Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Death of D. L. Moody

 Suddenly he was heard speaking in slow and measured words. He was saying: "Earth recedes; Heaven opens before me." The first impulse was to try to arouse him from what appeared to be a dream. "No, this is no dream, Will," he replied. "It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go." Meanwhile the nurse was summoning the family and the physician, who had spent the night in the house.

Mr. Moody continued to talk quietly, and seemed to speak from another world his last message to the loved ones he was leaving.

"I have always been an ambitious man," he said; "ambitious to leave no wealth or possessions, but to leave lots of work for you to do. Will, you will carry on Mount Hermon. Paul will take up the Seminary, when he is older; Fitt will look after the Institute, and Ambert (his nephew) will help you in the business details." Then it seemed as though he saw beyond the veil, for he exclaimed: "This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years." Then his face lit up, and he said, in a voice of joyful rapture: " Dwight! Irene!—I see the children's faces," referring to the two little grandchildren God had taken from his life in the past year. Then, as he thought he was losing consciousness, he said, "Give my love to them all." Turning to his wife, he exclaimed, "Mamma, you have been a good wife to me!" and with that he became unconscious.

For a time it seemed that he had passed on into the unseen world, but slowly he revived, under the effect of heart stimulants, and, suddenly raising himself on his elbow, exclaimed: "What does all this mean? What are you all doing here?" He was told that he had not been well, and immediately it all seemed to be clear to him, and he said:

"This is a strange thing. I have been beyond the gates of death and to the very portals of Heaven, and here I am back again. It is very strange." Again he talked about the work to be done, assigning to the sons the Northfield schools, and to his daughter and her husband the Chicago Bible Institute. ...

To the plea of his daughter that he should not leave them, he said: "I'm not going to throw my life away. I'll stay as long as I can, but if my time is come, I'm ready." ...

A second sinking turn left him exhausted, and he was willing to return to bed, where he remained, quietly awaiting the end, for an hour. To the very last he was thinking of those about him and considering them. Turning to his wife, only a little while before he passed away, he said: " This is hard on you, Mother, and I'm sorry to distress you in this way. It is hard to be kept in such anxiety." The last time the doctor approached to administer the hypodermic injection of nitro-glycerin he looked at him in a questioning and undecided way and said in a perfectly natural voice, "Doctor, I don't know about this. Do you think it best? It is only keeping the family in anxiety."

In a few moments more another sinking turn came, and from it he awoke in the presence of Him whom he loved and served so long and devotedly. It was not like death, for he "fell on sleep" quietly and peacefully. ...

Of that larger life he had spoken in no uncertain way. "Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead," he had said. "Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all—out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever."

-- from The Life of Dwight L. Moody by his son William Revell Moody, pages 552-555. 

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