Life and Work of D. L. Moody


The name and legacy of Dwight L. Moody continues on among evangelicals, not least through Moody Bible Institute in Chicago…so why was John Wesley Hanson, an avowed Universalist, writing a celebratory biography of him?

I am interested in the 19th century conflict between Orthodoxy and Universalism, J.W. Hanson being one of the latter’s most able proponents. My research has not led me to anything conclusive at this juncture (did Hanson even know Moody personally?), but in the process I did annotate and modernize Hanson’s biography of Moody.

How to Acquire

This biography by J.W. Hanson is available via Amazon, its full title being The Life and Works of the World’s Greatest Evangelist: Dwight L. Moody: Contemporary and Annotated Edition.


Unfortunately, I didn’t start taking notes from the book until near the end where Hanson included a few of D.L. Moody’s sermons. Perhaps on another pass I will be able to add more.

[Some quotes I found insightful, others I thought would surprise many contemporary evangelicals!]

No Room for Him Sermon

  • On Loneliness: “I want to say, if a man wants to feel that he is alone in the world, he don’t want to go off in the wilderness where he can have himself for company, but let him go into some of these metropolises or large cities, and let him pass down the streets where he can meet thousands and have no one know him or recognize him.”

Tekel Sermon

  • On Modern Idolatry: “Anything that a man thinks more of than he does of God is his idol. A man may make an idol of his wealth. A man may make an idol of his wife or children; a man may make an idol of himself; a good many do that. They think more of themselves than of anything else in the wide world.”
  • On Religious Art: “I think it is a great mistake that artists try to make pictures of the God of heaven and earth. It is a fearful thing. We are not to make any graven image of anything and then bow down to it.”
  • On the Sabbath: “If this nation gives up its Sabbath, we are not going to see blood flow in a few Southern States, but it will not be long before it will flow in all our cities. It won’t be long before we will see a darker day than this nation has ever seen.”
  • On Capitalism: “I want to say to the working men, if you give up the Sabbath, you give up the best friend you’ve got, and it will not be long before these capitalists will take your Sabbath and make you work seven days in the week, and you will not earn a dollar more than you do now in six days.”
  • On Alcohol/Adultery: “We hear a good deal about intemperance, but the twin sister of intemperance is adultery today.”
  • “I want to say to the young people in this audience tonight, I do not know of a quicker way to ruin, I do not know of a quicker way down to hell than the way of the adulterer. Do you know that the average life of a fallen woman is only seven years? It is very short. How a woman can surrender her virtue and take that road is one of the greatest mysteries of the present day, when they can look around and see how they have brought ruin and blight upon their life, and made it dark and bitter.”
  • On Sowing/Reaping: “You ruin some man’s daughter, and some vile wretch will ruin yours. You will find it out by and by.”
  • On Society’s Immorality: “It is a day of trial on our right hand and on our left. We are living in a day of decayed conscience, as someone has said.”
  • On Being Good Enough: “You know very well that if your sins were all brought to light you would not talk about being moralists, or about being so very good.”
  • “There is not anything that will close a man’s mouth about his being so pure, and good, and moral, as to get a look at himself in God’s looking glass.”

Grace Sermon

  • American Exceptionalism: “But the trouble with us Americans is, we think we are a little better than other people. We just reverse God’s order, and we think that other people are a little lower down, and a little worse than we are.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Contemporary Edition
  • Publishers Preface
  • Introduction
  • Dwight L. Moody (by John V. Farwell)
  • The Ancestors of Mr. Moody
  • Moody’s Early Life
  • Life in Boston
  • Beginning of His Career
  • His YMCA Work
  • First Meeting with Bliss
  • Sermons on P. P. Bliss
  • First Meeting with Sankey
  • Character Indications
  • Their English Visit
  • The Birmingham Meeting
  • American Meetings
  • Mr. Moody’s Crisp Sayings
  • Typical Anecdotes
  • Mr. Moody’s Bible
  • The Kansas City Meeting
  • Death of Moody
  • The Last Farewell
  • Eulogy
  • Editorial Comment
  • Memorial
  • The Last of the Great Group
  • The Northfield Schools
  • Great Religious Revivals
  • “Revival” Sermon
  • “Faith” Sermon
  • “Repentance” Sermon
  • “Excused” Sermon
  • “No Room for Him” Sermon
  • “Their Rock is Not Our Rock” Sermon
  • “Tekel” Sermon
  • “No Difference” Sermon
  • “Grace” Sermon
  • “Come” Sermon