Dwight Lyman Moody, evangelist, was born in Northfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, February 5, 1837. He was brought up on a farm until he was sixteen years of age, when he left home and went to Boston, where he was employed in a store for several years. Here he became a professor of religion under the preaching of Dr. Kirk, and shortly after went into business as a clerk in a large wholesale shoe store in Chicago, and soon became one of the most successful salesmen in the place.
While thus engaged he spent his evenings in missionary work among the lowly and destitute of the city. This work grew to such proportions under his earnest and energetic management, that he was induced to give up his profitable business engagements and to devote all his time to religious work in connection with the local Young Men's Christian Association of which he became president. He soon became known as one of the most acceptable public speakers of the country, and was in constant demand at Christian conventions throughout the West and South. During the war he joined the work of the Christian commission and spent much of his time looking after the sick and wounded of both armies.
At the close of the war he returned to Chicago and resumed his work there, soon having a large and flourishing independent church as the result of his labors among the people. This church is now one of the largest and most prosperous in the city, presided over by a regular pastor, and still known to the public as "Moody's Church."
He never became a regularly ordained minister. After the great fire of 1871, which destroyed his church, the Young Men's Christian Association buildings, and his home, he made arrangements for rebuilding the church, and in June, 1873, went with Mr. Ira D. Sankey to Great Britain on an evangelistic tour which continued for a period of over two years, inaugurating one of the greatest evangelistic movements of the age.
He has founded two great schools at Northfield, one for young women and one for young men, with an average attendance of 800. These schools are intended to provide for the thorough education of young men and women who, though possessed of excellent character have not the means of securing an education in the leading Colleges of the land, a fee of $100 a year being charged each pupil. The balance of the expense being paid in part from royalties derived from the "Moody and Sankey hymn-books." He has also founded a large school in Chicago known as the Bible Institute, where from 300 to 400 men and women are trained each year for the various departments of Christian work, both at home and abroad.
He is the author of a number of books of sermons and addresses which have had a very wide circulation. Mr. Moody is supposed to have spoken to more people, and addressed larger audiences than any man of his generation, and will be known to the world as the leading evangelist of the nineteenth century. [Note: Information up to 1897; D. L. Moody died in 1899.]
From The National Cyclopædia of American Biography... New York: James T. White & Company, 1897. Vol. 7.
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