "I am
so and so." He was the son of this woman. He was then a traveling man, and
an officer in the church where he lived. When Mr. Moody pulled that little child
out from under the bed by the foot he was pulling a whole family into the
Kingdom of God, and eternity alone will reveal how many succeeding generations
he was pulling into the Kingdom of God.
D.L. Moody's consuming passion for souls was not for
the souls of those who would be helpful to him in building up his work here or
elsewhere; his love for souls knew no class limitations. He was no respecter of
persons; it might be an earl or a duke or it might be an ignorant colored boy on
the street; it was all the same to him; there was a soul to save and he did what
lay in his power to save that soul.
A friend once told me that the first time he ever heard
of Mr. Moody was when Mr. Reynolds of Peoria told him that he once found Mr.
Moody sitting in one of the squatters' shanties that used to be in that part of
the city toward the lake, which was then called, "The Sands," with a
colored boy on his knee, a tallow candle in one hand and a Bible in the other,
and Mr. Moody was spelling out the words (for at that time the boy could not
read very well) of certain verses of Scripture, in an attempt to lead that
ignorant colored boy to Christ.
Oh, young men and women and all Christian workers, if
you and I were on fire for souls like that, how long would it be before we had a
revival? Suppose that tonight the fire of God falls and fills our hearts, a
burning fire that will send us out all over the country, and across the water to
China, Japan, India and Africa, to tell lost souls the way of salvation!
(7) Definitely Endued with
Power from on High
The seventh thing that was the
secret of why God used D. L. Moody was that he had a very definite enduement
with power from on High, a very clear and definite baptism with the Holy Ghost.
Moody knew he had "the baptism with the Holy Ghost"; he had no doubt
about it. In his early days he was a great hustler; he had a tremendous desire
to do something, but he had no real power. He worked very largely in the energy
of the flesh.
But there were two humble Free Methodist women who used
to come over to his meetings in the Y.M.C.A. One was "Auntie Cook" and
the other, Mrs. Snow. (I think her name was not Snow at that time.) These two
women would come to Mr. Moody at the close of his meetings and say: "We are
praying for you." Finally, Mr. Moody became somewhat nettled and said to
them one night: "Why are you praying for me? Why don't you pray for the
unsaved?" They replied: "We are praying that you may get the
power." Mr. Moody did not know what that meant, but he got to thinking
about it, and then went to these women and said: "I wish you would tell me
what you mean"; and they told him about the definite baptism with the Holy
Ghost. Then he asked that he might pray with them and not they merely pray for
Auntie Cook once told me of the intense fervor with
which Mr. Moody prayed on that occasion. She told me in words that I scarcely
dare repeat, though I have never forgotten them. And he not only prayed with
them, but he also prayed alone.
Not long after, one day on his way to England, he was
walking up Wall Street in New York; (Mr. Moody very seldom told this and I
almost hesitate to tell it) and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that
city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the
street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might
have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy
Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask
God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out
from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him, and when he got to
London (partly through the prayers of a bedridden saint in Mr. Lessey's church),
the power of God wrought through him mightily in North London, and hundreds were
added to the churches; and that was what led to his being invited over to the
wonderful campaign that followed in later years.
Time and again Mr. Moody would come to me and say:
"Torrey, I want you to preach on the baptism with the Holy Ghost." I
do not know how many times he asked me to speak on that subject. Once, when I
had been invited to preach in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York
(invited at Mr. Moody's suggestion; had it not been for his suggestion the
invitation would never have been extended to me), just before I started for New
York, Mr. Moody drove up to my house and said: "Torrey, they want you to
preach at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York. It is a great big
church, cost a million dollars to build it." Then he continued: "Torrey,
I just want to ask one thing of you. I want to tell you what to preach about.
You will preach that sermon of yours on 'Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible to
Be the Word of God' and your sermon on 'The Baptism With the Holy Ghost.'"
Time and again, when a call came to me to go off to
some church, he would come up to me and say: "Now, Torrey, be sure and
preach on the baptism with the Holy Ghost." I do not know how many times he
said that to me. Once I asked him: "Mr. Moody, don't you think I have any
sermons but those two: 'Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible to Be the Word of
God' and 'The Baptism With the Holy Ghost'?" "Never mind that,"
he replied, "you give them those two sermons.
Once he had some teachers at Northfield -- fine men,
all of them, but they did not believe in a definite baptism with the Holy Ghost
for the individual. They believed that every child of God was baptized with the
Holy Ghost, and they did not believe in any special baptism with the Holy Ghost
for the individual. Mr. Moody came to me and said: "Torrey, will you come
up to my house after the meeting tonight and I will get those men to come, and I
want you to talk this thing out with them."
Of course, I very readily consented, and Mr. Moody and
I talked for a long time, but they did not altogether see eye to eye with us.
And when they went, Mr. Moody signaled me to remain for a few moments. Mr. Moody
sat there with his chin on his breast, as he so often sat when he was in deep
thought; then he looked up and said: "Oh, why will they split hairs? Why
don't they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need? They
are good teachers, they are wonderful teachers, and I am so glad to have them
here; but why will they not see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is just the
one touch that they themselves need?"
I shall never forget the eighth of July, 1894, to my
dying day. It was the closing day of the Northfield Students' Conference -- the
gathering of the students from the eastern colleges. Mr. Moody had asked me to
preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning on the baptism with the Holy Ghost.
On Saturday night I had spoken about, "The Baptism With the Holy Ghost:
What It Is; What It Does; the Need of It and the Possibility of It." On
Sunday morning I spoke on "The Baptism With the Holy Spirit: How to Get
It." It was just exactly twelve o'clock when I finished my morning sermon,
and I took out my watch and said: "Mr. Moody has invited us all to go up to
the mountain at three o'clock this afternoon to pray for the power of the Holy
Spirit. It is three hours to three o'clock. Some of you cannot wait three hours.
You do not need to wait. Go to your rooms; go out into the woods; go to your
tent; go anywhere where you can get alone with God and have this matter out with
At three o'clock we all gathered in front of Mr.
Moody's mother's house (she was then still living), and then began to pass down
the lane, through the gate, up on the mountainside. There were four hundred and
fifty-six of us in all; I know the number because Paul Moody counted us as we
passed through the gate.
After a while Mr. Moody said: "I don't think we
need to go any further; let us sit down here." We sat down on stumps and
logs and on the ground. Mr. Moody said: "Have any of you students anything
to say?" I think about seventy-five of them arose, one after the other, and
said: "Mr. Moody, I could not wait till three o'clock; I have been alone
with God since the morning service, and I believe I have a right to say that I
have been baptized with the Holy Spirit."
When these testimonies were over, Mr. Moody said:
"Young men, I can't see any reason why we shouldn't kneel down here right
now and ask God that the Holy Ghost may fall upon us just as definitely as He
fell upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Let us pray." And we did
pray, there on the mountainside. As we had gone up the mountainside heavy clouds
had been gathering, and just as we began to pray those clouds broke and the
raindrops began to fall through the overhanging pines. But there was another
cloud that had been gathering over Northfield for ten days, a cloud big with the
mercy and grace and power of God; and as we began to pray our prayers seemed to
pierce that cloud and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. Men and women, that is what
we all need the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.
Faith Hall of Fame