Chapter V


It was early in the year 1871 tbat Mr. Moodyfirst met—at a National Convention of Young Men's Christian Associations, Indianapolis, Indiana—Mr. Ira David Sankey.

This gentleman was born in Edinburg, Pennsylvania, U. S., in the year 1840. He was the child of pious parents, but it was not until his sixteenth year that he experienced a change of heart.

He early displayed a taste for music and, after his conversion, took an active part in promoting the efficient training of Sunday-school children in the singing of hymns. At the age of twenty he was a leader in the M. E. Church of an evening class numbering seventy or eighty, and superintendent of a In.rge Sunday-school.

Mr. Moody hearing him sing and being introduced to him, at the close of the meeting, after a few preliminary questions, abruptly told him he wanted him to come and work with him in Chicago; that he was the man for whom he had been seeking during the last eight years.

A proposition to leave his pleasant home and prosperous business, and go into a strange city to do missionary labor—from a man with whom ho

was personally unacquainted, but of whom he had heard that he was living entirely dependent upon faith in God for his daily sustenance—was rather startling, but Mr. Moody succeeded in obtaining .from him a premise that he would think about it and pray over it. A few evenings after they held a meeting together in the streets of Indianapolis, and with such signal success that Sankey resolved he, too, would trust the Lord and go with his new friend to labor in Chicago.

Mr. Sankey's singing has no pretension to the artistic, his mu.sic is made substrvient to the words, and in accent and tone is constantly varied to suit the words; but the hallowed sweetness and wirning tenderness of many of his songs has been effectual in awakening many thousands of people.

For two or three years prior to theii* going abroad these two men labored amicably and efficaciously, in Chicago, Pittsfiuld, Springfield, Philadelphia, and many other towns and cities.

In October the terrible fire swept over the city. It covered a space of one mile by four. Within the doomed precinct were Mr. Moody's cchoo! and church and the building of the Young Men's Christian Association.

Mr. Moody had been married in 1862, to Miss Emma C. Eevell. At the time of the fire he was living with his wife and children—a boy and girl—in an degant house, completely aud handsomely furnished—a New Year's gift from generous friends.

Mr. Moody and his family wore roused at midnight to find the fire approaching their dwelling and, leaving their home with all their precious property to the mercilsss flames, hurriedly sought shelter at the house of a friend. The only article he saved was his Bagstrr Bible. Placing his family beyond reach of the raging fire, he immediately commenced providing the hungry and the houseless with food and shelter.

So indefatigable was his energy, so unconquerable his faith, and so successful his solicitations for donations, that in thirty days after the destruction of his school building, a great, rough, comfortable structure, over a hundred feet in length and seventy-five iu width—was erected, in the centre of the ruins, for the accommodation of his pupils.

Being such a distance from the habitations which escaped the fire, it was feared there would bo but a meagre attendance the first Sabbath. But at the d dicatory service were over one thousand children, with some of their parents and friends, who had come over the charred ruins to the new chapel.

The building was kept open day and night and food and shelter were provided for any houseless wanderer who chanced to enter.

Mr. Moody, when supplying them with necessaries, would exact from them a promise that, before they ate the food or put on the clothes, the}' would thank the Lord upon their knees for sending them.

In June, 1873, Mr. Moody decided to accept the

invitation of two gentlemen—Mr. Pennefather, of London, and Mr. Bail/bridge, of Newcastle—to commence an evangelistic work in Great Britain.

The time selected for this missionary tour was characteristic of the man. His new church was in process of building, and his school and congregation were soon to be transferred to the basement story. Mr. Moody felt that there were many who could execute as well as he the numberless little matters incident to the erection of a new building. He left the spiritual superintendence to the members of his fluck—whom he taught to be Independent in spirit as they were in name. They had occasional help from the pastors of other churches.

He has had no reason to regret his faith in the ability of those in whose charge he left his work.

Mr. Moody made all his arrangements to leave, secured a passage for himself and family, bade Lis congregation and school farewell, but to within an hour of his departure by the train had not a dollar with which to defray his expenses.

A few hours bt-fore the time he was to start it occurred to a friend of his, Hon. J. V. Farwell, who knew nothing of his straitened circumstances, that Moody would need some money after he reached England. Going down to bid him farewell he placed iu his hand a check for $500.

On the 7th of June, 1873, Mr. Moody, with his family and Mr. Sankey, sailed for Liverpool, reaching there after a prosperous voyage of ten days.