FIRST MISSIONARY EFFORTS.
About a year after his conversion, Mr. Moody removed to Chicago and obtained a situation in a shoe store.
A gentleman, then a clerk in this same establishment, says of him, "Moody was a first-rate salesman. It was his particular pride to make his column foot up the largest on the book, not only iu the way of sal s, but also of profits. He took particular delight in trading with notional or unreasonable people; especially when they made great show of smartness and cunning, and thought themselves extraordinarily wise. Nothing was ever misrepresented ia the smallest particular; but when it came to be a sharpness of wit between buyer and sell-, r, Moody generally had the best of it."
Several of the clerks lodged in the store; and one of the favorite pastimes of the young men, after the hour for closing the establishment, was to turn their place of business into a hall of debate; among the chief subjects of which were theology and amusements. Moody disliked theatres, card . billiards, and all such amusements. It is rdatcd, by one of his fellow-clerks that comin^ into tte store one night after prayer-meeting, he found two of the boys playing checkers. He instantly grasped the board, scattering the checkers, and dashed it to pieces; then—before a word of remonstrance could be spoken—dropped upon his knees and commenced to pray.
He was, however, partial to athletic sports, innocent practical jokes, or a friendly trial of strength, and would always laugh as heartily when conquered as when victorious.
Arriving at Chicago, he joined a congregational church where he rented four pews, and kept them filled each Sabbath with young men. He attended the prayer-meetings, exhorted and prayed. Here he was presented with the same advice he had received in Boston; to leave the exhorting and praying to those who understood it.
He soon found a little Methodist church where the people were more congenial, and joined a band of young men who used to go, on Sabbath mornings, to hotels and saloons and distribute tracts, and invite the people to divine worship.
On one of his tract-distributing tours he found a little Mission School and asked for a class in it. In answer to his application the superintendent informed him that there were already twelve teachers and only sixteen pupils; but that he would be allowed to teach a class if he could gather it himself.
He went out into (he streets and by personal application succeeded in bringing in nearly a score 01 rough, filthy, half-naked urchins, and a place was assigned him.
But, enjoying the position of recruiting officer better than that of teacher, he handed his class over to another gentleman, and continued his work; bringing in fresh supplies until the school was filled.
Then was suggested the idea of organizing a separate school of his own, for the benefit of the lower classes. He rented a hall—used on Saturday nights for dancing—near the North Side Market, where were many Catholics and Germans, and commenced his school among tho half-starved, drunken, blasphemous, degraded mortals in this Five Points of Chicago. This school—which in one year rcaehrd to over six hundred and soon increased to a thousand—was held in this hall for six years, and has become one of the most noted in tho W( st.
In his benevolent visitations from house to house, Mr. Moody was frcquei.tly interfered with by the ronghi r pecple, end occasionally was obliged to flee for his life.
It is said that upon one occasion he was cornered by three ruffians who threatened to kill him.
"Look here," said he, "give a fellow a chance to say his prayers, won't you?"
They acquiesced, and falling upon his knees he prayed so earnestly for his persecutors that they qui tly left the room, and he took with him to Sunday-school the children he came for.
Mr. Moody felt that to make a school profitable, to such a crowd of disorderly little urchins, it must be lively and attractive. He had none of the ideal appliances necessary to a modern Sunday-school. But he loved children dearly—and the more degraded they were the move interest he seemed to take in them, and such trifles as the young urchins whistling, pulling each other's hair, turning somersaults, or crying, "Want a shine, Mister," "Black yer boots," etc., had no power to ruffle his temper.
He succeeded in persuading two gentlemen, Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Stillson, who were good singers, to come and help him. He also pressed Mr. J. W. Farrell, a prominent business man of executive ability, into the service as superintendent of the school.
For the first few Sabbaths they made no effort at regular instruction, but endeavored to gain the attention and confidence of the children by telling them stories, and singing; afterward the school was organized and conducted much in the usual way. As the mission became notorious and popular, there was no lack of teachers.
Mr. Moody began to be conscious of the defects in his education, and his lack of Scripture knowledge. He had been accustomed to read the Bible because he loved it; now, he commenced studying it, chapter by chapter, spelling out the hard words, and skipping the ones be could not master. Those who did not know him during his first efforts at evangelization can never appreciate through what difficulties he has struggled up to his present remarkable power.
At a Canada convention, an old friend said of him, "The first time I ever saw him was at a mooting in a little old shanty that had been abandoned by a saloon-keeper. Mr. Moody had got the place to hold a meeting in at night. I went there a little late; and the first thing I saw was a man standing with a few tallow candies around him, holding a negro boy, and trying to read to him the story of the Prodigal Son; and a great many of the words he could not make out, and had to slap. I thought, If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honor and glory, it will astanish me. After that meeting was over Mr. Moody said to me, 'EeyHolds, I have got only one talent: I have no education, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to do something for Him; and I want you to pray for me.' I have never ceased from that day to this, morning and night, to pray for that devoted Christian soliier. I have watched him, hava had counsel with him, and know him thoroughly; and, for consistent walk and conversation, I have never met a man to equal him. It astounds me when I look back and see what Mr. Moody was thirteen years ago, and then what he is under God to-day—shaking Scotland to its very centre, and reaching now over to Ireland. The last time I heard from him, his injunction was, 'Pray for me every day; pray now that God will keep me humble.'" •