Chapter XVI



On November 15, 1899, Mr. Moody told the ministers who were associated with him in the revival which he was holding in the great Convention Hall at Kansas City, that he was nearly exhausted, and that he must have rest, and that he would not lead the after-meetings in the church as had been his custom previously. Mr. Moody had been holding revival services in Kansas City for some weeks, and they had been remarkably successful. The great effort, however, in speaking in an immense hall, was too much for his years and strength. The next day a physician was called after he left the hall, and went to his hotel, and the next evening he announced himself very much better; he said he did not know just what was the matter with him, but that he was under the impression that he had a little cold and a little touch of malaria, but that he was being brought around all right. He concluded that in order to cure himself that he would only hold two meetings each day in Convention Hall. The morning and afternoon prayer-meeting and the after meetings, all of which were held in the Second Presbyterian church, were led by someone else; Mr. Moody was not present. In four days that week some three hundred people had expressed their intention of becoming Christians. The names and addresses of all the converts were taken, with their church preferences, if any, and these facts were to determine who should look after them until they were safely landed in the right path and to be able to see their own way to salvation.

On the 17 th of November, for the first time in forty years as a preacher-evangelist, Mr. Moody was obliged to give up and leave a meeting. Mr. Moody found himself worse on Friday morning, and he kept getting worse,until, by noon, his physician, Dr. E. W. SchaufHer, found his patient becoming so weak that he informed him that it would not be advisable for him to preach at the afternoon meeting. Mr. Moody held out until the last moment, hoping his strength would revive, but finally was reluctantly compelled to coincide with his physician in his views.

As the morning wore on, Mr. Moody's friends saw that he kept growing weaker, and it was not long before Mr. Moody himself decided that he must do what he had never done before in his life, abandon a series of meetings before its close, and go as soon as possible to his home in Northfield, Mass. It almost broke his heart to carry out such a decision, but his rapidly waning strength warned him that he should be at home where he could have the cheering and reviving influences which would come to him from the ministrations of his wife and family.

Accordingly, arrangements were made for the journey by the road which would get him to his home in as short a time and in as comfortable a manner as possible. No special or private car in the city being available at that time, Mr. and Mrs. Neil, the evangelists, tendered the use of their gosCopyright, HUM), by Robt O. Law.


The interest at the Glasgow meetings was so great that toward the close no hall large enough to hold the people could

be had, and Mr. Moody spoke in the open air.

pel cat, "The Messenger of Peace." This was accepted, and it was attached to the Wabash train. Mr. Moody left Kansas City at 9.15 o'clock on the night of November 17th for the long journey to his home, going by way of St. Louis and Buffalo. Mrs. Neil accompanied the car to assist in nursing the sick man, who was also accompanied by Dr. Robert Schauffler, who, with his father, had been attending Mr. Moody, and by. Mr. Charles M. Vining, teller of the Union National Bank, who went at Mr. Moody's special request, Mr. Vining having been a classmate and intimate friend of Mr. Moody's son at college. Mr. Moody's friends say that he had shown much physical weakness since his arrival at Kansas City, and there had been a rapid running down in his condition, and to this they attributed the fact that he had seemed to fail to get the hold upon his audiences which was usual with him.

His talks had appeared to lack the power and convincing energy to which those who had heard him frequently were accustomed, still there had been a great awakening among religious people, and quickening of the spirit, which had resulted in great good to the church. The foundation had been laid upon which great revivals in the. individual churches could be raised, while the way had been opened for successful evangelical meetings, as they had been previously advertised in nearly all the churches in the city. The direct results in actual converts at the meetings, however, had not been nearly so large as was usual in his meetings.

Mr. Moody himself, nevertheless, did not appear to have any fears but that he would be able to go on with his evangelistic meetings after a few days. He regretted very much to leave the Kansas City meetings, and he cancelled an engagement which he had for beginning a series of meetings at Rochester, N. Y., on the following Wednesday.

He said that it was not the speaking in the hall there that had brought on his illness. The speaking, he said, did not specially tire him, as he felt no pain or difficulty while preaching.. It was in walking back and forth from Convention Hall to the Coates House, where he stopped, that he felt pain and difficulty in breathing.

Mr. Moody thought of the meetings up to the time he left, sending a special word over to the evening meetings, thanking the choir for their services, and asking all to continue under the arrangement whereby the meetings were to continue on to the next Sunday evening as planned. He also thanked the ministers for the cordial support they had given him, and the reporters for their work, saying he had never held meetings in a city where the newspapers had reported his meetings with more appreciation and cordiality.

Mr. Moody's last sermon was on the night of November 16th, was on the parable of a certain man who made a great feast and invited his friends, but when these friends all sent their regrets, he went out into the streets and invited everybody, and into the, hedge rows and compelled people to come, declaring meanwhile that they who had been invited and refused to come should not taste of his feast.

Mr. Moody took up the excuses of those who refused to go to the feast, and showed how frivolous they were. The man who had just bought a piece of land surely knew what it was before he bought it. So with the oxen and the man who married— his bride would undoubtedly have been glad to go to the king's banquet.

"These excuses do look pretty foolish now when I hold them up to you," said Mr. Moody, "but I have an invitation to-night to all of you to attend a royal feast—the marriage supper of the Lamb—and your excuses for not coming are even more frivolous and false.

"Men at the present time are about all making excuses. The habit is as old as Adam. Adam made a mean, contemptible excuse; said it was his wife; , he even threw the blame back upon God, and said, 'This woman that Thou gavest me.' But men all have excuses. They have not the moral courage to say they don't want to go to the feast; they lay awake nights to make up excuses, and if I were to tear up every excuse that you have here to-night and then jump down off this platform and ask the first man down there, he would have a new excuse ready. I tell you excuses are the devil's cradles to rock souls off to sleep in.''

Mr. Moody then took up the excuses men most frequently give for not becoming Christians. '' 'The Bible is not true,' they say. They criticise the Bible who have never read it, never study it, don't know anything about it. Some say, 'I don't know as I have been foreordained to be saved'; others stay out because 'there are so many hypocrites in the church.'"

Said Mr. Moody: "I'll find a hundred hypocrites in the world to where you will find one in the Church. Of • course, there are hypocrites in the church—the tares and the wheat grow up together; but if you stay out of church because there arc hypocrites in it, why don't you quit your business because there are hypocrites in that? Are you a grocer? There are folks in this country who grind marble up in the sugar. Are you a lawyer? Are there any hypocrites among the lawyers? Are you a doctor? Are there any quacks among the doctors? Are you a Republican? Are there any hypocrites there? Or a Democrat? 'But,' you say, 'I don't belong to either; I am a Prohibitionist.' Are there any hypocrites among the prohibition parties?

"Oh, I am about tired and sick of people trying to live on the faults of others; you can't get very fat on that; look out for the men who are always howling about hypocrites; they are hypocrites themselves."

Other excuses which were given were treated very much in the same manner by the speaker, who finally said that there were two excuses which were more universal than any, but which are seldom avowed. "One is the lack of moral courage," said he; "they are a pack of cowards waiting to enter the kingdom of God if they would act up to their convictions. The other excuse is sin. People have some sin possibly they do not want people to know about, but they don't want to give that sin up as they would have to do if they became Christians."

Mr. Moody closed by stating that if an excuse was written out by one of the reporters asking God, "I pray Thee have more excuses from the marriage feast," that no one in the house would sign it, but those who go out of the house without accepting the invitation virtually do the same thing.. If the note was written to go to God direct, "I will be there," all would want to sign it. '' Now,'' said the preacher, "how many will accept this invitation? How many will say, 'I will?'"

Half a dozen, scattered through the audience, responded, and as Mr. Moody repeated the request, there was as many more that had been stirred to the heart by his resistless logic, and as he said, "I will wait a few moments longer to see if any one else, any man, woman or child, will say the word. I could stand here all night and listen to those 'I wills.'"

The responses came from all parts of the great hall until about half a hundred had responded to the invitation held out by Mr. Moody.

Mr. Moody arrived in St. Louis the next day, and after partaking of a hearty breakfast at the Union Station, continued his journey home. In the morning he sent the following telegram to the Convention Hall meeting at Kansas City: "I thank the good people of Kansas City for all their kindness to me. Had best night in a week. Heart stronger and temperature nearly normal."

Mr. Moody reached Northfield, Sunday, the 19th.

His wife and son, William R. Moody, had gone to Buffalo to meet him, but as he did not stop in Buffalo, they missed each other. He went to Greenfield over the Fitchburg road, where he was met by his youngest son, Paul, with a pair of horses, and was at once driven over the country roads to East Northfield, twelve miles away. The ride apparently did Mr. Moody much good, and he expressed himself as greatly pleased at having reached his home.

He sent the following telegram, which was read at the opening of the last meeting of the revival in Kansas City that night to ten thousand people: "East Northfield, Mass., November 19th. Have reached here safely; have traveled back and forth for forty years, and never felt better. Regret heartily that I had to leave Kansas City. Had I been there to-night, I would have preached on 'They are not far from the Kingdom.' My prayer is, that many be led into the kingdom under Mr. Torrey's preaching. I want to thank the good people of Kansas City for their kindness and prayers. Dr. Robert Schauffler and Mr. Vining have been of great help, and I appreciate your kindness in sending them." (Signed.) Dwight L. Moody.