Monday, October 18, 2010

Rescue the Perishing

Fanny J. Crosby is probably one of the most prolific hymn writers of all times. She wrote over 8,000 hymns during her life time. Of course most of you know that she was blinded as an infant and never regained her sight. Almost all American hymnals contain numerous songs that she penned.

Crosby did not spend her life in bitterness and defeat, but instead dedicated her life to Jesus Christ. At the age of eight she wrote these verses about her condition:

Oh what a happy soul I am,
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don't;
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't."

She also wrote these sentiments:

It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”

She also once said, "When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior"

One song she wrote in particular deals with one of the most tragic words in the English language; perishing. This is word so vividly describes death or destruction. Jesus and the bible use this word to describe people who are spiritually alienated from God.

She described the writing of this hymn in this manner:

“I remember writing that hymn in the year 1869. Like many of my hymns, it was written following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission. I usually tried to get to the mission at least one night a week to talk to ‘my boys.’ I was addressing a large company of working men one hot summer evening when the thought kept forcing itself on my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or he might be eternally lost. So I made a pressing plea that if there was a boy present who had wandered form his mother’s home and teaching, he should come to me at the end of the service. A young man of 18 came forward –

‘Did you mean me, Miss Crosby? I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but as I am now living, that will be impossible.’

We prayed for him and suddenly he arose with a new light in his eyes – ‘Now I am ready to meet my mother in heaven, for I have found God.’

A few days before this event, William Doane, who was a composer of music and who had composed music for a number of Crosby hymns had sent her a tune. This tune became the music for a song entitled “Rescue the Perishing.” This song is based on Luke 14:23, “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in that my house may be filled.” (ESV)

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grace;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen; tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Every human being has been created in the image of God and this alone gives human life intrinsic value and dignity. So, regardless of race, color, sex, or social standing, each human being is worthy of being rescued from eternal damnation. Our duty is to share the gospel with every creature, and to pray for those who are lost. The increase is left to our loving and sovereign God, to whom all glory, honor, and power belongs.


Ma ~ said...

What a lovely woman!

Arlee Bird said...

Over 8000 hymns! That is an incredible achievement. Fanny J. Crosby sets such a great example for any of us who think we have something that holds us back from accomplishing things in life.

Tossing It Out

Gregg said...

Ma - She is isn't she? Thanks for stopping by!

Arlee Bird - 8,000 hymns! Sadly, she had to use over 100 different pen names because hymn publishing companies would only use so many of her hymns.

Cathy M. said...

Love that song. Somewhere in that song, she says, "rescue the perishing, duty demands it."


Someone once said:

"The trials of life can either make you bitter or make you better. They can either strengthen your faith or destroy it. The difference is whether you focused on the Christ or on the crisis."

Fanny Crosby was one of God's great examples of a Christian that focused on Christ and not her lot in life.

Kansas Bob said...

Loved the post Gregg! Have sung many of her hymns for so long but did not know her story. Thanks for sharing it.

AL said...

That is an awesome song! Thanks for the info on the songwriter.
This is one of the songs that plays on my blog, along with a YouTube video, performed by Billy and Cindy Foote.
"As we're playing our songs, while we're singing them well,
Have we forgotten the lost, the reality of Hell,
If we say we love God, wanna see His will done,
Will we offer our lives, or just the songs we have sung...."