Author Topic: Fanny Crosby  (Read 11068 times)

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Fanny Crosby
« on: December 06, 2001, 07:44:00 AM »

(Fanny Crosby the hymnwriter of New York, whose sacred songs are sung in many languages, was a blind child of God who had more sight then a lot of us....Joan)

"Although blinded by an illness at the age of 6 weeks, she never became bitter. One time a preacher sympathetically remarked, "I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you." She replied quickly, "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?" "Why?" asked the surprised clergyman. "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!"

"In these early years, as may be expected, Fanny was read to a great deal from the Bible. Her unusual memory, which later became her pride, early showed itself. She literally absorbed Scripture. It is said that at ten she could recite correctly the first four books of both Testaments. Yet she was not always to be found in grandmother's arms and rocking chair hearing the Songs of Solomon. She romped about as did her playmates, climbing fences and trees, riding horses, and playing with pets. She attended school at times to listen to the readings and recitations and she learned to work with needles quire dexterously. She loved the out-of-doors-the wind, the sunshine, the thunder, the songs of birds, the flowers and brooks."

"One day at the Bible conference in Northfield, Massachusetts, Miss Crosby was asked by D.L. Moody to give a personal testimony. At first she hesitated, then quietly rose and said, 'There is one hymn I have written which has never been published. I call it my soul's poem. Sometimes when I am troubled, I repeat it to myself, for it brings comfort to my heart.' She then recited while many wept:

Someday the silver cord will break,
and I no more as now shall sing;
but oh, the joy when I shall wake
within the palace of the King!
And I shall see Him face to face,
and tell the story--saved by grace!

"And Fanny Crosby "set more hearts and voices to praising God than any other woman who ever lived"-she sang more songs of hope than any other human being."

"Known as an American hymn writer and poetess, Fanny Crosby wrote over 9,000 hymns during her life. Many stories have been told about her. She entered what was then known as the New York Institution for the Blind at the age of fifteen and afterward taught English and history (1847-58)."

"As a pupil and as a teacher, Fanny spent 35 years at the school. She was often asked to entertain visitors with her poems and she frequently met with presidents, generals and other dignitaries. She was asked to play at President Grant's Funeral. Her first book of poems was published in 1844 was called The Blind Girl and Other Poems."

"After leaving the school, she dedicated her life to serving the poorest and the neediest. Supporting herself by her writing, she quickly gained fame for her hymns. It is said that publishers had so much of her work, that they took to using them under pseudonyms. Her usual fee was a mere $2 which frequently went to her work with the poor. Her mission work is legendary, as is her devotion to serving others above herself."

"It was in 1864 that she wrote the first of her hymns to receive world-wide favor, "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior." In these lines she expressed, as she very many times expressed thereafter, her infinitely tender and beautiful conception of the personal relationship with Jesus, which is the vital essence of her song-theology:

"Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,
Hear my humble cry:
While on others Thou art smiling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at a throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief."

"Her memory was one of her greatest gifts. Her retention of Scripture, her remembrance of persons and events, and her ability to quote poetry, not only her own but that of others, gave her most enviable ease of delivery when addressing audience. When eighty-six years old she wrote: "If I were given a little time in which to do it, I could take down from the shelves of my memory hundreds if not thousands of hymns that I have written in the sixty years during which I have been praising my Redeemer through this medium of song."

She tells of her technique: "In successful songs, words and music must harmonize not only in number of syllables but in subject matter, and especially in accent. Thus melodies tell their own tale, and it is the purpose of the poet to interpret the musical story into language. If the melody says nothing to the poet, his words will never agree with the music."
And, too, she writes of the secrets of inspiration: "The most enduring hymns are born in the silences of the soul and nothing must be allowed to intrude while they are being framed into language. Some of the sweetest melodies of the heart never see the light of the printed page. Sometimes the song without words has a deeper meaning than the most elaborate combinations of words and music."

"It seemed obvious and real to her that inspiration was actually and divinely inspired, for she wrote: "That some of my hymns have been dictated by the blessed Holy Spirit, I have no doubt. That others have been the result of deep mediation, I know to be true. But that the poet has any right to claim special merit for himself is certainly presumptuous. I have sometimes felt that there is a deep and clear well of inspiration form which one may draw the sparkling draughts that are so essential to good poetry. At times the burden of inspiration is so heavy that the author himself cannot find words beautiful enough or thoughts deep enough for its expression."

"Fanny Crosby seems to have considered her blindness of advantage to her. "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."

(the above are selected bits and pieces from the pages at )

Hymns of Fanny Crosby may be heard at

Clive Nevell

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Re: Fanny Crosby
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2001, 10:11:00 AM »
Thanks for sharing this information here as she is one of my favourite hymn writers, her hymns have a real message and when sung they often are very powerful sermans.


Richard Myers

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Re: Fanny Crosby
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 10:08:04 PM »
Generally we do not see any mention of those of other faiths in our fellowship. We do not appreciate the church quoting from and inviting "teachers" from fallen churches to teach our people. Understanding this, I want to make an exception. Not that we would invite our friend to preach from our pulpits or to teach theology in our periodicals. But, we most certainly allow Fanny Crosby to teach. One of the most successful ways of committing Scripture to memory is to put it to music. Fanny Crosby did just that and today we, in my family not only sing her songs on Sabbath in church, but sing her songs almost daily since we sing during morning and evening family worship.

So many of her songs are among my favorite and I suppose that this will be your testimony also. It may surprise some of you to know just how many songs of hers are in our hymnal. It is a lot! And it also may surprise you to know how many songs she wrote.

With this in mind, I want to discuss the blessings she has given to the Christian church and also to say that we just watched a video on her life. I highly recommend it. It is a very moving testimony of the power of God's grace to bless humanity through weak and erring humans.

One of the interesting facts discovered in this video is that Fanny Crosby was blinded as a baby when a fake doctor applied a poultice to her eyes when she was suffering from an eye infection. The poultice blinded her. As I have many times pointed out, when we do our medical missionary work, we must be educated in what we do. God would have us relieve suffering and He will have a people who will do so in an educated manner. The use of plants to aid in God's healing is of God. But, applying a mustard poultice to one's eyes is not. It is what caused Fanny to lose her sight.

The video, The Fanny Crosby Story may be ordered from Vision Video. 610 584-3500. It is something that will be a blessing for your family and to share with your friends on a Sabbath afternoon when it rains!  :)

What are some of your favorite songs that Fanny Crosby wrote? Why do we like them so much?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Sister Dee

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Re: Fanny Crosby
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 08:46:35 AM »
"Blessed Assurance" has to be one of our very favorites, as I'm sure it is for many.  A couple of years ago my oldest daughter became interested in Fanny Crosby and this hymn has been very special to her.  It was sung at my father's funeral and I will never forget the look of joy on her tear-stained face when she recognized the words.   :)  No, I can't say if it was one of my father's favorites or not.  He didn't sing in church and never talked about such things.  My sister chose all the music for his funeral, and it was a blessing to us that this hymn was among them. 

I also noticed that Sister White quoted "Blessed Assurance" in "The Ministry of Healing".  Having lived during the same period, it would be interesting to know if she ever crossed paths with Fanny Crosby. 

One of the things I have done with my children is to memorize hymns with them.  That way we will always have them with us. Some of Fanny Crosby's were among the first we learned:  "Blessed Assurance" (of course!), "Tell Me the Story of Jesus", and "Praise Him! Praise Him!"  After this, I decided it might be good to branch out a bit!   :D  But, I do have in mind to soon learn "To God Be the Glory".  It is wonderful to see the little ones, who could not yet read or were just beginning to, be able to participate when these hymns are sung in church.  It helps them be a part of what's going on, as well as putting precious truths into their hearts.   :)

Why do we like these hymns so much?  I believe it is because Fanny Crosby's love for her Saviour shines through them.

Brother Richard, we have, and enjoy, that video as well. 

Richard Myers

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Re: Fanny Crosby
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 06:29:36 PM »
Yes, I believe that is why we enjoy her hymns. They point us to Jesus and His love. I have never seen anything in her hymns that leads away from the gospel.  She did not have the light on the Sabbath, but she wrote a beautiful Don't Forget the Sabbath!  :) Isaac Watts has the most hymns in our hymnal and Charles Wesley has 19, the same as Fanny Crosby. I looked through all of the hymns we have of these three authors and I know more of hers than the others. Nine of her songs we have are favorites of mine. Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour, He Hideth My Soul, Blessed Assurance, Near The Cross, Tell Me the Story of Jesus, Redeemed, To God be the Glory, Don't Forget the Sabbath, and All the Way. 

Being blind, her other senses were very developed. She memorized Scripture at a young age and she was very sensitive to nature. She could run without hitting a tree because she could tell where the tree was because of its shadow. Yes, I know. How can you tell where a shadow is if you are blind?  She could tell where the shadow was because there was no sun. If there was no sun, then the temperature changed. She could sense it very quickly. She never murmured about being blind. She was content in her situation multiplied the talents God had given her. May we be as faithful!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.