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FRANK W. GUNSAULUS
greatest dramatist of all time, whose philosopher championed the method of modern science whose courtiers, like Leicester and Sydney, whose singers, like Ben Johnson and Fletcher, vied with men of equal understanding and talent to create an era of marvels in literature, discovery and thought, making it as worthy of renown as the era of Pericles in Greece or that of Augustus in Rome.
Not less of the wonderful has characterized Victoria's time. The lyrics of the time of Elizabeth and those of the era of Victoria are full of the same smell of the brine and billowy sweep of the waves which the spirit of England has met in storm and shine, as the insularity of the Englishman has given way to the proud realization that the island is not too small to produce political and literary impulses whose dominion girdles the planet. As Italian song gave form to the finer products of Elizabethan literature, so Elizabethan verse has communicated its strength and richness to Victorian poetry. But the greatness of Victoria abides in this, that whatever be the origin of the literature and art, of the commerce and politics, or of the astonishing movement in science and invention, hers has been the privilege of beholding and even influencing with a genial sky that newly-discovered sea of thought whose currents are longer and deeper than any observed by an Elizabethan sea-rover, an ocean, indeed, whose waves are subservient to tides mightier than any which crushed the Spanish Armada. There has been something so vast, enchanting, and truly romantic in the swift enlargement of human life as these strange seas of thought upon which modern minds have voyaged, have come into view, that man turns the pages of history in vain to find a parallel. The Drake of Elizabeth's day, sailing over the nameless solitudes of the Pacific, is surpassed by the genius of Charles Darwin finding the new coasts of truth against which all waters roll. Bacon's gives place to the vaster induction of Herbert Spencer. Sir Walter Raleigh's amazing tales of Golcondas and Eldorados, newly disclosed, are far less wonderful than the realities, definitely labeled, or daily put to use in the laboratory of the physicist or engineer of to-day. As truly as the Elizabethan spirit stimulated the vigorous efforts which resulted in the glory of her age, so has the Victorian spirit quickened and inspired the more sublime movements whose fruition has given this age its imperishable renown. The very personality of Victoria has been a genial climate in which countless and fair blossoms have come to be. She herself has been the most pervasive and important fact and factor in her own country and time, and thus the importance and splendor of no movement in her day eclipses the brightness of the Queen.
DWIGHT L. MOODY (1837-1899)
THE ELOQUENT EVANGELIST
OR many years Dwight L. Moody was immensely popular as an
evangelist, preaching to vast crowds both in the United States
and Great Britain. In both countries he had remarkable success, and exerted a powerful influence for good on various classes of the people.
The success of his ministrations was very greatly enhanced by the sweet voice and fine native powers of song of Ira D. Sankey, who accompanied him in his wanderings, singing the familiar “Ninety and Nine” and various other hymns, original and striking in music and words.
Mr. Moody was born in Massachusetts, but went to Chicago in 1856, where, while engaged in business, he carried on an active missionary work. He was joined by Mr. Sankey in 1870, and for years afterward he was engaged in evangelical labors. As an orator Mr. Moody depended largely on his power of working on the emotions of an audience, his sermons manifesting little original thought and being by no means examples of classic English.
GOD IS LOVE [From one of Mr. Moody's sermons, with the above title, we select an interesting and very well told anecdote, which will serve as a favorable example of his powers. ]
My text is taken from the ist epistle of John, and it is one of those texts the world does not believe. If I could make every one in this building believe this text, I would not preach a sermon. If we all believed it, we would not need a sermon. “God is love. That is one of the texts the devil would like to blot out of the Bible. For six thousand years he has been going up and down the world trying to make men believe that God is not love. Love begets love, and hate begets hate. Let me tell
any one of you that I heard a man say this week that you were one of the meanest men in town, and you will soon come to the conclusion that the man who said that was the meanest man you ever heard of. Let me tell you that I heard a man say he thought more of you than of any other man in the city, and, though you may not have thought about him before, your love will spring up and you will say, “I think a great deal of that man."
Now, men are believing the devil's lies when they don't believe God is lore. A few years ago, when we built a church in Chicago, a friend put up over the pulpit in gas-jets the words, "God is love." We thought, if we couldn't preach it into the hearts of the people, we would burn it in. A man happened to see that text up there, and he said to himself: "God is not love; God does not love me;' and he came around into the church, not to hear the sermon, but to see the text as it was burning there upon the wall. The arrow reached its mark. He went into the inquiry meeting. I inquired what it was impressed him. He said it was not the sermon; it was those words that had burned into his soul. He was weeping, and he wanted to know what he should do to be saved.
“God is love." I hope this text will find its way into every heart here. I want to prove it from Scripture. The great trouble with men is, they are all the time trying to measure God by their own rule, and from their own standpoint. A man is apt to judge others from his own standard. If a man is covetous, he thinks every one else is covetous. If he is a selfish man, he thinks every one else is selfish. If a man is guilty of adultery, he thinks every other man is. If a man is dishonest, he thinks every other man is. Many are trying to bring God down to their own level. They don't know that between human love and divine love there is as much difference as there is between darkness and light. God's love is deep and high; Paul says it passeth knowledge. We love a man as long as he is worthy of our love, and when he is not we cast him off; but we don't find in the Word of God that God casts off those who are not worthy of His love. If He did, there would be no one in the kingdom of God except Jesus himself.
A poor woman came into the inquiry room, and said she had no strength. I said : “ Thank God for that, Christ died for us when we were without strength." Christ died for the ungodly. There was a time when I preached that God hated the sinner, and that God was after every poor sinner with a double-edged sword. Many a time have I represented that God was after every poor sinner, ready to hew him down. But I have changed my ideas upon this point. I will tell you how.
In 1867, when I was preaching in Dublin, in a large hall, at the close of the service a young man, who did not look over seventeen, though he
was older, came up to me and said he would like to go back to America with me and preach the gospel. I thought he could not preach it, and I said I was undecided when I could go back. He asked me if I would write to him when I went, and he would come with me. When I went I thought I would not write to him, as I did not know whether I wanted him or not. After I arrived at Chicago I got a letter saying he had just arrived at New York, and he would come and preach. I wrote him a cold letter, asking him to call on me if he came West. A few days after, I got a letter stating he would be in Chicago next Thursday. I didn't know what to do with him. I said to the officers of the church: “There is a man coming from England, and he wants to preach. I am going to be absent on Thursday and Friday. If you will let him preach on those days, I will be back on Saturday, and take him off your hands."
They did not care about him preaching, being a stranger ; but at my request they let him preach. On my return on Saturday I was anxious to hear how the people liked him, and I asked my wife how that young Englishman got along. “How did they like him?” She said, “They liked him very much. He preaches a little different from what you do. He tells people God loves them. I think you will like him.” I said lie was wrong I thought I could not like a man who preached contrary to what I was preaching. I went down Saturday night to hear him, but had made up my mind not to like him because he preached different from me. He took his text, -and I saw everybody had brought their Bibles with them. Now,'' he says, “ if you will turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you will find my text." He preached a wonderful sermon from that text. For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” My wife had told me he had preached the two previous sermons from that text, and I noticed there was a smile over the house when he took the same text. Instead of preaching that God was behind them with a double-edged sword to hew them down, he told them God wanted every sinner to be saved, and He loved them. I could not keep back the tears. I didn't know God thought so much of me. It was wonderful to hear the way he brought out Scripture. He went from Genesis to Revelation, and preached that in all ages God loved the sinner.
On Sunday night there was a great crowd came to hear him. He took for his text the third chapter of John and sixteenth verse, and he preached his fourth sermon from that wonderful text, “ For God so loved the world,”' &c., and he went from Genesis to Revelation to show that it was love, love, love that brought Christ from Heaven, that made Him
step from the throne to lift up this poor, fallen world. He struck a higher chord that night, and it was glorious. The next night there was an immense crowd, and he said : “ Turn to the third chapter and sixteenth verse of John,” and he preached his fifth sermon from that wonderful text. He did not divide his text up into firstly, secondly, and thirdly, but he took the whole text and threw it at them. I thought that sermon was better than ever. I got so full of love that I got up and told my friends how much God loved them. The whole church was on fire before the week was over. Tuesday night came, and there was a greater crowd than ever. The preacher said: “Turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse and you will find my text,” and he preached his sixth sermon from that wonderful text, “God so loved the world,” &c. They thought that sermon was better than any of the rest. It seemed as if every heart was on fire, and sinners came pressing into the kingdom of God.
On Wednesday night people thought that probably he would change his text now, as he could not talk any longer on love. There was great excitement to see what he was going to say. He stood before us again, and he said : “My friends, I have been trying to get a new text, but I cannot find any as good as the old one, so we will again turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse." He preached his seventh sermon from that wonderful text. I have never forgotten those nights. I have preached a different gospel since, and I have had more power with God and man since then. In closing up that seventh sermon he said : “For seven nights I have been trying to tell you how much God loved you, but this poor stammering tongue of mine will not let me. If I could ascend Jacob's ladder and ask Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, to tell me how much love God the Father has for this poor lost world, all that Gabriel could say would be 'That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'”
When he got through preaching in Chicago we had to get the largest building there, and then thousands went away because they could not get in. He went to Europe, and returned again. In the meantime our church had been burned, and you people of Philadelphia put us up a temporary building. When he came there he preached in this temporary building, and he said : “Although the old building is burnt up, the old text is not burnt up, and we will preach from that.” So he preached from where he had left off preaching about the love of God.