The inspiration for this website came from a Scripture song I heard over 10 years ago at a ladies retreat:

Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
A word fitly spoken shall be,
Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
Let my life bring glory to thee.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

Although some of the "stories" listed are made up, the Scriptural truths they illustrate are very real and can be of great benefit in a Christian's walk with the Lord and as illustrations for the lost.

It is my heart's desire that amongst the pages of this website, the Christian find words of encouragement and be spurred on to service for our Lord, and that seekers of the truth find Salvation in the timeless truths of God's Word for these troubled times.

- Angela

Author Archive

John R. Rice

John Richard Rice (John R. Rice)

BORN: Dec. 11, 1895
Gainesville, Texas
DIED: Dec. 29, 1980
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
LIFE SPAN: 85 years, 18 days

John R. Rice has been one of the most widely used and controversial figures in Christendom. But none can deny his accomplishments. He revived the spirit of evangelism in America in the mid 20th Century when it had almost faded from the American scene, and he certainly has to be considered one of the most prolific writers in the history of the Christendom. His weapons has been the weekly Sword of the Lord for over 40 years. The conducting of soul-winning conferences has helped ignite the fires of soul-winning and evangelism in more preacher’s bones than has any man of his time. Daring to be different, in preaching and convictions, Rice is one of the most under-rated Christian leaders of this century. In truth, he is one of the most significant men in Christian history.

He was born the son of Will and Sallie (LaPrade) Rice, the second of five children. Home was in the country outside Gainesville, Texas, where Will Rice pastored in a little building at a crossroads called Vilot Community. From early days his mother called John “her preacher boy,” which was to be remarkably fulfilled in later years. In September, 1901, when John was five, his mother died. He never forgot her plea for her children to meet her in Heaven. John attended the First Baptist Church of Gainesville. One Sunday morning the pastor, A.B. Ingram, preached on “The Prodigal Son.” John, age nine, slipped to the front of the church to make public his profession of Christ. No one showed him any Scripture, so it was three years before he got assurance of his salvation by reading John 5:24.

The same year his father moved from Gainesville to Dundee, in West Texas, where he married Dolous Bellah. There John lived with his family until he went to Decatur College.

He won his first soul to Christ at age fifteen at a revival meeting when a fourteen year old boy responded to the preaching by raising his hand. No public invitation was given, so Rice talked to him outside the building and led him to Christ.

John grew up in poverty conditions but learned how to get things from God. After finishing what high school courses were available, Rice decided to study for a teacher’s examination. Upon receiving a teacher’s certificate, he taught in a country school fifteen miles from his home, earning $220 for his four-month efforts. He felt an increasing burden to continue his schooling and broaden his education, so he began to pray much about this possibility.

In January, 1916, he packed his clothes, saddled his cowpony and started off through the rain toward Decatur (Texas) Baptist College, some 125 miles away, with about $9.35. He was able to borrow $60 from the bank in Archer City, Texas, and soon he was enrolled in school. He milked the college cows and later was asked to be one of the two waiters who served in the dining room. It was here he met Lloys McClure Cooke whom he would marry five years later.

One week after seeing the first football game in his life, he joined the college team as a regular tackle and played for the next two seasons. He was never knocked out or taken out from the moment he first began to play the game. He graduated in the spring of 1918.

Rice was then drafted into the army and sent to Camp Travis. He served in the Army for eight months where he was in the hospital with mumps and missed going overseas, so he went on guard duty, and finally was assigned to the Dental Corps. He was discharged in January, 1919, and immediately enrolled at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from which he graduated with his A.B. degree in 1920 after only one and a half years.

He worked his way through college, getting up at 5:20 every morning to deliver mail from Waco to the University. He then milked the Baylor cows, strained the milk and put it away, until it was time to dry the dishes in the girls’ dormitory. In addition, he worked at the University bookstore and served as a janitor for a local Baptist Church. This was all besides the mission Sunday school he conducted for the same church, plus his studies, which ultimately brought him the 1914 Class Scholarship. This scholarship was presented each year to some worthy student who, by good scholarship, leadership, and character deserved honor. The tremendous pace of Dr. Rice in later years can be attributed to his learning to work early in life.

He took a teaching position in English at Wayland Baptist College at Plainview, Texas, and also coached football and basketball teams there. In the spring of 1921, he attended the University of Chicago, looking forward to a master’s degree in education and psychology.

One night he took off from his studies to attend services at the Pacific Garden Mission where Rev. Holland Oates addressed the men. He wasn’t polished but the message surely touched Rice. If God could use this man, surely a college English teacher should be able to be used also. That night he knelt beside a drunken bum and led him to Christ. His life work now seemed to be altered … no longer political and educational goals, but he was determined to pursue the souls of men!

Soon he left the University of Chicago and returned to Texas where he led singing in revival meetings throughout the state in the summer of 1921. He borrowed $100 to get married on September 27, 1921, to Lloys McClure Cooke at her father’s farmhome near Muenster, Texas.

Next, he enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas, in the fall of 1921 and stayed until the spring of 1923. During these days, he preached in jails, on street corners, and served as student pastor to rural churches in Cooke and Fannin counties. His summers were filled with revival campaigns. Upon leaving the seminary he became associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Plainview where he stayed for a year. He then accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Shamrock, Texas, where from 1924 to 1926 the church grew from 200 to 460 members.

In 1926 John Rice moved to Fort Worth, Texas to enter the field of evangelism. He became associated more and more with a great independent Baptist there, J. Frank Norris, and often supplied the pulpit in Norris’ absence. This relationship brought him enemies as well as friends. Opposition came from the Southern Baptists who insisted Rice break ties with Norris. This, plus Rice’s opposition to some of the denomination’s practices and teaching, began to close some of the Convention churches to him. However, his daily radio broadcast gave him many friends in Oklahoma and Texas.

Purchasing a tent, he held many good campaigns – beginning in the Fort Worth area. John then pitched his tent in Decatur, Texas, where his father lived. The revival lasted ten weeks resulting in many hundreds of conversions! Most of the churches had opposed his revival, so in order to care for the new converts, a tabernacle was erected and a new church began with 500 people. Then he went to Waxahachie, Texas, where he took a former livery stable and workers built seats for about 1,200. The twelve-week campaign ended with some 300 converts again organizing a new church. Then on to Sherman, Texas, where it happened again – 12 weeks of revival and a new church organized with another 300 people. Other cities experienced much of the same kind of blessing. Before this phase of his life was over, he was to build eight tabernacles with five becoming permanent churches.

In July of 1932, John Rice began an open air revival in Dallas. He had no money, no building, no organization – just God. Three weeks later, after hundreds had been saved, a group met on July 31 to organize the Fundamentalist Baptist Church of Oak Cliff. Nine hundred united with the work in a little under two years, and Rice stayed on to pastor until 1939. The membership grew to 1,700 with 8,000 professing salvation.

It was here that The Sword of the Lord was begun on September 28, 1934. The revival weekly had printed 5,000 copies its first issue and was offered for $1 per year subscription.

Norris, in Ft. Worth, and Rice, in Dallas, were proving that independent Baptist churches could thrive in the midst of strong Southern Baptist Convention country. However, 1936 brought a tragic split between them. Rice felt that Norris, one of the worlds great preachers sometimes attacked good men without justification. This he opposed, especially a forthcoming article on Sam Morris, another pastor and radio preacher. In January of that year, Rice had scheduled a campaign in Binghamton, New York. Norris did all he could do to cancel this crusade. He warned the pastor that Rice was a Holy Roller, accusing him of preaching “McPhersonism and Pentecostalism.” With many supportive letters in hand, the local pastor let the meetings proceed; they soon outgrew his Grace Baptist Church. Services moved to the Binghamton Theater seating 2,200 and several other churches joined in the revival series. From January 12 to February 23, Rice preached with some 374 public conversions recorded. The January 31st issue of Norris’s Fundamentalist described the “Rice heresy” as “one of the outstanding heresies of modern times”; whereas the February 6th issue of The Sword of the Lord had Rice urging people to forgive Norris for his charges and to support him.

A tragedy of a somewhat different nature took place on November 23, 1938, when his church in Dallas burned down. Fire was seen suddenly shooting up above the baptistry while a missionary named Skivington from South America was speaking. The church building was a total loss without one cent of insurance on the property. Starting all over again, the church recovered and on December 22, 1939, the name of the church was changed to the Galilean Baptist Church.

It was on January 19, 1940 that The Sword of the Lord announced Rice’s resignation from the pastorate to enter the field of full-time evangelism. The year 1939 had found Rice in various sections of the country – and now the fires of evangelism were burning in his bones. It was a time when city-wide campaigns and mass evangelism had all but disappeared. Bob Jones, Sr., and Mordecai Ham were finishing up great careers, but there was nobody new on the horizon, with the exception of Hyman Appelman. Rice was proud of the title “evangelist” even though the name generally was not too well thought of at that time. The Sword of the Lord was having an impact. Great soul winners of the past and their messages were featured. Such things as evangelism, preaching against sin, the public invitation, the evangelistic church, and the fullness of the Spirit were promoted. It was Rice who was leading the way into a new generation of revival and evangelism, winning thousands of souls along the way. The spring of 1940 found Rice moving his family, the paper, the office, and the bookstore from Dallas to Wheaton, Illinois. One reason for this move was his desire to get his six daughters under the influence of Wheaton College.

Praying one morning in a YMCA room on the south side of Chicago, Rice pledged himself to God to bring back mass evangelism to America. Having majored in single church campaigns, he was now getting invitations from groups of pastors to have him lead them in union campaigns. One of the first such campaigns was in Minneapolis where sixteen churches chaired by Richard Clearwaters called Rice … some 200 were saved. In March, 1944 it was Everett, Washington, with Stratton Shufelt as his regular songleader and soloist, some 300 to 400 were saved. In April, 1944, he held one of his largest campaigns in Buffalo, New York, at the Kleinhans Music Hall. Closing services saw thousands crowd in with hundreds standing or turned away. Some 115 churches participated and the number of first-time decisions was 997. Another great campaign was in Cleveland, Ohio, February 11 to March 11, 1945, with 93 cooperating churches. This campaign had some 800 first-time decisions for Christ and a closing night crowd of 3,767 jamming the Cleveland Public Music Hall. Again Shufelt was heading a fine musical program. Rice was now 49 years old. Youth for Christ and Jack Wyrtzen were a new phenomenon, and evangelism was becoming popular again. Hundreds of young men were entering the field of evangelism, many from Bob Jones University. Rice continued to do the work of two men for several years – large scale evangelism and editing and writing. In January of 1946, some 48 churches sponsored him in Pontiac, Michigan. In March, 1946, it was Miami, Florida, where 44 Baptist churches sponsored him, and in fifteen days there were 600 professions of faith at the meetings and another 400 in the public school meetings. A great Chicago crusade was held in May of 1946 with Rice speaking during the final fifteen days … the first united campaign there since Sunday’s meetings in 1918. Over 2,000 decisions were made during the series which also featured Bob Jones, Sr., and Paul Rood in the weeks preceding Rice’s ministry. In September, 1946, Rice held a campaign in Dayton, Ohio, with some 500 decisions for Christ at the meetings and 450 more at the high school services. Harry D. Clarke was now his songleader. In January, 1947, 20 churches brought him to Lima, Ohio with some 500 saved at services and schools. The Rice-Clarke team was in Marion, Ohio, in February with over 200 first-time professions of faith. In March and April, the team held a large tent campaign in San Pedro, California, with some 600 decisions for Christ. Seattle, Washington, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and other cities were also to be stirred.

The Sword of the Lord was growing by leaps and bounds as well, and soon Rice had to decide where to spend the bulk of his time, as an editor, trying to influence Christians weekly in revival emphasis, or as an evangelist in crusades across the country. Both would contribute to the winning of the lost. But after much consideration, the nod was given to The Sword of the Lord. Other evangelists on the scene could perpetuate the mass crusades that Rice and Appelman gave birth to in the early 1940’s.

With purpose never wavering in 41 years of issues, the weekly masthead continues to read, “An Independent Christian Weekly, Standing for the Verbal Inspiration of the bible, the Deity of Christ, His Blood Atonement, Salvation by Faith, New Testament Soul Winning and the Premillennial Return of Christ. Opposes Moderism, Worldliness and Formalism.” The paper averaged 7,200 copies weekly the first year – -1934. It reached 100,000 weekly in 1955; and some 200,000 in 1972; and then 300,000 in 1975 making it the largest independent religious weekly in the world. It is published with Portuguese and Spanish editions as well. There has probably never been a periodical in history that has seen so many saved, and so many Christians challenged to revival and soul-winning.

When Dr. Rice moved to Wheaton, the office work was done in his home. In 1945, a basement office was rented in the business section of Wheaton. In 1946, a large, two-story brick warehouse was purchased and remodeled. In 1952 another two-story brick building was purchased and in 1955 the First Presbyterian Church property was purchased to provide location for future building. Sword of the Lord Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1947.

John Rice’s evangelistic campaigns were replaced by periodic conferences on revival and soul-winning held at conference grounds and in strategic churches. This has continued through the years, stirring the fires of revival in thousands of Christians’ lives. In recent years, Jack Hyles has become his co-worker in this ministry. The first of these conferences were held at the Bethany Reformed Church in Chicago. In 1945 a large conference was conducted at Winona Lake, Indiana. Six evangelists agreed to work toward nationwide revival campaigns: John Rice, Bob Jones, Sr., Hyman Appelman, Jesse Hendley, Robert Wells, and Joe Henry Hankins. Repeat conferences were held in 1946 and 1947. After 1947, ironically, they were notified that they were not welcome back to the grounds housing the late Billy Sunday’s activities, (a man he was trying to follow.) Under new leadership, however, they were back in 1976. National conferences of great magnitude were held in Indianapolis in 1974, in Dallas in 1975 and Atlanta in 1976.

Rice’s book sales have been phenomenal, beginning with the tract/booklet, “What Must I do to be Saved?” written in San Antonio, Texas, during a revival campaign in the late 1920’s, and first published in The Fundamentalist, Norris’s paper. Some 15 million copies have been distributed and thousands of souls have been saved. It is in some 38 different languages. Along with Ford Porter’s famous tract, God’s Simple Plan of Salvation, and Campus Crusades God’s Four Spiritual Laws, it is one of the most effective and widely used explanations of salvation’s plan in print today. His first sermon was put into print in 1931.

Soon he was compiling his sermons into booklets and books, and writing on specific issues such as lodges, the movies, woman’s attire, prayer, the Holy Spirit, etc. In 1967 Moody Press published a list of over 10,000 books in print from 57 religious publishing companies. The one man who was responsible for the most books/ booklets published was Rice, with some 142 different titles and/or editions, more than doubling the second place entry, Harry Ironside, who had 65. The titles, too numerous to mention are widely accepted by Christians everywhere. In 1936 his first clothbound book came out entitled, The Coming Kingdom of Christ. His book, Prayer, Asking and Receiving (1942), sold 250,000 copies in these years, besides 8 foreign language editions. The Power of Pentecost is considered a classic on the Holy Spirit. His booklet, What is Wrong With the Movies? has caused thousands of people to turn away from movie attendance for more consecrated lives. The Soul Winner’s Fire, published by Moody Press, was another outstanding booklet. In 1973 the tally was 134 titles with a circulation of 47 million in over 38 different languages.

Rice stayed on in Wheaton until 1963, when he moved most of his large staff to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While in Wheaton, he founded the Calvary Baptist Church. Rice has six children, all daughters, and they all married men active in the Lord’s work. Grace was the first, born October 22, 1922. Along came Mary Lloys (June 27, 1925), Elizabeth (May 18, 1927), Jessie (January 13, 1929), Joanna (November 3, 1931), and finally Joy (September 27, 1937). Allan MacMullen, Charles Himes, Walt Handford, Don Sandberg, Wm. Carl Rice and Roger Martin, the husbands, all have made valuable contributions to the work of the Lord.

Rice has been engaged in several controversies, two of note in recent years: the Chafer book, and the policies of Billy Graham since 1957. In the 1940’s a book by Lewis S. Chafer entitled, True Evangelism, was produced by Moody Press. Feeling it to be a harmful book to the cause of evangelism, Rice protested loud and long about its continual promotion. In the 1950’s, Rice was one of the first men along with Bob Jones, Sr. to take the unpopular position of opposing the sponsorship of Billy Graham’s ecumenical crusades which began with the New York crusade of 1957. Previous to this, Rice had given Graham much encouragement by his reports of Graham’s ministry in The Sword. It has never been a personal vendetta, but a matter of following his scriptural convictions.

Almost overlooked in his ministries is the fact that he is a radio preacher and a song writer. His Voice of Revival broadcast continues on more than 30 stations across the country. On one occasion years ago, he received 17,000 letters in one week resulting from his broadcast in the Philadelphia area. His songs such as Never Lonely, Never Fearing, His Yoke is Easy, Souls Are Dying, Oh, Bring Your Loved Ones, So Little Time, Jesus is Coming, The Price of Revival, We’ll Never Say Good-bye, When Jesus Comes to Reign have been a blessing to many.

His exciting story is told in depth in Man Sent From God, authored by Robert Sumner.

One of his final projects was the editing of The Rice Reference Bible, with his notes of a lifetime.

He preached his last message in Wadsworth, Ohio. Failing health overtook him and he soon passed on to his eternal home.

– Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers


John R. Rice, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Rice is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

D.L. Moody

Dwight Lyman Moody

BORN: February 5, 1837
Northfield, Massachusetts
DIED: December 22, 1899
Northfield Massachusetts
LIFE SPAN: 62 years, 10 months, 17 days

Dwight Lyman Moody was the first evangelist since Whitefield to shake two continents for God.

It was on his mother’s birthday that Moody was born on a small New England farm. He was only four when his father, Edwin, a bricklayer and an alcoholic, died suddenly at 41. His mother, Betsy (Holton) was now a widow at 36 with seven children … the oldest being thirteen, and D.L. being the youngest. Twins were born one month after the death of the father bringing the total to nine. Their uncle and the local Unitarian pastor came to their aid at this time. The pastor also baptized Moody (age five) in 1842. This was undoubtedly sprinkling and his only “baptism” experience.

Six year old Moody never forgot seeing his brother Isaiah leave home. The reconciliation, years later, became an illustration in a sermon depicting God welcoming the wanderer home with outstretched arms. Moody’s education totaled seven grades in a one-room school house and during his teenage years he worked on neighboring farms.

On his seventeenth birthday (1854), Dwight Moody went to Boston to seek employment. He became a clerk in Holton’s Shoe Store, his uncle’s enterprise. One of the work requirements was attendance at the Mount Vernon Congregational Church, pastored by Edward Kirk. Church seemed boring, but a faithful Sunday School teacher encouraged him along. One Saturday, April 21,1855, the teacher, Edward Kimball, walked into the store and found Moody wrapping shoes. He said, “I want to tell you how much Christ loves you.” Moody knelt down and was converted. Later he told how he felt, “I was in a new world. The birds sang sweeter, the sun shone brighter. I’d never known such peace.” Not sure of his spiritual perception, it was a year before the church admitted him for membership!

On September 18, 1856, he arrived in Chicago where another uncle, Calvin, helped him obtain a position in a shoe store operated by the Wiswall brothers. His interest in church work continued as he joined the Plymouth Congregational Church. He rented four pews there to provide lonely boys like himself a place of worship. Then he joined the mission band of the First Methodist Church, visiting and distributing tracts at hotels and boarding houses. Here he met wealthy dry goods merchant, John V. Farwell, who later would be a great help. He also worked out of the First Baptist Church where he was later married. The prayer revival that was sweeping the nation in 1857-59 also contributed to his enthusiasm for the things of God. Discovering e little afternoon Sunday School on the corner of Chicago and Wells he offered his help. He was told there was already nearly as many teachers as students so he began recruiting. The first week he brought in eighteen students doubling the Sunday School! Soon his recruiting overflowed the place.
He withdrew to the shores of Lake Michigan in the summer of 1858 and taught children, using pieces of driftwood as chairs. He was dubbed “Crazy Moody” about this time, but respect came through the years as the title slowly changed to “Brother Moody,” “Mr. Moody,” and finally, “D.L. Moody.”

In the Fall of 1858, he started his own Sunday School in an abandoned freight car, then moved to an old vacant saloon on Michigan Street. A visiting preacher reported his favorable impressions … seeing Moody trying to light the building with a half-dozen candles and then with a candle in one hand, a Bible in the other, end a child on his knee teaching him about Jesus.

The school became so large that the former Mayor of Chicago gave him the hall over the city’s North Market for his meetings, rent free. Farwell visited the Sunday School and became the superintendent upon Moody’s insistence. The use of prizes, free pony rides and picnics along with genuine love for children soon produced the largest Sunday School in Chicago, reaching some 1,500 weekly. Moody supervised, recruited, and did the janitor work early Sunday morning, cleaning out the debris from a Saturday night dance, to get ready for the afternoon Sunday School.

It was in June, 1860, that Moody decided to abandon secular employment and go into the Lord’s work full time. He was now 23 and in only five years had built his income up to $5,000 annually and had saved $7,000. Friends believed he could have become a millionaire had he concentrated his efforts in business. Income for the first year in his Christian ventures totaled no more than $300.

This decision was prompted by the following incident. A dying Sunday School teacher had to return east because of his health and was greatly concerned about the salvation of the girls in his class. Moody rented a carriage for him end the teacher and went to each girl’s home winning them all to Christ. The next night the girls gathered together for a farewell prayer meeting to pray for their sick teacher. This so moved Moody that soul-winning seemed to be the only important thing to do from then on. He made a vow to tell some person about the Savior each day, even though it eventually meant getting up out of bed at times.

On November 25, 1860, President-elect, Abraham Lincoln visited Moody’s Sunday School and gave e few remarks.

In 1861 he became e city missionary for the YMCA.

He married Emme Charlotte Revell on August 28, 1862 when he was 25 and she nineteen. The three Moody children were Emme (October 21, 18(A), William Revell (March 25, 1869), and Paul Dwight (April 11, 1879).

With the advent of the Civil War, Moody found himself doing personal work among the soldiers. He was on battlefields on nine occasions serving with the U.S. Christian Commission. At the Battle of Murfreesboro in January, 1863, under fire, he went among the wounded and dying asking, “Are you e Christian?”

During the Civil War, he was also back at his Sunday School from time to time, where popular demand forced him to start a church. A vacant saloon was cleaned, rented end fixed up for Sunday evening services with the Sunday School continuing et North Market Hall until it burned in 1862. Then Kinzie Hall was used for a year. In 1863, when only 26, he raised $20,000 to erect the Illinois Street Church with a seating capacity of 1,500. It began February 28, 1864 with twelve members. This was the official beginning of what is now known as Moody Church. He preached Sunday evenings until a pastor, J.H. Herwood was called in 1866 end served until 1869, during which time Moody served as a deacon.

The Chicago Y.M.C.A. was moving ahead also, as Moody rose to its presidency from 1866 to 1869. He had a part in erecting the first Y.M.C.A. building in America when he supervised the erection of Farwell Hall in 1867, seating 3,000. That year he also held his first revival campaign in Philadelphia.

In 1867, primarily due to his wife’s asthma, the couple went to England. He also wanted to meet Spurgeon end Mueller. On this trip, while they sat in a public park in Dublin, Evangelist Henry Verley remarked, “The world has yet to see what God will do with end for, and through, and in, and by, the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” John Knox allegedly originated this saying that was now to burn in Moody’s soul (some historians put this Verley conversation in en 1872 trip). Moody met Henry Moorhouse also in Dublin and was promised a visit to Chicago.

Three incidents prepared Moody for his world famous evangelistic crusades. First, in February, 1868, Moorhouse came as promised, to Moody’s pulpit in Chicago. For seven nights he preached from the text, John 3:16, counselling Moody privately, “Teach what the Bible says, not your own words, and show people how much God loves them.” Moody’s preaching was much more effective after that.

A second incident was the meeting of Ira A. Sankey, while attending a Y.M.C.A. convention in Indianapolis in July of 1870. Moody was to speak at a 7 a.m. prayer meeting on e Sunday morning. Sankey was there. When Moody asked for a volunteer song, Sankey began to sing. There is a Fountain Filled with Blood. Moody’s direct approach was, “You will have to come to Chicago and help me. I’ve been looking for you for eight years!” Sankey left his post-office job in Pennsylvania and joined Moody in Chicago in early 1871.

A third incident was the Chicago fire and the ensuing filling of the Holy Spirit. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, while preaching at Farwell Hall, which was now being used because of the increased crowds, Moody asked his congregation to evaluate their relationships to Christ and return next week to make their decisions for Him. That crowd never regathered. While Sankey was singing a closing song, the din of fire trucks and church bells scattered them forever for Chicago was on fire. The Y.M.C.A. building, church, and parsonage were all to be lost in the next 24 hours. The church was reopened on December 24, 1871, and it was now called the North Side Tabernacle, located on Ontario and Wells St., close to the former building. There was no regular pastor at this church in its brief history 1871-1876.

While out east raising funds for the rebuilding of this church, he describes a life changing experience he had upon locking himself in a room of a friend’s house:… “one day, in the city of New York, Oh what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it, it’s almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God was revealed to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand …”

In 1872, he returned briefly to England where he accepted an invitation to the Arundel Square Congregational Church in London. The evening service ended with nearly the entire congregation in the inquiry room. He continued on for ten days with some 400 people saved. It was learned that an invalid had been praying for two years for him to come to the church!

Three English men invited him back the following year. With their families, Moody and Sankey left June 7, 1873. Little did they know that they were going to shake England as Whitefield and Wesley had 125 years previously. Two of the sponsors had died by the time they arrived and they were fortunate to get an invitation to conduct some meetings at the York Y.M.C.A. Five weeks of meetings saw 250 won to Christ. F.B. Meyer was the principal supporter. Then they traveled on to Sunderland for five weeks with Arthur A. Rees, the host. Next came Newcastle where the meetings were gigantic with special trains bringing people in from surrounding areas. Here a novel all-day meeting was held and their first hymn book was introduced to the public.

Now being invited to Scotland, the evangelists began in Edinburgh on November 23. For hundreds of years, only Psalms had been sung here with no musical instruments. Now Sankey began “singing the Gospel” and crowds packed out the 2,000 seat auditorium. By the time the last service was over on January 20th, Moody was receiving requests from all over the British Isles. They spent two weeks in Dundee and then began the Glasgow, Scotland crusade on February 8, 1874. These meetings soon moved into the
4,000 seat Crystal Palace and after three months climaxed with a service at the famed Botanic Gardens Palace. Moody was unable to even enter the building surrounded by 15,000 to 30,000 people, so he spoke to them from a carriage and the choir sang from the roof of a nearby shed! Later the team returned to Edinburgh for a May 24 meeting held on the slopes of “Arthur’s Seat” with a crowd of 20,000. An estimated 3,500 converts were won in each of these two places.

Now Ireland was calling, so they began at Belfast on September 6, 1874. People flocked to hear them and the largest buildings of each city were used. A great climactic service was held in the Botanic Gardens on October 8, in the open air with thousands attending. One final service was held October 15 with admission by ticket only. Tickets were given only to those who wanted to be saved. 2,400 came. Next it was Dublin (October 26-November 29), where even the Irish Catholics were glad at the awakening amongst their Protestant neighbors. The Exhibition Hall seating 10,000 was filled night after night with an estimated 3,000 won to Christ.

Back in England on November 29, the Manchester crusade was held at the Free Trade Hall. No hall was large enough! As many as 15,000 were trying to gain admission for a single service. Next came Sheffield for two weeks beginning on December 31st, then Birmingham with untold blessing. The January 17-29, 1875 crusade noonday prayer meetings drew 3,000. Bingley Hall seated only 11,000 but crowds of 15,000 came nightly. Liverpool was next, where the 8,000 seat Victoria Hall was used from February 7 to March 7.
Finally, it was the London Crusade climaxing the tour. It was a four month encounter from March 9 to July 11. Five weeks of preaching began in the Agricultural Hall in the northern part of the city. Then he moved to the east side in the 9,000 seat Bow Road Hall for four weeks. Next came the west side in The Royal Haymarket Opera House. Often, during this time, Moody would hold a 7:30 meeting with the poor on the east side, and then shuttle over for a 9 p.m. service with the fashionable. Then on the south side of London he spoke for several weeks in the Victoria Theatre until a special tabernacle seating 8,000 was constructed on Camberwell Green where he finished this crusade. A total of two and one half million people attended! The awakening became world news and it was estimated that 5,000 came to Christ. A final preaching service was held in Liverpool on August 3rd before sailing for America. He arrived home August 14 and hurried to Northfield to conduct a revival. His mother, many friends and relatives were saved there. Invitations for city-wide crusades were coming from many places in America now.

His first city-wide crusade in America was in Brooklyn beginning October 31, 1875, at the Clermont Ave. Rink, seating 7,000. Only non-church members could get admission tickets as 12,000 to 20,000 crowds were turned away. Over 2,000 converts resulted.

Next came Philadelphia starting on November 21 with nightly crowds of 12,000. The Philadelphia crusade was held at the unused Pennsylvania freight depot which John Wanamaker had purchased. It was located at Tenth and Market. His ushers were very well trained, capable of seating 1,000 people per minute, and vacating the premises of some 13,000 in 4 minutes if needed. The doors were opened 1’/2 hours early and in 10 minutes the 12,000 seats would be taken. On January 19, 1876 President Grant and some of his cabinet attended. Total attendance was 1,050,000 with 4,000 decisions for Christ.

Next it was the New York crusade running from February 7 to April 19, 1876. The meetings were held in the Great Roman Hippodrome on Madison Avenue, where the Madison Square Gardens now stands. Two large halls gave a combined seating attendance of 15,000. Moody had just turned 39 for this crusade. Some 6,000 decisions came as a result of his ten-week crusade. Three to five services a day were held with crowds up to 60,000 daily.

Back in Chicago, his beloved church was expanding. Property had been purchased on Chicago Ave. and LaSalle. Thousands of children contributed five cents each for a brick in the new building. The basement, roofed over, served as a meeting place for two years, then in 1876 the building was completed and opened on June 1, 1876, and formally dedicated on July 16 with Moody preaching. It was now called the Chicago Ave. Church, and W.J. Erdman was called as pastor.

The Chicago crusade started October 1, 1876 in a 10,000 seat tabernacle, closing out on January 16, 1877. The sixteen week crusade was held with estimates being from 2,500 to 10,000 converts. Moody never kept records of numbers of decisions, hence reports vary. The meetings were held in a temporary tabernacle erected on Farwell’s companies property, located at Monroe and Franklin, which was converted to a wholesale store after the crusade.

The Boston crusade was held January 28 to May 1, 1877 in a tabernacle seating 6,000. 1877-78 saw many smaller towns in the New England states being reached. 1878-79 saw Baltimore reached in 270 preaching engagements covering seven months. In 1879-80, it was six months in St. Louis where a notorious prisoner, Valentine Burke, was saved among others. In 1880-81 it was the Pacific coast, primarily San Francisco.

Moody went back to England in September 1881, returning home for the summer of 1882. He returned for an important student crusade at Cambridge University in the fall of 1882, then back to America, and returned the following fall for a crusade in London from November 4, 1883 to January 19, 1884, where some two million heard him in various auditoriums. Wilfred Grenfell was among those saved and young C.T. Studd was also won indirectly.

From 1884 on, his crusades were smaller and limited to October to April. He spent his summer months in Northfield, Massachusetts for study, rest, family and development of his schools.

From 1884-1886 he was in many of the smaller cities of the nation, remaining about three days in each place. In 1888-1889 he was on the Pacific coast from Vancouver to San Diego. In 1890 he held his second crusade in New York, in November and December.

A last trip was taken in 1891-92 to England, Scotland (99 towns), France, Rome and Palestine, where he preached on the Mount of Olives on Easter Sunday morning. On his trip home to America, he endured a shipwreck, a dark hour of his life, but God spared him.

Peter Bilhorn who substituted for Sankey in the 1892 Buffalo, New York crusade tells his amazement of Moody’s personal work, observing him lead the driver of a carriage to the Lord in the midst of a violent rainstorm.

In 1893 he had the “opportunity of the century.” The World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) was to be held in Chicago from May 7 to October 31. He had a burden to saturate Chicago with the gospel during this time. Using many means and meetings in different languages, including 125 various Sunday services, thousands were saved. 1,933,210 signed the guest register of the Bible School.

In 1895 he had a large crusade in Atlanta. That same year a roof collapsed on a crowd of 4,000 at Ft. Worth, Texas. Fortunately, there were no deaths.
In 1897 he conducted another large Chicago crusade, packing out a 6,000 seat auditorium.

His church which was renamed Moody Church in 1901 continued to progress with the following pastors: Erdman (1876-78), Charles M. Morton (1878-79), George C. Needham (1879-81), no regular pastor (1881-85), Charles F. Goss (1885-90), Charles A. Blanchard (1891-93), and Reuben A. Torrey who began as pastor in 1894.
His interest in schools left him a lasting ministry. The forming of the Northfield Seminary (now Northfield School for Girls) in 1879, and the Mount Hermon Massachusetts School for Boys (1881) was the beginning. The Chicago Evangelization Society (later Moody Bible Institute) was opened with the first structure completed on September 26, 1889 with R.A. Torrey in charge. The school was an outgrowth of the 1887 Chicago Crusade.

In 1880 he started the famous Northfield Bible Conferences which continued until 1902, bringing some of the best speakers from both continents to the pulpit there. The world’s first student conference was held in 1885 and the Student Volunteer Movement started two years later as a natural outgrowth.

In 1898 Moody was chairman of the evangelistic department of the Army and Navy Christian Commission of the Y.M.C.A. during the Spanish-American War.

He started his last crusade in Kansas City in November, 1899. On November 16, he preached his last sermon on Excuses (Luke 14:1624) and hundreds were won to Christ that night. He was very ill afterward, the illness thought to be fatty degeneration of the heart. Arriving home in Northfield November 19 for rest, he climbed the stairs to his bedroom never to leave it again. He died about seven a.m. December 22, with a note of victory. He is reported to have said such things as the following. “I see earth receding; heaven is approaching (or opening). God is calling me. This is my triumph. This is my coronation day. It is glorious. God is calling and I must go. Mama, you have been a good wife … no pain … no valley … it’s bliss.”

The funeral was on December 26 with C.I. Scofield, local Congregational pastor in charge. Memorial services were held in many leading cities in America and Great Britain. Moody left to the world several books, although he never wrote a book himself. His Gospel sermons, Bible characters, devotional and doctrinal studies were all compiled from his spoken word, those after 1893 by A.P. Fitt. However he read every article and book before they were published. His innumerable converts were estimated by some as high as 1,000,000.

R.A. Torrey, one of his closest friends, writes his conclusions in his famous Why God Used D.L. Moody: (1) fully surrendered, (2) man of prayer, (3) student of the Word of God, (4) humble man, (5) freedom from love of money, (6) consuming passion for the lost, (7) definite endument with power from on high.

Perhaps the world HAS seen what one man totally consecrated to God can do.

– Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers


D. L. Moody, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

BORN: February 12, 1809
Hodgenville, Kentucky
DIED: April 15, 1865
Washington, D.C.

Sixteenth president of the United States, 1861-1865. Abraham Lincoln was one of the world’s truly great men. The American Union was preserved under his leadership. Lincoln expressed the deepest beliefs of the American People and, though primarily self-educated he created some of the finest examples of American literature. As president, he never lost touch with the common people who knew him as “Honest Abe” and “Father Abraham.”

Like many other Americans of his time, he was born in a one room log cabin, 16’x18′. The logs were chinked with clay and light came dimly through the single window. There was a dirt floor with a cornhusk stuffed mattress on top of a bed constructed of poles. He grew up in a farming family facing the hard times of frontier life. In the spring of 1811, the family moved to a farm on Knob Creek, ten miles northeast of Sinking Spring, Kentucky. This was the first home Abe would remember and he loved it. He learned to plant, hoe, husk corn, build hearth fires, carry water and chop wood. When he was six years old, his sister Sarah and he would tramp some two miles each way to a log schoolhouse where he learned reading, writing and arithmetic. Even in dusty or snowy weather, Abe would practice his writing using charcoal on the back of a shovel. At the age of seven, his family moved to present-day Spencer County, Indiana where his mother (Nancy Hanks) died early in the winter two years later. Abe’s father (Big Tom Lincoln), made her rough-hewn coffin which was held together by wooden pegs, hand-carved by little nine-year-old Abe. As she was buried in a shallow winter grave, Abe remembered her words: “I would rather Abe be able to read the Bible than to own a farm if he cannot have but one.”

Tom was an uneducated farmer descended from an English Quaker family who came to America only seventeen years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. His grandfather, also named Abraham, emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky, with his wife and five small children in about 1780. He was shot and killed by an Indian six years later. His son Tom, a wandering laboring-boy, grew up without an education. Somehow he learned enough carpentry to become competent in this trade. He was a sober, hard-working man, that was respected by his neighbors.

In 1816, Tom Lincoln settled with his young family in Indiana where they lived for about 15 years. Tom chose Indiana since slavery wasn’t practiced there. It was grueling work, covering 160 acres of virgin forest into workable farmland. They shared this primitive region with bears and other wild animals. That first winter, they lived in a make-shift cabin of three sides, a roof, and a continuous fire on the fourth side. Abraham was very young, but large for his age and strong enough to handle an ax. All winter, in fact as long as he lived in Indiana, he was seldom without his ax. Together they built a comfortable cabin for the family.

In the autumn of 1818, milk cows in the Valley of Pigeon Creek, Southern Indiana, were affected by a disease caused by eating poisonous plants. The result was an epidemic of “milk sickness” which spread over the countryside. Pretty Nancy Hanks Lincoln soon had the disease which had already fatally taken two other members of the family. On her death-bed, she called Abe and Sarah to her, touching them and admonishing Abe to care for his sister and be good to his father.

It was a terribly lonely time for the struggling family. Abraham’s sister, then twelve years old, kept house as best she could. Not only did Tom have his own children to care for, but also their three orphaned cousins; Dennis Hanks, plus Squire and Levi Hall. One day it became even more lonely as Tom left them with a promise to return as soon as he could. His destination was Elizabethtown, Kentucky to look up Sarah Bush Johnson, who he knew was also now a widow. He had proposed marriage to her many years previously, but she had chosen someone else. He found her willing to come and grateful that he would pay off her debts. Dennis explained it this way: “Tom didn’t drink or cuss none, so she married him.” They borrowed a team of horses, loaded a wagon with her belongings, including her three children, and hurried back to Pigeon Creek.

When the wagon rolled into their farmyard, the children ran out to greet the wonderful woman who became at once a loving mother to all. “Here’s your new mammy,” Tom announced, as Abe looked up into the strong, large-boned, rosy, kind face with steady, loving eyes. When she held him against her skirt it seemed like a heavenly gift, but when she traded his old cornhusk mattress for a soft featherbed, he knew God had indeed sent a miracle. There was never any partiality or resentment toward Tom’s kids. She accepted her stepchildren, as well as their cousins, as if they had been blood brothers and sisters to her own Matilda 9, Elizabeth 13, and John 5. Although she tried not to show any favoritism Sarah quickly took a special liking to Abe. She always made him “feel like a human being.” Tom was immediately inspired to greater potential by Sarah, who encouraged him to provide for them all. He put in windows and flooring for their one room cabin and she in turn kept both the cabin and the children spotless.

Sarah’s industrious personality was further enhanced by her ringing Christian testimony. Although Tom was a good man and attended church, it was Sarah who saw to it that the family Bible was always at hand. Family devotions were a part of every day and included Bible reading; Scripture memorization; morning and evening prayers; and a hymn or two in between. As a member of the Pigeon Creek (Hard Shell) Baptist Church, she was an exemplary Christian. The only contradiction was that she kept her hair curled. This was considered by some to be a frivolous, worldly act – but she smiled, kept it curled and maintained her testimony.

The nearest school was nine miles away, so Sarah talked her husband Tom into allowing Abe to study at home. A few years later a neighbor, Mr. Crawford, opened a school in his log cabin which Abe gratefully attended. Tom didn’t see any need for education. Sarah recognized Abe’s exceptional intelligence and determined to further his education in any way she could. Abe read every book that crossed his path – often borrowing from others in the community. When he came across a passage noteworthy, he would write it down on boards if he had no paper. He also used a board and charcoal to do his arithmetic before the big fireplace. Abe read the Bible until he knew much of it by heart. Other favorite books were “Aesop’s Fables,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and biographies of George Washington, Henry Clay and Benjamin Franklin.

Later, Lincoln described his education this way: “There were some schools, so called, but no qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond readin’, writin’, and cipherin’ to the rule of three. If a straggler supposin’ to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard … when I came of age I didn’t know much, but I could read, write and cipher to the rule of three, but that was all.”

Long before Abraham came of age, he reached his full height of six feet, four inches. He was thin and awkward, big-boned and strong. His face was homely, his skin dark, and his hair was black, coarse and often standing on end. Everyone, however, seemed to like him. Even as a boy, Lincoln showed ability as a speaker. He would often amuse himself and others by standing on a stump and imitating some preacher or politician who had recently spoken in the neighborhood.

At age 19, Abe got his first contact with the outside world by taking a flatboat of cargo down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. From sunrise to sunset Abe and the boat owner’s son pulled on the long oars of the flatboat that measured 40 feet from bow to stern. The two brawny young men even had to fight off robbers as they guided their valuable cargo into port. They lived on board, cooking and sleeping in a rickety lean-to on deck. In New Orleans Abe got his first deep impression of slavery. He saw his first auction of slaves in May of 1831. Slavery was lawful south of the Ohio River. “If I ever get a chance to hit that institution, I will hit it hard,” he said.

Although he was free to strike out for himself, he spent his 21st year helping his father build a new log house in Illinois. Abe took down the trees, formed the logs for the cabin, and split the fence rails. From this experience he gained the moniker “Rail-Splitter” that stayed with him the rest of his life.

In 1830, the Lincolns, the Hanks, the Halls, and the Johnsons … thirteen in all, moved from their crowded Indiana farm home to Illinois where they settled in a cabin ten miles south of Decatur.

Soon Lincoln was on his own, but he never forgot his step-mother. A man of few words, Lincoln once explained his success thusly: “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to may angel mother.” In further illustration of his devotion to her, the following narrative is included. “Even in the limelight, Lincoln never neglected his stepmother. Late in the evening of January 30, 1861_ , several persons had gathered at the depot of the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad in Charleston, Illinois to greet him, three months after being elected president of the United States. He had come 120 miles from Springfield, eluding office seekers and politicians who were dogging his every step, for a very special visit. He came on an evening freight train, so the few passengers there were stepped from the caboose several hundred feet down the tracks. Presently the President-elect was seen picking his way through mud and slush in a faded felt hat and a coat several inches too short for one of his great height. His battered bag, tied with an ordinary string, would not have impressed anyone, but Lincoln hadn’t come to impress anyone . . . he had come to tell his stepmother good-bye before leaving for the White House.”

At age 21, Abe moved to New Salem, Illinois where he stayed for six years. There he clerked in a store, served as postmaster and deputy to the county surveyor. When things were especially tight, he could always work as a farm laborer or salesman. In 1831, he was defeated for a seat in the Illinois State Legislature.

At the time of the Black Hawk Indian War in 1832, he was elected captain of a company of riflemen from the New Salem region. He really enjoyed that. In all, he served ninety days. During that time he saw no fighting, but, as he later said, he “made frequent attacks upon the wild onions and had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes.” In 1834, while he was campaigning for legislature, he began to study law. He overcame his doubts about his education. Perhaps he reasoned that if he could teach himself the fundamentals as a boy, and learn enough on his own to be a surveyor, he could learn law as well. He had to borrow the books, often walking to and from Springfield for this purpose. He tackled his legal studies with great vigor. While he was still in New Salem, a strong attachment developed between Lincoln and an attractive, intelligent girl of the village named Ann Ruthledge. The romance ended in 1835, when she died. For years Abe regularly visited the grave, seven miles outside of New Salem, Illinois.

Four times Lincoln was elected to the Illinois State Legislature as a representative of the Whig Political Party. He soon became a prominent political figure. He was witty, ready in debate, and so skillful in party management that he became the Whig floor leader at the beginning of his second term. In 1842 he declined further nomination. Meanwhile, in 1836, he had been admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Springfield (1837). During his leadership in the Whigs, he led a successful campaign to move the “Illinois State Capitol” from Vandalia to Springfield, where he lived and frequently lifted his voice in opposition to slavery.

It was in Springfield, a few months after his arrival that he and several other lawyers attended a camp meeting on the outskirts of town. Peter Akers, preached that night on “The Dominion of Jesus Christ.” In essence, his sermon said that the “dominion of Christ” could not come to America until slavery was abolished. The preacher further explained that it would take a civil war to destroy the evil institution of slavery. Lincoln was moved and said the next morning, “I shall be involved in that tragedy.”

On November 4, 1842, Abe married Mary Todd, a dark-eyed, lively Kentucky girl. They lived at a Springfield boarding house where they paid four dollars a week for their room and board. Eighteen months later, Lincoln bought the plain, but comfortable farm house that was to be the family home until he became President. By that time, his first son, Robert Todd was 9 months old. The second son, Edward Baker, was born March 10, 1846, but died four years later after a 52 day illness. The third son, William Wallace, born December 21, 1850, died in the White House at the age of twelve. Thomas “Tad” Lincoln was born April 4, 1853 and died in 1871 at the age of 18. Thus only one of the four children reached adulthood. The family lived humbly but comfortably. The portrayal of Lincoln as a poverty-stricken failure, is an inaccuracy. It is true that he often took care of his own horse and milked the family cow, but so did most of his neighbors. His marriage was often unhappy and turbulent, in part because of his wife’s pronounced instability. Her emotional sensitivity was certainly heightened by the loss of her three children.

In 1843, Lincoln was defeated for a U.S. Congressional Seat. In 1846, however, he defeated the Methodist circuit-riding preacher, Peter Cartwright for a seat in the National House of Representatives. In serving as a Whig representative from Illinois (1847-49) he was a strong voice denouncing the Mexican/American War. He was defeated for re-election to the U.S. Congress in 1848. Returning to private law practice, Lincoln became recognized as the leading member of the Illinois bar. The issue of slavery continued to trouble his conscience. He strongly opposed Stephen A. Douglas in 1854 on the question of slavery spreading to free territories. In 1855 he was defeated for the U.S. Senate and in 1856 he was defeated for the U.S. Vice Presidential nomination.

Abraham Lincoln became one of the founders of the Republican Party whose formation in 1856, was necessary to create a political vehicle that clearly opposed slavery. As the Republican candidate for U.S. Senator in 1858, he held a series of joint anti-slavery discussions throughout Illinois with the Democratic candidate, Stephen Douglas. These debates attracted the attention of the country. Although Lincoln carried the popular vote, he lost the senate election by just a few votes.

Two years later, Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination. On November 6, 1860 he was elected president by a strong vote on the third ballot. It was a clear victory since the Democratic party was split by north and south. Lincoln received 180 electoral votes, John C. Brekenridge (Southern Democrats) 72, John Bell (Constitutional Union Party) 39, and Stephen A. Douglas (Northern Democrats) 12.

Inauguration day came on March 4, 1861. In his inaugural address, Lincoln argued the futility of secession, declaring the union perpetual. Several states had already seceded over the slavery issue and a few weeks later, The American Civil War was declared. Hostilities began with an attack by the Secessionists of South Carolina on the Federal troops at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The fort surrendered on the 13th. On the 15th, Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to meet in Springfield, Illinois. The control of events passed from the cabinet of bureaucrats to the camp of soldiers. In a fever of excitement, far more volunteers than the government could equip responded. As Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln had to select officers capable of organizing green volunteers into armies. He also had to maintain strong popular support. After the first enthusiasm wore off, different opinions arose. Many Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the Union, but not to destroy slavery. Others wanted to put the destruction of slavery as the key fighting point. Since slavery was protected by the Constitution in states where it already existed, Lincoln faced an enormous political challenge. He needed to preserve the Union and in the process defeat the South so that slavery was no longer a government recognized institution. Time after time in public statements he declared that the purpose of the war was the restoration of the Union . . . by this course the border states remained during the first critical months of the war.

The Lincoln’s considered their “home” church in Washington to be the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dr. Phineas Densmore Gurley, a Princeton Theological Seminary graduate of 1840, responded to a call from the “F” Street Presbyterian Church in 1850. Nine years later this church united with the Second Presbyterian Church to form the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where Dr. Gurley became Lincoln’s pastor in 1861. The last four years of his life, Lincoln heard Gurley preach the central doctrines of the cross. No phrase fell more frequently from his lips than “Christ and Him crucified.”

Lincoln expressed his appreciation for the Gospel message he received at this church: “I get enough politics during the week. When I go to Church I like to hear the Gospel.” Mrs. Lincoln joined the church. As was the custom at that time, she reviewed a chart of the church seats, selected a pew eight rows from the front on the center aisle and rented it for the then current rate of $50.00 per year. The pew today is marked by a silver plaque and is closed with a silver cord.

The death of their little son, William, in 1862, deeply affected the President and Mrs. Lincoln. After the funeral service, Lincoln presented the pastor with his son’s bank with coins saved for Sunday School missions. From this time on Lincoln leaned even more heavily on spiritual strength.

Noting his increased interest in spiritual things, a lady of the congregation approached Dr. Gurley with, “Why don’t you get Mr. Lincoln to unite with our church?” “We’ll be glad to have Mr. Lincoln when he is ready to join,” replied the pastor. Then he added, “Mr. Lincoln believes enough to join our church, but he doesn’t seem to think he does.”

There are two stories about his conversion: One takes place in Springfield, Illinois in May of 1839 Lincoln (age 30), heard a sermon by a Methodist pastor, James F. Jacquess on “Ye Must Be Born Again.” The preacher related, that following the sermon Lincoln visited him, consulted and prayed with him about his soul’s salvation: “I have seen hundreds brought to Christ,” this pastor said, “and if ever a person was converted, Abe Lincoln was converted that night in my house.”

The other salvation experience seems to be more reliable and plausible. When Lincoln was age 53, his twelve year old son, Willie, died in the White House. In his hour of great grief, Willie’s nurse shared with Lincoln her personal relationship to Christ and encouraged him to know the Savior. Some time later he told a friend he found peace, saying, “When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me, I was not a Christian. When I buried by son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.” In the days that followed, Lincoln worshipped regularly at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, not only on Sunday, but at the Wednesday evening prayer service as well.

By late summer of 1862, it was clear to Lincoln that the time had come for a change in his policy toward slavery. He issued a preliminary warning September 22, 1862, declaring that effective January 1, all slaves would be freed in the rebelling states or where practiced in parts of bordering states. On January 1, 1863 he issued the famous, world-changing “Emancipation Proclamation.” This soon led to the writing of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution by which slavery in all parts of the Nation was ended.

Another especially moving experience was the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Lincoln proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for the victory. That same day, he went to church and heard Dr. Gurley preach on “Man’s Projects and God’s Results.” His Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863, was a high point in the record of American eloquence.

In 1864, Lincoln was unanimously nominated for a second term. He received an overwhelming majority in the election; 212 electoral votes to 21 for George B. McClellan, the Democratic party candidate. He began his second term of office March 4, 1865. His second inaugural speech was a classic that reads like a sermon, with two complete verses of Scripture and fourteen references to God. A month later he entered Richmond, Virginia with the Federal Army, only two days after the flight of the Confederate Government. Five weeks after Lincoln’s second inaugural address, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The tragic American Civil War was over on April 9, 1865.

Photographs of Lincoln taken at this time show the effect that four years of war had upon him. His face was gaunt and deeply lined. His eyes were ringed with black. He had slept little, eaten irregularly and found almost no relaxation . . . he was terribly weary. Nevertheless, he continued to see the widows and soldiers who called daily at the White House and when he could to help them in their troubles.

President Lincoln was occupied with plans for the Reconstruction of the South when he was shot at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. while watching a play entitled, “Our American Cousin.” A shot rang through the crowded house. John Wilkes Booth, one of the best known actors of the day, had shot the President in the head from the back of the Presidential Box. Leaping to the stage, Booth caught his spur in the folds of the American flag. He fell, broke his leg, limped across the stage brandishing a dagger, and crying “Sic semper tyrannis” (Thus ever to tyrants, the motto of Virginia). Lincoln died the next day, April 15, 1865, at 7:22 a.m.., bringing the nation and the world into mourning and sorrow. The timing of his death, just 8 days after the end of the Civil War, seemed to indicate that his life’s work was finished.

According to Dr. Gurley, Lincoln’s pastor, Lincoln had made all the necessary arrangements to make a public confession of faith in Christ on Easter Sunday, 1865, sadly, the assassin’s bullet ended his life before the events could transpire. Although he had long believed in Jesus Christ as his Saviour, Lincoln had some doubts on a few minor points of the Westminster Confession of Faith, a requirement for Presbyterian Church membership. When the pastor pointed out that as e laymen he didn’t have to subscribe to every article as long as he believed the essential parts, Lincoln had decided to unite with the church.

Lincoln was both one of the most loved end most hated men in American politics. Reflection has made him “The Greet Emancipator”, “Champion of Freedom” end “Hero of American history.”

His love for the Bible was boundless. He reed it end referred to it in his speeches. He wrote to e friend, “Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith, end you will live and die e better men.” He also wrote, “I decided e long time ago that it was less difficult to believe that the Bible was what it claimed to be then to disbelieve it. It is a good Book for us to obey.” He was adamant in his faith, praying often and exhorting others to prey.

Undoubtedly, when Lincoln came to Washington, he was unsettled in his beliefs. From this period came many statements such as “I could join any church that teaches love to God end neighbor”, which were often quoted to prove he didn’t understand the Gospel’s plan of salvation. Uttered early in his residence et Washington, such sayings do not give time for his faith to grow end do not indicate his final beliefs.

Ultimately, Lincoln end Gurley became close friends. Occasionally, the President and his pastor used to cell together on the sick in Washington hospitals. When war clouds loomed menacingly, Lincoln would send for Gurley, even in the middle of the night, to come to the White House end pray. More then once Lincoln expressed his faith in Christ as God end Saviour to his friend. They had e special arrangement between them permitting the President to attend e prayer meeting at the church, unnoticed and unhampered. Whenever he could, one Wednesday night, the President would unobtrusively slip into the Pastor’s study from e seldom-used outside door and sit unnoticed in the dark, hearing the entire service clearly through doors slightly ajar. No reference was ever made to Lincoln’s presence in the adjoining room. Today, that room is celled the Lincoln Memorial Room. Lincoln’s blossoming friendship with Gurley was demonstrated in many ways including the delivery of e fat turkey for Thanksgiving the year before he died . . . end after he died, Mrs. Lincoln sent Gurley the hat worn by him, for the first end only time, et his Second Inauguration with the words, “While its intrinsic value is trifling, you will prize it for the associations that cluster around it.”

Dr. Gurley was with Lincoln et the end. At 10 o’clock in the evening on Good Friday, a White House carriage came to the pastor’s door with e message from Mrs. Lincoln, asking him to come immediately to her husband’s side. Not until then did he learn of the tragedy. All night long Pastor Gurley remained at Lincoln’s bedside until his death the following morning.

As President, Lincoln had sometimes been bitterly criticized. After his death, even his enemies praised his kindly spirit and unselfishness. To the millions that had felt e personal kinship to him – the image of e “Father Abraham” – his death mirrored the loss of e beloved parent. Thousands wept as the funeral train made its lonely journey from Washington to Springfield where he was buried on May 5, 1865 et The Oak Ridge Cemetery.

To all Americans, end to the people of many other nations, Abraham Lincoln has become a beloved symbol of union end democracy. Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers

Please view the Credits under “Biographies”  for Fundamental Publishers


Abraham Lincoln, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Curtis Hutson

Curtis Hutson

BORN: July 10, 1934
Decatur, Georgia

DIED: March 5, 1995
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

LIFE SPAN: 60 years, 7 months, 23 days

CURTIS HUTSON was a dynamic evangelist, pastor and editor of the Sword of the Lord, succeeding its founder, John R. Rice, in 1980. It was not always this way…. Curtis was so shy as a young man that he would take a zero before he would give an oral book report in school. Although people thought he was the least likely to ever become a public speaker, he would go on to receive five honorary doctorates.

Hutson was the second of five children, a son of a barber and hair dresser. One night, alone in his bed, he gave his heart to the Lord as he thought on what he had been taught about living a spiritual life. He knew that it had to start with his conversion. Later, at age 11 (1945), when he went forward in his church (Bethel Baptist of Redan, Georgia), his pastor called all his kinfolks to gather around him and pray. Only a few blocks from the location of his future church ministry, Curtis went on to Avondale High School. Barbara (Gerri) Crawford, (born August 22, 1934) was also a student there. While walking to work one day at the Scottdale Textile Mill, he met Gerri and asked for a date. On November 21, 1952, they were married. He had several jobs before he surrendered to preach. But God was dealing with this still shy, unassuming man and in 1953, he surrendered to preach.

The following year, the first of four children, Sherry, arrived (March 17, 1954). All the children would eventually enter full time Christian work: Sherry married Rick Camperson, pastoring in Suwanee, Georgia; Donna (February 1, 1956), married David Janney, pastoring in Orlando, Florida; Tony (December 6, 1962), with his wife Tracy, lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where he pastors. and Rhonda Kay (December 3, 1969), married to Rick Chandler, pastoring in North Gainsville, Florida.

While supporting his family as a mailman, Curtis was invited to preach in several of the country churches around Atlanta. In 1956 he conducted a revival in Forrest Hills Baptist Church of Scottdale where 12 of the 40 members attended the first meeting. His preaching soon filled the church which only seated about 50 people. At the end of this revival, the pastor resigned and Hutson was called to pastor. For five years (1956-61) he delivered mail all week and preached on Sundays. During this time, he spent every opportunity studying the scriptures. Like others, such as Harry Ironside and Jack Wyrtzen, Curtis Hutson had no formal training. The Bible was his only source of “preparation” for the wide ministry God had for him in the years to come.

In the course of his postal work, one of his subscribers moved, not leaving a forwarding address. It was his duty to file forms with the senders of the 3rd class mail before destroying it. He decided to keep a piece of mail, a copy of a little paper called Sword of the Lord. It advertised a nearby meeting in Antioch Baptist Church, indicating that the speaker, Dr. Jack Hyles, had baptized 700 people that year. Hutson assumed it was a misprint, but made plans to take time off from his job to go meet Hyles and hear him preach. This was 1961, he would later testify:

“For the first time in my life, I heard sensible preaching. I was enlightened as to the New Testament Church and realized that I didn’t have a real church, even though I had been a pastor for five years.”

Hyles also gave his famous two-hour soul-winning lecture. Hutson’s heart burned within him and he felt that he too wanted to aggressively win the lost to Christ. Returning home, he went out the following Saturday and won three people to the Lord. Every week there after, for a number of years he led someone to Christ. As he began to preach about soulwinning his people began to grow and follow his pattern, winning others to the Lord.

In a step of faith, Hutson left the post office job to live on the $75 a month that the church was paying him. By 1968, the attendance had grown to 350. As it grew, the church moved to the Scottdale Elementary School, then a basement building in the middle of Scottdale. In 1969 it was another building and in 1972 they moved into their new building seating 2,500 on Valley Brook Road. From 1969-72 the church grew from 350 to 2,300 and the offerings were up to $10,000 a Sunday. It was now called Forrest Hills Baptist of Decatur, Georgia.

Many are the stories telling of Curtis Hutson’s soul-winning exploits. One worth sharing here is the time when his wife was gone visiting relatives and he couldn’t sleep. He called up one of the men in his church at 1 a.m. and said, “Let’s go soul-winning! I’ll pick you up in 15 minutes.” They took a red gas can and drove out to Interstate 85. His friend kept asking, “where are we going?” After a few miles, they saw a stranded motorist. Hutson approached the driver stating, “I’ve been looking for you.” The poor fellow figured that Hutson was going to take advantage of his distress to make some money. When Hutson assured him he didn’t want any money, just an opportunity to talk with him, the motorist was very responsive. Hutson led the man, his wife and children to the Lord on the spot. That night he and his partner kept going back, refilling their red gas can and finding additional stranded motorists. They led 18 people to Christ before the sun came up. Hearing about Hutson’s patrolling of the interstate, a man left the church a pick-up truck in his will shortly thereafter.

Hutson soon developed his own lecture entitled, “How to Win Souls.” One night he visited a couple who had visited the church four months previously. He found a rental truck backed up to the front porch. He wasn’t sure whether someone was moving in or out. He learned the husband was moving out and separating from his wife. Hutson took the young husband to the back room and led him to the Lord. Then he talked to the wife and she too was converted. He then stayed on, happily helping them unload the truck to reclaim their marriage. There are a number of couples in the church that Hutson remarried to their original mates after winning them to the Lord.

The first news of Hutson’s ministry in the Sword of the Lord appeared December 25, 1970. In 1972, the church opened a Christian High School. They purchased the school building he had attended as a teenager, Avondale High School. That year the Sunday School increased from 1263 to 2109 and merited the “America’s Fastest Growing Sunday School” plaque on November 5th from Christian Life Magazine and Elmer Towns. Bus riders increased from 600 to 1,000 and there were 879 baptized on profession of faith. On the day of the presentation, 5,138, a record attendance was made with 2,600 riding the buses.

In 1976, when Hutson resigned after 20 years of pastoring there, the church had grown to 7,900 with the Sunday School averaging 3,031 a Sunday. All this time, John Reynolds and John Stancil had been at his side to help. They also became his associates at the Sword of the Lord. Another close associate was Frances Hoffman, his secretary of 35 years. Hutson also was president of Baptist University of America from 1974-1980 which was located near Atlanta.

In full time evangelism, Hutson held area wide evangelistic meetings from 1977-1980. As many as 625 were converted in a single service. In one eight day meeting, some 1,502 were converted. The ministry was called Curtis Hutson Revival Campaigns and his song leader soloist was Ray Hart. Large soul winning and revival conferences were held in Macon, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama and Columbus, Ohio in 1979; in Wichita, Kansas and Atlanta, Georgia in 1980. From 1980 onward he continued to hold conferences while he headed up the ministry at the Sword of the Lord. These annual Sword Conferences were held in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1981; Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1982, 1983 and for several years in Chattanooga, Tennessee beginning in 1984. Later on, these conferences were held in Greenville, South Carolina at Bob Jones University and in Walkertown, North Carolina.

In 1978, John R. Rice invited Curtis Hutson to come to Murfreesboro as an associate, mentoring him to take on the editorship of the Sword of the Lord. Dr. Rice died two years later in 1980.

Dr. Hutson served as editor of the Sword of the Lord for 15 years (1980 1995), still conducting crusades and speaking at conferences, colleges and churches. This was a difficult time in fundamentalist circles as isolationism and factions separated good men over various issues taking a toll on the movement and discouraging area wide meetings. The Sword of the Lord, born the same year as Hutson, the new editor, continued to promote revival and soul-winning.

Curtis Hutson could move an audience to laughter and tears within a few minutes. Humor and pathos kept them on the edge of their seats. But it was more than human persuasion, it was the Spirit of God working through a dedicated man of God’s choosing.

He wrote some 75 sermon compilation books, booklets and pamphlets, including the 17 volume series called “Great Preaching.” Then there were tapes and tracts; his most famous tract, “How To Know You’re Going To Heaven” has been printed in 30 languages. At the time of his death, it was estimated that some 11,000,000 of his publications were in circulation. Possibly his best known work was the two volume set, Salvation Crystal Clear.

On May 2, 1992, Hutson was invited by Dr. Jack Hyles to speak at their annual Pentecost Sunday endeavor at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. The goal was to see at least 3,000 people converted. By the end of the day, 4,720 had been dealt with at various altars, 1,035 in the morning service alone, where Hutson spoke. 36,902 were in attendance that day in 23 other services all over town. Converts were still being baptized when Hutson had to leave.

Curtis had never gone to a doctor. Finally, in 1992, his wife pressed him to have a routine physical examination. With suspicious symptoms, further tests were made by a urologist who found a cancerous tumor. The news was not good. In fact the devastating pronouncement was, “Six months to live.”

The schedule altered greatly with special family time taking priority. However, he continued preaching, weak as he could be towards the end. His last major preaching opportunity was at the Southwide Fellowship meeting at Northside Baptist in Charlotte, North Carolina in October of 1994. Just prior to that, on September 21, he was honored at Hyles Anderson College in a great demonstration of love from Jack Hyles, who had helped start his career in the aforementioned incident. Hyles read a poem he had composed to honor him just prior to his introduction.

Three days before his death, Curtis awakened from a deep sleep to give his last sermon. It started at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and lasted until 3 p.m. on Thursday, a 26 hour discourse full of wisdom and praise. The last soul he won was that of the home care nurse attending him.

He died at his home in Murfreesboro, very thin and weak, on a Sunday night at 11:15 p.m. The news of his death brought a sense of great loss to fundamental circles around the country.

His funeral was conducted on March 7th at Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. Speakers included Clyde Box, Tom Malone, Shelton Smith, John Powell, Clarence Sexton, R.B. Ouellette, Jack Hyles and John Reynolds. The three Hutson daughters sang “I’m Sailing Away” for their father. He was buried the following day in Atlanta with a great crowd of people at the graveside service.

Hutson, a close friend of Clarence Sexton, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, encouraged the development of Crown College on the campus of that church in Powell, Tennessee. In April of 1999, a new building, known as the Curtis Hutson Center for Church Ministries was dedicated there.

For 34 years Curtis Hutson was consumed with introducing people to Christ. He was a rare combination. A master of both personal evangelism and mass evangelism. He was everlastingly at it. Misunderstood by some, as all great men are, he still lighted a fire in unnumbered lives and a generation that never knew John R. Rice had the blessing of knowing the one upon whom his mantle fell … Curtis Hutson.

THOUGHTS ON CANCER
BY DR. CURTIS HUTSON

Cancer can hurt you, but it cannot harm you.

Cancer can shorten your earthly life, but it cannot affect your eternal life.

Cancer can steal your days, but it cannot steal your dreams.

Cancer can cause you to be immobile, but it cannot keep you from being immovable.

Cancer may make you weak, but it cannot take away the joy of the Lord which is our strength.

Cancer can incapacitate you, but it cannot captivate you. Cancer may bring pain, but it cannot keep you from praising the Lord and rejoicing in His name.

Cancer may make you look bad on the outside, but it cannot change the inside where you have everlasting life and the very presence of God Himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Cancer may take your physical life, but it cannot destroy the everlasting life which is given to you the moment you trust Christ as Saviour.

As a matter of fact, it can’t even diminish it. It is just as real to your weakest moment as It was the day you trusted Him as Saviour.

Cancer may put you in the grave, but it cannot keep you there. There shall he a resurrection.

Cancer may destroy the physical tabernacle in which you live, but it cannot touch the heavenly mansion that is being prepared for you.

Cancer may cause a temporary separation from your family and friends, but it cannot stop the blessed reunion that is going to take place someday when all of God’s children are called on to Heaven either by way of death or the rapture.

Cancer may weaken your body to the place where you cannot even say to your dearest friends, ‘ I love you,” but it cannot keep you from loving.

Cancer, at times, may cause you to want to give up; but it can not keep you from going up. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Cancer may follow you to the graveyard, but it cannot follow you beyond. Cancer may rob you of strength, but it cannot rob you of your Saviour.

Cancer may make you weep for the night, but it cannot take away the jot- that is coming in the morning.

Cancer may temporarily separate you from friends, but it can not separate you from the love of God.

Cancer may confuse your mind and understanding. but it cannot confuse or change your standing with the great Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which has been settled by a simple act of’ faith in Him.

Cancer May stop your labors, but it cannot undo your works.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Revelation 14:13

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

“After hundreds of hours together, I can say that Dr Curtis Hutson was the most pure gold man I have ever met. He was honest in every area of his life He was a great preacher and a great leader. He was fully surrendered to Christ. I miss him so much.” Dr. Tom Malone

Ed Reeves, Fundamental Publishers


Curtis Hutson, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Fanny Crosby

Frances Jane Crosby

BORN: March 24, 1820
South East, New York
DIED: February 12, 1915
Bridgeport, Conn.
LIFE SPAN: 94 years, 10 months, 19 days

“Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind … for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

Blind for all of her life, Fanny Crosby, the greatest hymn writer in the history of the Christian Church, later wrote, “And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story – Saved by grace.” She saw over 8,000 poems set to music and over 100,000,000 copies of her songs printed. As many as 200 different pen names, including Grace J. Frances, were given her works by hymn book publishers so the public wouldn’t know she wrote so large a number of them. She produced as many as seven hymn-poems in one day. On several occasions, upon hearing an unfamiliar hymn. sung, she would inquire about the author, and find it to be one of her own!

Fanny gave the Christian world such songs as: A Shelter In The Time Of Storm, All The Way My Saviour Leads Me, Blessed Assurance, Close To Thee, He Hideth My Soul, I Am Thine 0 Lord, Jesus Is Calling, My Saviour First Of All, Near The Cross, Pass Me Not, Praise Him Praise Him, Redeemed, Rescue The Perishing, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, Saved By Grace, Saviour More Than Life To Me, Speed Away, Take The World But Give Me Jesus, Tell Me The Story Of Jesus, The Lights Of Home, Thou Mighty To Save, Tho’ Your Sins Be As Scarlet, Tis The Blessed Hour Of Prayer, To God Be The Glory, To The Work, Will Jesus Find Us Watching … to mention but a few.

Born in a one-story cottage, her father, John, was never to be remembered by Fanny for he died in her twelfth month. When Fanny was six weeks old, she caught a slight cold in her eyes. The family physician was away. Another country doctor was called in to treat her. He prescribed hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes, which destroyed her sight completely! It was later learned that the man was not qualified to practice medicine, but he had left town and was never heard of again. Fanny never felt any resentment against him, but believed it was permitted by the Lord to fulfill His plan for her life. A wise mother set about immediately to prepare her daughter for a happy life, in spite of this great handicap.

When but five years old, she was taken by her mother to consult the best eye specialist in the country, Dr. Valentine Mott. Neighbors and friends pooled money together in order to send her. The dreaded answer came, “Poor child, I am afraid you will never see again.” Fanny did not think she was poor. It was not the loss of sight that bothered her young heart. It was the thought that she would never be able to get an education like other boys and girls. Surprisingly, at the age of eight, she wrote her first recorded poetry: 0 what a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be. How many blessings I enjoy, that other people don’t. To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot and I won’t!

Around nine years of age, the family moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where she was to stay until age 15. Mother was kind, but busy making a living for both of them, so it was Grandmother who became an unforgettable influence in her life. Grandmother spent many hours describing the things of nature and heaven to her. Also, she introduced Fanny to the Bible and this book now became more familiar to her than any other. She began to devour the scriptures. It is said, that as a child, she could repeat from memory the Pentateuch, the book of Ruth, many of the Psalms, the books of Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and much of the New Testament! This furnished the themes, inspiration, and diction for her imperishable gospel hymns.

Two great blind poets of history, Homer and Milton, were to be joined by another great, Fanny Crosby, who published her first poem at the age of eleven.

Near her 15th birthday came a happy announcement … Mother could send her to a new school, The Institution For The Blind in New York City. Fanny clapped her hands joyfully and cried, “O thank God, He has answered my prayer, just as I knew He would.” So it was on March 3, 1835, that Fanny boarded a stage for Norwalk and then a boat for New York City. She was to spend the next 23 years of her life there, as a student for twelve years, and then as a teacher for eleven years more.

From early childhood the sightless girl had felt the urge to write poetry and several short verses had come from her lips. At the institution her abilities began to assert themselves with renewed force. Her teachers did not encourage her efforts but strangers did.

William Cullen Bryant visited the school one day and gave her much encouragement, after chancing to read some of her verses. She said afterwards, “He never knew how much he did by those few words.” Then one day, Dr. Combe of Boston, examined the heads of the blind students. As he felt her head, he exclaimed:

And here is a poetess, give her every possible encouragement. Read the best books to her and teach her the finest that is in poetry. You will hear from this young lady some day.

This was the encouragement that she needed. Poetry began to flow from her heart and mind.

In the autumn of 1843, when she was 23, she was the sightless guest of Congress. Endeavoring to secure an appropriation for its work, a group from the school was sent there. She paid tribute to Congress in original verse and then began paying tribute to the Lord. She delivered no stirring oration, nor pathetic story but simply recited some poems, about the tender care of a loving Saviour. She spoke with conviction, as though she had seen the Saviour face to face. The notable assembly addressed included such men as: John Quincy Adams, Thomas E. Benton, Hamilton Fish, Henry A. Wise, Alexander Stevens, Jefferson Davis, and Robert Toombs. Before long, tears were glistening on the hearers cheeks, for whether great or small, thousands were to find her message a healing balm for the soul.

As a result of this witness, she began to make friends with the great political and religious leaders of her time and no one could forget her once they met her. During her lifetime, she knew all the presidents except George Washington. President VanBuren dined with her and remained one of her warmest friends. She heralded the virtues of William Henry Harrison even though he served but one month. When President Tyler came to the Institution For The Blind, Fanny welcomed him with an original poem. Her friendship with President Polk was close and inspiring. She enjoyed a close friendship with President Cleveland for more than half a century, for at one time he was the secretary of the Institution For The Blind while she taught. He took an unusual interest in her life and work and was often engaged in copying her poems.

Many visitors came to the school making memorable occasions for all. Once, Jenny Lind came. She sang and Fanny Crosby recited her poem called, `The Swedish Nightingale.’ When Henry Clay visited the school, Miss Crosby was elected to recite a poem in his honor. When she had finished, Clay took her by the hand and said, “this is not the only poem for which I am indebted to this lady. Six months ago, she sent me some lines on the death of my dear son.” Young Clay was killed in a battle in Mexico. Standing there, the great statesman and the blind poet wept together.

At school her first book published at age 24, was entitled The Blind Girl and Other Poems. Also, she composed several popular songs and assisted in writing what was probably the first cantata published in America. At age 27, she became an instructor at the school, a position which she held until 1858, when she left.

With all of her apparent devotion to Christ, already shared in so many ways, it is hard to believe that she was not converted until 1851, age 31 . This glorious beginning happened at a revival service held at the old John Street Methodist Church in New York which she joined. Recalling the incident years later, she said:

After a prayer was offered, they began to sing the grand old consecration hymn, `Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?’ and when they reached the third line of the fifth stanza, `Here, Lord, I give myself away,’ my very soul was flooded with celestial light.

Romance came into the life of Fanny Crosby, also. As early as age 20 she fell in love with another blind student by the name of Alexander VanAlstyne. He was especially fond of music and was captivated by her poems. She, likewise, was fascinated by his sweet strains of music. Later, he was to write the music of some of her hymn-poems and spend 44 years with her in marriage. One day in June he sang to his beloved, the music of his heart. Fanny tells the story:

From that hour two lives looked on a new universe, for love met love and all the world was changed. We were no longer blind, for the light of love showed where the lilies bloomed, and where the crystal waters found the moss-mantled spring.

He also became a teacher and for over 15 years their friendship bloomed. Finally, on March 5, 1858, she was married at age 37. Life was just beginning for Fanny Crosby, for her life’s ministry was still ahead.

The marriage was a happy one with VanAlstyne, who lived until 1902. The couple had one child, only to be taken in death while yet a baby. Perhaps this incident helped inspire Fanny to write, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, which was to comfort thousands of grief stricken parents suffering a similar fate.

Upon her marriage, she intended to use the name Mrs. VanAlstyne, but her husband insisted that she continue to use her maiden name, which was already quite famous. Later, the couple united with the Thirtieth Street Methodist Church, in New York. Fanny Crosby remained a lifelong Methodist.

Through Peter Stryker, the minister of a Dutch Reformed Church, in New York City, she met the well-known composer, William Bradbury. He gave her a most cordial welcome:

Fanny, I thank God that we have at last met, for I think you can write hymns, and I have sought for a long time to have a talk with you.

He suggested that she attempt a hymn for him that week. This was the opportunity that she was waiting for. In three days she returned and submitted her first sacred song, the initial stanza of which reads:

We are going, we are going to a home beyond the skies, where the fields are robed in beauty, and the sunlight never dies.

This was in 1864, when Fanny was 44. Now, her course was set and this was her first hymn, used as a Sunday School hymn.

Some stories of her most famous hymn-poems follow:

Pass Me Not was her first hymn to win world-wide attention. Acting upon the suggestion of her friend, William H. Doane, Fanny composed this in 1868 after a prison service. As she spoke to the prisoners, one cried out, “O Lord, don’t pass me by!” She was so moved that she went home and wrote her famous plea. Sankey said, “no hymn was more popular at the meetings in London, in 1875, than this one.” One hard-drinking Englishman heard the crowd singing it and whispered to himself, “Oh, I wish He would not pass me by.” The nest night the service began with the same hymn and he was saved. He began carrying a copy of the hymn with him every day and forty years later, as a successful businessman in America, he met Fanny and gave her twenty dollars.

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus was considered, by some to be her greatest hymn. One day, in 1868, Doane dropped by and said, “Miss Fanny, I have but a few minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati but first, will you do me a favor before boarding that train? I want a new hymn which I can introduce for the first time at a convention that will capture the hearts and imaginations of the young people and children. There is to be a great state-wide Sunday School Convention in Cincinnati nest month and in addition to the large delegations of adults, many young people and children are expected to be present. We really need this new hymn.”

Having the tune already composed, he said, “Listen closely,” and turning to the piano, he sat down and played his new tune in a rousing and stirring manner. Fanny said, “Your music says, “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.” Going to her desk, she took out a piece of paper, found her pen, sat down, and began to write. As he played, she continued to write. She folded the paper, placed it in an envelope and handed it to her friend. Because his train was leaving in thirty-five minutes, she exclaimed, “Read it on the train and hurry, you don’t want to be late!”

On the train, he read the words that Sankey later made famous, and hearts have been singing ever since. The stories connected with this hymn are breath-taking. Once, a hackman, learning that his passenger was Fanny Crosby, took off his hat and wept. He called a policeman and asked him to see her safely to the train, adding, “We sang Safe In The Arms Of Jesus at my little girl’s funeral last week.”

When Bishop James Hannington was brutally murdered by savages, in Uganda, Africa, his diary was recovered. In it, he tells of being dragged away to be murdered, while singing Safe In The Arms Of Jesus. He was even laughing at the very agony of his situation.

A strange story is told in connection with the war in 1918. A Finnish engineer tells of besieging a town and taking a number of Red prisoners. Seven of them were to be shot at dawn the following Monday. One of the doomed men began to sing this lovely song, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, that he had learned only three weeks previously, from the Salvation Army. One after another of the comrades fell to their knees and began to pray. The seven asked to be allowed to die with uncovered faces. With hands raised to Heaven, they sang this song as they were ushered into eternity. The Finnish engineer, Nordenberg, a former Army Officer, who tells the story, met Christ Himself that very hour as a result of this witness.

Rescue The Perishing was written on a hot July night in 1869. At a Mission, Fanny was addressing a large company of men, in one of the worst sections of New York City, The Bowery. During the service she felt impressed that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or not at all. She made the plea for salvation and a boy of eighteen came forward and exclaimed, “I promised to meet my mother in heaven but as I now am living, that will be impossible.” Fanny prayed with this precious soul and he was joyously converted. He rose from his knees, with a new light in his eyes, and said, “Now I can meet my mother in heaven, for I have found her God!” A friend remarked, “Isn’t it wonderful what these rescue missions are doing?” While riding between the Bowery and Brooklyn, in a hired horse-drawn hack, she started writing because she could not wait until she got home. In her room, she completed the lines of the hymn before retiring. The next morning, the words were copied and forwarded to her friend, Mr. Doane, who immediately composed the tune to which it has been sung ever since.

Blessed Assurance is her most famous hymn, according to a hymn poll taken some time back by The Christian Herald. It placed twelfth in the poll. Of favorite hymns, The Old Rugged Cross was number one. One of Fanny’s close friends, wife of the founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, was Mrs. Joseph Knapp. On one of her visits to the blind poetess, in 1873, she brought in a melody she had composed. Several times she played it on the piano for Fanny. Then she asked, “Fanny, what does that tune say to you?” Hesitating but for a moment, she replied, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!” One of the greatest gospel songs of all time was born.

To God Be The Glory was not really discovered until 1954, when it was introduced to Bev Shea in London. It was first sung by Shea and the Billy Graham Crusade Choir in Toronto in 1955. Since then, it has become a beloved hymn of the faith. San key did include it in his first hymnbook, published in England in 1873, but not in later subsequent editions published in America.

All The Way My Saviour Leads Me was written in 1874. Fanny needed five dollars one day and she just knelt down and told the Lord about it. Soon after a stranger knocked at her door as he just wanted to meet her. As he left, he pressed a five dollar bill into her hand. Her first thought was what a wonderful way the Lord helps me. Immediately, she composed this song.

Close To Thee was written in 1874, also, as S.J. Vail brought one of his newly composed tunes to her, asking that she write words for it. As he played it for her on the piano, she suddenly exclaimed, “That chorus says, Close To Thee!” Immediately, she wrote the poem.

Saved By Grace was written in 1891. At age 71 she attended a prayer meeting at which Dr. Howard Crosby spoke. He talked on the 23rd Psalm using `Grace’ as his subject. That very same week, he died suddenly, and Fanny said to herself, “I wonder what my first impression of heaven will be?” A moment later, she suddenly answered her own question, “Why, my eyes will be opened and I will see my Saviour face to face.”

A few days later, her publisher-friend, L.H. Bigelow, asked her to write a hymn on `Grace.’ She wrote the four stanzas and chorus of Saved By Grace in less than an hour. This poem was put away in a safe. In 1894, while visiting friends in Sankey’s home, in Northfield, Massachusettes, she was prevailed upon to speak. Concluding her talk, she read this poem that she had written three years earlier. A reporter, from The London Christian, took her poem with him to England and published it. When Sankey found this out, he prevailed upon George Stebbins to compose some music for it.

Other hymns had interesting beginnings. I Am Thine 0 Lord was a result of an earnest conversation on the nearness of God, with Mr. Doane of Cincinnati; Jesus Is Calling was sent to Stebbins for music upon his return from an evangelistic tour in Scotland, in 1883; Near The Cross was the result of Doane stating, “I want a new song to sing tonight in the evangelistic service.” Saviour More Than Life To Me came as a result of a tune which Doane sent Fanny requesting a song on the theme of Every Day and Hour.

The hymn-poems came . . . with many composers adding the music. One time Philip Phillips brought her forty subjects for hymns. He returned several days later and surprisingly, discovered that she had completed them all. She dictated all of them to him entirely from memory.

The years that saw her more famous songs first published were as follows: 1867 More Like Jesus; 1868 Safe In The Arms Of Jesus (wrote); 1869 Near The Cross, Praise Him; 1870 Pass Me Not, Rescue The Perishing; 1871 To The Work; 1873 Blessed Assurance, To God Be The Glory; 1874 Close To Thee; 1875 I Am Thine 0 Lord, All The Way My Saviour Leads Me, Saviour More Than Life To Me; 1876 Tho Your Sins Be As Scarlet, Will Jesus Find Us Watching; 1880 Tis The Blessed Hour Of Prayer; 1882 Redeemer; 1883 Jesus Is Calling; 1887 He Is Coming Man Of Sorrows (Alice Monteith pseudonym) 1890 He Hideth My Soul; 1894 Saved By Grace, 1 Shall Know Him.

For a long period of time she was under contract to write three hymns a week for a New York Publishing Firm, Biglow and Main. They purchased 5,900 poems from her and in her declining years provided a regular allowance for her.

Her books of poems published were in addition to her 1st book of 1844 mentioned previously were Monterey And Other Poems (1849); A Wreath Of Columbia’s Flowers (1859); Bells At Evening And Other Poems (1898); and Memories Of Eighty Years (1907).

Sankey did more than any other single individual to popularize and immortalize Fanny Crosby’s songs. The great crowds, who thronged the Moody-Sankey revivals, sang her songs until they became part of the heritage of that generation.

At 90 she declared, “My love for the Holy Bible and its sacred truth is stronger and more precious to me at ninety than at nineteen.” Asked about her long years, she said her secret was that she guarded her taste, her temper and her tongue. A famous saying through the years was, “Don’t waste any sympathy on me. I am the happiest person living.”

Fanny remained active until her death. At age 92, she enjoyed her first visit to Harvard. Her latter days were spent in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with a Mrs. Booth, who cared for her. Shortly before her death, she penned her last lines . . . “you will reach the river brink, some sweet day, bye and bye.” On her last night, she dictated a letter of comfort to a sorrowing friend, whose daughter had recently died. At 3 the next morning, Mrs. Booth found Fanny unconscious. She slipped away to the loving Saviour just short of her 95th birthday.

Her funeral filled the church with friends. The choir sang her favorite song … Faith Of Our Fathers … then, her own … Safe In The Arms Of Jesus . . . and, Saved By Grace. Her minister, George M. Brown, of the Methodist church said it well:

There must have been a royal welcome when this queen of sacred song burst the bonds of death and passed into the glories of heaven.

At her funeral was read words from Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, the last verse of a poem freshly written said:

Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while; You walk in the shadows no more; Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile; The Lamb is the light of that Shore!

You will find a casual quote, on her grave in Bridgeport, Connecticut .. . “she hath done what she could!” Buried close by is P.T. Barnum, the Circus-tycoon, who laid up treasures on earth while Fanny’s treasures were laid up in heaven.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The scores of sources used in obtaining data for this series are too numerous to mention. They include back issues of many Christian journals, such as Christian Life, Decision, Sword of the Lord, etc. The major sets of encyclopedias plus the Who’s Who in America series often provide factual data not obtained elsewhere. A library of close to 500 biographies plus numerous other books, booklets and files have been most valuable as well. Questionnaires returned from Christian leaders now living have also been helpful.

The people who have encouraged me and worked hard in the project are also rightfully acknowledged. The designing and editing of my wife Margaret, and the typesetting of Griffin Graphics have all made these biographies possible. I am thankful for this team God has put together.

Also a word of thanks to Harold Henniger of Canton, Ohio for allowing me to use the Christian Hall of Fame title, which he originated. – Ed Reeves

Please view the Credits under “Biographies”  for Fundamental Publishers


Fanny Crosby, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that her place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Mrs. Crosby is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Quilt of Holes

Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes.

Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all. I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.

I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.

My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.

He said, ‘Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.’

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

God determines who walks into your life…it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Daily Blessings



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