Newspaper article titled Dwight L. Moody's Sermon

Dwight L. Moody's Sermon


Was Assisted by Ira D. Sankey and Address Was a Plain and Earnest Talk.

Dwight L. Moody , who preached yesterday morning at the union services in the Church of the Pilgrims, on Henry street, has been a familiar figure in Brooklyn churches since 1869 and 1870. His first appearance here was in the Clermont avenue rink, where he held a series of revival meetings. Before that he had held the same kind of meetings in Chicago, in New York City in the old railroad depot on Twenty-sixth street and Fourth avenue, and in Philadelphia, both in Agricultural Hall and in the building which has since given place to by enlargement to John Wanamaker's store.

The impressions Mr. Moody made by these meetings led the pastors of churches to trust him and to obtain his services for revival efforts in their own parishes. An institution, so to speak, formed around him, which was at first located in Chicago, where a school for the instruction of Christian workers was started. A branch of it still exists there, but the main establishment has been removed to Northflied, Mass. There a lay college for men and women, as it is popularly called, has been established. The object of it is to teach its students the art of exposition and the art of address, and to stimulate in them the faith and the character which will make their labors successful.

These beginnings need only be recalled in a general way to attention. For these many years Mr. Moody has been the foremost Christian lay worker in the United States and perhaps in the world. He has grown in power, self poise, influence and, to a degree, in refinement, by logical courses. He has learned how to preach by preaching and how to work by working, and how to get the best capabilities for work out of other people by long experience with them. For several seasons he has attacked, so to speak, New York and Brooklyn. It has been his object to stir up laggard churches and to prepare Christians for the conversion of sinners by getting Christians themselves aroused to duty and to opportunity. These campaigns of Mr. Moody have heretofore taken place in the late fall or in the early winter. This year he has chosen the summer as his period, and some of the staidest and least excitable churches as his field of work. In Manhattan the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, of which the late John Hall was the pastor, is the field of his labors, and in Brooklyn, the Church of the Pilgrims, which is holding union services in conjunction with three other churches on the Heights, has given him a hearty welcome. Mr. Moody has undertaken to supply preachers for the Fifth avenue church and for Dr. Storrs' church in Brooklyn, and has. also consented to put in some time himself in both parishes.

Mr. Moody is a man of medium height, stout habit, animated gestures, and speaks in short, crisp and nervous sentences. He has a vivid power of illustration and arousal and talks straight out as a man to men, with a sense of authority which the confidence inspired by his sincerity and his disinterestedness certainly justifies.

Probably not since the celebration of the golden jubilee of its pastor, the Rev. Richard Salter Storrs , has the Church of the Pilgrims contained so many worshipers as it did yesterday. The main body of the church was filled to overflowing and both galleries were crowded. Additional seats had to be placed in the aisles to accommodate those who had come to hear the great evangelist, who was listened to with marked attention. Before Mr. Moody began his discourse, Ira D. Sankey, the singing evangelist, whose name is inseparably linked with that of the renowned preacher, sang his well-known hymn, "Then We'll Understand."

Mr. Moody's sermon was a characteristic one, based on the familiar story of Martha and Mary and the ear which each lent to the teachings of the Saviour.

The speaker's description of the character of Mary was especially graphic. "She was not wealthy, refined or attractive," he said, "nor even extraordinarily intelligent, and had never, before meeting the Saviour, done anything worth mentioning. But the simple yet glorious story of how she sat at the feet of Him who afterward gave back life to her brother, Lazarus, has come down to us in all the grandeur of its very simplicity and will continue to be told until the end of time.

"You will notice," said Mr. Moody, "the first time we look into the house of Mary and Martha at Bethany there is a little jar in the family. And have you ever noticed how very uncomfortable it makes one feel to be with the family in which there is a little jar between the husband and the wife or between sister and sister? Some think that Martha was as right as Mary, in urging that her sister be about her household duties. The difference between the two sisters was in personality and temperament. Martha doubtless was as well meaning as Mary, but Martha was a little inclined to be too practical, a little inclined to be cross and bad tempered; she fretted a good deal. Martha had a great many children and allowed the cares of her home to rest upon herself with less of sense than solicitude. We have about ten thousand Marthas in our day where we have only one Mary."

"It is so easy to fret and to find fault, and some people seem to think it is asort of misfortune and weakness, instead of a sin." It is imperative that everyone should be of a good disposition and even tempered, and many are too frequently deluded by false conceptions of duty and facts and often fall into the error made by Martha." Mr. Moody told of a woman who had the habit of misrepresenting facts, all unconsciously, too, when stating them to others. In great distress she asked Mr. Moody for advice. Said he to her: "The next time you catch yourself lying, go right to the party and tell him or her that you lie." (Laughter.) "The woman," said Mr. Moody, "although she did not follow the prescription, was cured of her failing."

"A person can believe various things," said, Mr. Moody, "and thus keep a family or friends in hot water all the time. One cross, peevish, fretful word may sometimes cause much disunion in a family, and as long as we are in that condition we do not have the peace of God which we should have. I think many a boy has been kept on the streets at night on account of a worrying mother." The speaker urged the necessity of an all-pervading peace in every household, and told of instances in which the lack of this grace had wrought sad havoc in many homes.

"There was Martha worrying," said Mr. Moody, "and there was Mary, sitting at the feet of the Saviour, drinking in the truths which fell from the lips of the Master. I do not want you to believe for a moment Mary was a shirk. She truly said, 'I will get more from Him than I do from the priests and the Sadducees.' It might have been ironing day or it might have been baking day in that household, but Mary wanted to learn the divine truths which the Saviour had to teach and that, after all, is one of the highest forms of worship that can be paid to God." Here Mr. Moody spoke impressively on the necessity of attending to the wants of the body, in the matter of rest and innocent recreation, and said that it was quite as necessary to look to our physical well being as it was to be concerned about mere trivial matters. He added, "People do not seem to care whether they fret; they seem to think it is no fault to feel peevish. But if the grace of Ood cannot lift us out of that state, there is something the matter with God."

Here Mr. Moody told a touching little story of a child, who, playing one day in the kitchen, where its mother was busily engaged with her household duties, irritated the parent so much by its childish gambols that she thoughtlessly slapped it. The little one sickened as a result of the blow and just as its pure little white soul was about to wing its flight on high it asked the sobbing mother: "Will I bo in the angels' way, mamma?" "That mother repented bitterly of her peevishness," said Mr. Moody, "and until death summoned her to be with her little one in heaven did she remember with keen distress the heartrending query of the child."

Mr. Moody told of the raising of Lazarus from the dead by the Saviour and said it was an answer to the appeal of Mary, who in her conversation with the Master when no trouble obscured the sky had learned to call upon Him in her distress. Mr. Moody added: "I cannot conceive of anything more desolate than a home which death has entered and in which there is no hope of immortality. I would not let my children twine their tiny and trusting hands arouna my heart and then tear them ruthlessly away. How these sisters watched," said the speaker, "that they might see the Saviour coming up from the valley of the Jordan He whom they knew could raise their loved dead to life. I can imagine the sun sinking in all the glory of its myriad colors down behind the temple in Jordan and the joy with which Martha said to the Saviour: 'Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother would not have died.' Christ wept with the sisters and what a consolation it is for us to know that He will also weep with us."

Mr. Moody told how Mary had brought precious ointment to spread upon the feet of the Saviour and how some of the disciples chided her seeming extravagance. That was but a repetition of the conduct of the children of the world, said Mr. Moody. "I think," he continued, "the best things I have ever done in this world for the Saviour are the things for which I have been most criticized. We are not always safe in going straight to Christian people to ask for counsel in all our actions Let us get close to the heart of the Saviour and He will lead us aright."