I remember very distinctly one time Mr. Moody was speaking at the Ohio Sunday-school Convention in Cleveland. He was saying that teachers should open up the Bible and make it attractive. Then he told the story of how, in '84, in London he was talking with a lawyer friend who had just come down from Edinburgh. He had been hearing Andrew Bonar preach up there, and was greatly taken with his way of preaching.
Mr. Moody told the story something like this:
"Bonar was preaching in Galatians, where it says that Paul went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and he said that he could imagine Peter saying to Paul, 'Would you like to take a walk?' and Paul said he would, so they went down through the streets of Jerusalem, over the brook Kidron, arm in arm, and Peter stopped and said, 'Look, Paul, this is the very spot where He wrestled and where He suffered, and sweat great drops of blood. There is the very spot where John and James fell asleep, right there. And right here is the very spot where I fell asleep. I don't think I should have denied Him if I hadn't gone to sleep, but I was overcome. I remember the last thing I heard Him say before I fell asleep was, "Father, let this cup pass from me if it is Thy will." And when I awoke an angel stood right there where you are standing, talking to Him, and I saw great drops of blood come from His pores and trickle down His cheeks. It wasn't long before Judas came to betray Him. And I heard Him say to Judas, so kindly, "Betrayest thou the Master with a kiss?" And then they bound Him and led Him away. And that night when He was on trial I denied Him.'
"He pictured the whole scene. And the next day Peter turned again to Paul and said, 'Wouldn't you like to take another walk today?' and Paul said he would. That day they went to Calvary. And when they got on the hill Peter said, 'Here, Paul, this is the very spot where He died for you and me. See that hole right there? That is where His cross stood. The believing thief hung there, and the unbelieving thief there on the other side. Mary Magdalene and Mary, His mother, stood there, and I stood away on the out-skirts of the crowd.
"'The night before, when I denied Him, He looked at me so lovingly that it broke my heart, and I couldn't bear to get near enough to see Him. That was the darkest hour of my life. I was in hopes that God would intercede and take Him from the cross. I kept listening, and I thought I would hear His voice.' And he pictured the whole scene, how they drove the spear into His side, and put the crown of thorns on His brow, and all that took place.
"And the next day Peter turned to Paul again and asked him if he wouldn't take another walk. And Paul said he would. Again they passed down the streets of Jerusalem, over the brook Kidron, over Mount Olivet, up to Bethphage, and over to the slope near Bethany. All at once Peter stopped and said: 'Here, Paul, this is the last place where I ever saw Him. I never heard Him speak so sweetly as He did that day.
"'It was right here He delivered His last message to us, and all at once I noticed that His feet didn't touch the ground. He arose and went up. All at once there came a cloud and received Him out of sight. I stood right here gazing up into the heavens, in hopes I might see Him again and hear Him speak. And two men dressed in white dropped down by our sides and stood there and said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."'"
Then Mr. Moody said, "My friends, I want to ask you this question: Do you believe that picture is overdrawn? Do you believe Peter had Paul as his guest and didn't take him to Gethsemane, didn't take him to Calvary and Mount Olivet? I myself spent eight days in Jerusalem, and every morning I wanted to steal down into the garden where my Lord sweat great drops of blood. Every day I climbed Mount Olivet and looked up into the blue sky where He went to His Father.
"I have no doubt Peter took Paul out on those three walks. If there had been a man that could have taken me to the very spot where the Master sweat those great drops of blood, do you think I would not have asked him to take me there? Now, you ministers, don't you believe the people want preaching like that? They do. They want to hear about the Lord."
I remember that I was sitting in that convention where I could easily see the faces of the people. It was a sight not to be forgotten. I remember that sea of eager upturned faces as distinctly as I remember Mr. Moody's talk. The people sat so still, as though in a spell, with eyes big and shining with something wet, and occasionally a slight twitching of emotion and a handkerchief called into service.
Mr. Moody talked in that natural way of his, so quiet and yet so intense in its quietness. That's what people want—Jesus brought to them, simply and naturally. And Moody knew it. It took years of hard self-discipline for him to be able to talk as he did. Such talking takes study and hard work. But it's all worth while if we can make Jesus plain to men in all His wondrous winsomeness.