THE LIFE &
The Greatness of Mr. Moody by Henry Drummond - The Last of the Great Group by Newell D. Hillis - Moody as a Prophet by F.B. Meyer.
THE GREATNESS OF MR. MOODY
by Henry Drummond
WERE one asked what on the human side were the effective ingredients in Mr. Moody's sermons, one would find the answer difficult. Probably the foremost is the tremendous conviction with which they are uttered. Next to that are their point and direction. Every blow is straight from the shoulder and every stroke tells. Whatever canons they violate, whatever faults the critics may find with their art, their rhetoric, or even with their theology, as appeals to the people they do their work with extraordinary power.
If eloquence is measured by its effect upon an audience and not by its balanced sentences and cumulative periods, then there is eloquence of the highest order. In sheer persuasiveness, Mr. Moody's has few equals, and, rugged as his preaching may seem to some, there is in it a pathos of a quality which few orators have ever reached, and appealing tenderness which not only wholly redeems it, but raises it not unseldom almost to sublimity.
In largeness of heart, in breadth of view, in single-eyedness and humility, in teachableness and self-obliterations in sheer goodness and love, none can stand beside him.
THE LAST OF THE GREAT GROUP
by Newell Dwight Hillis
WHEN long time hath passed, some historian, recalling the great epochs and religious teachers of our century, will say, "There were four men sent forth by God; their names Charles Spurgeon, Phillips Brooks, Henry Ward Beecher and Dwight L. Moody." Each was a herald of good tidings; each was a prophet of a new social and religious order. God girded each of these prophets for his task, and taught him how to "dip his sword in Heaven."
In characterising the message of these men we say that Spurgeon was expositional, Phillips Brooks devotional, Henry Ward Beecher prophetic and philosophical, while Dwight L. Moody was a herald rather than teacher, addressing himself to the common people - the unchurched multitudes. The symbol of the great English preacher is a lighted lamp, the symbol of Brooks a flaming heart, the symbol of Beecher an orchestra of many instruments, while Mr. Moody was a trumpet, sounding the advance, sometimes through inspiration and sometimes through alarm.
The first three were commanders, each over his regiment, and worked from fixed centre, but the evangelist was the leader of a flying band who went everywhither into the enemy's country, seeking conquests of peace and righteousness. Be the reasons what they may, the common people gladly heard the great evangelist.
MOODY AS A PROPHET
by Rev. F. B. Meyer, B. A.
GOD'S best gifts to man are men. He is always sending forth men. When the time is ripe for a man, God sends him forth. When for a moment the race seems to be halting in its true progress, then, probably from the ranks of the common people, rises he who leads a new advance. "There came a man sent from God." Yes, God constantly sends men. But the greatest gift is a prophet.
When New Testament times dawned the touch of the priest had lost its power forever but around those times prophets have power gathered - John the Baptist, Savonarola, Luther, Latimer, White-field, Wesley, Spurgeon, and it is not fulsome flattery which includes the name of Moody.
WHAT IS A PROPHET?
A prophet is one who sees God's truth by a distinct vision; who speaks as one upon whose eyeballs has burned the Light of the Eternal, and, thus speaking, compels the crowd to listen; he is one whose strong, elevated character is a witness to the truth in which he believes and which he declares. These are the three necessary conditions of a prophet. It matters not in what diction he speaks, whether in the rough, unpolished tongue of the people, or in the choice, well-balanced language of the schools. A man who possesses those three qualities is a prophet, and has a mission from God. Such a one was Moody.
There were certain traits in the prophets and in John the Baptist which we recognize also for the most part in Moody. For instance, the prophet generally rises from the ranks of the people. Again and again from the common people have been supplied the leaders of men. Those in the upper grades of society, from whom we should naturally expect the most, would seem very largely to have worn themselves out with luxury and self-indulgences. History is full of the stories of prophets who came from a lowly stock. And Moody was the child of humble New England parents. His father died early, and Moody's boyhood was spent face to face with privation. He had to fight his way from the ranks of the people. We have to thank this fact for the strong common sense which distinguished him. Moody had the practical insight to humor which belong especially to those who toil upon the land. And this man, with his close relationship to the life of the people, came to be able to hold ten thousand of them spellbound in the grasp of his powerful influence.
TAUGHT OF GOD'S SPIRIT
Again, it will generally be found that a prophet is not learned in the teaching of the schools. John the Baptist received his college education in the desert, amid the elements of Nature. These were his great kindergarten, in which his soul was prepared for its great work. When men go to the conventional colleges they learn to measure their language with the nicest accurateness. Was Moody's lack in this and in similar directions a loss to him? Nay, he was taught of God's Spirit. He bathed himself in a book, in that one volume which is in itself a library, the intimate knowledge of which is alone sufficient to make men cultured.
There is often a brusqueness about the prophet. We see that in John the Baptist. He was not a man to be found in king's courts. Without veneer, brusque, gaunt, strong, he lived and laboured. Moody partook the same characteristics. It is not unlikely, however, that he assumed a certain attitude of brusqueness because he felt afraid of being made an idol of the people. Having seen the evils of popularity, he wished to avoid them. To timid, friendless women, to individual sinners, he was wonderfully gentle and kind in manner. Amongst his grandchildren, whose simple playmate he became, he was tenderness itself. The brusqueness belonged only to the rind, to the character which had known deep experiences.
Moody had very distinct experiences. The manner of his conversion led him to expect immediate decisions in the souls of others. Under his Sunday school teacher's influence he had been led on the moment to give himself to Christ, and he looked for others to do nothing less, nothing more tardy.
HIS BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
Again, the prophet has known a touch of fire. Mr. Moody once told me that a number of poor women in Chicago who heard him speak said one day, "You are good; but there is something you have not got; we are praying that it may come. Later, one afternoon in New York, he was walking along, when an irresistible impulse came upon him to be alone. He looked around. Where could he go? What was to be done? He remembered a friend living not far away. So into his house he rushed, and demanded a room where he could be alone. There he remained several hours, and there he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When he returned to Chicago and began to speak, the godly women who had spoken to him beforetime said, "You have it now." And the wonderful power which Moody henceforward exercised over his fellow-men he owed to that touch of fire. It never left him. People were attracted. What happened when he visited England, happened wherever he went. The prophet had the real ring about him. He dealt with things as they are.
There was genuine greatness of heart in Mr. Moody, and it constantly triumphed over sect differences. When his mother died three years ago the Roman Catholics of the neighborhood asked that they might be pallbearers.
A prophet, of course, has his message. His office is not so much that of teacher or preacher as of herald. He sounds the alarm and cries "fire." With Moody it was not repentance because of hell-fire. The love of God was his proclamation. And how he could speak about that! I have seen him break down, as with trembling voice and tears in his eyes he pleaded with men for the love of God's sake to be reconciled with Him. A prophet is humble. In this respect Moody was true to the type. He seemed the one person who did not know there was a Moody. He did not know half so much about himself as the newspapers told. This is true greatness.
And now he has gone. My world is very much thinner. A great tree has fallen. One more throbbing voice is silent. Spurgeon is gone. Moody is gone. The voices are dying. Listen to-day to the voice of the Son of God.
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