“Fanny Crosby, the blind hymnist, was asked to speak to a group of blue collar workers [in Cincinatti]. Near the end of her address, she had an overwhelming sense that ‘some mother’s boy’ before her ‘must be rescued that night or not at all.’ She mentioned this to the crowd, pleading, ‘If there is a dear boy here tonight who has perchance wandered away from his mother’s home and his mother’s teaching, would he please come to me at the close of the service?’ Afterward a young man of about eighteen approached her, ‘Did you mean me?’ he asked. ‘I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but the way I have been living, I don’t think that will be possible now.’ Fanny had the joy of leading him to Christ. Returning to her room that night, all she could think about was the theme ‘rescue the perishing,’ and when she retired that night she had written the complete hymn. …Many years later, Fanny was speaking at the YMCA in Lynn, Massachusetts, and she recounted the story behind ‘Rescue the Perishing.’ After the service, a man approached her, his voice quivering. ‘Miss Crosby,’ he said, ‘I was that boy who told you more than thirty-five years ago that I had wandered from my mother’s God. That evening you spoke, I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since. If we never meet again on earth, we will meet up yonder.’ He turned and left, unable to say another word. But Fanny later described it as one of the most gratifying experiences of her life. …This song served as a prelude to Fanny Crosby’s second career. About age sixty, she began working downtown rescue missions, spending several days a week in lower Manhattan, witnessing to the down-and-out. Despite her fame as a hymnwriter, she chose to live in near poverty in New York’s ghettos, for she felt a calling to minister to the needy. Just a few blocks from her little tenement apartment was the Bowery, a haunt for alcoholics and where every kind of vice flourished. There Fanny would go day after day to rescue the perishing.” Robert Morgan
“Down in the human heart,
crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore.
Touched by a loving heart,
wakened by kindness,
chords that are broken
will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing,
care for the dying.
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.”
“the Son of Man came
to seek and to save the lost.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you experienced the miracle that can result from the “touch” of a loving heart?
- If you’re not ministering to others, is there some good reason?
- Imagine moving to the Bowery in your sixties. Are you available to God like that?
Abba, some are so crushed by the tempter, they’re seem beyond being helped–the “perishing”, the “dying.” Use me to rescue them just the same.
For More: Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan
Thanks for reading/following my blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)