Chapter 28 - Roundtop, Where Mr. Moody Loved to Speak and where he was Buried

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Mr. Moody's Remains Taken to Roundtop - A Place of Blessing - Roundtop Particularly identified With Mr. Moody.

The funeral services in the church were over. In every way it was the most remarkable gathering that could possibly be imagined on any such occasion, and one friend was heard to say to another as we passed out of the Congregational Church "I would not have missed this privilege for any consideration. My faith in God and in His promises is stronger to-day than ever; my fear of death is all taken away. Did you ever in all your experience attend a service in which the power of God was more mightily manifest?" One distinguished man said to a brother minister as they walked in solemn procession toward the grave, "If it had been possible to repeat that service with all its attending circumstances and surroundings in all the cities of the land, D.L. Moody would have been greater in his death than in his life, and thousands and tens of thousands would have been brought to Christ.


It was a notable service because there was a spirit of victory in it all. From where we sat on the platform we could look down into the faces of those who had been bereaved, and while there were marks of tears upon their faces, yet there was such evident joy in the thought that they had had him so long, and that he had brought so much of blessing into the lives of countless numbers of people, that one really forgot that he was attending a funeral and thanked God that he was sitting together with dear friends in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

It was notable also, because not very often on funeral occasions do the bereaved ones join in the singing of the hymns, and yet at this funeral very frequently you could see that the lips of the members of the family were moving, and you knew they were singing the songs that Mr. Moody loved, and singing them just in the way that would have been pleasing to him.


It was notable also, because of the fact that just in the midst of the services one single ray of sunlight from the setting sun came through the window, but the only face in all the building that was touched with the glory of that streak of light was the face of the man of God lying in his coffin. It was just what all could have wished for him, for to those who knew him and loved him, there was always a kind of a halo of glory about him, and this touch of sunlight was just a hint to us as to how his face would appear when in the better country we should see him once again with the redemption body transfigured into the likeness of Christ. I seriously question if any man in the present generation ever walked closer with God than did Mr. Moody. He was my ideal in this respect as in many other. His was a story like that of Enoch of old, and when he died we could understand it all, he simply was not, for God took him.

All the funerals associated with Mr. Moody's family have ever been most touching. When his mother was carried to the tomb, she was not taken away until her son had said what only a devoted and godly son could say concerning the life of a consistent Christian mother, and of her it was true as the wise man said, "Her children rise up and call her blessed."

When the children of his eldest son, Mr. W. R. Moody, were buried, once again did he speak such words as he only was able to speak. Quite recently, at the funeral of Irene Moody, he said the most touching words concerning his love for his grandchild, told how she had always greeted him with a smile, and then told how she had influenced his life as very few people had - no one could have said these words with such tenderness and sweetness as Mr. Moody, but it was just like him to say them for the grief of his son was as if it had been his own.

While holding services in my Church, Rev. B. Pay Mills spoke concerning the funeral of the brother of Mr. Moody, as contrasted with the funeral of Mr. Robert Ingersoll's brother, and the picture is most striking in its contrasts


"It was in June, 1879. This brother had died in Washington, and Colonel Ingersoll stood by the coffin and tried to read his address which he had carefully prepared. His voice became agitated, his form trembled, and his emotion overcame him. Finally he put down the paper, and, bowing himself upon the coffin, as if he would throw his arms about it, he gave vent to uncontrollable grief.' When at last he was able to proceed he raised himself up, and among other words he said these: 'Whether in mid-ocean or mid the breakers of the farther shore, a wreck must mark at last the end of each and all; and every life, no matter if its every hour be filled with love and every moment jeweled with a joy, will at the last become a tragedy as sad and dark and deep as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.

Life is a dark and barren vale between the cold and ice clad peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We lift our wailing voice in the silence of the night, and hear no answer but the bitter echo of our cry.'

"Could ever words more sadly hopeless have been uttered at a time like that? And then he added what to me were the most pathetic words of all - something about 'hope trying to see a star, and listening for the rustle of an angel's wings.'

"Mrs. Browning most truly writes

"'There is no God,' the foolish saith,
But none, 'There is no sorrow.'
And nature oft in bitter need
The cry of faith will borrow.
Eyes which the preacher could not school,
By wayside graves are raised;
And lips cry, 'God be pitiful!'
Which ne'er said, 'God be praised!'

"I think I should like a greater comfort and a better hope than that.


"Dwight Moody had a brother, and after his own conversion he earnestly pleaded with him, until the brother also yielded himself to Christ, and became such an earnest worker that he was the means of leading a number of his friends at his home into the kingdom. And then this brother died and was buried. A few years ago", Mr. Mills said, "as I spent a day in Northfield, and was driven through its beautiful streets by one of the old residents, I said, 'I wish you would tell me something about Mr. Moody that may not be generally known.' And as we passed the old white Church he said, 'I remember his brother's funeral.' He said that there were a number of ministers in the pulpit, and that after they had finished the usual services and the coffin-lid was about to be put in its place, Mr. Moody arose, and stepping forward from the seat where he had been sitting, with a shining face, he laid one hand upon the coffin, and then, lifting the other, he poured out such a stream of thanksgiving unto God for the life that was gone and for the wonderful comfort and joy and hope that came to him in Jesus Christ, that it was said by this onlooker that it almost seemed as if the heavens were opened and they could see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. At last he ceased, the coffin-lid was placed in its position, and the body was carried out and laid in the grave. On one side of the sepulcher stood a large number of young men, many of them led to Christ through the influence of this one who was gone, and they held in their hands beautiful white flowers, which they cast down upon the coffin in token of the glorious resurrection. And on the other side of the grave stood Mr. Moody; and he said that as he stood there and thought of how his brother, being dead, was yet speaking, he felt that if he were silent the very stones would cry out, and he cried with a loud voice, 'Glory to God! Glory be to God! O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"


When the last hymn had been sung on this day of the funeral of D. L. Moody, the audience was requested to remain seated until the family had passed out and also until the pallbearers had taken from the Church the precious remains of this servant of God. As we passed along in solemn procession towards Roundtop, it was my privilege to hear something of the conversation of those who followed the students who had been given the privilege of bearing him to his tomb. One gentleman said to his friend, "When Mr. Moody's little grandchild was buried only a short time ago, the students carried her from the house to her grave, and Mr. Moody said to his son, 'I think I should like to be carried like that myself,'" and so the students bore him carefully to the place where he is to rest until the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God? and he shall rise.

Roundtop was reached in the dusk of that winter day. The grave was lined with evergreen, and the resting place made as comfortable as possible. After a moment's gazing at the grave, all but the immediate family and the specially invited guests were requested to withdraw, but before they went away some one started the following old hymn which Mr. Moody ever loved to have sung in his meetings. One voice was added to another until at last a great volume of song rose towards God:

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past
Safe into the haven guide,
Oh, receive my soul at last;
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee
Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want
More than all in Thee I find
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness
Vile, and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found -
Grace to cover all my sin:
Let the healing streams abound;
Make me, keep me pure, within.
Thou of life the Fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

With heads solemnly bowed for a moment, the benediction was pronounced, and all that was mortal of D. L. Moody, the greatest evangelist of modern times, and one of the best men that ever lived was lying in the grave.


Roundtop has ever been a place of blessing to the Northfield visitors. There each evening, when the conferences are in session, as the day is dying out of the sky, Bible students gather to talk of the things concerning the Kingdom. At this point many of the young men and women of the various students' gatherings, which have been so intimately associated with Northfield, have decided their life work, and forth from this point they have gone to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel. The old haystack at Williamstown figures no more conspicuously in the history of missions than Roundtop figures in the lives of a countless number of Christians throughout the whole world.

A. J. Gordon, of sainted memory, delivered some of his most telling addresses from this point. I recall one evening when he spoke of the Lord's return, and just as he finished he stood for a moment with his kindly face, all aglow with the power of his theme, and said, "I wish He might come now" and as we looked towards the west and saw the sunset glow upon everything it came to us as a regret that the Lord did not come at that instant, and that we must go down from this mount of privilege to work and to wait, possibly through weary years until He should appear.

From this point Mr. S. H. Hadley, Jerry Macauley's successor in the old Water Street Mission has told the story of his remarkable conversion, until people first sobbed in sympathy for him because of all that he had suffered through strong drink, and then praised God that He had raised him up such a miracle of grace and such a monument to His keeping power.

Here Mr. John Willis Baer has met the young people who were seeking to know what they must do to be used of God, and under the influence of the Spirit of God has pointed many a young man and young woman to the Spirit of God who could fill their lives and make them useful in every way.

Indeed, every visitor to Northfield journeys to Roundtop, and every speaker at Northfield counted himself fortunate if he were permitted to gather the people about him and speak as once the Master did when He went up into a mountain.


But Roundtop is particularly identified with Mr. Moody himself. It is situated just back of his home. It was the place where often he used to go for meditation and prayer, and whatever it has been to friends of Northfield in the past, it shall be more sacred to them in the future, because it is the last resting place of the man whom they devotedly loved.

I recall one picture which can never be effaced from my memory. It was just at the close of one of the first days of the Northfield conference proper when it was announced that Mr. Moody would lead the Roundtop services, and as we were all gathered together singing, he came up. I can see him as plainly as I see my friend of to-day. He was carrying a chair in his hand upon which he was to sit in the midst of his people. He had his old, worn Bible in the one hand, and with his face beaming with delight because so many people were there at the beginning of the conference, he said, "I will ask Mr. Jacobs to sing," and the great strong voice of the singer sounded out from that hilltop and came back to us like an echo from the hills, until some of us wondered whether we were in the body or not.

Now, some one lead us in prayer," said the leader. "Now, let us sing," and there altogether we sang, he keeping time with his hymn-book. The hymn was "Christ Returneth"

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fulness of glory,
To receive from the world "His own"


O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth; Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen.
Hallelujah, Amen.

As the blessed words rolled out from the lips of those assembled there on that sacred hill, I remember how transported we all were with the bliss of that great truth, "Christ returneth!" The faces of those about me shone with joy, and there before us sat our beloved leader, the great factor of modern evangelism. He always seemed ready for Christ's coming, and I doubt if his joyful demeanor would have altered in the least, if at that moment the Heavens had opened. He was always ready because his consecration of himself to God was renewed with every breath, and attested by, each succeeding act in his life.

When the singing was at an end, Mr. Moody opened his Bible, and said: "I have come up to-night, dear friends, in a spirit of praise and thankfulness, to give you just a few nuggets from the margin of my Bible; you can take them down if you like, and if I go too fast for you just stop me." I stood just behind his chair, and beginning at Genesis he turned over the pages of his Bible, and quickly I wrote down what he had to say. The following is almost an exact report of that Roundtop meeting, and everything. recorded here I have, at one time or another, heard him say:

"Turn to Genesis and put this down," he said.


Human nature.
The carnal mind.
The spiritual mind.
Suffering and glory.

"Now, let us go on to Exodus the third chapter, maybe you would like this.

Objections raised by Moses for declining and avoiding God's call:

Lack of fitness. V. 11.
" words. V. 13.
" authority. Chap. 4: 1.
" powers of speech. 4: 10.
" special adaptation. 4: 13.
" success at first attempt. 5: 23.
" acceptance by Israelites. 6: 12.

"Have you ever noticed the seven feasts in Leviticus, twenty-third chapter? I have long had it in my Bible,

"Seven feasts:

  1. Sabbath - Rest.

  2. Passover - Death of Christ.

  3. First-fruits - Resurrection.

  4. Pentecost - Descent of the Holy Spirit.

  5. Trumpets - Ingathering of Israel.

  6. Atonement - Mourning for sin.

  7. Tabernacles - Christ's indwelling in the Christian.

"Sin is an awful thing, let every man make a note of this. Joshua 7: 21.

"Steps in Achan's sin:

I saw.

I coveted.

I took,

I hid.

Compare Eve, Gen. 3: 6; Ananias, Acts 5: I - 10.

"How mean was the sin of Achan! He saw the Babylonish garment. and all the soldier in him withered up and he became a sneaking thief.

"Here is a good thing on forgiven sin. Psalm 32.

"Seven steps to blessedness of forgiven sin:

Conviction. Vs. 3, 4.

Confession. V. 5.

Forgiveness. V. 5.

Prayer. V. 6.

Protection. V. 7.

Guidance. Vs. 8, 9.

Joy. Vs. 10, 11.

"Here are seven things God will do for the believer. I find them in the 91st Psalm:

'I will deliver him.' Vs. 14, I5

'I will set him on high.' V. 14.

'I will answer his call.' V. 115.

'I will be with him in trouble.' V. 15.

'I will honor him.' V. 15

'I will satisfy him.' V. 16.

'I will show him my salvation.' V. 16.

"Now let us find something in the New Testament. Look at Matt. 7.

"In this chapter we have:

Two gates - strait, and wide;

Two ways - broad, and narrow;

Two classes - many, and few

Two destinations - life, and destruction;

Two trees - good, and corrupt

Two fruits - good, and evil;

Two things done to trees - hewn down, and cast out

Two houses;

Two foundations - rock, and sand;

Two builders - wise, and foolish

Two storms;

Two results - the one house stood, the other fell.

"I found this somewhere; does anyone want it? "Christ was foretold to:

Adam - as a man. Gen: 3: 15.

Abraham - as to His nation. Gen. 22: 18.

Jacob - as to His tribe. Gen. 49: 10.

Isaiah - as to His family. Isa. 11: 1- 5.

Micah - as to His town. Micah 5: 2.

Daniel - as to His time. Dan. 9: 25.

Mary - as to His person. Luke I: 30.

By angels - as to His date. Luke 2: 11.

By a star - as to His birthplace. Matt. 2: 9.

"Here is an outline for a sermon. Let the ministers put it down. Luke 10: 42:

'One thing is needful' - the Gospel.

'One thing I know.' 'John 9: 25.

'One thing have I desired.' Ps. 27: 4.

'One thing I do.' Phil. 3:13,14.

'Not one thing hath failed.' Josh. 23:14.

'Be not ignorant of this one thing.' 2 Peter 3: 8.

'One thing thou lackest.' Mark 10: 21.

"Here is something about the Prodigal Son." Luke 15:

His condition 'in want. V. 14.

His conviction 'came to himself.' V. 17.

His confidence 'I will arise.' V. 18.

His confession 'I have sinned.' V. 18.

His contrition 'no more worthy.' V. 19.

His conversion 'He arose and came. V. 20.

"Turning-points in his life:

Sick of home. Vs. 12, 113.

Homesick. Vs. 17 - 19.

Home. Vs. 20 - 24.

Sequel. Vs. 25 - 32.

"Six cases of men 'afar off' from God:

The prodigal. Chap. 15: 13.

The rich man. Chap. 16: 23.

The ten lepers. Chap. 17: 12.

The publican. Chap. 18: 13.

The beggar. Chap. 18: 40.

Peter. Chap. 22: 54.

"God's Word gives us a picture such as we find in no other place, turn to John, sixth chapter.

"Seven classes of people:

  1. Curious. V. 2.

  2. Admiring. V. 14.

  3. Greedy. V. 26.

  4. Skeptical. V. 36.

  5. Murmurers. V. 41

  6. Scoffers. V. 52

  7. Backsliders. V. 66

"I have found much help in Hebrews. Note this:

Sin is met by Atonement. Chap. 1: 3.

Guilt is met by justification. 2: 9.

Defilement is met by sanctification. 2: 11.

Alienation is met by reconciliation. 2: 17.

Temptation is met by succor. 2: 18.

"Christ communicates eternity of existence to everything he touches: --

His throne is for ever and ever. Heb. 1: 8:

His salvation is eternal. 5: 9.

His priesthood is unchangeable. 7: 24.

His redemption is eternal. 9: 112.

His inheritance is eternal. 9: 15.

His kingdom cannot be moved. 12: 28.

His covenant is everlasting. 13: 20.

"The key word of Hebrews is 'better;' see how many times it occurs:

Better hope. Chap. 7: 19.

Better Testament. 7: 22.

Better covenant. 8: 6.

Better promises. 8: 6.

Better sacrifices. 9: 23.

Better substance. 10: 34.

Better resurrection. 11: 35.

Better country. 11: 16.

Better things. I 2: 24.

When it was too dark for him to see, the well-marked Bible was closed, and he offered such a prayer as I have rarely heard, thanking God that He had permitted us to come to Northfield, and asking Him that He might make it more of a blessing than ever before in all its history. This is but a specimen service of Round-top, and if the trees which stand there could speak, they would tell as thrilling a story of scenes witnessed there as has ever been pressed into human language, and now from this time on, pilgrims will journey to Northfield and to this the new heart of the old town, because in this grave lies the body of a man who yielded himself absolutely to God, who had only one supreme desire, and that was that he might glorify Him. The words of the poet certainly describe him in his life

The strong man's strength to toil for Christ,
The fervent preacher's skill,
I sometimes wish but better far
To be just what God will.
No service in itself is small,
None great, though earth it fill,
But that is small which seeks its own,
'That great which seeks God's will."

D. L. Moody was a mighty man, because, he sought, as nearly as any man I have ever seen, to do the will of God.

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