In Memorium: John Catton Moody 1833-1911

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CATTON MOODY

(1833-1911).

AN APPRECIATION

REV. A. H. MONCUR SIME.

MILTON INDEPENDENT CHURCH, OCTOBER 15TH, 1911.

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JOHN CATTON MOODY.

‘Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.’’ —Phil. 1., 20.

Among the severest trials that beset the path of a pilgrim whose feet are on _the sunset-slope, and moving quite too swiftly towards the evening of life, is the necessity of heeding the call, with increasing frequency, to part company with old and much endeared fellow-travellers.

The unseen and insatiate archer appears to be taking his fatal aim among us very fre- quently, and each year sees the precious remnant becoming less. Only a Sunday ago, strange to say, our dear departed one was

speaking of the many friends of Milton Church who had passed away. He named a number of them. Now he himself has joined that company who live in our memory and in our affection

‘lo be busy burying one’s near and dear is to feel the full meaning of the words:

“The air is full of farewells to the dying And mournings for the dead.’’

Sorrow is such a sacred sentiment! I often feel that any intimate speech concern- ing a lost one 1s somewhat out of place. And

then it seems as if the heart of friendship

must express itself. We must spéak to one another out of our knowledge of the value and richness of the finished life which is in our possession. Friendship must say

something, love must express itself, we must

make some record of our sense of the value of Moody’s life and work,

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Mr.: Moody was a man greatly beloved by all and sundry, and a great number mourn that such a useful life has been taken out of our midst. Here, at Milton Church, we have cause to miss him, because we had such a strong reason to honour and to love him. I do not believe our reason for respecting him was largely due to what he did for this church, though that was much, or for what

he possessed of worldly goods ; we respected ©

him, I am certain, simply for what he was, his simple, unaffected, unassuming self. He

was entirely one with us all—not ‘above

nor apart from us. He could have said, as doubtless he often felt :

“ Being all fashioned of the same ‘dust, Let us be merciful as well as just.

He had a very gracious, winning per-

sonality, and he made everybody feel that he had in Mr. Moody a friend who understood. Those of us who were privileged to: be on in- timate terms of friendship with him _ best know what a genius he had for winning the interest of men. No sooner was he intro- duced to one than he found something in common with him. The charm of his con- versation, rendered interesting and engaging as 1t was by his wide knowledge, quick wit, and unfailing good humour, made _ people covet a place by his side as often and as long as they could get it.

I do not believe we half appreciate the

goodness of God in sending men into this world with a keen sense of all the fun there is in life, and the power to make other people

feel it. Mr. Moody brought this treasure to

us. He brightened the world around him, and enlivened all who sojourned in his com-- pany by his nimble wit and his kindly good humour. Many a life is brighter and happier

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through the gaiety of spirit which he im- ported into it. It was made clear by the numbers who gathered to his funeral service, and by the sorrowing company assembled round his grave, how large a place our de- parted comrade had in the hearts of the people of this community. And I know very well that not only in Huddersfield, but in other towns where he temporarily resided, will his memory be cherished. The sorrow into which we have been baptised has touched

people of all denominations, and people of no denomination.

It ever there was a staunch, out-and-out — Congregationalist Mr. Moody was one, but he never lost sight of the fact that he and all those who differed from him were all mem- bers of one family of God. There was a grand catholicity about him which one could wish most fervently were more widespread. He was always ready to do good to anyone, of whatever creed or church. The names of Congregationalist, Baptist, Methodist were all lost sight of in that Name which is above every name. He was ours, he was another’s, he was all men’s for the sake of the Master.

It was just because he always placed Chris- tian love above all doctrinal differences that he made such a determined stand with John Lurner Stannard, the first minister of this — church, and others, a generation ago. For, though Mr. Moody was a very genial man in _ whose presence one felt no restraint, though essentially a meek and humble man, yet where any of principle was con- I cerned, as in the circumstances which led to the founding and building of Milton Church, he was fearlessly honest and brave. What he honestly thought he spoke, aye, and in so _far as he could put into practical account, though 1t cost him much. His religion was _ to do good, his creed was the Golden Rule.

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His walk conversation ‘became a

genuinely Christian believer and worker.. His

whole character was bright with, love and light and helpfulness. He showed his faith in God by his service for God’s creatures. He ever sought, I am sure, to “ Magnity

Christ in and by hie life.”’

His was a life of unceasing effort. As one —

of the founders of this church, as one of those who took a large share in providing us with the beautiful and stately buildings where we worship and carry on our activities, as a

deacon during the whole history of TAS:

church, as a member of our Management

Committee, as a teacher in our Sunday

school and the leader of one of its most. in-

fluential classes, in all these various offices —

which Mr. Moody not only occupied but filled, he has wrought a great and beneficent

work. And while we deeply mourn his loss, our hearts are at the same time filled with a

sincere gratitude to God for having raised up in our midst a man so good, so faithful, and so true.

Mr. Moody was a man of indomitable faith and tireless activity and singleness of purpose, and from the first he held a com- manding place in the councils of this church,

where his. voice has been influential in shap- ing our policy, and in inspiring to action.

He loved Milton Church—with his whole

heart and soul did he love it—and without a doubt his influence and counsel must have brought help to many. The keen and wide

knowledge of men and things which: Mr.

Moody possessed _ made him a pronounced —

optimist in his character and philosophy.

He never felt that the world was on the

“down grade.” He was a firm believer in evolution in all directions. He knew the world was progressing, that character was improving, that life was becoming more

ma ap neon.

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beautiful and better worth the living. His faith in the best in human nature never seemed to.falter. He seemed, too, to carry within himself the spring of abiding youth, © and one could not be in his company much without having some such feeling as was ex- pressed by the man to a well-known author : “Live as long as you will, you are sure to die young.” While thus optimistic he never forgot that all “ progress” and “ perfecting” . was being effected by mere human instru- ments, with all the imperfections and hindrances incident thereto.

departed one was above and beyond all else a minister of good news, an apostle- voice of good cheer. Surely no one could say that Mr. Moody had ever darkened one heart, or deepened one sorrow, or brought one touch of pain by the gospel he proclaimed as the law of his life.

We read in the gospel story of the woman who having a cruse of spikenard, very costly, poured the precious ointment upon the head of the Master, and when some were in- dignant because of the waste, and suggested that it might have been sold and the pro- ceeds given to the poor, Jesus said, “ Let her alone. She hath wrought a good work on Me. She hath done what she could. She hath anointed my body aforetime for the burial.” It is not unfitting to find a sug- gestion of the fine spirit of the anointing of Christ’s head in the unique testimonial of the past and present scholars of Mr. Moody’s class-on the occasion of the attainment of I his sixtieth year of Sunday school work in October a year ago. All unconsciously, those friends in bestowing upon him that tribute of affection and appreciation were anointing him with kindness for the burying. To those of us who were privileged to be present on — that memorable occasion, and to listen to the

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response of the honoured host to the words - of grateful thanks that had been showered upon him, there was no suggestion of weak- ness, and, therefore, though he had reached and passed the allotted three score years and ten, we had no thought, somehow, that in one short year he would be called from out our. sight and from out our ken. Only a day or two before the final and fatal seizure he jocularly remarked that he saw no reason why he should not live till he was a hundred years of age. He was well in body and in mind up to the last, enjoying life quite as much as any young man, and a great deal more than many. His spirit was still young though his body had served him for nearly four score years. He had so much to do on earth that he had no good reason for desiring to leave it. Truly of one whose spirit remained young and vigorous like his we may say:

“As ‘tis with years, so ’tis with you, There is no old, there is no new.”’

In living his earthly life our friend found it good all the way through. Age came to him as to others, but brought no bitterness and — no repining. The lower he drained the cup of life, the sweeter it grew.

And now that his life has been lived, it has by no means passed away. Mr. Moody lives, and will continue to live, in the splendid and disinterested work he has done I during a long and busy and most honourable career. ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death.”

It is clear enough that the dead do not really die when they vanish out of our sight. Much of their real and truest self still re- with us, and will always remain. Our friend’s material form has been taken out of

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- our sight; the mortal body is laid away.

The cheery, kindly voice to which we were always glad to listen is for ever dumb. His greetings, his encouragement, his tones of tender. sympathy, all are stifled in the silence of the grave. But, by the example he has left behind, by all the influences from his life which survive, Mr. Moody speaks, and will continue to speak to us. He lives among us by all he was and by all he did. The good work he built shall stand, though the workman is removed; and his influence will I continue to affect the conduct, sentiment, and character of Milton Church for many a day to come. His example will be a constant

rebuke to all that 1s small and cold and sel-

fish and mean in us, and an appeal to all that is good in us, to assert itself. Someone

has said, “ No pencil has truth and force like

that of death.” Nothing will reveal us like death to those we leave behind.

_, We mourn our church’s heavy loss, and

with a most genuine feeling of sympathy do we mourn with the sorrowing wife and stricken children in their great bereavement.

We pray that the Father Almighty may com-

fort her and them, and in due season “ wipe all tears from their faces.” Amid our grief and tears we thank God for that fair wreath of many flowers, whose fragrance will linger

long, which memory lays upon the tomb of the beloved.

“Hast as the rolling seasons bring

The hour of fate to those we love, Kach pearl that leaves the broken string Is set in Friendship’s crown above. As narrower grows the earthly chain, The circle widens in the sky ; These are our treasures that remain, But those are stars that beam on high.” I


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