Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby, whose work has been often presented here, was born on this day in 1820. Six weeks later a doctor's mistake blinded her for life, yet she pursued her education and a career writing gospel songs that were (and still are) sung around the world, becoming one of the most famous people of her day.

In addition to her song lyrics she was a popular public speaker, giving lectures and speaking a revival meetings. This skill was probably developed in earlier years when she lobbied states and even the Federal government on behalf of education for the blind. In 1843 she became the first woman to speak before the United States Senate.

Fanny herself believed that her most important work was helping in rescue missions around New York City where she lived most of her adult life. In 1880 she decided that this would now be her primary calling (though she also continued to write gospel songs for the rest of her life). She worked at the Water Street Mission and the Bowery Mission for many years, and nearly all the money she made for her songs went to these and similar causes.

Of the thousands of gospel songs she is reputed to have written, hundreds were still unpublished at the time of her death in 1915 (and many remain unpublished to this day). Today's song was set to music by composer Bentley D. Ackley in 1920.

God. who brought the folk of Israel,
With a strong and mighty hand,
Out of all their cruel bondage
Into Canaan’s promised land

God has said, and we believe it,
’Tis a promise made of old,
From the trusting and the loving
No good thing will God withhold.

God is faithful to that promise,
God is mindful of God's own;
On our journey unto glory
We shall never walk alone.

We shall have that kind protection,
Wondrous love as in the past;
Though our days be few or many,
God will guide us to the last.

Fanny Crosby, 20th cent.?; alt.
Tune: GOD'S PROMISE ( with refrain)
B. D. Ackley, 1920

Though Crosby had received a strong musical education, and sang and played the guitar, she did not generally write the tunes for her texts. Only two tunes are known to have been composed by her, and one of those is finally available to hear at the Cyber Hymnal site: The Blood-Washed Throng.

Three Years Ago: Fanny Crosby

Two Years Ago: Fanny Crosby

One Year Ago: Fanny Crosby

No comments: