DWIGHT L. MOODY.
By JOHN V. FARWELL.
I never felt so small as when requested to give in words, as an observer from its beginning until his translation, some sort of a digest of Dwight L. Moody's character.
While lying in his coffin in the Northfield church, that gust of wind that opened enough of one window blind to let in the light of the sun on his kindly face, suggests to my mind that only the mind of God—the only source of light of life—can measure a mind and heart aflame with the inspiration of the Almighty, from whence he drew his power for daily use in his work.
Environment and want of education under such a heavenly ray of light, was no obstruction to his being lifted out of weakness into a power sufficient to confound the mightiest men, who had any less communion with God.
Look at yonder dirty pool, too foul for use. We expect nothing from it to help mankind.
Look again. The sun, with its silent chemistry, has in due time drawn it up into heaven's blue, and on fhe very spot where it cursed the earth, is a garden of flowers, watered by its dew drops, and in the heavens above is God's rainbow of promise, painted by its mystery of heavenly art while on its way to earth, to water that garden of the beautiful, and fields plowed and planted by man, that the earth may bring forth bread for the hungry.
The natural man with his earthly lusts and passions is that dirty pool, only needing the potentialities of heaven's light and heat to transform its stagnant elements into the beautiful and useful.
Mr. Moody was thus transformed by his own deliberate choice, placing himself under the hands of the Almighty, to be used in His vineyard.
Thus equipped, his works were well done, and it may be well said of him, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, for their works do follow them."
A mighty man has finished his work on earth. The oldest book in existence records, "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding." Moody's spirit—or mental ability—was naturally of a superior order. Had he taken up politics he would have made an exceptional Statesman. Having taken up with Christ as Lord for his life work, the inspiration of the Almighty gave him a power in Christian work second to no one in the apostolic succession from Saints Peter and Paul until December 22d A. D., 1899, measured by the results of his ministry, practically surrounding the globe in its influence, and nearly so in his travels.
The key to the understanding of all this is that Moody's body, soul and spirit, by his own deliberate choice, were consecrated to that ministry. He once heard a man say, "The world has yet to see how much one man, wholly consecrated to God, can accomplish in this world for Him." "Then," said Moody, "I will be that man, for I can consecrate my all to Him."
He began his work as a mission Sundayschool drummer, and from that graduated in regular succession into Superintendent of one of the largest mission Sunday-schools in the city, President of the Young Men's Christian Association, and the world's exangelist, the highest office in Christ's ministry.
When he left a successful business for this calling, he had accumulated about $12,000, all of which was invested in mission enterprises at the time he was most busy with the work of the Y. M. C. A. A little prayer meeting of three asked for wisdom to procure a building for that association, and in answer Mr. Moody began and finished the first building ever erected for the use of a Y. M. C. A. on earth, representing Christian union, and in his work in Chicago, after returning from his London mission, he raised the mone)' to free it from debt, after having been twice burned to the ground, but for this timely effort of his the present magnificent temple of the Y. M. C. A. would not be one of the world's best material monuments of Christian unity (for which he stood) that was ever erected.
The lineal descendants of his first enterprise, the North Market Hall Mission Sunday-school, are the Bible Institute and the Chicago Avenue Church, now filled to its utmost capacity twice every Sunday to hear the plain testimony of Jesus, which the angel said to John was "the spirit of prophecy," or preaching; and conversions follow every service as a rule, and some times scores and hundreds attend the second meeting which follows the evening service.
Being dead, he yet speaks through these institutions as clearly as did the angels when they sang "Glory to God in the Highest" and "On earth Peace and Good Will to Men," at the birth of Christ, through whose Life more abundant now given to men, that song is to be perpetuated through the agency of such men to the end of time.
The meaning of the removal of such workmen from the harvest field at such a time as this is beyond our ken, when, instead of one removal a regiment of them seems to be needed for fields white for the harvest, and the world one as it never was before by the power of steam and electricity, as well as the power of Christian civilization in the strongest nations on earth. Yea, and when there are calls on Moody's desk from Europe and America that would require months, if not years, to fill if he were here to do it.
Why? God only knows.