Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fanny Crosby

Francis Jane Crosby was born in New York in 1820.  She was 16 years old when she saw the fall of the Alamo and Texas' rise to independence.  Then, she saw that terrible period in American history known as the Civil War.  Then, she saw the rise of America as a world power.  And all of those wonderful inventions she saw---the automobile, the radio, the light bulb, the airplane.

But, oh...sadly, Francis Jane Crosby, better known to her adoring admirers as "Fanny", didn't really see any of that.  She was blinded by a quack physician when she was just a toddler.

In later years, she would often remark that she was glad God had chosen to make her blind, because it helped her develop that talent that defined her.  She began to show that talent at an early age, when, as a young schoolgirl, she wrote:

I loathe, abhor, it makes me sick,
To hear the word, arithmetic!

Fanny Crosby went on to become the most prolific of Christan hymn writers, penning over 8,000 Christian songs.  Her most famous, of course, is "Blessed Assurance".  Indeed, on her tombstone in Bridgeport, Connecticut are inscribed these words:

Blessed Assurance---Jesus is Mine!

Fanny Crosby died in 1915 at the age of 95.  During her lifetime, she became one of the most famous Americans.  She counted presidents of the U. S. and foreign leaders as her personal friends.

One of my favorite of her hymns is "Near the Cross".  I hope you like it.

Jesus keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvry's mountain.


In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever.
'Til my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me.
There, the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.


Near the cross, oh Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me.
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadows o'er me.


Near the cross I'll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
'TilI I reach that golden strand
Just beyond the river.

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