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>“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not;...
I will make darkness light before them.” Isaiah 42:16
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)
Born: March 24, 1820, Putnam County, New York.
Died: February 12, 1915, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Buried: Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded by an incompetent doctor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blindness, she said:
"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."
In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of American hymnals contain her work. Her secular works include:
The Blind Girl, 1844 Monterey and Other Poems, 1851 A Wreath of Columbia’s Flowers, 1858 Bells at Evening and Other Verses (New York: Biglow & Main, 1897)
On her 85th birthday, American president Grover Cleveland wrote to Fanny:
My dear friend:
It is more than fifty years ago that our acquaintance and friendship began; and ever since that time I have watched your continuous and interested labor in uplifting humanity, and pointing out the way to an appreciation of God’s goodness and mercy. Though your labors have, I know, brought you abundant rewards in your consciousness of good accomplished, those who have known of your works and sympathized with your noble purposes owe it to themselves that you are apprized of their remembrance of these things. I am, therefore, exceedingly gratified to learn that your eighty-fifth birthday is to be celebrated with a demonstration of this remembrance. As one proud to call you an old friend, I desire to be early in congratulating you on your long life of usefulness, and wishing you in the years yet to be added to you, the peace and comfort born of the love of God.
Yours very sincerely, Grover Cleveland
When Fanny died, her tombstone carried the words, "Aunt Fanny" and "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine." Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny’s passing in a poem read at her funeral:
Away to the country of sunshine and song, Our songbird has taken her flight, And she who has sung in the darkness so long Now sings in the beautiful light; The harp-strings here broken are sweetly restrung To ring in a chorus sublime; The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung Keep tune with eternity’s chime! What heart can conceive of the rapture she knows Awakened to glories so bright, Where radiant splendor unceasingly glows, Where cometh no shadows of night! Her 'life-work is ended,' and over the tide, 'Redeemed' in His presence to stand, She knows her Redeemer, for her crucified, 'By the print of the nails in His hand.’ 'Blessed Assurance’--the lamp in her soul That made earthly midnight as naught! A 'New Song’ of joy shall unceasingly roll To Him who her ransom had bought. To 'Rescue the Perishing,’ her greatest delight, What bliss, in the Homeland, to meet With those she has told of the Lord’s saving might, Together, to bow at His feet. Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while, You walk in the shadows no more; Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile; The Lamb is the Light of that Shore! Someday we will meet in the City above; Together, we’ll look on His face; Safe, 'Safe in the Arms’ of the Jesus we love; Together we’ll sing, 'Saved by Grace!’
Click here to find some of her hymns