Gradtually, Mr. Moody's heart, and thought, and time, were so given to his missionary labors that he took very little interest in his business and decided to give up his cherished plan of making a fortune and devote his whole time to his work.
"How do you expect to live?" inquired a friend.
"God will provide if he wishes mo to keep on; and I will keep on until I ain obliged to stop," was his answer.
He had saved about a thousand dollars but, with his numerous charities, this soon disappeared. He was at last obliged to sleep upon the benches in the Young Men's Christian Association hall because he had no money with which to pay for lodgings elsewhere. He slept there with money in his purse which friends, not knowing his circumstances, had given him to use in his work, but which he was too conscientious to take for his own personal expenses.
Since that time he has never received a salary from any individual, nor entered into any business or speculation. Yet he has never known actual want. God has cared for him and his family. Friends constantly insist upon supplying him with all the necessary comforts of life.
At the breaking out of the rebellion a new direction was given to Mr. Moody's labors. In the neighborhood of Chicago was a large camp where he would go, night after night, seeking to bring the soldiers under the influence of divine grace. Subsequently he was in the service of the Christian Commission, as president of the executive branch for Chicago.
During the four years of carnage and death he labored and travelled indefatigably, supplying the soldiers with comforts, and pointing the dying to the Saviour.
A Christian Commissioner gives the following result of his teaching the soldiers faith iu prayer for temporal supplies:
"One night, a party of our men found themselves on a battle-field, iu charge of a great many wounded soldiers, who, by the sudden retreat of the army, were left wholly without shelter or supplies. Having done their best for the poor fellows—bringing them water from a distant brook, and searching the haversacks of the dead for rations—they began to say to themselves, and one another, 'These weak and wounded men must have food, or they will die. The army is out of reach, and there is no village for many miles: what are we to do?'
"'Pray to God to send us bread,' said one.
"That night, in the midst of the dead and dying, they held a little prayer-meeting, telling the Lord all about the case, ar.d begging Rim to send them tread immediately; though from whence it could come they had not the most remote idea. All night long they plied their work of niercy. With the first ray of dawn the sound of an approaching wagon caught their ears; aud presently, through the mists of the morning, appeared a great Dutsh farm wagon, piled to the very top with loaves of bread.
"On their asking the driver where he came from, and who sent him, he replied:
"'When I went to bed lust night I knew that the army was gone, and I could not sleep for thiukmg of the poor fellows who always have to stay behind. Something seemed to say to me, "What will those poor fellows do for something to eat?" It came to me so strong that I waked up my old wife, and told her what was the matter. We had only a little bread in the house; and while my wife was making some more I took my team and went around to all my neighbors, making them get up and give me all Hie bread in their houses, telling them it was for the wounded soldiers. When I got home my wagon was full, my old wife piled her baking on the top, aud I started ofl' to bring the bread to the boys, t eling just as if the Lord, IIimse''f, was sending me.'"
Mr. Moody was on the battle-fields of Shilob, Pittsburg Landing, Murfreesboro; with the army in many different places, and was among the first to enter Eichmorid, where with undiminished zeal he ministered alike to loyalists and rebels.
The war being ended he again gnve his undivided attention to missionary work, in Chicago. He had now a commodious chapel in Illinois street erected at a cost of $20,000—which money he had himself collected. He was President of the Chicago Y. M. C. A., and calls for him to attend religious conventions and revival meetings were very frequent. But his chief work was in his own church, one peculiarity of which was every member having some specified work to do. It is said that the bell in the tower— a gift from a New-York friend—used to ring every night in the week for a men's meeting, or mother's meeting, or Bible meeting, or temperance meeting, or stranger's mei ting, or a meeting of some kind.
One morning Mr. Moody observed a stranger standing on the corner near his church, apparently with nothing to do and nowhere to go, and going up to him and handing him a number of papers said very pleasantly, "Here, take this pile of papers and standing at that corner give one to every body that passes by."
The stranger, pleased to hear a friendly voice and have something to do, took them and gave them out as directed, joined Mocdy's church, and has been since a most effective worker.
Though bodily weariness occasionally overcame him he would recover his strength and spirits after a very brief season of rest.
Col. Hammond, a friend of his, gives the following incident:
"Mr. Moody came to me one Sunday, after morning service, seemingly quite, tired out - He -threw himself into a chair and burst out—'I am used Tip —can't think, or speak, or do any thing else. There is my meeting at the church to-night—yon must take it. I have absolutely nothing left in me.'
"Knowing that he never asked help unless he needed it, I promised to take the service off his hands. When the time came I went down to the church, and found the house quite full. I was about commencing the service, when the door opened, and in rushed Mr. Moody, followed by a long procession of young men whom he had picked up and brought with him on an errand which, to them, was evidently a new one.
"Mounting the platform with a bound, he seized the hymn-book and commenced, and from beginning to eud of that service I had nothing to do but keep out of the way.
. "He had taken a rest of an hour or two, and then, having no care about the evening service on his mind, took up his old work of bringing in recruits, at which he was this time unusually successful. As he led them to the church some happy thought struck him, and between the street corner and the pulpit he arranged a sermon which was one of the most effective I ever heard him preach."
Mr. Hitchcock, now superintendent of Mr. Moody's school, gives the following characteristic sketch of the. Evangelist making two hundred calls one New Year'aDity:
"At.an early hour the carriage which wasj*>-tak»him and several of his leading men was at the doer, and, with a carefully prepared list of residences, they began the day's labor. The list included a ve>-y large proportion of families living in garrets, and the upper stories of tenement houses. On renching a family belonging to his congregation ho would spring out of the carriage, leap up the stairways, rush into the room, and pay his respects as follows:
"'You know me: I am Moody; thio is Deacon De Golyer, this is Deacon Thane, this is Brother Hitchcock. Are you all well? Do you all come to church and Sunday-school? Have you all the coal you need for the winter? Let us pray.' And down we would all go upon our knees, while Mr. Moody offered from fifteen to twenty words of earnest, tender, sympathetic supplication, that God would bless the man, his wife, and each one of the children.
"Then, springing to his feet, he would dash on his hat, dart through the doorway and down the stairs, throwing a hearty 'good-by' behind him, leap into the carriage, and off to the next placa on his list; the entire exercise occupying about one minute and a half.
"Before long the horses were tired out, for Moody insisted on their going at a run, from one house to another; so the carriage was abandoned, and the party proceeded ou foot. One after another his companions became exhausted with running upstairs and down-stairs, and across the streets, and kneeling on bare floors, aud getting up in a hurry until, reluctantly, but of necessity, they were obliged to relinquish the attempt, and the tireless paster was left to make the last of the two hundred calls alone; after which feat he returned home in the highest spirits, and with no sense of fatigue, to laugh at his exhausted companions for deserting him."
One afternoon Mr. Moody was being driven by a Christian gentleman through a farming community, to a town where he was to speak at a convention and attend revival meetings. As they journeyed they came to a school-house closed for the day. At the farm-house beyond Mr. Moody stopped and inquired of the woman if they ever had any religious meetings in that school-house. Upon her replying that they never had any meetings around there he said, "Tell every body you see there will be a prayermeeting in that school-house every night next week."
At the second house they found the teacher of the school and Mr. Moody gave the same notice to her telling her to send word throughout the community, by her pupils. His acquaintance, knowing that he had an engagement for every night the following week, inquired of him who was to superintend the meetings.
"You are," was the blunt reply.
"I!" cried the astonished brother "I never did sucli a thing in my life."
"It is high time you commenced then! I have made the appointment and you must keep it."
The timid brother was forced to acquiesce, and led the meetings, which was the result of a great revival throughout all that portion of the country.
At a certain State Sunday-school Convention Mr. Moody's determination that every thing connected with Sunday-school work, however extended, should be conducted upon a basis of strict piety, and with earnest religious exercises, in contradistinction to the views and more worldly purposes of some of his eminent co-laborers—gained him the severe displeasure of several prominent men at the convention. Mr. Moody's views were adopted, by a vote of the majority, and he and his friends appointed upon a number of important committees. One of the opposition, in the presence of five thousand people, gave him a pointedly insulting question to speak upon.
He accepted the challenge and spoke with extraordinary meekness and fervent religious feeling. He to iichiugly recapitulated his own and his friends' labors for Christ, and at the end tendered the resignation of all honorable offices he and his friends had received. But his address had moved the multitude to tears, and the hearts of his enemies to deepest repentance.
Unanimously, and by acclaim, they voted that the resignation should not be accepted, expressed their appreciation of him and his work, and a desire for his pardon. Never was a more melting scene witnessed in a vast audience, than when the great man offered a short, audible prayer for reconciliation and peace.