Mr. Moody's First Impulse in Converting Souls.
I want to tell you how I got the first impulse to work solely for the conversion of men. For a long time after my conversion I didn't accomplish anything. I hadn't got into my right place; that was it. I hadn't thought enough of this personal work. I'd get up in prayer meeting, and I'd pray with the others, but just to go up to a man and take hold of his coat and get him down on his knees, I hadn't yet got round to that. It was in 1860 the change came. In the Sunday school I had a pale, delicate young man as one of the teachers. I knew his burning piety, and assigned him to the worst class in the school. They were all girls, and it was an awful class. They kept gadding around in the school-room, and were laughing and carrying on all the while. And this young man had better success than anyone else. One Sunday he was absent, and I tried myself to teach the class, but couldn't do anything with them; they seemed farther off than ever from any concern about their souls. Well, the day after his absence, early Monday morning, the young man came into the store where I worked, and, tottering and bloodless, threw himself down on some boxes. |What's the matter?| I asked, |I have been bleeding at the lungs, and they have given me up to die,| he said. |But you are not afraid to die?| I questioned, |No,| said he, |I am not afraid to die, but I have got to stand before God and give an account of my stewardship, and not one of my Sabbath-school scholars has been brought to Jesus. I have failed to bring one, and haven't any strength to do it now.|
He was so weighed down that I got a carriage and took that dying man in it, and we called at the homes of everyone of his scholars, and to each one he said, as best his faint voice would let him, |I have come to just ask you to come to the Saviour,| and then he prayed as I never heard before. And for ten days he labored in that way, sometimes walking to the nearest houses. And at the end of that ten days everyone of that large class had yielded to the Saviour. Full well I remember the night before he went away (for the doctors said he must hurry to the South), how we held a true love-feast. It was the very gate of heaven, that meeting. He prayed, and they prayed; he didn't ask them, he didn't think they could pray; and then we sung, |Blest be the tie that binds.| It was a beautiful night in June that he left on the Michigan Southern, and I was down to the train to help him off. And those girls everyone gathered there again, all unknown to each other; and the depot seemed a second gate to heaven, in the joyful, yet tearful, communion and farewells between these newly redeemed souls and him whose crown of rejoicing it will be that he led them to Jesus. At last the gong sounded, and, supported on the platform, the dying man shook hands with each one, and whispered, |I will meet you yonder.|