"If you would move me with your preaching, or with your praying, or with your singing, first be moved yourself." Alexander Whyte
"The religion that does not summon the world to judgment before its holy demands and lofty standards has already signed its death warrant.'" E. K. Cox
"We must know that the baptism of the Spirit immerses us into an intensity of zeal, into the likeness of Jesus, to make us into pure, running metal, so hot for God that it travels like oil from vessel to vessel." Smith Wigglesworth
"Some want to live within the sound of church and chapel bells. I want to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell." C.T. Studd
"Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned'; but David said, ‘I have sinned against Thee.'" William S. Plumer
When we last left Dwight Lyman Moody he had just received the answer to his prayer that God would fill him with the Holy Spirit. He had been praying with two intercessors, Sarah Anne Cooke and Widow Hawhurst for a new zeal in his preaching. A fire in his heart that would make his words burn in the hearts of the people. During those days of intense prayer Mrs. Cooke said:
"Mr. Moody's agony was so great that he rolled on the floor and in the midst of many tears and groans cried to God to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
As we had already read, when Moody received the baptism while walking down the city street, his life was never the same after that. Paul Davis writes:
"...an overpowering sense of God's presence flooded his soul. Almighty God had come to him. Without wasting a moment's time Dwight locked himself in a nearby friend's room so he could be alone with God. The room seemed ablaze with God. He stretched out on the floor and lay bathing his soul in the Divine. Of this communion and mountain top experience Moody later wrote, ‘I can only say that 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 was all the time tugging and carrying water. But now I have a river that carries me.'"
Everything in and about Moody changed. The rough edges were made smooth. The gospel now would roll off of Moody's tongue like a match and the hearts of the people like tinder. Gone are the days of rough and tumble salvation hunts. Days when Moody would throw his pearls to anyone, any place, any time. Days when he would receive black- eyes or worse. But amazingly, even in those days, the Lord blessed his efforts with fruit. His friend and companion R.A. Torrey tells of Moody's early zeal:
"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 is 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 lamp-post. 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 preacher, I would knock you into the gutter for your impertinence.' Mr. Moody said a few earnest words and then passed on. The next day the 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...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...'
Mr. Moody went out of that man's office somewhat crestfallen. He wondered if he...really had more zeal than knowledge.
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 lamp-post, 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 country."
Another episode of Moody's roughness for God is explained by Torrey:
"On one occasion...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...she promised to go...but she did not do so. Mr. Moody watched for her for weeks, and then one day he saw her on the street...he started towards her...she started to run away...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. She then 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, and 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...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 became prominent in churches elsewhere...only two or three years ago, as I came out of a ticket office...a fine looking young man followed me. He said, ‘Are you Dr. Torrey?' I said, ‘Yes.'...He was the son of this woman...and an officer in the church where he lived. When Mr. Moody pulled that little child out from under that 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..."
At another time there was a man who used to attend all of Moody's prayer and open air meetings in order to make a disturbance. Moody tried on several occasions to quiet him down but could not. After a while, unknown to Moody, the Holy Spirit was convicting this man of his ways. One day while Moody stood at the door shaking hands with the people at the close of a prayer-meeting, this man was also in line. As he reached Moody he stuck out his hand for a shake, after a moment's hesitation, Moody stretched out his hand, and said:
"I suppose if Jesus Christ could eat the Last Supper with Judas Iscariot, I ought to shake hands with you."
That was before, now after the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Moody was a changed man. A man not only full of zeal and knowledge but one with a fire and fortitude to see the Kingdom of God advanced no matter what. The first mode of business that Moody handled was to jump full time into the ministry. Not being formally ordained as a minister would have been a stumbling block for someone else but Moody's reputation preceded him. M. Laid Simons writes:
"Already one thousand scholars were members of his school, and three hundred adult converts attended his regular services....he found himself...the unordained pastor of an earnest congregation...these he kept engaged in distributing tracts, and testifying for the truth in byways and amid their neighbors. Such a congregation and pastor were unique in Christiandom..."
A.P. Fitt adds:
"He invited the members to his home for the first " Bible readings" to be held in America...in addition to ordinary meetings, there were also special meetings for men, young men, and boys; for mothers and girls; Bible, gospel, praise, prayer, and testimony meetings...watch-night and thanksgiving services. Besides all these , cottage meetings were held at the home of members, and open-air meetings. The church building was almost in constant use...it was the scene of continuous revival activity and zeal."
"This body of believers, which was wholly without denominational bias, and accepted implicitly the common evangelical doctrines, was cordially welcomed to the fellowship of the city pastors...a spacious house of worship was erected...at a total cost of $20,000. No pastor ever looked more faithfully after the welfare of his individual members. On New Year's day it was his custom to visit every attendant...from house to house...and praying tenderly for the welfare of each. In this manner, he has been known to visit two hundred families in the course of a single day."
So now Moody was faced with entering the ministry full time. After the baptism of the Holy Spirit Moody writes:
"I did not 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 greatest struggle of my life took place. Should I give up business and give myself wholly to Christian work, or should I not? God helped me decide...and I have never regretted my choice. Oh, the luxury of leading someone out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light and liberty of the gospel!"
Mr. Fitt tells us:
"The last eight months he spent in business, he made five thousand dollars (quite a large sum in those days). The first year in Christian work he did not receive more than three hundred dollars. But he never waivered. He believed Christ would provide him means as long as He had use for him. It meant living on crackers and cheese, sleeping on benches...in the Y.M.C.A. hall and other "hardships", but through all...he remained steadfast to the commission he knew he had received from on high."
Prayer and Bible study became an all important part of Moody's life. Moody wrote his brother Sam this letter:
"I hope you will do all you can personally for your Savior. Talk for Him, Pray to Him. Labor for Him, and do all things for Him, and the good Lord will never leave you. Read often the fourteenth chapter of John."
R. A. Torrey witnessed so much of the life of Moody, especially while at prayer:
"Mr. Moody was, in the deepest and most meaningful sense, a man of prayer...Moody ...was a wonderful preacher...but...I wish to testify that he was a far greater pray-er...often we were...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."
One day, Mr. Moody drove up to my house...and said, ‘ Torrey, I want you to take a ride with me.' I got into the carriage and we drove out...some great and unexpected difficulties...had arisen in regard to the work (of ministry)...as we drove along...it began to rain. He drove the horse under a shed...and 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."
Everything Moody did was backed by prayer. He totally depended upon God for all he needed. One day he told Torrey:
"I have just found, to my surprise, that we are twenty thousand dollars behind in our finances for the work here and in Northfield...I am going to get it by prayer."
Torrey said he did receive the money and it came in such a way that it had to be God answering prayer.
Moody would rise every morning at four o'clock and shut himself up in a remote room in his house to pray and study the Bible:
"If I am going to get in any study, I have to get up before the other folks get up."
Alone in the morning darkness he would spend precious time with his Lord and Savior, just as King David prayed, "Early will I seek you..."
"We talked together far on into the night...It was very late when I got to bed that night...about five o'clock , I heard a gentle tap on my door. Then I heard Moody's voice whispering, ‘ Torrey, are you up?' I happened to be; I do not always get up at that early hour...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."
On the 28th of August 1862, Moody married Miss Emma C. Revell. Emma was an active worker in his congregation and also was one with him in harmony with a life of consecration to the Lord. The marriage was blessed with three children, a daughter and two sons.
Many times over the next few years he had to totally trust in God for finances and family needs. On parting with his wife one morning, he said to her, ‘I have no money, and the house is without supplies. It looks as if the Lord has had enough of me...and is going to send me back again to sell boots and shoes." Later that day he received two fifty dollar checks (a large sum in those days) from a stranger to use on himself and his family. Another day his wife asked him to order a barrel of flour. He found his pocket empty, but his mind was quickly diverted from his lack of money to prayer before God. When he returned home that night he found that a friend, whose heart had been moved upon by the Holy Spirit, had sent ahead of him a barrel of flour. Another surprise came to him one day, in the shape of a lease for a cozy house fully furnished, supplied by business men and friends touched by his virtue and self-denial.
During the Civil War the Union Army mobilized volunteer soldiers throughout the north and sent them to Camp Douglas, just outside Chicago. Moody saw this as a great evangelistic opportunity. He began to hold gospel services, prayer-meetings, song services, he distributed Bibles , books and tracts and by personal visitations he tried to win the soldiers to Christ. The very first "Band of Brothers" was created as the Seventy-Second Illinois Regiment went into battle with every man in the ranks a professing Christian. From 1861-1865, he ministered on battlefields to thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers. He was one of the first to enter Richmond with Gen. Grant. All the while he still maintained an active presence at his church in Chicago.
These war experiences prepared Moody for the evangelistic opportunities that would soon come his way. Already his name was being repeated in Christian and revival circles throughout the country. The Chicago noon prayer-meetings became a rallying- ground where hundreds daily came to pray and learn the truths of the gospel. Testimonies of answered prayer were spread about the city like a whirl-wind. Invitations for him to preach in major cities started to come in droves. He even received invitations to some of the most unlikely places:
"Once I received an invitation to be at the opening of a large billiard-hall. I suppose they thought it was a good joke to invite me. I went before the time came and asked the man if he meant it. He said yes. At last he asked, ‘ you are not going to pray, are you? We never want any praying here.' ‘Well,' I said, ‘ I never go where I cannot pray; but I will still come.' ‘No,' said he, ‘ we do not want you.' ‘Well, I will come anyway, since you invited me,' said I. But he rather insisted that I should not, and finally I told him, ‘ We will compromise the matter. I will not come if you will let me pray with you now.' So he agreed to that, and I got down on my knees with one rum-seller on each side of me, and prayed that they might fail in their business, and never have any more success in it from this day forth. Well, they went on for about two months, and then, sure enough, their business failed. God answered prayer that time also."
Moody was soon elected president of the Chicago Y.M.C.A. and its noon prayer meetings were now filled with over a thousand persons a day. Need for a new building was apparent and by his energetic and knowledgeable friends a building was dedicated in 1867. It burned to the ground a year later but it was immediately rebuilt bigger and better. He raised money for building scores of churches, missions, and Association buildings (Y.M.C.A.) in England and America. He refused to take any acclaim or honor for his share of the work, and always barred attempts to use his name.
Moody never tired in the work of God. On Sunday mornings he would preach to his own congregation, in the afternoon superintend a Sunday school of a thousand people, and in the evening preach at the Y.M.C.A. building. Moody was still being invited to preach throughout the state. Traveling to a convention for the Sunday-school cause he opened the convention with such a baptism of the Holy Spirit on the crowd that many were converted for real. The delegates left that convention with a new spiritual power and permeated the State with a fervor from above. M. Laird Simons writes:
"Nothing could daunt him or slacken his enthusiasm. Once, he visited a town in the summer for revival work...one pastor bluntly told him, ‘I am sorry you have come. When we wrote to you, everything seemed favorable for a revival; but now all promise is gone.' Another met him in a similar spirit, saying, ‘You might better have staid at home; in the summer people here are too busy.' There-upon Moody went out alone into the public square, mounted an empty box, and began an exhortation with such earnestness that many passers-by were deeply affected. That night no church could contain the crowd of people, and the wake of awakening spread like wild-fire. Before he left the town, the first minister confessed to him, ‘I was mistaken; the Lord knew when to send you' while the second said, ‘I see now that summer is just the perfect time for revival."
Here are some interesting side notes about Moody, by Dr. R. A. Torrey, who by the way the Lord would use at the turn of the century to bring revival to half the world:
"Time and again Mr. Moody would come to me and say, ‘ Torrey, ...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 was asked to preach in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York...Moody said, ‘ Torrey...it is a great, big church, cost a million dollars to build it...I want to ask one thing of you... preach the baptism with the Holy Ghost...Time and again he would say that...once I asked him, ‘Don't you think I have any other sermons to preach?' He said, ‘ Never mind that...just preach the baptism with the Holy Ghost."
I shall never forget the day of July 8th. I was preaching, for Mr. Moody at the Northfield Students Conference. Mr. Moody had asked me to preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning on---The baptism with the Holy Ghost--- what It is, what It does, the need of It and the Possibility of It, and how to get It. It was ...exactly twelve o'clock when I finished my Sunday morning sermon...and said, ‘ Mr. Moody has invited us all to go up on the mountain at three o'clock...to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit...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 Him...At three o'clock we all gathered...and then began to pass...up on the mountainside. There were four hundred and fifty six of us in all. After a while Mr. Moody said, ‘ I do not think we need to go any further; let us sit down here...I cannot see any reason why we should not kneel down...and ask God that the Holy Ghost may fall upon us...as he fell upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost.. Let us pray.' And we did pray, there on the mountainside...our prayers seemed to pierce the heavens and the Holy Ghost fell upon us.
Torrey had often told that story and every time a shallowness of breath would come upon him and tears would fill his eyes and he would always say of that day, "Men and women that is what we all need---the Baptism with the Holy Ghost."
In 1867, Mrs. Moody was suffering from asthma and a harassing cough and her doctor recommended a sea voyage. Moody had always wanted to meet and speak with Charles H. Spurgeon, the great "Apostle of Prayer" and George Muller the man of faith who lived in total reliance on the Lord for his needs. So off to England the Moody's went. He spent some time talking to Spurgeon trying to talk him into committing to come to the States for meetings but to no avail. He then went to Bristol and spent some time with George Muller. Of this visit he wrote his mother:
"Bristol is where George Muller's great orphan schools are. He now has 1,150 children in his house, but never asks a man for a cent of money to support them. He calls on God, and God sends the money to him. It is wonderful to see what God can do with a man of prayer."
He preached at a few places filling the houses to capacity. He also left an impression upon the English by establishing the noon prayer-meetings as in Chicago. They became a great success and ,"they are starting them in different parts of the city and different parts in the rest of the country."
When Moody returned to America a new chapter of his life was about to begin. The Lord was about to introduce him to another brother in Christ who together with Moody would change the Christian world through evangelism. A. P. Fitt begins the story:
Mr. Moody's name is, throughout the world, associated with that of Ira D. Sankey more than any other of his fellow-laborers in the gospel. By many, "Moody and Sankey" are thought of as one person. They met for the first time in the year 1870, at the International Convention of the Young Men's Christian Association, held in Indianapolis, Indiana. They had heard of each other, but had never met. Mr. Sankey was already known for his ability to win souls by his singing of hymns... It was announced that "Mr. Moody from Chicago would conduct a prayer-meeting on Sunday morning at six o'clock."
The singing at the prayer-meeting was abominable, according to those who were present. After Moody finished with a prayer, the Rev. Robert Mc Millian urged Mr. Sankey to please step up and sing a hymn. Mr. Sankey then rose and sang with a voice that stopped heaven:
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains...
The gathering of people were cut to the core and one by one the entire group were singing heartily.
Fitt continues his story:
"When the meeting was brought to a close, Mr. McMillian asked Mr. Sankey to step forward, and he would introduce him to Mr. Moody... Moody took his hand... and said, ‘ What do you do for a living?'... Sankey answered , ‘I am in the government service.' Moody then said, ‘ Well, you'll have to give up your business...and come with me...you are the man I have been looking for for the past eight years. I want you to come and help me in my work..."
Sankey was reluctant to give up his good position and comfortable living for the uncertainty of ministry. He asked Moody for some time to think about the offer and Moody asked him to pray over the question but to meet him on a certain street corner tomorrow evening at six o'clock. Mr. Sankey was there and Moody came down the street went into a store and came out with a large store box, climbed on top of it and told Sankey to sing. After one or two hymns had been sung, Mr. Moody then began to preach. The timing was perfect as working men were just on their way home from the mills and factories. Soon a large crowd had gathered and Mr. Sankey said that Moody preached that evening as he had never heard anyone preach before. Moody than invited the entire crowd to a meeting hall to learn how to be saved. The entire crowd marched down the street to the hall four abreast with Mr. Sankey in the lead singing, "Shall We Gather at the River? From that day on until Mr. Moody's death the two men continued to labor together in "unbroken harmony and accord."
The hand of God was now complete in forming a dynamic weapon for evangelism by uniting these two holy, God-fearing men. Robert Murray McCheyne once said, ‘ A holy man in the hands of God is a fearful weapon." That weapon was about to be released and America, England, Scotland, Ireland and Europe would never be the same. In Moody's own words the command from God went out:
"I have felt like working three times as hard as ever since I came to understand that my Lord was coming back again. I took on this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a life-boat, and said to me, ‘ Moody, save all you can.' This world is getting darker and darker: its ruin is drawing nearer and nearer: if you have any friends on this wreck unsaved, you have better lose no time in getting them off."
1 Corinthians 4:20 " For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power."
To be continued...
JJ (Dark) Di Pietro
Cane Creek Church