The following are some of the anecdotes related by Mr. Moody at Cooper Union meeting, New York, November 20, 1896.
A man went out of the jail at Chicago to go to Joliet to serve a seven years' sentence, and a friend put a religious book into his hand, while he was in the jail at Chicago. Some time after he had gone to Joliet this friend visited him, and found that the cover of his little book was nearly worn off, and he had sewed it on with thread, and the book was pretty well worn out. His friend noticed that he had nineteen names written on the back of the book, and he inquired "What have you got those names there for?" "Well," the prisoner replied, "those are the names of prisoners who have read this book." "But here is a cross against three of them; what does that mean?" said his friend. "Oh," he said, "those are my brothers." "What do you mean by that?" "Well," he said, "I read that book in the jail in Chicago and was converted, and I thought when I came down here I would try and get some more converts, and I have loaned that book to nineteen prisoners, and when any prisoner tells me he is converted, I put a cross against his name." Pretty good investment, was it not? The book cost less than ten
My son was speaking down at Brockton, Mass., the other Sunday. You see I have got him stirred up, and the secretary of the Christian Association said to him when the meeting was over, "Perhaps you will be interested in something that occurred in our rooms a little while ago. A young man, quite a nice looking fellow, came in and wanted to know if I could not give him work. I told him I could not. He was from out of town, and I thought if I could find work for anyone I ought to put it in the hands of some man of Brockton, and he turned away with a look on his face that kind of haunted me, and so I called him back and said:
"Look here, my friend, you seem to be quite disappointed. I have some colporter's books here. I want you to take them and go out on the street and try to sell them.'' The young man colored up, ,and I said, "Do you mean that you are ashamed to sell those books?" He replied, "Oh, no; that very book you hold in your hand was given to me in jail, and it led me to Jesus Christ, and when I got out, I thought I would leave my own country and neighborhood and go among strangers and start life anew, and when I went to your place and saw the Christian Association, I thought maybe they could find something for me to do, so that I could get among Christian people.'' So that young man took the books and went out on the street and sold them right and left, and a business man noticed him and liked the way he worked, and he hired him and gave him steady employment; so you see, my friends, it is a very good investment.
Some Englishmen went to Africa a good many years ago to colonize. They came to a beautiful Copyright, 1900, by Robt. O. Law.
HAYMARKET OPERA HOUSE MEETING.
Interior view showing Mr. Moody in his familiar attitude addressing great crowds in this large theater building in
spot, and thought it would be a good place to establish a town, and after they had decided to stay there, they asked a native if there was plenty of rain there the year round. The native said no, that there were a few months in the year when everything dried up, so they thought that would not do, and they went on to another place that looked inviting, and they asked a native how it was there about the rain, and the native told them that in certain months everything dried up. Well, that would not do, and they went to a third place, and made the same inquiry, and the reply was that the clouds were pierced the year round and everything was beautiful and green, and the Englishmen decided to stay there, and they founded a town and flourished. So we want to keep right under the pierced clouds all the time.
I remember the first time I went to California. I dropped down out of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where the snow was forty feet deep, into the Sacramento valley, where it was like midsummer, and I saw ranches that were perfectly beautiful, everything green and luxurious, and where everything seemed to be flourishing, but sometimes right across a fence I would see another ranch where there was nothing green and everything seemed to have dried up. I said to a gentleman in the train, "I do not understand this, what does it mean? There is a ranch that is green and flourishing, and there is another that has nothing green about it. It looks dried up." "Oh," said he, "you are a stranger here." I said, "Yes, that was my first visit." "Well," he said, "that man there irrigates and brings the water down from the mountains, and in consequence he raises two or three crops a year, while the man that owns the other ranch, does not raise hardly anything, because he does not irrigate." In many churches you will find men and women as dry as Gideon's fleece. Some people will come and go and occupy the same pew for forty years and not move an inch. Another man right close to him is active and bright, and everything he touches seems to grow; the breath of God seems to be upon him.
When I was a young man and preached out in the West—I was a commercial traveler then—I would go into a little town and hold a meeting in a log schoolhouse, when some old gentleman would say, "This young brother from Chicago will speak here this evening at early candle light," and the first person that came would bring an old dingy lantern and stick it up on a bench—even an old lantern with old oil and a wick, you know, gives out considerable light after all on a dark night—and the next person that came, an old woman, perhaps, would bring along a sperm candle, and then would come an old farmer with another candle, and they would stick them up on the desks, and they would sputter away there, yet all the time giving a good deal of light, and do you know, by the time the people got together there in that old school house we had plenty of light. Now, it can be just so here in New York; there are Christians enough here to light up the whole city.
You remember that it was revealed to Elijah that he should be caught up into heaven. He was with Elisha at Gilgal, and he said to Elisha, "Let us go to Bethel and see how the prophets are getting along." They had a sort of theological seminary down there, as it were. Well, Elijah and Elisha went to Bethel, and I suppose their arrival created no small stir among those young prophets, for it had been revealed to them that Elijah was to be taken away, and one of them got Elisha off alone, as I can imagine, and whispered to him, "Do you know that your man is to be taken away?" "Sh! sh! hold your peace," said Elisha, "I know all about it." Presently, Elijah said to Elisha, "You stay here now, and I'll go down to Jericho and see how the prophets are getting along there,'' for there was another theological seminary down there, but Elisha would not let him go alone, and went with him. When they got down there, another prophet got Elisha to one side and said, "Do you know that Elijah is to be taken away?" "Yes, I know all about it," said Elisha; "keep still, do not say anything." Presently, Elijah turned to Elisha and said, "Elisha, you stay here with the prophets, and I will go over to the Jordan and worship." Elisha said, "As the Lord liveth and as I live, you will not go without me." He tried to leave him up there at Bethel, and he would not be left, and I can imagine him locking arms with Elijah and going along with him, as they started to the Jordan together. I was in Palestine some time ago, and oh, how I longed to see the very spot where those two men crossed the Jordan; as they passed along down the valley and came to the river, Elijah took off his mantle and waved it, and the waters began to recede on either side of1 them and piled up higher and higher, and they stepped down into the bed of the river and crossed, and climbed up the bank on the eastern side, and passed out into the desert. And by-and-by the two
men disappeared. I had wished that their whole conversation had been put on record, but, alas, there came a whirlwind which caught up the sand and dirt and drove it into their eyes, and the two men got separated, but before they were separated, Elijah turned to Elisha and said,'' What is it that you want?" I tried to leave you back there at Bethel, but you would not stay. Make your petition known. Whatever you ask I will grant it." I think if some of our millionaires in New York should ask me to make my petition known to them, that they would grant it, I would draw on them for enough money to support my schools at Northfield. I would not be afraid to make my petition known, and I would get a big draft.
But, as I said, this whirlwind separated the two men. The Master was going to take Elijah away, and I can imagine Elisha getting the sand and dust out of his eyes and exclaiming, "Where is my master?" and looking in all directions for him, and suddenly he looked up and saw a flame of fire , and he cried out, "My Father, my Father," and "the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof." Elijah remembered his promise as Elisha called to him, and he took off his mantle and threw it back, and Elisha took off his old mantle and rent it.
When Mr. Moody was asked at the last service in Cooper Union whether he was satisfied with his New York campaign, he replied: "Satisfied, I am not satisfied. I did not come to New York to reach sinners, but to reach Christians. I wish them to live on a higher plane, to be comforted to the image of Christ. If that result has not been reached, my work here will be of little avail, and the result will soon pass away like a cloud.'' For five weeks Mr. Moody preached twice a day, five days in the week in Cooper Union, to audiences which taxed the resources of that large hall to its utmost seating capacity, and sometimes its standing capacity. In addition to these meetings, he preached every Sunday in November and December in Carnegie Music Hall.
"Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy." Now, I come to the Sunday newspapers. I would not touch a Sunday newspaper any more than I would touch tar. If there are any attacks on me next Sunday I won't see them, for if anyone sends me a Sunday newspaper, I always tear it up. Nothing is doing more damage to the church and God than the Sunday, newspaper. The papers abuse Tammany, but Tammany never did one-fourth as much harm in this city as have the Sunday newspapers. There are about twenty-five thousand divorces every year in the United States. Many of them are directly due to the Sunday newspapers, which publish accounts of divorces in all their details. The Sunday newspapers are responsible for many suicides and murders. All the theaters in Chicago are open on Sunday, as the result of the Sunday newspapers. In Chicago men are knocked down and robbed in open daylight. Murders occur every day. Masked men go into stores and rob them. There is not a divorce case which is full of filth, there is not a case of adultery which the Sunday newspapers do not rake up and publish. The Angel Gabriel could not be heard by the Sunday newspaper readers. Now, how many will swear that they will never again read a Sunday newspaper?
Once on a battlefield, Napoleon's horse became
frightened, and a private jumped from the ranks and grasped the bridle and quieted him. Napoleon looked at the soldier and said, ''Thank you, captain." "Of what company, sire?" asked the soldier. With a moment's hesitation, "The life guards," said Napoleon. The soldier went at once to the life guards and placed himself at the head of the company. The officers were going to put him under arrest; but he told them he was captain. "Who said so?" demanded the officers. "He said so," replied the soldier, pointing to Napoleon. If God says a thing in this book, you lay hold of it and believe without question.
There is a man living in this city, who has a home on the Hudson river. His daughter and her family went to spend the winter with him, and in the course of the season the scarlet fever broke out. One little girl was put in quarantine, to be kept separate from the rest. Every morning the old grandfather used to go upstairs and bid his grandchild good-bye before going to his business. On one of these occasions the little thing took him by the hand, and leading him to a corner of the room, without saying a word, she pointed to the floor where she had arranged some crackers, so they would spell out "Grandpa, I want a box of paints.'' He said nothing. On his return he hung up his overcoat, and went to the room as usual, when his little grandchild, without looking to see if her wish had been complied with, took him to the same corner where he spelled out in the same way, "Grandpa, I thank you for the box of paints." Don't you think the old gentleman was pleased with the faith his little grandchild had in him?
I had a large Sunday-school in Chicago with twelve or fifteen hundred scholars. I was very much pleased with the numbers. If the attendance kept up, I was pleased, but I didn't see a convert. I was not looking for conversions. There was one class in a corner of the large hall made up of young women, who caused more trouble than any other class in the school. There was. only one man who could ever manage that class and keep it in order. If he could keep the class quieted, it was about as much as we could hope for. One day this teacher was missing, and I taught the class. The girls laughed in my face. I never felt so tempted to turn anyone from Sunday-school as those girls; never saw such frivolous girls. I couldn't make any impression on them. The next day the teacher came into the store. I noticed that he looked very pale, and I asked him what was the trouble. "I have been bleeding at the lungs," he said, "and the doctor said I cannot live.
I must give up my class and go back to my widowed mother in New York State." As he spoke, his chin quivered, and the tears began to fall. I said I was sorry, and added, ''You are not afraid of death, are you?" "Oh, no, I am not afraid to die; but I shall soon stand before my Master. What shall I tell Him of my class. Not one of them is a Christian. I have made a failure of my work.''
I have never heard anyone speak in that way, and I said, "Why not visit every girl and ask her to become a Christian?" "I am very weak," he said, "too weak to walk." I offered to take a carriage and go with him. He consented, and we started out. Going first to one house and then to another, the pale teacher sometimes leaning on my arm, he saw each girl, and calling her by name, Mary, or Martha, or whatever it was, he asked her to become a Christian, telling her he was going home to die, and that he wanted to know that his scholars had given their hearts to God. Then he would pray with her, and I would pray with her; so we went from house to house, and after he used up all his strength, I would take him home, and the next day we would gcout again. Sometimes he went alone. At the end of ten days he came to the store, his face beaming with joy. "The last girl has yielded her heart to Christ. I am going home to New York. I have done all that I can do, and my work is done.'' I asked when he was going, and he said, "Tomorrow night." I said, "Would you like to see your class together before you go?" He said he would, and I asked if he thought the landlady would allow the use of her sitting-room. He thought she would. So I sent word to all the girls, and they all came together. I had never spent such a night up to that time. I had never met such a large number of young converts. The teacher gave an earnest talk, and then prayed, and then I prayed. As I was about to rise, I heard one of the girls begin to pray. She prayed for her teacher, and she prayed for the superintendent. Up to that time I never knew that anyone prayed for me in that way. When she had finished, another girl prayed. Before we arose, every girl had prayed. What a change had come over them in a short space of time. We tried to sing, but did not get on very well. We bade one another good-bye, but I felt that I must see the teacher again before he left Chicago, and so I met him at the station, and while we were talking, one of the girls came along, and then another, until the whole class had assembled. They were all there on the platform. It was a beautiful summer night. The sun was just setting down behind the western prairies. It was a sight I shall never forget. A few gathered around us—the fireman, engineer, brakeman and conductor on the train, and some of the passengers lifted their windows as the class sang together—
"Here we meet to part again,
But when we meet on Canaan's shore,
There'll be no parting there."
As the train moved out of the station, the palefaced teacher stood on the platform, and with his finger pointing heavenward, said, "I will meet you there." Then the train disappeared from view.