Friday, August 02, 2013

"Shall We Gather at the River," Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey get together in Indianapolis

Excerpt from Ira D.Sankey: My Life and Sacred Songs: With an Introduction by Theodore L.Culyer, D.D., London: Hodder and Stoughton / Morgan and Scott / 1906 ~~~~~~~ [ from a British Library copy (Inter-Library Loan Service). This copy is inscribed by hand on the title page - Jno.Julian / from the Publishers / 1906 ] ...
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The next day I received a card from Mr.Moody asking me to meet him on a certain street corner that evening at six o'clock. At that hour I was at the place named, with some of my friends. In a few minutes Mr.Moody came along.

Without stopping to speak, he passed on into a store near by, and asked permission to use a large store-box. The permission was granted; he rolled the box into the street, and calling me aside, asked me to get up on the box and sing something.

"Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" soon gathered a considerable crowd. After the song, Mr.Moody climbed up on the box and began to talk. The workmen were just going home from the mills and the factories, and in a short time a very large crowd had gathered. The people stood spell-bound as the words fell from Moody's lips with wonderful force and rapidity. When he had spoken for some twenty-five minutes, he announced that the meeting would be continued at the Opera House, and invited the people to accompany us there. He asked me to lead the way, and with my friends sing some familiar hymn. This we did, singing as we marched down the street, "Shall we gather at the river?" The men with their dinner-pails followed closely on our heels instead of going home, so completely were they carried away by the sermon from the store-box.

The Opera House was packed to the doors, and Moody first saw that all the workmen were seated before he ascended to the platform to speak. His second address was as captivating as the one delivered on the street corner, and it was not until the delegates had arrived for the evening session of the Convevtion that Mr.Moody closed the meeting saying, "Now we must close, as the brethren of the Convention wish to come in to discuss the question, `How to reach the masses.'" It occurred to me that here was a man who could successfully reach the masses while others were talking about it!

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