Mr. Smithson began his talk by a reference to Christ's meeting with the fishermen, and like their work ours was to be fishers. In the first place we must clean nets, and it was not necessary for us to be great speakers to become great workers in the Lord s cause. A French surgeon being once asked how many operations of a difficult and peculiar kind he had performed, replied 300, but while they were very brilliant, not one had been successful. An English surgeon who had questioned him, said that he had had eight operations of the same kind, and all but one had been successful. With the Christian worker it should be as it had been with the English surgeon, and while we might not be brilliant, we might be successful in what we undertook. It was not brilliant operations and big heads, but with right hearts that we should work. What we wanted was downright hard work. Some said, it was not their sphere
to work this or that way. To those he said, do not be waiting for a sphere. You must work where God found you. Some said they could not see any success in the work ahead. That was not the way to look at it, but go to work. The business man did not go around and show his balance sheet and tell his clerks how much he had lost or gained. Do your part, and you may be doing a part that may contribute to the great victory, as much as the clerks contributed to the general result of their employer's business.
The fishermen of the Scripture did not quarrel about who was to catch the biggest fish. They just filled the boats. That was what must be done in the churches. Many had heard the story of the ragged boy with his crooked pin catching fish right under the nose of the gentlemen with fancy rods. It was not brilliant equipment that always caught the fish. Launch out. He rembered that in Dublin they started out to work. Some fear was felt that it would be dangerous and that perhaps there would be trouble. The work was started, and a round of the lodging houses made, and invitations given to the lodgers to come to a breakfast. They elbowed each other, and smiled. They came, and in time those meetings were soon attended by 1,000 Catholics and 500 others. Start out, and go to work. All remembered the story of the great artist who asked for the piece of rough marble, and how out of it he carved the most beautiful figure of an angel. Right here in Chicago there were plenty of pieces of rough marble, out of which might be carved angels. If you thought you were, nothing, do not let that hinder you, but remember that in your work is Christ. All know that some had the trick of picking fish from others.
There was in England a class who steal in this way, and are known as poachers. There were some ecclesiastical poachers. That was a very mean trade. Work earnestly in the best way you know. No man ever lost anything by his religion. He never knew a business man who yet lost anything by attending to the Lord's work. There was many a fort to take, and like the volunteers in the Crimean war who marched forward to take a certain fort, we must march out right in our own city and assail the enemy. We could fell the giants of iniquity, though we were but striplings, if we had but faith to trust in God.
Mr. Moody's Closing Address.
Mr. Moody said that in '76, when the meetings were held in this city, one of the ministers made a remark that had remained with him ever since. They were speaking about the text. "I will pour out waters upon those who are thirsty," and Dr. Gibson said he would like to find the thirsty in his congregation that he might pour out upon them the water. He had thought a good way to find the thirsty would be to carry a bucket of water down the aisle, and those that were thirsty would drink. If the buckets were empty we could not tell who were thirsty. He had thought that himself and other ministers were carrying empty buckets. Was it not true that they were working without having been anointed, without the power for service? The influence of this convention would be lost within thirty days unless they could get power from on high. A colony had gone to Africa, and when they would have settled in one place the natives told them there was one season when it never rained there, and they moved on. In another place they were discouraged in the same manner. But at the third place, the natives said the clouds were pierced, and they settled there. These Christian workers should go under the pierced clouds and then their buckets would always be filled. They could then give of the waters to those who were thirsty and the buckets never be empty. It was so easy to work when we were always filled.
A friend of his living over in Michigan, near the lake, had pipes laid from the lake to his house so that he could draw off the water by simply turning a faucet.
He said it was better than having Lake Michigan, for if he had the whole lake he would not know what to do with it. With the connecting pipe he could draw off just as much of the lake as he wanted and always have a plenty. It was easy to go to a throne of grace and be always filled. Mr. Moody said he had been approached during the afternoon by a man who said he had received a blessing at the meetings held here seven years ago that lasted him ever since. And the speaker believed that such blessings should go out from this meeting. In Birmingham one kind-hearted gentleman had established morning schools for the workingmen. When Mr. Moody was in the place he thought he would look into it. He found that several years ago this gentleman thought he might do something for the workmen of the place, and he tried to establish a school for Sunday mornings. He got up at 7 o'clock and went about carrying out his plans, but it was discouraging, for 7 o'clock was before daylight in the winter mornings, and on Sundays the workmen could not be got up until about 10 o'clock. But he was not discouraged, and kept at his work, until now in Birmingham on Sunday morning one could hear the tramp of these workmen as they went to their school. There were 8,000 men gathered into this morning school and the Christian teachers were there from all over the city to instruct them. It was a grand sight to see this school, and when Mr. Moody visited it he found the Mayor of the city there at that early hour teaching a class of men.
And the influence had not stopped there A lady had been con
verted and her whole family. There was one member of this family, a gentleman of influence at court, a man of wealth, and in looking about for something to do for the Lord, he thought of the boys. He went down to the "Seven Dials," one of the very worst places in London, and he gathered the boys up that he could persuade to go with him. He gave them their supper, kept them at night, and gave them their breakfast. He then promised to give every one that remained with him a new suit of clothes and find him a placet The boys remained, and night after night he went down to that vile part of the city at 2 o'clock at night, or later and each time gathered up several of these boys. • This was not only for one night, but for every night, and he kept it up for years. And now, as the result of this work, he had a great training school with 2,500 boys and young men, ranging from 17 to 25 years of age,"who were learning the trades. It did not mean much being free in this country, but in Europe it did mean a good deal.
Mr. Moody hoped the spirit of the Most High would fall upon this convention and that it would bear-good fruit. He hoped that many would go into the vineyard and ask God to teach them what was their work. He had never advised any man to go into the ministry.
It was too high a calling. He had never advised any man to go into the foreign field, because it was too solemn. If God sent men into this work they would be successful. If men sent them they would break down. But he believed there would be fruit. He never had seen a man who expected good results but what he worked so that he secured them. A man who had hope and faith would succeed. The people in this convention all seem to have faith. But they must sink public opinion. They should not look into the papers to see what was said about them. They should not care what the people said. There was no need to make any noise so as to attract attention. It was not always the noisy things that proved successful. There was near his house in the spring, a little brook that went bubbling along over its pebbly surface making a noise all the time, and always making itself known, but when the heat of the summer came the waters of that brook had dried up, and there was nothing left of it. Then, not far a\vav was a great, silent river. He had never heard that river; did not know it was there, because it did not make any noise; but when he found it moving along in its silence, and followed down its course, he found along its banks mills and manufactories that were given power by these waters. We need not blow a trumpet in our work. On a deadwall in Paris there was an inscription which he liked.
It read: "They say. What do they say? Let them say." That was a good motto for Christian workers. They had a work
to do, and should go about it, not caring what was said. Should they go forth from this convention to work, or should they let its influence be lost? It was said of Demosthenes that when he spoke the people wanted to go at once to fight with Philip, but when Cicero spoke they went away, saying it was grand. One inspired men to do, the other merely made himself admired. Which should this convention be like? They had had good speeches. Never had he heard better. Never had he seen so much unanimity Never had he seen Chicago pulpits'so well manned as at the present. They were grand men, and were united so that as Dr. Hatfield had said, one could not tell Methodists from Baptists or Presbyterians or Congregationalists. There was a spirit of unity and he thanked God that these denominational walls had begun to crumble. [Applause.] "Never mind that now. That is not what we want. We want work Let us go about it. Do all the good you can and work as long as you can."
When he had closed, Mr. Moody stepped back into the crowd on the platform and left the hall at once, taking the evening train for his home in the East.
A hymn was then sung.
Bishop Cheney followed, and reminded the audience that they had not attended the great convention for the pleasurable excitement it had afforded. If they were to turn away from it and say it had been delightful, and enjoyment was the highest thought in their minds, then within thirty days the influence set in motion would be completely lost Let them realize that the work of the convention was but to set them at work Though the convention was ended, its work was not done.
Dr. Henson came next with a brief, earnest talk "What shall we do?" was the question asked. The answer was suggested in the quotation " Whatever thy hand findeth to do" Take what was next your hand. A gift of $10,000 from a rich man might receive the applause of the world, but the music of the widow's mite rose to heaven. It was a grand thing to be a general, and see the battle and hear the shouts of victory, but the life of the private in the ranks was more heroic. Let us be willing to do our little in our little sphere, and let us go down from the high mountain, from this convention into the valley to work. Let us promise to right about face and work. If we could not move great multitudes let us put our hand on the shoulder of some brother and wish that he may become a Christian.
Major D. W. Whittle then exhorted the audience, whether they were Baptists. Episcopalians, Methodists, or Presbyterians, to work together to attain the great object of bringing souls to Jesus. They should not wait until January to hold their revivals; they
should engage in the work of saving sinners without delay. A questionable pride kept many away from God. Many of them would find by bitter experience that they had sinful hearts and were in need of God's mercy. If they worked for God and persevered, their end would be glorious. Christ had given His life to save them and they should trust in His ways of redemption.
At his request a large number arose and expressed their willingness to obey God's law. Many also asked for the prayers of the assemblage.
The services were .brought to a close by the singing of the "Sweet By-and-by."
THERE'S a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way,
To prepare us a dwelling-place there.
2 We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blest,
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessings of rest.
3 To our bountiful Father above
We will offer our tribute of praise,
For the glorious gift of His love,
And the blessings that hallow our days.
Cho.—In the sweet by-and-by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore,
In the sweet by-and-by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.