D L Moody - Christian Heritage

The Peak Years and the Moody Revival: 1865 – 1900

In 1865 ECM moved its HQ from the High Street (first 375 High St., then 126 High St.) to 5 St. Andrews Square and in this period the number of missionaries either being salaried by ECM, or working in conjunction with it, grew to 33, which was the highest number on record. By 1875 there was a combined 130 missionary workforce across the city united by its common goal – the salvation of Edinburgh in a population of 200,000 (Annual Report: 1875: p.11). In 1870 we discover that “public interest in City Missions was never greater than it is now.” (Annual Report: 1870: p.10)

ECM produced its first advert in 1869, which read:

Special Services Rendered by City Missionaries:

  • Children sent to ordinary Day and Sabbath Schools, or according to circumstances, to Ragged Schools and Reformatories.
  • Situations found for young persons of both sexes
  • Bibles and other books and tracts circulated
  • Lending libraries established in the Mission districts
  • Popular lectures given on interesting and useful subjects
  • Classes for Mutual Improvement formed or encouraged
  • Penny savings banks, Mother’s Meetings, and Bands of Hope promoted
  • Drunkards reclaimed; Fallen Women sent to Reformatories
  • Large Lodging houses, Night Asylums, Hospitals and Police Cells are specially visited
  • District meetings held for Reading the Scriptures, simple exposition and prayer
  • The sick and dying visited, funerals attended, and assistance and advice given to
  • benevolent persons and societies in the distribution of cheap coals, meal and bread etc.

The year after that we read of ECM missionaries to the blind (250 blind people in Edinburgh), to the elderly men, to the Cabmen, Police Force, Fallen Women (women missionaries appointed to the prostitutes), and to the soldiers (Annual Report: 1870: p.10).

In 1873 Moody and Sankey from America hit Edinburgh like a whirlwind. Horatius Bonar, the hymn writer and former minister of St. Catherine’s Argyll, reckoned that almost every home in the city had been affected by this revival. The previous waves of blessing in the city had prepared people for this huge current that swept through the population, converting thousands to Christ. We hear about the deep impact from ECM:

By far the most important circumstance connected with the history of the City Mission for the past year, probably the most important during the whole period of its past existence, is the religious awakening by which the community has been, and still is, moved, chiefly through the influence of the work of Messrs. Moody and Sankey.

Annual Report: 1873: p.13

One ECM missionary said:

I have seen more of the Lord’s mighty doings during the past three months than I expected to see in this life…Nearly a hundred persons have met around our tea-table for converse and Bible instruction, nearly all of whom profess to have got pardon through faith in Jesus.

Ibid., p. 14 – 15

D.L. Moody, the American evangelist


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