The History of Song
Contributed by Terry Hunt
There always seems to be a story behind the great hymns of faith that resonate so deeply within us. Such is the case of “Blessed Assurance.”
One day Miss Fanny Crosby was in the home of her friend, Mrs. Phoebe Palmer Knapp. The Knapp home had a rare treasure - what was believed to be the largest pipe organ ever placed in a private dwelling. Mrs. Knapp called Fanny over to the organ to listen to a new melody she had just composed. After playing the tune a few times, she asked, “What do you think the tune says?”
”Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” answered Fanny, drawing from her phenomenal mental storage of scripture. She then continued: “Oh what a foretaste of glory divine, Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
Fannie knew all about blessed assurance…from six weeks of age until her death shortly before her 95th birthday…Fanny was blind. Sadly, the blindness was caused by medical error when a doctor applied a mustard poultice to her inflamed eyes from a cold inflection resulting in immediate blindness.
“My blindness gives me a tremendous appreciation for the 2nd and 3rd verses that have to do with sight: Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
Once a preacher sympathetically remarked, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.” Fanny quickly replied, “Do you know that if at birth I have been able to make one petition, it would’ve been that I should be born blind?” “Why?” asked the surprised minister. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
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