The Mother of D. L. Moody

””I remember blaming my mother for sending me to church on the Sabbath,” he once said. ”On one occasion the preacher had to send some one into the gallery to wake me up. I thought it was hard to have to work in the field all the week, and then be obliged to go to church and hear a sermon I didn’t understand. I thought I wouldn’t go to church any more when I got away from home; but I had got so in the habit of going that I couldn’t stay away. After one or two Sabbaths, back again to the house of God I went. There I first found Christ, and I have often said since: ’Mother, I thank you for making me go to the house of God when I didn’t want to go.’”

Sunday evenings, after supper, the mother would gather the children about her before the old-fashioned fireplace, in winter, or under one of the great sugar-maple trees in the front yard, if it were summer, and read to them out of the books which they brought home from the Sunday-school library. Three books constituted the home library: a large family Bible, in which were written the family records; a catechism, and a book of devotions, comprising contemplations and written prayers. From the latter a portion was read each morning, and also a prayer before the family entered upon the work of the day.

Mr. Moody could never speak of those early days of want and adversity without the most tender references to that brave mother whose self-sacrifice and devotion had sacredly guarded the home entrusted to her care. When, at the age of ninety, her life-voyage ended, she entered the Haven of Rest, her children, her children’s children, and an entire community rose up to call her blessed. And we’ll she deserved the praise they gave her, for she had wisely and discreetly discharged the duties God had placed upon her, and entering the presence of her Master, could render a faithful account of the stewardship of motherhood. To rule a household of seven sturdy boys and two girls, the eldest twelve years old, required no ordinary tact and sound judgement, but so discreet was this loyal mother that to the very end she made ”home” the most loved place on earth to her family, and so trained her children as to make them a blessing to society.

”For nearly fifty years I have been coming back to Northfield,” said Mr. Moody long after that little circle had been broken up, ”and I have always been glad to get back. When I get within fifty miles of home I grow restless and walk up and down the car. It seems as if the train will never get to Northfield. When I come back after dark I always look to see the light in mother’s window.””

• W. R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody By His Son William R. Moody (Chicago, IL: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), 26.

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