Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Favorite Hymns/Hymnists Part I

Fanny Crosby Most of the people reading this blog are probably familiar with Fanny Crosby, but in case you are not familiar with her and her works, here's a brief biography:

She was born in early Spring 1820 and when only six weeks old she developed an illness that caused inflammation and discharge in her eyes. Her family believed that the ignorance of an unqualified physician caused her to be blinded by applying a poultice to her eyes. However, many modern physicians believe that she was born blind and that her parents merely couldn't tell that she had no sight because of her young age.
When she was 15 years old she enrolled in the New York Institution for the Blind. Here she stayed as a pupil and teacher for many years. While there she befriended the future president Grover Cleveland, who transcribed some of her poems for her.
On March 5, 1858 she married Alexander Van Alstyne Jr, who, himself, was legally blind. (Side note we share our anniversary with them. How cool!)
Sadly, one year later she gave birth to a little girl who died in her sleep while still a young infant. Today, it is theorized that she died from SIDs. The hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" was inspired by the death of her infant daughter.
Also a sad spot in her life was her marriage, by 1880 she and her husband separated and lived apart for the remainder of his time on earth, more than two decades. There are various speculations as to the cause of the separation, but no one knows the truth.

Fanny wrote over 1,000 hymns during her life. The most well known of them was the song, "Blessed Assurance."
Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation,
Purchase of God,
Born of His spirit,
Washed in his blood.

Fanny's hymns have such amazing doctrinal truths in them and speak of the most wonderful aspects of our Savior!
Once asked how she would know Jesus when she entered heaven, she responded by penning the following hymn, "I Shall Know Him":
When my life's work has ended,
And I cross the swelling tide.
When that bright and glorious morning I shall see,
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And, His smile shall be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him,
I shall know Him,
As redeemed by His side I shall stand.
I shall know Him,
I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in his hand.

One of my all-time Favorite Hymns is "To God Be the Glory"
To God be the Glory,
Great things he hath done.
So loved He the world
That He gave us His Son.
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice.
Oh, come to the Father
Through Jesus the Son.
And give Him the glory
Great things He hath done.

This hymn is a comfort to me in various times of struggle and sadness. When I look at the trial-filled life that Fanny lived, to pen such words is very powerful to me. I try to call this song to memory in times of sadness, because, as hard as this life may be, I always have a reason to praise the Lord! I praise Him for the gift of His Son. For the life of perfection He lived on this earth. For His taking my place on Calvary and suffering for my sin. I praise Him, that I'll one day be in Eternity with my Savior whom I shall know, by the print of the nails in His hand!
Fanny died in 1915 and awoke to see her Savior's smile welcoming her home!
Praise the Lord for gifting some with talents such as these, that someone born 68 years following Fanny Crosby's death can be edified by her words!
Click here to see more hymns by Fanny Crosby!


  1. I don't think I mentioned this in the past, but I loved it when you posted Fanny Crosby's hymns on FB. "I Shall Know Him" is my favorite and it's been stuck in my head the last few days... which I love!!!

    Laura P

  2. I should start that again. I liked doing it!

  3. I have been researching Fanny Crosby for nearly six years now, and she actually wrote closer to 10,000 hymns plus patriotic songs and cantatas. Just an Interesting note!