MOODY AND SANKEY IN GREAT BRITAIN.
The mission of the gospel preacher and the gospel singer to the British Isles was one of implicit faith, and of unselfish zeal for the saving of sinners. The secret motive of Mr. Moody was "to win ten thousand souls to Christ." As far as worldly inducements were concerned, the circumstances were such as to forbid, rather than to favor, the venture across three thousand miles of sea. No influential association had extended an invitation to them; not a single individual had offered to help meet their personal expenses. Nor did these two companions, though they were about to take their families with them, expect or desire such a guarantee. They were united in the purpose to commit their ways entirely unto the Lord. To that end, they agreed beforehand to accept no payment for their services from any person or committee, and as well to refrain from any collections or enterprise for money-making. In such a spirt they set forth, and on the 17th of June, 1873, they landed at Liverpool. There news met them that two of the three gentlemen who had invited them to England had died. The third, who lived at York, advised them to delay a month; but instead they hastened to that town the same night. All things human combined to discourage them. But their utter weakness was the promise of success, for it gave the Lord the opportunity to glorify himself by the mouth of hie chosen messengers.
Mr. Moody stood forth a plain man of the people. He was ir, thorough sympathy with the concerns of the great mass of humanity, and able to express religious truth in homely, vivid speech. He possessed a stalwart body and a grand vitality, which qualified him to undertake tremendous toils without danger to his health. A man of excellent executive capacity, and trained in the details of secular and religious business, he was able to organize enterpriser on a vast scale and to direct a multitude of assistants, so tfiat congregations of many thousands could be handled as quietly as an ordinary assembly. A natural, self-reliant man, warped by neither -pride not vanity, he was wont as a speaker to forget his own individuality in the hunger of his heart for the salvation of his hearers. A student of the Bible alone, and an unquestioning believer of ite every statement as coming from the Lord; an evangelist bravely equipped for his responsible calling by years of personal experience with inquirers and doubters; a man of prayer, who was often in secret commun ion with the Lord of Hosts, refreshing his strength for the perpetual conflict of life, he was also, as the full fruition of these characterises
tics, a Christian closely conformed to the image of his Master by the indwelling Spirit of God, and because he had withholden no part uf his nature from an unreserved consecration to his will.
This ministry for preaching and singing the gospel began in the cathedral town of York. At the first prayer-meeting, held on Sunday morning in a small room of the Association building, only four persons were present; and Mr. Moody has characterized that as the best service he ever attended. The clergy looked coldly on the evangelists as intruders, and most of the churches were closed to them. They labored on bravely against these discouragements for a month, and were comforted by seeing above two hundred converts to Christ. Their work at Sunderland began on Sunday, July 27, at the invitation of a Baptist pastor. The ministers still held aloof, and even the Young Men a Christian Association eyed them suspiciously for a week before offering the band of fellowship. But the meetings steadily waxed larger.
The evangelists were invited to Newcastle-on-the-Tyne by the chief ministers of that town, and were heartily sustained by the leaders of the congregations. And now Mr. 5loody confessed his hope. "We are on the eve of a great revival which may cover Great Britain, and perhaps make itself felt in America, And why may not the fire burn as long as I live? When this revival spirit dies, may I die with it." His prophetic words met an immediate fulfillment. All the meetings were thronged with attentive listeners, and as many as thirty-four services were held in a single week. A oooQ-day prayer-meeting was organized, while special efforts were made to reach the factory hands and business men. An all-day meeting was held on September 10, wherein seventeen hundred participated. One hour was spent in Bible reading, another on the promises, and the last in an examination of what the Scriptures teach concerning Heaven. The town was wonderfully awakened, and every night sinners were drawn to the uplifted Savior.
Edinburgh was prepared for the manifestation of a signal blessing by a series of union prayer-meetings held in October and November, which softened and unified the hearts of Christians of various names. Hence it was that the evangelists were welcomed in suoh a spirit of sympathy that captious criticism was unthought of. The ministry of song was an unheard-of innovation. Yet the rooted aversion of the Scottish people to the singing of aught but psalms gave way quickly to the evident testimony of tne Spirit to the spirituality of his messages and the tenderness of his voice. On the first day, Sunday, November 23, the Music Hall was thronged with two thousand auditors, and many more were excluded. Five hundred met at noon on Monday for prayer, and that attendance was won doubled. Meetings for inquirers were held after each service. Three hundred in the brat week confessed their sins had been forgiven. Their ages ranged from seventy-five to eleven. Students and soldiers, poor and rich, the backsliding, intemperate, and skeptical, were all represented. The largest halls were found to be too small to accommodate the eager audiences. A striking case of conversion was that of a notorious infidel, the chairman of a club of free-thinkers. He declared his utter disbelief in the value of prayer and defied Mr Moody to test its power on him. The evangelist accepted the challenge in faith, and remembered him continually in his petitions till he heard of his finding Christ, months afterwards. An impressive watch-meeting was held on the last night of the year I873, and a special blessing was besought for the British people. The week of prayer, from the 4th to the llth of January, 1874, was observed throughout all Scotland, as a season of united prayer for invoking the Lord to visit the nation, and the entire world in mercy. The most remarkable feature of this revival hag been described as " the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost, the solemn awe, the prayerful, believing, expectant spirit, the anxious inquiry of unsaved souls, and the longing of believers to grow more like Christ—their hungering and thirsting after holiness." Similar characteristics have marked the advent of these yoke-fellows in every community. This mission in Edinburgh, which lasted till the 21st of January, 1874, resulted in adding three thousand to the city churches.
At Dundee, meetings were held in the open air, at which from ten to sixteen thousand were present. Four hundred converts attended the meeting for praise and instruction. The city of Glasgow was reached on Sunday, February 8. The first audience consisted of three thousand Sunday-school teachers; the prayer-meeting opened with half that number. The Crystal Palace, which held above five thousand, was always crowded, though admission could only be had by ticket. To meet the emergency, special meetings were organized for young men and young women, inquirers, workingmen, and the intemperate. Seventeen thousand signatures to the pledge were secured here. So the work of awakening went on for three months, steadily increasing in power. On the last Sunday afternoon, a great audience of some twenty or thirty thousand gathered in the Palace garden, and hung on the words of Mr. Moody, as he spoke from the seat of a carriage. More than three thousand united to the city congregations, the large proportion of whom were under twenty-five. Short visits were then made to Paisley, Greenook and Gourock. In the summer, a tour was taken through the Highlands, for the sowing of the seed of the word. Meetings were held in the open air at Perth, Aberdeen, Inverness, and elsewhere; and many souls were won. In Ireland, the common people heard the preacher gladly. The good work began at Belfast, on Sunday, September 6, 1874. To reach as many as possible, separate sessions were had for women and for men, for professing Christians, for the unconverted, and for inquirers, for young men and for boys. Huge gatherings were also addressed in the Botanic Gardens, a space of sii acres being filled with attentive hearers. On Monday, September 27, a remarkable meeting of eight hours for inquirers was held, wherein above two hundred young men came unto Jesus and took his yoke upon them. And when the young converts were collected into a farewell meeting, tickets for §150 were granted to such applicants.
Dublin, five-sixths of whose inhabitants were not Protestant, awoke into a newness of religious life on the advent of the evangelists. From the 25th of October to the 29th of November, the whole city was stirred in a wonderful way. The great Exhibition Palace contained audiences in the evenings and on Sundays of from twelve to fifteen thousand. At the prayej-meetings and Bible readings, the number often exceeded two thousand. Many Roman Catholics were attentive listeners, and parish priests as well. The stillness of these vast assemblies was very marked. Truly the Lord was faithful in answering the prayer Mr. Moody continually offers in private: "O God, keep the people still, hold the meeting in thy hand." These labors ended with a three-days convention, at which eight hundred ministers attended, from all parts of Ireland. Above two thousand young converts confessed their new-born faith.
Manchester for eight months had besought a blessing on its people; and these preparatory services were closed with a Communion in which two thousand Christians united. The month of December was devoted here to evangelistic work. In spite of the wintry weather, the halls were crowded, and overflow meetings had to be organized. Here, as elsewhere, the large proportion of men in attendance was noticeable. The city was mapped out into districts, and the duty of distributing cards at every dwelling was assigned to a large corps of volunteers. On one side of these was printed the hymn "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by;" and on the other, a short address bv Mr. Moody, his text being Revelations 3: 20. The efforts of the Toung Men's Christian Association to purchase a suitable building met with a cordial endorsement, and a fourth of the en-. tire amount needed was obtained at the first public meeting.
In Sheffield, the scheme of house-to-house visitation bad to be abandoned, in order to secure the co-operation of the clergy of the Church of England. The opening meeting was held on New Year's eve, and the address in that watch-night service was upon Work. The great congregation, in response to Mr. Moody's request, finished the old year and began the new on their knees. For a tortnight, the dwellers in this industrial town collected in such numbers as to pack the halls and the sidewalks about them, so that the evangelist had frequently to speak in the open air. The work at Birmingham, "the toy-shop of the world," was also limited for lack of time. The spacious Town Hall was crowded on January 17, 1875; and for the other gatherings, even Bingley Hall, which held twelve thousand, proved too small. Another Christian convention was held, at which above a thousand ministers attended. Sixteen hundred converts received tickets to the special meeting for counsel. After pausing a week for a vacation, these lay apostles began their ministry of a month at Liverpool on February 7. Victoria Hall, a wooden structure able to shelter eleven thousand, was expressly erected for their reception. It was crowded at all the night services, while an average of six thousand attended the Bible lectures and noon meetings for prayer. These three services were held every day except Saturday, when these devoted laborers took the rest which their overtaxed energies so imperatively demanded. The house-to-house visitation was resumed here, and efforts were made to have a personal talk with the non-church goers. The corner-stone for the new hall of the Y. Mj C. A. was laid, and a convention held for two days, which was largely attended by ministers and laymen.
Four months were devoted to evangelizing the gigantic metropolis of London. Four centers were selected for preaching. Agricultural Hall, at Islington in north London, could seat 14,000, and give standing room for 6,000 more; Bow Road Hall, in the extreme east, had 10,000 sittings; the -Royal Opera House, in the west end, was in the aristocratic quarter of Westminster; and Victoria Theatre, in the south, was used until Camberwell Hall was completed in June. This gospel campaign—the mightiest ever undertaken by any evangelist—was preceded by a course of union prayer-meetings for five months, that the Lord might prepare the way for a glorious manifestation of his power by purging the hearts of his own followers. A private conference was also held in advance with fifteen hundred of the city clergy, in order to explain the usual plan of procedure, and remove any misapprehensions that might exist. The whole city was parceled out for canvassing, and countless bands of yoke-fellows were sent out to leave at every dwelling the tract drawn up by Mr. Moody, and to tender an invitation to the services. Among these laborers was an old woman aged eighty-five years, who fulfilled her 'duties i'aithfully, and met every where words of kindness. This wonderful mission was opened on Tuesday evening, the 9th of March, at Islington. For a time, the services were met with mockery and ribald speeches without, by disorderly men and women. But thestdetnonstrations soon subsided, as the real piety of the speakers became evident. Fully 80,000 attended the services of the first three days, and 45,000 heard the three addresses on the Sunday following At the Royal Opera House, the nobility and gentry of England were directly reached by Bible readings, and members of the royal family were frequently present. The last gospel meeting was greaier than any preceding, and a great number arose to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. The final meeting of thanksgiving was held at Mildnay Park Conference Hall, on July 12. Seven hundred ministers were present to say farewell to the evangelist, whom they were so loath to see depart. Dr. A. Bonar tesified that the work of increase was still going on in Glasgow, with at least 7,000 members already added to its churches. Other ministers bore witness to the abundant fruit of the revival. Then, after silent prayer, the two evangelists hastily withdrew, not daring to expose themselves to the ordeal of parting with so many dear associates. They had held 285 meetings in London; these were attended by fully 2,500,000 people; the expenses were $140,000. These companions came together at the final meetings in Liverpool. They sailed homeward on the 6th of August, attended by many loving prayers, and arrived in New York on the 14th.
The gospel campaign in the Union began at Brooklyn, on Sunday, October 24, 1875, and continued there until November 19. The Rink, on Clermont Avenue, which had sittings for five thousand, was selected for the preaching services, while Mr. Tal mage's tabernacle Wm devoted to prayer meetings. A choir of 250 Christian singers was led by Mr. Sankey.
In Philadelphia a spacious freight depot, at Thirteenth and Market streets, was improvised to serve as a hall. Chairs were provided for about 10,000 listeners, besides a chorus of six hundred singers seated on the platform. The expenses were met by voluntary contributions outside, which amounted to $30,000. A corps of three hundred Christians acted as ushers, and a like number of selected workers served in the three inquiry rooms. At the opening service, early on Sunday morning, November 21, nine thousand were present, in spite of a drenching storm. In the afternoon, almost twice as many were turned away as found entrance. Henceforth, until the close on January 16, the attendance and popular interest never ilackened. A special service was held on Thanksgiving Day, and a watch-meeting on New Year's eve, from 9 to 12. Efforts were msde to reach all classes of the community, and the meetings for young men were specially blessed. A careful computation puts the total attendance at 900,000, and the converts at 4,000. Before leavinj the city, a collection was made on behalf of the new hall of the \oung Men's Christian Association, and about $100,000 were obtained. A Christian convention was held on the 19th and 20th of January, and pertinent suggestions about the methods of evangelistic work were given for the benefit of the two thousand ministers wd laymen in attendance from outlaying towns.
For the mission in New York City, the Hippodrome at Madison
Md Fourth Avenues was leased, at a rental of $1,500 weekly, and
•10,000 were expended in its preparation. It was partitioned into
'wo halls, one seating 6,500, the other 4,000, the intent being to us« the second for overflow meetings, and so bring such large congregations more completely under the speaker's control. A choir of 800 singers and corps of lay workers were organized. The deep concern of the people to hear the plain gospel preached and sung was as deep here among all classes as elsewhere, and the attendance was unflagging from February 7th to April 19th. Again a Christian conference was convened for two days, at which Christian workers from the North and East took counsel together. At the final meeting for young converts, 3,500 were present by ticket.
Mr. Moody spent two weeks in May with his friend Major Whittle, at Augusta, Georgia, while Mr. Sankey took a rest at Newcastle. He preached with his usual fervor to large congregations. He traveled northward to Chicago by way of Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis and Kansas City, holding meetings on the way. His new church edifice on Chicago Avenue, was opened on his arrival. It was a large brick building with stone facings, measuring 120 by 100 feet, and having a bell-tower 120 feet high. Its entire cost was $100,000, all of which was paid before its dedication. August and September were spent in a visit to the old Northfield homestead, and in little tours to Greenfield, Springfield and Brattleboro.
Chicago gave the heartiest welcome to its own Moody and Sankey in October, where they resumed the mission work suspended by them three years before. A tabernacle was erected which could shelter 10,000, and a choir of 300 singers was organized. The city pastors gave a most cordial sapport, audits populace, many of whom had seen their homes twice burnt to the ground, were eager to listen to the earnest messages of free salvation. The great Northwest was now moved, as never before, especially when tidings came of the sudden death of Philip P. Bliss and his wife at Ashtabula on December 29. Within three months 4,800 converts were recorded in Chicago.
The evangelical Christians of Boston had long been waiting on the Lord for a special blessing on their city. A permanent brick edifice was built on Tremont Street, able to seat a congregation of six thousand. Dr. Tourjee gathered a body of two thousand Christian singers, and organized it into five distinct choirs. The thoughtful addresses of Rev. Joseph Cook were of use in preparing that cultured and critical city for the advent of the evangelists. And the result of the religious services was almost beyond expectation. Instead of a single noon meeting for prayer, seven or eight sprang up throughout the city, with numbers varying from 200 to 1,5OO. Ninety churches co-operated in a house-to-house visitation, and 2,000 visitors were enrolled into these bands of yoke-fellows. Throughout all New England, the quickened activities of the churches were unmistakable. And the evangelical faith met a more respectful hearing from its thinking classes than had been witnessed for a hundred year.