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Perhaps the line most frequently attributed to Dwight L. Moody (and spoken by his character in the only film on Moody’s life) is the famous quotation: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

In fact, Moody did not originate the line. Henry Varley, a British revivalist who had befriended the young American in Dublin, recalled that in 1873 Moody asked him to recount words they had spoken in private conversation a year earlier, just before Moody’s return to the United States. Varley provides this account (as recorded in Paul Gericke’s Crucial Experiences in the Life of D.L. Moody):


During the afternoon of the day of conference Mr. Moody asked me to join him in the vestry of the Baptist Church. We were alone, and he recalled the night’s meeting at Willow Park and our converse the following morning.

“Do you remember your words?” he said.

I replied, “I well remember our interview, but I do not recall any special utterance.”

“Don’t you remember saying, ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him?’ ”

“Not the actual sentence,” I replied.

“Ah,” said Mr. Moody, “those were the words sent to my soul, through you, from the Living God. As I crossed the wide Atlantic, the boards of the deck of the vessel were engraved with them, and when I reached Chicago, the very paving stones seemed marked with ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.’ Under the power of those words I have come back to England, and I felt that I must not let more time pass until I let you know how God had used your words to my inmost soul.”

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