Moody the Evangelist
Moody the Evangelist: A Character Sketch with Original Sayings
By: Joseph B. Bowles, circa 1926
That great Christian leader, the late Rev. Arthur T. Pierson, D.D., editor of The Missionary Review of the World, said of Mr. Moody that more than any other man who ever lived he had come nearest reaching the world with his voice and with his pen.
Mr. Luther D. Wishard, the first college secretary of the International Committee of the Young Men’s Christian Association [YMCA], expressed it thus: “Mr. Moody delivered the gospel message in a larger number of places, to a larger number of persons, a larger number of times than any man who ever lived.”
The Chicago Daily News stated editorially in 1899 that Mr. Moody was known in London, Edinburgh, Melbourne and San Francisco almost as well as in New York or the other leading cities of the United States, excepting Chicago; and that in Chicago he learned “that secret of reaching the people in which he has possibly never had an equal.”
In his power over men, said The Chicago Record, Mr. Moody was “likened to the apostles who went forth to preach the gospel in the early days of Christianity”; and Association Men declared that in almost every city throughout the entire world there were men in all walks of life whose lives had been inspired and transformed through his ministry.
“Yet never was a plain man who told a plain tale more plainly,” said The Chicago Inter Ocean editorially in 1909. “He never seemed even to try to appeal to emotion, thereby differing by the width of the whole heavens from most other famous evangelists. His speech was the common speech of ordinary men bout their daily business. He was no decorator of ideas with words. If there was artifice in his delivery of his message it was of that kind which absolutely conceals its own art. No man has yet arisen in this city and gone out from it who has so moved the human world as Dwight L. Moody.”
What was the secret of his power?
A glimpse of one phase of it is seen in Mr. Moody’s reply to a question by his former pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, Chicago, the Rev. Dr. Roy.
Mr. Moody had preached a sermon on Christ’s compassion, Dr. Roy related, “under which the great audience moved like the forests swept by the winds.”
On being asked how he had prepared such a sermon, Mr. Moody answered: “I got to thinking the other day about the compassion of Christ; so I took the Bible and began to read it over to find out what it said on that subject. I prayed over the texts as I went along, until the thought of His infinite compassion overpowered me, and I could only lie on the floor of my study, with my face in the open Bible, and cry like a child.”
An incident illustrating the fervor of Mr. Moody’s evangelistic spirit before he achieved world-wide fame was related in 1875 by a man whom he had won to the Saviour.
He said he was in a railway train when a stout, cheery-looking stranger sat down beside him, and calling his attention to the beautiful country through which they were passing, said:
“Did you ever think what a good Heavenly Father we have to give us such a pleasant world to live in?”
“I made him some indifferent answer, upon which he earnestly inquired, ‘Are you a Christian?’
“I answered ‘No.’
“ ‘Then,’ said he, ‘you ought to be at once. I am to get off at the next station, but if you will kneel down, right here, I will pray to the Lord to make you a Christian.’
“Scarcely knowing what I did, I knelt down beside him, in the car filled with passengers, and he prayed for me with all his heart. Just then the train drew up at the station and he had only time to get off before it started again.
“Suddenly coming to myself out of what seemed more like a dream than reality, I rushed to the car platform and shouted after him, ‘Tell me who you are.’
“He replied, ‘My name is Moody.’
“I never could shake off the conviction which then took hold upon me until the prayer of that strange man was answered, and I had become a Christian.”
Mr. Moody never felt that his great work of preaching released him in the slightest degree from the obligation to press the gospel upon men individually. On the contrary, his zeal to win men to Christ was as a fire in his bones. Through the greater part of his life he made it a rule to speak to at least one person every day about eternal things.
Going home one night in Chicago he put his hands on the shoulders of a man leaning against a lamp-post and asked him if he was a Christian.
The man turned on him angrily, with fists upraised.
“I’m very sorry if I have offended you,” said Mr. Moody.
“Mind your own business!” was the enraged reply.
“That is my business,” Mr. Moody responded quietly, and left him.
Early one cold winter morning about three months later Mr. Moody was roused in his home by a knock on the door.
“Who’s there?” he called.
Not recognizing the voice that answered, he asked, “What do you want?”
“I want to become a Christian,” was the reply.
Opening the door, Mr. Moody was confronted with the man who had so savagely resented the question addressed to him when he was leaning against the lamp-post.
He said he was very sorry, that he had had no peace since that night, and that he wanted Mr. Moody to pray for him.
He accepted Christ, became a teacher in the North Market Sunday School, and later gave his life for his country in the Civil War.
At the time of Mr. Moody’s first great success in England Earl Cairns was the Lord Chancellor, and an orator of the first rank. “The simplicity of that man’s preaching,” said he, “the clear manner in which he sets forth salvation by Christ, is one of the most striking and delightful things I have ever known.”
“His talk moved me as these new motors do our dories,” wrote Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell in 1914, giving his impressions of the service in London which won him to Christ and led to his lifelong ministry to the fishermen of Labrador.
The campaign of 1873 began in York. Eight persons attended the first meeting, held on Sunday morning in one of the small rooms of the Y.M.C.A. Little success was secured the first week, but the interest slowly increased and when the month’s mission closed two hundred and fifty persons had professed to accept Christ as Saviour.
The evangelists then went to Sunderland on the invitation of Rev. Arthur Rees, who had heard them at York, and had this to say of Mr. Moody:
“He never talks twaddle and seldom utters a sentence that is not well worth hearing. He is a rapid, too rapid a speaker; nevertheless what he does say is sensible, forcible, and to the point, and not too long, which is a great advantage. His anecdotes are superabundant, always apt, often most pathetic and sometimes appalling. His earnestness is intense, his courage leonine, his tact uncommon, and his love for souls most tender.”
In Sunderland also the work was only moderately successful, the city’s clergymen holding aloof. “Mr. Moody,” said an observer, “had one whole minister, three-fourths of one other, and nothing or next to nothing of all the rest to help him in his meetings.”
His methods were new and strange to them. Besides, he was an unordained man, whose blunt speech and lack of the niceties of culture were an offence to many. The revival “was so different from anything which had ever been seen in Sunderland that some of the clergy felt quite certain it must have come originally from the devil.”
The next city visited was Newcastle, and here came “the breaking of the cloud,” the first showers of the mighty downpour which was to bless all Great Britain. The ministers joined hands with the evangelists and so great was the effect of the meetings that the awakening spread to many of the surrounding towns.
A worker in the revival said that nothing about it was so remarkable as the utter demolishing of the old-fashioned prayer-meeting.
“Enter solemn minister and solemn people, scattered, six, eight, ten, over a great area. A long slow hymn. Long portion of the Word. Two elders pray two long prayers, in which they go from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, and a great deal farther.
“Now we have crammed meetings. All sit close together. The singing is lively—new songs, new tunes. A few words from the minister give the key-note. Prayers are short. A few texts from the Word of God are frequently interspersed. Brief exhortations.
“All this comes from our brethren from America. Why have we not found out how to conduct a prayer-meeting before? We in this country have been bound hand a foot by traditions. The brethren have thoroughly solved this question of prayer-meetings for us. We thank them.”
The tidings from Newcastle resulted in an invitation to hold meetings in Edinburgh; and so great was the work done in that stately Scottish city that Dr. Horatius Bonar asserted “There was scarcely a Christian household in which there were not one or more persons converted.”
The [London] Christian reported that every evening there were around the pulpit ministers of all denominations from all parts of the country; that the audiences included members of the nobility, professors from the university and distinguished lawyers; and that Mr. Moody’s direct and faithful preaching held the vast audiences in breathless interest.
No building could accommodate the multitude which gathered for the farewell meeting, which was therefore held in the fields on the slopes of “Arthur’s Seat.”
The Edinburgh Daily Review declared Mr. Moody to be strikingly free from all pretense and parade, his descriptions characterized by remarkable vividness and graphic power; and that there was very little excitement and no extravagance in the services.
From Edinburgh the evangelists traveled throughout Scotland until the whole land was ablaze with revival fire. Estimates of the number in attendance at the farewell Glasgow meeting, held in the Botanic Gardens, varied from thirty to fifty thousand.
A minister who participated in the work in Britain wrote of Mr. Moody’s farewell addresses that they were full of Scripture but almost empty of himself; that he steadily resisted the temptation to be personal, and did not attempt to play upon the sympathies of the thousands he had led to the Saviour. He impressed upon them that they were saved by faith in Christ, that Christ was everything, the Word of God everything, and the speaker nothing; the power not of man, but of God.
Consideration of the conditions in Scotland at that time would appear to justify the conclusion that no more difficult field could have been attacked by Mr. Moody. Scotchmen demanded of their clergymen high scholarly attainments, the stamp of some college or university, and the endorsement of some eminent body of divines. A severe dignity and solemnity marked their conduct of religious services.
All these things Mr. Moody lacked; and at the outset Mr. Sankey’s “kist fu’ o’ whistles,” as his melodeon was called, seemed an abomination to their hearers. For hundreds of years no musical instruments had been allowed in Scottish churches.
It was not strange, therefore, that many conservative men of learning, trained in the discussion of theories of doctrines, but lacking Mr. Moody’s burning love for souls, should have failed to comprehend the marvels which were occurring. “The revival was too much for them. They were like ships when the monsoon falls upon them. Their protests in pamphlets and sermons were so many despairing outcries for help in their distress. They were almost drowned in the floods, struggling and choking in the gospel wave which seemed to be filling Scotland.”
More discerning minds saw, however, that the revival was like all other great religious awakenings since the day of Pentecost, and the critics were put completely to rout.
Concerning Mr. Moody’s conduct of his meetings a writer in The [London] Congregationalist said that sanctified tact and common sense were characteristic of him everywhere; that he gave great care to even the smallest details; and appreciating how body and soul react on each other, did his best to guard his hearers against discomfort and weariness. Should he see anything which might hinder getting his message into the hearts of the people, he spared no effort to get it out of the way.
From Scotland Messrs. Moody and Sankey went to Ireland and then England, holding missions in the principal cities. Everywhere the scenes which electrified Scotland were re-enacted: the largest halls overtaxed; all classes of society deeply stirred; clergymen, no less than lay Christians, awakened from torpor, lifted out of ruts and set on fire with new zeal in Christ’s service; great numbers brought to acknowledge Him as Saviour and unite with the churches; new movements for community welfare brought to birth, and all branches of social philanthropic activity quickened to new life and vigor.
A Manchester clergyman bore testimony in The Christian to the great blessing received by the ministers. “Our souls,” said he, “have been quickened; our faith in the adaptation of the glorious gospel to the wants and longings of the human spirit has been deepened; our sense of the magnitude and responsibility of our office as Heaven’s ambassadors has been greatly increased.
“Mr. Moody has demonstrated to us in a way at once startling and delightful that, after all, the grand levers for raising souls out of the fearful pit and the miry clay are just the doctrines which our so-called advanced thinkers are trying to persuade the Christian world to discard as antiquated and impotent. These are, the doctrine of the atoning death of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of a living, loving personal Saviour, and the doctrine of the new birth by the Spirit and the Word of Almighty God.”
The Birmingham Morning News declared that the springtide of blessing had rolled over Birmingham and risen far above the highwater mark of other years. The gospel fishermen, instead of toiling all night and taking nothing, “have had the fish leaping into the net, as it were, praying to be caught.”
Closing his Bible reading in Birmingham on the blood of Christ, Mr. Moody said: “If you wish to know the secret of our success for the last two years it lies in this: that we have stood fair and square on the Bible doctrine of substitution. Ah! that is what is needed by a dying world.”
One of the city’s prominent clergymen, Rev. W.R. Dale, who was at first inclined to be coldly critical, testified that Mr. Moody preached “in a manner which produced the sort of effect produced by Luther… He exulted in the free grace of God… His joy was contagious. Men leaped out of darkness into light and lived a Christian life afterward.”
A notable feature of the work in Dublin was the friendly spirit of the Roman Catholics.
“With much regret,” said The Nation, “we notice indications of an attempt to excite the hostility of our Catholic population against the religious services conducted by some Protestant missionaries from America. Let Messrs. Moody and Sankey do all they can to make Protestants earnest in religion. Irish Catholics desire to see Protestants deeply imbued with religious feeling rather than tinged with rationalism and infidelity. So long as the religious services of our Protestant neighbors are honestly directed to quickening religious thought in their own body, without offering aggressive or intentional insult to us, it is our duty to pay homage of our respect to their conscientious convictions; in a word, to do as we would be done by.”
Dr. Grenfell has called attention to the fact that under no circumstances was Mr. Moody a slave to “what-others-would-say.” In subscribing to a fund to install an organ in a Roman Catholic chapel, “he gave the obvious justification that Catholics who enjoyed good music must be better neighbors than Catholics with bad. That kind of attitude attracted me immensely. It seems so like the big Spirit of the Master.”
Following Mr. Moody’s death some of the most appreciative tributes to his life and work were from Roman Catholic prelates. “I have watched his career as a Christian minister,” said the late Bishop John L. Spalding, “and I have always looked upon him as a sincere, earnest and successful worker. He has done a great deal of good for mankind. I heard him preach in New York and I considered him a very effective preacher.”
“Mr. Moody accomplished a remarkable work,” said Bishop Charles C. Grafton. “Every one was impressed with his straightforwardness and sincerity. There was nothing of the manufactured pasteboard rhetoric which is the stock in trade of many popular preachers. His aim was to point men to Christ. I asked my people from my pulpit to pray for him. We may believe he belonged, as St. Augustine said, to the soul of the Catholic Church, though he might not have been in communion with its visible body.”
Shots That Went Home
Dwight L. Moody was a magnificent fighter. He waged a life-long warfare against “the god of this world,” the “prince of the power of the air”: that chief of the forces of evil called Satan, who not only “walketh about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” but “is transformed into an angel of light” to take men unawares and lure them to perdition.
Mr. Moody had no confidence in his own ability to fight this great antagonist. He knew that mortal man never lived who was able, in his own unaided strength, to contend successfully against him. None but Jesus Christ ever did.
So he took unto himself “the whole armour of God.” Over his brow was “the helmet of salvation.” His feet were “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” He wore the “breastplate of righteousness.” With “the shield of faith” he was “able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” And he wielded a marvelous weapon, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”; declared by God himself “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,” and “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Thus equipped, he warred unceasingly to deliver those bound by sin and Satan.
His supply of munitions never ran short. The source was inexhaustible. He pressed the fighting and won victories heralded around the world. Men marveled at his wonderful success. And countless thousands lifted their voices in praise to God for deliverance from their bondage.
He had opened his heart to God. God’s love possessed him, and made him “mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.” Love hurled the missiles which went straight from his heart to the hearts of his hearers.
A few from the arsenal of his vast supply are given herewith.
Because God Fights for Them
There is no power on earth that can stand before the onward march of God’s people when they are dead in earnest.
“Business is so Pressing”
There is many a business man today who will tell you he has no time to pray; his business is so pressing that he cannot call his family around him, and ask God to bless them. He is so busy that he cannot ask God to keep him and them from the temptations of the present life—the temptations of every day. “Business is so pressing.” I am reminded of the words of an old Methodist minister: “If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.”
Christianity’s A B C
Christ says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This doctrine of the new birth is therefore the foundation of all our hopes for the world to come. It is really the A B C of the Christian religion. My experience has been this—that if a man is unsound on this doctrine he will be unsound on almost every other fundamental doctrine of the Bible. A true understanding of this subject will help a man to solve a thousand difficulties that he may meet in the Word of God. Things that before seemed very dark and mysterious will become very plain.
Live the Life!
I am getting so tired and sick of your mere sentimentalism, that does not straighten out a man’s life. We may sing our hymns and psalms, and offer prayers, but they will be an abomination to God, unless we are willing to be straight-forward in our daily life.
Utterly Helpless, but Saved!
The thief on the cross had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord: he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation; and yet Christ offered him the gift of God, and he took it. He threw him a passport, and took him with Him into Paradise.
Bidding Jesus Goodbye
Did you ever hear of a backslider bidding the Lord Jesus Christ “Goodbye”; going into his closet and saying: “Lord Jesus, I have known Thee ten, twenty, or thirty years: but I am tired of Thy service; Thy yoke is not easy, nor Thy burden light; so I am going back to the world, to the fleshpots of Egypt. Goodbye, Lord Jesus! Farewell”?
Did you ever hear that? No; you never did, and you never will. I tell you, if you get into the closet and shut out the world and hold communion with the Master you cannot leave Him. The language of your heart will be, “To whom shall we go but unto Thee? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” You could not go back to the world if you treated Him in that way. But you left Him and ran away. You have forgotten Him days without number. Come back today; just as you are! Make up your mind that you will not rest until God has restored unto you the joy of His salvation.
God Never Fails
I contend that God’s children are alone able to hinder God’s work. Infidels, atheists, and skeptics cannot do it. Where there is union, strong faith, and expectation among Christians, a mighty work is always done.
I have an idea that when we get to heaven, or into eternity we will find that the recording angel has been ourselves. God will make every one of us keep our own record; memory will keep the record; and when God shall say, “Son, remember,” it will all flash across our mind. It won’t be God who will condemn us. We shall condemn ourselves, and we shall stand before God speechless.
Love that Passeth Knowledge
I can imagine that when Christ said to the little band around Him, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,” Peter said, “Lord, do you really mean that we are to go back to Jerusalem and preach the Gospel to those men that murdered you?”
“Yes,” said Christ, “go hunt up that man that spat in my face; tell him that he may have a seat in my kingdom yet.
“Yes, Peter, go find that man that made that cruel crown of thorns and placed it on my brow, and tell him that I will have a crown ready for him when he comes into my kingdom, and there will be no thorns in it.
“Hunt up that man that took a reed and brought it down over the cruel thorns, and tell him I will put a scepter in his hand if he will accept salvation.
“Search for the man that drove the spear into my side, and tell him there is a nearer way to my heart than that.”
The Greatest Wonder
A man once wanted to sell me a book of “Wonders.” I took it and looked it over and could not find anything in it about Calvary. What a mistake! A book of wonders—and the greatest wonder of all left out.
A Vast Inheritance
It is said of certain New York millionaires that their fortunes are so large they cannot tell how rich they are. That’s my case! I am a millionaire! You didn’t know it, did you? Well, I am! I can’t tell how rich I am. He that overcometh shall inherit all things. “All things!” “ALL THINGS!” Think of that! “All things are yours.”
Making Christ King
Now, my friends, notice; whenever God has been calling me to higher service, there has always been a conflict with my will. I have fought against it, but God’s will has been done instead of mine. When I came to Jesus Christ, I had a terrible battle to surrender my will, and to take God’s will. When I gave up business, I had another battle for three months. I fought against it. It was a terrible battle. But oh! how many times I have thanked God that I gave up my will and took God’s will. Then there was another time when God was calling me into higher service, to go out and preach the gospel all over the land, instead of staying in Chicago. I fought against it for months; but the best thing I ever did was when I surrendered my will, and let the will of God be done in me.
If you will take my advice, you will have no will other than God’s will. Make a full and complete surrender, and the sweet messages of heaven will come to you. God will whisper into your soul the secrets of heaven.
Only the “Twice-Born” in Heaven
An unregenerated man would rather be in hell than in heaven. Take a man whose heart is full of corruption and wickedness, and place him in heaven among the pure, the holy and the redeemed; and he would not want to stay there. Certainly, if we are to be happy in heaven we must begin to make a heaven here on earth. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. If men were taken to heaven just as they are by nature, without having their hearts regenerated, there would be another rebellion in heaven. Heaven is filled with a company of those who have been TWICE BORN.
Hell’s Blackness Wiped Clean
Listen to the prodigal: “Father, I have sinned!” That was enough: the father took him right to his bosom. The past was blotted out at once.
Look at the men on the day of Pentecost. Their hands were dripping with the blood of the Son of God: they had murdered Jesus Christ. And what did Peter say to them? “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Look at the penitent thief. It might have been that when a little boy, his mother taught him that same passage in Joel, “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” As he hung there on the cross, it flashed into his mind that this was the Lord of glory, and though he was on the very borders of hell, he cried out, “Lord, remember me,” and the answer came right then and there, “This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” In the morning, as black as hell could make him; in the evening, not a spot or wrinkle. Why? Because he took God at His word. Why will men doubt Him?
Boldness and Success
When we find a man meditating on the words of God, that man is full of boldness and is successful.
They tell us that they do not believe in revivals. There never was a country moved so suddenly and awakened so quickly as Judea under the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Talk about sensational preaching! If by that name you mean preaching designed merely to impress the outward senses, then their preaching was not sensational; but if you mean preaching calculated to produce a striking effect, then it was indeed sensational. The greatest sensation that any nation ever witnessed was brought about by these mighty preachers. Some great patriarchs, prophets and kings, some wonderful men, had arisen; but now the Jewish world was about to gaze upon its greatest. It was moved from center to circumference.
I am amused to hear some people talk against revivals. If you take up history, you will see that every church has sprung out of revivals. This was the mightiest work the church had seen. It was sudden. It was not long before you could hear the tramp of thousands flocking from the towns into the desert to hear a man who had no commission from his fellow-men; who had gone through no seminary or college; who had not been brought up in the temple among the sons of Levi; who belonged to no sect or party’ who had no DD., LL.D., or any “handle” to his name, but simply John; a heaven-sent man with a heaven-given name. He had no prestige in Jerusalem, nor any influential committee meetings. He was simply John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness! And away went the crowd to hear him, and many believed him. Why? Because he was sent from God.
“Suffer Hardness as Good Soldiers”
Spirit-filled men will not shirk the hard places and seek their own ease and comfort. They will not put the heaviest burdens on others, but will lift them themselves.
A Pioneer of Brotherly Love
That humane Samaritan who nursed back to life the Jew who had unlimited contempt for him, knocked more sectarianism and class-feeling out of the world by his deeds than was ever done before or since in the same length of time.
It is a singular fact that few men, otherwise well-educated, are acquainted with the English Bible. I can secure a hundred men who can teach Greek and Latin well where I find only one who can teach the Bible well.
A Wonderful Privilege
It is a great thing to lead one soul from the darkness of sin into the glorious light of the gospel. I believe if an angel were to wing his way from earth up to Heaven, and were to say that there was one poor, ragged boy, without father or mother, with no one to care for him and teach him the way of life; and if God were to ask who among them were willing to go down to this earth and live here for fifty years and lead that one to Jesus Christ, every angel in Heaven would volunteer to go. Even Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, would say, “Let me leave my high and lofty position, and let me have the luxury of leading one soul to Jesus Christ.” There is no greater honor than to be the instrument in God’s hands of leading one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of heaven.
The Secret of Power
Real faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength. The trouble is that we have too much strength and confidence in ourselves.
One Soul Outweighs the World
I would rather save one soul from death than have a monument of solid gold reaching from my grave to heaven.
The Remedy that Cannot Fail
You may pile up your sins till they rise like a dark mountain, and then multiply them by ten thousand for those you cannot think of; and after you have tried to enumerate all the sins you have ever committed, just let me bring one verse in, and that mountain will melt away: “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from ALL sin.”
The Delusion of Universal Brotherhood
I want to say very emphatically that I have no sympathy with the doctrine of universal brotherhood, and universal fatherhood; I don’t believe one word of it. If a man lives in the flesh and serves the flesh, he is a child of the devil. That is pretty strong language, but it is what Christ said. It brought down a hornet’s nest on His head, and helped to hasten Him to the cross, but nevertheless it is true. Show me a man that will lie and steal and get drunk and ruin a woman,—do you tell me he is my brother? Not a bit of it. He must be born into the household of faith before he becomes my brother in Christ. He is an alien, he is a stranger to the grace of God, he is an enemy to God, he is not a friend. Before a man can cry, “Abba, Father,” he must be born from above, born of the Spirit.
A Live Monument
The monument I want after I am dead and gone is a monument with two legs going about the world—a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Concentrate: Get It Done!
There is no better motto for a young man than that line from the Bible which runs, “This one thing I do.” And then he wants to pitch in and do with all his might, and never let up until it is done.
“Oh! What a Change”
I remember one night when the Bible was the driest book in the universe to me. The next day it was all light. I had the key to it. I had been born of the Spirit. But before I knew anything of the mind of God in His Word I had to give up my sin.
Too High a Price
It has been said that Christ never spoke of riches except in words of warning. We are not apt to regard them in that light today. Men are trampling each other down in the pursuit of wealth. “Be not deceived.” He who sets his heart upon money is sowing to the flesh, and shall of the flesh reap corruption. “Adversity hath slain her thousands, but prosperity her tens of thousands.”
“What is the value of this estate?” said a gentleman to another, as they passed a fine mansion surrounded by fair and fertile fields.
“I don’t know what it is valued at; I know what it cost its late possessor.”
When God Balances the Account
No wonder Martin Luther shook all Germany when that truth dawned upon him, “The just shall live by faith.” Do you know what “justified” means? I will tell you. It is to stand before God without spot or wrinkle, without a sin. It is to be put back beyond Eden. God looks over His ledger, and says: “Moody, I have no account against you. Your debt has all been wiped out by another.”
One of the greatest lies that has come out of the pit of hell is that Christ is a hard master. It is a lie, and has been so from the foundation of the world. Oh, young men! I beg of you, do not believe the Devil when he says that God is a hard master. It is false, my friends; and tonight let us brand that excuse as one of the Devil’s own lies, that he has been retailing up and down the earth for these six thousand years.
If your minister comes to you frankly, tells you of your sin, and warns you faithfully, thank God for him. He is your best friend; he is a heaven-sent man. But if your minister speaks smooth, oily words to you, tells you it is all right, when you know, and he knows, that it is all wrong, and that you are living in sin, you may be sure that he is a devil-sent man. I want to say I have contempt for a preacher that will tone his message down to suit some one in his audience; some senator, or big man whom he sees present. If the devil can get possession of such a minister and speak through him, he will do the work better than the devil himself. All the priests and ministers of all the churches cannot save one soul that will not part with sin.
The Power and Joy are from Him
One who is filled with the Spirit works easily and with delight for the Lord.
You Can’t Stop Them!
I like the fellows who, if they can’t get a man into the presence of Christ in the ordinary way, will use an extraordinary way. I am ready to endorse anybody’s method that will get people into the presence of Jesus.
Love of Leprosy
Naaman left only one thing in Samaria and that was his sin—his leprosy: and the only thing God wishes you to leave is your sin. And yet it is the only thing you seem not to care about giving up. “Oh,” you say, “I love leprosy; it is so delightful, I cannot give it up. I know God wants it that He may make me clean, but I cannot give it up.” Why, what downright madness it is to love leprosy!
Idol Worship in America
You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you make most of is your god. Whatever you love more than God is your idol. Many a man’s heart is like some Kaffirs’ huts, so full of idols that there is hardly room to turn around. Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, all classes of men and women are guilty of this sin. “The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself.”
A man may make a god of himself, of a child, of a mother, of some precious gift that God has bestowed upon him. He may forget the Giver, and let his heart go out in adoration toward the gift. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
The Source of Real Efficiency
The Spirit of God alone gives that liberty that sets free all the powers of the soul for the service of love.
God-Sent Men Invincible
If God calls a man to work, He will be with him in that work, and he will succeed no matter what the obstacles may be.
From Gutter to Throne
Think of the Lord stooping down and taking a poor drunkard right up and out of the gutter, and putting his feet on the rock, and a new song in his mouth, and lifting him up above powers and principalities, above angels and archangels, seraphims and cherubims, up, up, up, on to the throne with Himself! He says, “Ye shall sit with Me on My throne.” Man, look up! Look at the stars tonight! Our inheritance is above.
I thank God there is a height in the Bible I do not know anything about, a depth I have never been able to fathom. It makes the Book all the more fascinating. If I could take that Book up and read it as I can any other book and understand it at one reading, I should have lost faith in it years ago. It is one of the strongest proofs that it must have come from God, that the acutest men who have dug for fifty years have laid down their pens and said, “There is a depth we know nothing of.” “No Scripture,” said Spurgeon, “is exhausted by a single explanation. The flowers of God’s garden bloom, not only double, but sevenfold: they are continually pouring forth fresh fragrance.”
In God We Conquer
We have three great enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. But we have also three great friends: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
When the prodigal came home, Grace met him and embraced him. Law said, Stone him! Grace said, Embrace him! Law said, Smite him! Grace said, Kiss him! Law went after him, and bound him. Grace said, Loose him and let him go! Law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes and makes me straight.
Take Christ for your strength, dear soul. He’ll give you power. Power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil; power to crucify every besetting sin, passion, lust; power to shout in triumph over every trouble and temptation in your life, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
I can imagine when they laid our Lord in Joseph’s tomb one might have seen Death sitting over that sepulcher, saying: “I have Him; He is my victim. He said He was the Resurrection and the Life. Now I hold Him in my cold embrace. They thought He was never going to die; but see Him now. He has had to pay tribute to me.”
Never! The glorious morning comes, the Son of Man bursts asunder the bands of death, and rises, a conqueror from the grave. “Because I live,” He shouts, “ye shall live also.”
Yes, we shall live also—is it not good news?
Easy-Job-Men Soon Out
I know some men that I don’t like to have around me. They are always looking for an easy job. They are good for nothing. They will soon be out. They will not be wanted.
“Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon”
Now mark you, no man can be true for God, and live for Him, without at some time or other being unpopular in this world. Those men who are trying to live for both worlds make a wreck of it. At some time or other the collision is sure to come.
Shut Off from Christ
One sentence from the lips of the Son of God in regard to the future state has forever settled it in my mind: “Ye shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.” If a man has not given up his drunkenness, his profanity, his licentiousness, his covetousness, heaven would be hell to him. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. What would a man do in heaven who cannot bear to be in the society of the pure and holy down here?
Strength Out of Weakness
Notice that all the men whom Christ called around Him were weak men in a worldly sense. They were all men without rank, without title, without position, without wealth or culture. Nearly all of them were fishermen and unlettered men; yet Christ chose them to build up His kingdom. When God wanted to bring the children of Israel out of bondage, He did not send an army; He sent one solitary man. So in all ages God has used the weak things of the world to accomplish His purposes.
Try It and See!
I have never seen people go out into the lanes and alleys, into the hedges and highways, and try to bring the people in, but the Lord gave His blessing. If a man has the courage to go right to his neighbor and speak to him about his soul, God is sure to smile upon the effort.
Where Great Men Failed
You must have a new life before you can fight the battle of a Christian life. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Peter, apart from God, made wretched failures. They failed at the strongest point of their character. Away from God these strong men were weak as water, and were overcome. We stand, we walk, we live, we fight, we overcome, by faith.
The Only News-Book
The Bible is the only news-book in the world. The news-paper tells us what has taken place, but this Book tells us what will take place. And for people to be shutting it up, and saying we can be guided without it, is just as reasonable as to shut out the sun by closing up our windows because we have the electric light.
How to Kill a Prayer Meeting
I have seen the life taken out of many prayer-meetings by the leader. There is a way of going into a meeting by which you may do this. Go in with your coat buttoned up, looking at no one. Do not use your natural voice and be as stiff as you can. Begin by saying you have nothing to say, and then talk for half an hour. If the meeting isn’t dead then, I am a false prophet. Then after you have thrown the meeting open, get up and scold the people for not taking part.
Law vs. Grace
The law says, “Do”; grace says, “Done.” The law says, “Do, and live”; grace says, “Live, and do.” The gospel says to the sinner, “Come”; it says to the Christian, “Go.”
Lost One Moment, Saved the Next
Salvation is instantaneous. I admit that a man may be converted so that he cannot tell when he crossed the line between death and life, but I also believe a man may be a thief one moment and a saint the next. I believe a man may be as vile as hell itself one moment, and be saved the next.
Do It with Your Might!
Wake up! Wake up the people! Get them out to your meetings. Advertise your meetings. Let the people know about it. Compel them to come. Press things. Why preach to a few when you might have hundreds? Why have poor, dull, sleepy meetings when you might have them full of life, enthusiasm and power! If we believe the gospel is the best news that ever came to this world, then let us publish it to everybody we can reach.
Good at Heart?
Many a weeping wife has come to me about her husband, saying: “He is good at heart.” The truth is—that is the worst spot in him. If the heart was good, all else would be right. Out of the heart are the issues of life. Christ said: “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” That is Christ’s own statement regarding the unregenerate heart.
“Not Many Mighty Are Called”
There are great men in the world; there are good men in the world; but there are few who are both great and good.
“Go Ye, … Lo, I Am with You”
We have been on the defensive too long. It is time we went into the conflict with all our might, straight into the enemy’s camp.
The Secret of Overcoming
Every one is either overcoming or being overcome. You and I are more interested in this fight than in any of the great battles of history. Who is it that overcomes the world? Who is the victor? He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Supreme Conflict
We have self to overcome. We must overcome it or be overcome. The greatest enemy that ever crossed my path was D.L. Moody. Our enemies are within. We must get the victory over self, our appetites and passions and lusts.
“D.L. Moody Dead? Never!”
Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; gone out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body like unto His own glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.
Christ’s Last Act
When a prominent man dies, we are anxious to get his last words and acts. The last act of the Son of God was to save a sinner. That was a part of the glory of His death. He commenced His ministry by saving sinners, and ended it by saving the poor thief.
I remember hearing a story about an Indian who wanted to come to the Lord. He brought his blanket, but the Lord wouldn’t have it. He brought his gun, his dog, his bow and arrow, but the Lord wouldn’t have them. At last he brought himself, and the Lord took him. The Lord wanted himself. What the Lord wants is not what you have got, but yourself, and you cannot do a thing to please God until you surrender yourself to Him.
Would I advise a young man to go into the ministry? Never! If God calls a man, all right; but I have seen too many man-made ministers. If a man is called by God, he will succeed; but if he is sent by man, he will fail. I should advise every man to engage in Christian work, but not to give up all other occupations and live by the pulpit. All are called to be disciples and witnesses, but there needs to be a special call to be an apostle.