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A Biographical Sketch.
(HE name most prominently associated with Mr.
Moody's in evangelistic work, is that of Ira David
He is the acknowledged Asaph, the sweet Singer, Set over the service of Song in the house of Israel.”
Ira D. Sankey was born in Edenburgh, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, August 28th, 1840.
His parents were highly esteemed in the community for their social qualities and noble traits of character. His father was a man of social and political prominence, and was often honoured with offices of political trust and responsibility. Young Ira was noted for his vivacious and sprightly spirit, and was a universal favourite with his young companions. His pleasant, winning ways and his playful humour, combined with a high sense of honour and manly self-reliance attracted others to him and enabled him to wield a strong influence over them.
His early years at school were not idled away, but spent in close and patient application to study. Inspired by a purpose to succeed he became an excellent student, and soon acquired the elements of a practical and useful education. He was converted, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, in early life. Here he found an excellent opportunity for the employment of his musical powers, as no Church is more devoted to Sacred Song and more appreciative of its beauty and power. He at once entered the Sunday School, and teachers and scholars alike, were charmed by the sweet strains of his captivating song.
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
He sang with so much naturalness, fervor and sweetness, that all hearts seemed to thrill with a new inspiration and felt that a brighter era had dawned upon the school. During our civil war, he was in the army for a brief period, and on many occasions, inspired the desponding and cheered the sorrowing and dying soldier, with the soft, sweet strains of some new song, or of some precious melody of other days. From 1862 to 1871, Mr. Sankey was connected with the internal revenue service, and was noted for his careful attention to his duties, and enjoyed the entire confidence of his superior officers and also of the people.
Mr. Sankey's first interview with Mr. Moody occurred at the International Convention of the Young Men's Christian Association, at Indianapolis, in June, 1870, Mr. Moody had heard the sweet singer's voice in the convention, and, impressed with its marvellous power, at once resolved to enlist it in his great work. After a formal introduction, Mr. Moody said to him: “I want you.” “What for?” said Mr. Sankey. “To help me in my work,” was the reply. “But I cannot leave my business," was the response. “ You must,” said Mr. Moody. “You must give up your business, and come with me. I have been looking for you these eight years."
Thus suddenly was this world-renowned Singer called to join the most efficient evangelist of modern times. The history of his work with Mr. Moody in Europe, in Brooklyn, in Philadelphia, in New York and Chicago, is too recent to need extended notice in this brief sketch. Suffice it to say, the almost universal conviction is that Mr. Sankey is as necessary to the great evangelistic work as Mr. Moody himself.
Both are divinely accredited heralds of the Cross-one heralding in simple, lucid language the Gospel of GREAT Joy, and the other enunciating the GLAD TIDINGS in sweet, triumphant strains of Christian Song.