A notable life has ended with the departure of Dwight L. Moody to the other world. Few men, no matter what their opportunities or resources, have been able to do anything like a fair proportion of the good for their fellow creatures that has been wrought during the past twenty-five years or over by the dead evangelist. His life was an inspiration to those who knew him to do good for their fellows.
His religion was broad enough to embrace humanity. His daily exertions were ever in the direction of promoting the happiness of his fellow-man, both here and hereafter.
The keynote to the success of this wonderful man is found in the last words spoken by him. They were: "I have always been an ambitious man; not to lay up wealth, but to find work to do.'' If that were generally the animating principle of men's conduct, the world would be a much happier place than it is. The character of the work which Mr. Moody was ambitious to do furnishes the secret of his wondrous control of men. Those who met him knew by instinct that his work was done with a single thought of their good. He gave freely of his wondrous powers, and when death presented to him a notice that the end was not far off he treated the
warning with a smile and a laugh. It was nothing he said. He would be all right in a little while, and he would go on with his work. It was his work which concerned him, and he refused to see or count on anything that might take him away from it.
The religion of this man was happiness. He was a living demonstration of the truth that he who lives rightly, for others rather than for himself, is most certain of happiness. He stirred men's souls deeply, because he approached them through all the best promptings of their nature. To get them to lead good lives, rather than to be faithful in the profession of their religion; to bring them to the doing of good for others as well as for themselves, represented the end and aim of his labors. His wondrous success attests at once the innate disposition of ordinary men and women to fulfill their duty toward God and their neighbors and the splendid powers, splendidly utilized, with which he was endowed.
The world needs a good deal more of the religion of the deceased gentleman than is expounded to it. He cared very little for religious precept. He held a good story above a Scripture text in its capacity for appealing to the understanding and conscience of those with whom he had to deal. The outward symbols of religion had but little thought from him. He taught that happiness came more from welldoing than from well-being or from the strict observance of religious precept. Religion embraced with him happiness here and hereafter. Few such men appear in a generation; but they leave behind them effects and influences which advanced materially the ends of the Christian religion.—St. Paul Globe.
One of the hard features of a soldier's life is the fact that his heart must be like adamant toward foes, no matter how innocent, and even sometimes toward his friends. He rushes like a bloodthirsty field upon men against whom he has not the slightest feeling of personal animosity, and for whom under other circumstances, he would gladly do any kindly service in his power. He must leave a brother to bleed to death, or perhaps must charge over him, trampling out his life. He must relentlessly shoot down the comrade of a score of battles because he fails in the pinch or proves false in a crisis. Call it cruel and wicked if you will, yet it is the way that our great world has gone struggling upward for 6,000 years and more; and we to-day enjoy so much as we have of the protection of just laws, keep our holiday festivities in safety and worship God as our conscience bids us in peace, because men have done these things in the years of the past.
The "knight of the better era"—the man who fights with the pen rather than with the sword, and sends words and ideas instead of bullets and cannon ball crashing against his fellow-men, has often a lot no less hard than that of the soldier of the sword. Often must he speak words that seem harsh and terrible because he must be "as harsh as truth." Often must his face be like a flint toward those whom he would gladly recognize as friends because he must be "as uncompromising as justice." Kind, tender-hearted people are wounded, as he goes charging by or over them and never perhaps recognize him in any other light than that in which he momentarily appears to their lacerated sensibilities.
Dwight L. Moody, the great American evangelist, died on Friday last. We have criticised him in these columns—sometimes with a terrible severity.
We are filled with regret to-day, not that we criticised him, but that it was necessary to do so, and we regret it now not a whit more than when we wrote the most severe of the sentences. He was a great man, and, measured by ordinary or even by extraordinary standards, he was a good man. Along certain lines of service for his fellow-men, he wrought magnificently. But when a great door of opportunity for a service broader and more beneficent than any that he had ever rendered, opened before him, he failed of the stature of manhood necessary to enter. Many great duties came to his life and he performed them bravely. But when a supreme duty appeared, when it was within his power to have spoken the word that would have meant i mighty moral uplift for the national life of the whole American people; when, as we believe, the call came to him to lead forward for the civic regeneration of the race, he flinched, lacked courage, and turned his back upon the duty.
We called attention to the fault, and, so long as there was hope that a severe remedy might bring a cure, we spoke with the fierceness and ruthlessness demanded by the exigency. Now that the life with all its successes and, what seems to us its one great failure, is closed, we record the facts only that wisdom may be justified, and we have not in our hearts nor on our pen an unkind word concerning him. Let the man who never failed, let the man in whose life there never was a fault, undertake the task of criticism. Until such a critic is found we are silent.
Mr. Moody, as we believe, paid a terrible penalty for his mistake. A trumpet that has never sounded anything but advance will never sound just the same again after it has once blown retreat, and from the hour that Mr. Moody failed to grasp the opportunity that would have made him the greatest Christian citizen of the world, and, instead of leading forward the good men of the nation, became content to follow the bad almost as blindly as their worst followers—from that hour his power dwindled, until in these latter days he has gone up and down the country great only as a reminiscence. Mr. Moody's • meetings of late have not lacked numbers, have not lacked a certain sort of enthusiasm, but they have lacked POWER; and the loss of that power that he used to wield was a penalty awful to contemplate.
But he died with beautiful words upon his lips. "I have always been an ambitious man," the papers tell us he said, "not ambitious to lay up wealth, but to find work to do."
It was a great thing to have had such an impulse in life, a great thing even if it was not always fully followed. It was grand to march through the world to that tune, even if he sometimes did break step. Our faces have been stern against him. He failed us when the need was sore. But in the marchings of the future and around the bivouacs of nights to come, we will think of him kindly and speak of him gently. And some day mayhap when we have all been put upon with "the powers of an endless life," we shall serve again shoulder to shoulder.—New Voice, Chicago.
Dwight L. Moody, who passed from life yesterday, was a remarkable person and a man of many friends. Much of his life was so intensely public in its character, and so devoted to the public's good, that a more than passing notice is required as he moves from the stage of life's activities to the shades of a perpetual rest.
It is difficult to criticise Mr. Moody with justness, when one is not in entire sympathy with the methods he employed, with some of the teachings he encouraged and the customs he inaugurated. The first thing, however, to do is to give Mr. Moody credit for sincerity, for generosity, for conscientious devotion to what he believed. No one doubts his Christianity; no one would intimate that he failed of doing a vast amount of good in the past quarter of a century and in many parts of the world.
Mr. Moody is understood to have been a man who could not, and who would not, work save as an independent. The recognized avenues of church effort, the instituted agencies already at hand, meant little to him, save as he could make use of them for the introduction of what was striking and novel in his own plan of work. He was a great preacher because he preached to the masses. He cut loose from tradition, from established usages, and as a result these have in a measure been less available than formerly. He preached a simple, easily understood gospel. He made the Christ to seem real, and Christianity to appeal as something to be not only desired, but essential, absolutely necessary; and thousands were led through the personality of the man and the earnestness of his appeals to reform their lives.
No doubt many who started under the impulses born of his dominating potential personality fell out by the way when that influence had passed; but that has been demonstrated in every reformatory work since the ancient times when first "A sower went forth to sow.''
Mr. Moody's work paved the way, in no small measure, and we believe in this country much more so than in Great Britain, where he also labored, for the onward sweep of the Christian Endeavor Society's movement, and for the introduction of that era of a better feeling of tolerance between churches of different denominations that has grown and developed more freely during the past twenty years than ever before.
The theologian who delights in theology, the schoolman who has always a use for the graces taught in the schools, the musician who finds something in music more than rhythm and jingle, the poet who notes the finer meaning and reads between the lines,—to these Mr. Moody's personality does not appeal strongly. They respect his Christian purpose, his untiring zeal, his unfaltering hope; they rejoice in all the good he has done. But they work differently. They may do Christ's work for Christ's sake, as he did it, but not in his way.
In the long run, it is conceded that the churches, not the individuals, win. Spasmodic, individual efforts outside of them do not long survive the alert personality that founded them, and when a man is dead who shall take up the man's work? » The church never dies and in her mission and her scope there is room for every form of service, opportunity for reforms made necessary by changing customs in civilization, in tastes, in natural prejudices, but never in morals, in sacred teachings or in the great ends to be reached,—the uplifting of humanity and the salvation of the race.—Providence Telegram.
The fear felt that the work of D. L. Moody, the evangelist, was ended when the news came of his break-down in Kansas City, has been confirmed. Brought back to his birthplace at Northfield, his physicians held out hopes of his rallying, but medical attention and the loving care bestowed on him by his family have counted for nothing as against the results of years of arduous, unsparing work. The pressure under which he had labored for so long had its inevitable effect in undermining his constitution, and although the news of his death yesterday came with a shock of suddenness, it was not unexpected. To those who knew the man in his numberless activities, the wonder is that he was spared for so many years of life.
Mr. Moody was a great evangelist, and he did a great work. An unordained and essentially popular preacher, who felt that his commission to win souls was in his love for Christ and his desire to serve Him—he reached thousands who were not likely to come under the influence of any church, and working in and through churches he appealed to thousands of others, whose belief in Christianity he quickened from a dull acceptance of doctrine into a living power. Earnest in bis own convictions, and gifted with a remarkable talent for enlisting the interest and sympathy of his hearers, he was a speaker of unusual effectiveness. Direct and simple in his utterances, not always grammatical, fond of anecdote and homely illustration, emotional, sometimes to an extreme—such was Dwight L. Moody as the leader of countless public meetings. He filled churches and audience rooms because the people believed he had a message to deliver; as for himself he believed that that message was of tremendous consequence. His methods have been criticised, but, certainly, he was not open to the charge of being insincere. His whole life was given to doing what he felt to be his highest duty. To this task he brought native ability, and a constantly , increasing knowledge of the ways to make that ability count for the most .
Mr. Moody's cornerstone was the Bible. A devoted student of that book, he stood for its acceptance in its entirety. An unlettered man, as compared to the present day exponents of the "higher criticism," he did not hesitate to preach his faith, and to live it, A man of the people, he understood how to appeal to the people; he touched human life at many points, in his career, and from his own experiences he drew many a striking lesson. No respecter of persons, or seeker after favor, his independent attitude attracted rather than repelled, and he had a marked faculty for enlisting in his enterprises those who, he thought, would help him in the greatest measure. He welcomed co-workers. Men of prominence in this country and from abroad were asked by him to address his Northfield meetings, and felt honored in being asked. For young men and for young women he had a special interest, and on them he had a special influence. He attracted them, and held them. His college conferences, in Northfield, that beautiful Massachusetts town, have been positive sources of inspiration. From the "Auditorium" or "Round Top" meetings many have gone, with strength and courage, to missionary fields, or to engage in Christian work in their home communities. And of the hundreds of attendants on these conferences, there can surely be but few, who have not been impressed with Mr. Moody's personality, and helped by contact with him.
Mr. Moody was a man of essentially practical aims. He believed that he could do things, and he had remarkable success in doing them. His School for Boys at Mount Hermon and his School for Girls at Northfield are evidences of what his persistent efforts have accomplished; his other enterprises apart from his evangelistic work included Bible and normal training schools and conferences for Christian workers and for students. Up to the time that he was stricken, a few weeks since, he continued his widely extended speaking tours. A whitening beard was the only apparent mark of his advancing years. At his last meetings in Kansas City he appeared at his best. His addresses were full of power, and as effective as ever in making converts.
Mr. Moody did not die an old man. Born in Northfield in 1837, it was only two years ago that he passed his sixty-first birthday. His father, a stone mason and farmer, died when Mr. Moody was a child. The mother was left in poverty, and the eldest son ran away. But Mrs. Moody was a woman of pluck. She kept the rest of her family together and provided for their support. When seventeen years old Dwight L. Moody went to Boston to earn his living. He found employment in an uncle's shoe shop, and early became interested in church work. But it is related that his associates thought him unlikely ever to become "a Christian of clear and decided views of gospel truth; still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness."
In 1856, when he was nineteen, he went to Chicago, and obtained a place in a shoe store. He joined a church and at once rented four pews for young men whom he intended to bring in. He offered to teach in a mission school, and was told that his services would be welcome, if he would bring his own pupils. The next Sunday he walked in at the head of eighteen ragged urchins whom he had found in the streets. He frequented the wharves, trying to convert sailors, and he did missionary work in the saloons. His great Sundayschool was started in a room that had been used for a saloon. He soon had a thousand pupils; the saloon building had been found to be too small, and the sessions were held in a hall, Mr. Moody being janitor as well as instructor. All this time the young man kept up his business, which had come to be that of a traveling salesman. In 1860, when twenty-three years old, he made up his mind to take up evangelizing work exclusively.
During the civil war Mr. Moody was employed by the Christian commission, and later by the Young Men's Christian Association of Chicago, as a lay missionary. When he first gave up his regular business it was necessary for him to keep his expenses as low as possible; he slept on a bench in the Y. M. C. A. rooms, and ate the plainest food. Such success attended his work with the soldiers and in Chicago that a church for his Chicago converts was built, and he became its unordained pastor. In 1873 Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey, the singer (with whose name that of the evangelist is inseparably associated), decided to make a trip to Great Britain on the invitation of two friends. When they arrived they found that their friends were dead; the evangelist and the singer were not known, and, at their first meeting, which was held at York, four persons were present. Mr. Moody afterwards said that it was one of the best meetings that he and Mr. Sankey ever held.
The tour was a wonderful success. The meetings increased in attendance and interest; at Glasgow 30,000 people gathered in the open air to try to hear the evangelist, and the London meetings lasted four months, the total attendance being estimated at 2,500,000 people. On his return to the United States a series of great meetings were held in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Mr. Moody's home city, Chicago. During his absence his church, which was burned in 1871, had been rebuilt. He took up his work there again, making evangelistic trips to different parts of the country and going abroad a second time. He finally left Chicago for Northfield, where a house was given him by friends, and in Northfield he continued to make his home till his death. Of late years he had been occupied more exclusively in the development and conduct of his successful schools, and in the direction of his conferences, but he spoke in various places from time to time; his activity was incessant.
Mr. Moody's tastes were simple; he lived in his work. He never received a salary, and he did not ask contributions for himself. His reputation as a speaker ensured a wide sale for his sermons and other writings, in book form. Mr. Moody married a Miss Re veil, and she and two sons and a daughter survive him.
Dwight L. Moody put his great forces into the work of redemption. He wanted to help men; to save them. He wanted to increase the opportunities for Christian education, and he wanted to inspire others with the desire to aid in the spread of Christianity. How he accomplished his ambitions his life story shows.
What he put his hand to he did with his might; the results of his work live after his death. The summons that his career was at an end came to him undoubtedly as he would have wished—when he was in active service.—Hartford (Conn.) Courant.
About the only criticism of Mr. Moody that has appeared in print is that of Justin D. Fulton, D. D., in his book on the Life of Charles H. Spurgeon, the great English preacher. He says:
'' Moodyism is a growth rather than a policy. It is the name of a movement rather than an organization. It is an attempt to evangelize the millions without instructing them in regard to church obligations, and the necessity of observing the ordinances Christ instituted. At this point Moodyism allies itself with Romanism, and claims the right to take away from the words of the prophecy of this book without regard to the utterance, 'God shall take away his part from the tree of life and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.'
"To prosecute this work as an evangelist, Young Men's Christian Association buildings have been constructed, with reading-rooms and social parlors, and in some instances billiard rooms, where games are indulged in, and almost anything calculated to attract, is permitted, to be followed by consecrated efforts to woo and win.
"Moodyism, with its unsectarian 'Young Men's Christian Associations, Christian Endeavor Societies,'thousands of lay evangelists and its missionaries, in all parts of the world, becomes without appointment and without control, either an extraordinary help or a tremendous peril to the church life of the world. As at present organized it is almost as much outside the church life of Christianity as is Romanism. Is it in an alliance with Romanism in fact if not in theory? Moody adopts gospel methods, as does not Romanism; depends on the Holy Spirit for converting power, while Romanism trusts to baptismal regeneration, sacraments, priestly absolution, and purgatorial fire for salvation. But Moodyism, working with the rich, the cultured, and the influential, and the Salvation Army with the very poor, alike ignoring the ordinances Christ instituted, deserve reproof for not obeying.Christ. The believing in Christ thoy should do, and not leave the other • undone.
"Mr. Moody believes in immersion as New Testament baptism, and, it is said, was immersed in the Jordan, and yet by influence and example sanctions infant baptism, the tap-root of baptismal regeneration on which Romanists rest for salvation. Thousands and millions imitate him. Is it safe to do so? Pentecost in India is an evangelist for Moodyism.
"Shall Christians forget that the necessities of the times call loudly to Christians to bestir themselves and take the place and hold it which does not belong to Young Men's Christian Associations or any other unsectarian movement. A barrel without hoops is as valuable as are Christians unharnessed or untrained in church life. Shall the churches step to the front and take what belongs to them? Shall they let the light shine which Christ has entrusted to their keeping, remembering 'that the Lord's hand is not shortened, that he cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear?' We are not to pray that Moodyism may do less, but that the churches as Christ organized them may do more than ever before, and measure up to the untold responsibilities which are committed to their keeping. Moodyism, without asserting it and, perhaps, without designing it, is as antagonistic to the system of faith that makes belief and baptism the source of its power and the feature of its life, as is Romanism.
"Recently it has come out that Mr. Moody gave money to build a Roman Catholic house of worship in Northfield. Some knew this years ago, and there were those who went and saw the evangelist in his home, and endeavored to persuade him to turn his • attention to the need of telling the unvarnished truth concerning Romanism. In vain. No distinctive anti-Romanist has been welcome to Northfield. It is because Moodyism averages the public Christian sentiment of the hour, that truth-telling is not in order.
"There is need of Mr. Moody's enthusiasm and generalship in this work for Romanists. Let him realize their ruin without Christ, and it would stir him. It is not the evangelist alone that is needed, but all that he can influence, and all that influences him Let prayer arise that the Holy Spirit will cause him and others to realize the value of the souls of Romanists, and give them no rest until the outpouring shall come upon undone Roman Catholics, causing them to cry out, 'Men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?' God can do this in answer to prayer, and can cause the great evangelist to lead in the work of rescuing the lost from the night of their thraldom and bring them to the light of an eternal day."