Posted by: rcottrill | March 24, 2010

Today in 1820 – Fanny Crosby Born

FGraphic Fanny Crosby Birthplacerances Jane Crosby was born in Putnam County, New York, and her birthplace is pictured here. She would live for 95 years, and have a wide and influential ministry for the Lord, in spite of her blindness. (She would be more likely to say “because of my blindness,” believing it had been the means of focusing her attention more on things eternal.) For some interesting information about Fanny’s death, see the second item under Today in 1894.

How can we do justice to the unparalleled output of this amazing hymn writer? It is simply impossible even to list her thousands of songs. The Cyber Hymnal currently lists 527 of them, but even that just scratches the surface.

There is the jubilant Praise Him, Praise Him (for a bit about the tune and its composer see Today in 1838):

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honour give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

And the heartfelt ‘Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer:

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly bend,
And we gather to Jesus, our Saviour and Friend;
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

Blessèd hour of prayer, blessèd hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when the Saviour draws near,
With a tender compassion His children to hear;
When He tells us we may cast at His feet every care,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

And Rescue the Perishing, which has been called the greatest missionary hymn written in America. Of the writing of it, Fanny says:

As I was addressing a large company of working men one hot August evening, the thought kept forcing itself upon my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that very night or perhaps not at all. So I requested that, if there was any boy present, who had wandered away from mother’s teaching, he would come to the platform at the conclusion of the service. A young man of eighteen came forward and said, “Did you mean me? I have promised my mother to meet her in heaven; but as I am now living that will be impossible.” We prayed for him; he finally arose with a new light in his eyes; and exclaimed triumphantly, “Now, I can meet mother in heaven; for I have found her God.”

A few days before, Mr. Doane had sent me the subject “Rescue the Perishing,” and while I sat there that evening the line came to me, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying.” I could think of nothing else that night. When I arrived it my home I went to work on it at once; and before I retired the entire hymn was ready for a melody. The next day my words were written and forwarded to Mr. Doane, who wrote the beautiful and touching music as it now stands.

That was in 1869. Fully 34 years later, the man who had come to the Saviour that night introduced himself to Fanny Crosby, and said he was still going on with the Lord.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
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.

Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.

This quartet version of Fanny Crosby’s hymn is a bit ragged with cut-offs in spots, and the song would have benefited from some variety (a unison verse, a solo, some variation of the harmony in a stanza, etc.), but I’m sure the song was sincerely sung, and the group has possibilities.

(2) Today in 1839 – Eden Latta Born
EGraphic Snow2den Reeder Latta was a boyhood friend of hymn writer William Ogden. He taught school for a time in Iowa, and wrote over 1,600 songs and hymns. Among the hymns he has given us is Whiter Than the Snow.

For some years in the 1940’s, my father directed the Dayspring Male Quartet, that had its own weekly radio program out of Station CHML, in Hamilton, Ontario. Then, in the 1950’s my father was asked to train a quartet to accompany Canadian evangelist Barry Moore on a time of ministry in Europe with Youth for Christ. They sang (and recorded) Mr. Latta’s gospel song Whiter Than the Snow.

Blessèd be the fountain of blood,
To a world of sinners revealed;
Blessèd be the dear Son of God;
Only by His stripes we are healed.
Though I’ve wandered far from His fold,
Bringing to my heart pain and woe,
Wash me in the blood of the Lamb,
And I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than the snow,
Whiter than the snow,
Wash me in the blood of the Lamb,
And I shall be whiter than snow.

Father, I have wandered from Thee,
Often has my heart gone astray;
Crimson do my sins seem to me—
Water cannot wash them away.
Jesus, to the fountain of Thine,
Leaning on Thy promise, I go;
Cleanse me by Thy washing divine,
And I shall be whiter than snow.


  1. Truly I was shocked to see such a site using the 1986 Horrobin/Leavers version of Fanny’s hymn Praise Him rather than her original score. Why remove such lines as 1)O ye saint that dwell on the mountain of Zion. Praise Him Praise Him ever in joyful song
    2)Crowned with thorns that cruelly pierced His brow. Once for us rejected despised and forsaken
    Prince of glory ever triumphant now.
    3)Death is vanquished tell it with joy ye faithful
    Where is now thy victory boasting grave?
    Jesus lives! No longer thy portals are cheerless
    Jesus lives the mighty and strong to save.
    I pray that you can see the version you use loses so much with the new words rather than the words Fanny wrote.

    • Sorry you were “shocked.” As far as Fanny Crosby’s “Praise Him, Praise Him” is concerned, we can’t blame Horrobin and Leavers from the common rendition. I have hymn books going back to Fanny’s time that have the same text as our hymn books today. I’m certainly ready to consider further evidence, but I believe the version I quoted, and the one found in the Cyber Hymnal are the author’s original work. Further, they constitute a strong gospel song, without the lines you substitute.

  2. Beloved in Christ,

    Receive many Christians greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. It is indeed good to be able to know you and to learn of the common faith that we do share which was once delivered into the saints. Once again, I thank God for directing us unto you and your church for closer relationship. Your teachings and beliefs are very sound and inspirational that we yearn to be laid and founded in. Grateful to God for calling you to the ministry and making you instrumental to its end.

    We are requesting for much of your prayers to many of our people that they may grow more and more in the sound teachings of your ministry and hence help us get more books and teachings materials.

    May God’s blessing be upon you as you labor in the ministry and as you seek to partner with us in Kenya . Looking forward for your response soon.

    Pastor odongo

    • Thank you for your kind words. I try to be a blessing day by day, with what I post on the Net. Wordwise Hymns is now visited by people from over 165 countries, and for that outreach I praise the Lord.

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns (Fanny Crosby born) The Cyber […]

    • Thank you so much for sharing.

      A couple of comments on your last sentence. O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus is certainly a powerfully passionate hymn, though I’m not sure I’d describe it as “cheerful.” But on further thought, it does depend somewhat on the tune that it is sung to. The traditional tune, Ebenezer, is in a minor key. No problem with cheerfulness there. But the hymn has sometimes been sung to Hyfrydol, a melody which might, indeed be described as triumphant and joyful. The tune Holy Manna is perhaps in the middle of the two, as far as mood is concerned. Three great tunes. Take your pick. 🙂

      The other thing, of course, is that a Christian’s graduation day ought to be something to cheer about! Yes, there is a loss experienced by family and friends that needs to be recognized. Comfort and encouragement are appropriate. And sometimes there are circumstances surrounding the death that are tragic and sad. But the Bible says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Rev. 14:13). The departed has gone to be with Christ in a “far better” place (Phil. 1:23). The Lord is glad to have them safely at home. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15). It would also seem an appropriate time to celebrate the life of the one who has died. In that we can rejoice.

      I hope that latter comments don’t come across as “preachy.” They weren’t intended that way. May the Lord comfort you in your loss, and give daily grace. God bless.

  5. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  6. […] Wordwise Hymns (Fanny’s birth and death) The Cyber […]

  7. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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