Previously published in Pulpit Helps, August 2007
"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him" (Ps. 126:5-6).
Fanny Crosby was deeply interested in Gospel work among poor men who were down and out. One evening in New York, she addressed a large company of men in the slum area. Her heart was moved at the close of her address as she heard a youth, eighteen years of age, come forward and say, "I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but the way I am now living, that will be impossible."
After prayer was offered for him, he arose with a new light in his eyes. He exclaimed that since he had now found God, he would be meeting his mother in heaven. As the service continued, her poetic mind began to work, and before she retired at home that evening she had completed the verses to a "battle cry" for the great army of Christian soldiers. Think of the lost as you sing:
To this writer, the third verse of this song is the greatest bit of poetry ever written:
"Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save."
The Moody and Sankey meetings helped to popularize many of Fanny Crosby's 8,000 hymns and Gospel songs in this country and in England. Her motto was, "I think that life is not too long, and therefore, I determine that many people read a song who would not read a sermon."
"Down in the human heart, crushed by the Tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore,
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more."
© Lindsay Terry. Used by permission.
Lindsay Terry has been a song historian for more than 40 years, and has written widely on the background of great hymns and worship songs including the books I Could Sing of Your Love Forever (2008) and The Sacrifice of Praise (2002).