Hymn History: Rescue the Perishing October 5, 2022

Rscue the Perishing

And of some have compassion, making a difference:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”Jude 22-23

Fanny Crosby was a prolific hymn writer who was mightily used by God to share His Word through song. By most estimates, she wrote around 8,000 hymns in her lifetime. We have shared more about this amazing life in other hymn histories. Her songs are a wonderful gift to the people of God. 

One of the distinguishing marks of Fanny Crosby was her zeal to reach others with the Gospel. She encouraged others to come to Christ at every opportunity granted her. As her fame spread, she still took time to share Christ with others.

One evening, she made one of her frequent trips to a New York mission. She recounts the amazing experience here. In it, we learn the heart-stirring story that God used to bring the mighty hymn “Rescue the Perishing.” 

 “As I was addressing a large company of working men one hot August evening, the thought kept forcing itself upon my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that very night or perhaps not at all. So I requested that, if there was any boy present, who had wandered away from mother’s teaching, he would come to the platform at the conclusion of the service. A young man of eighteen came forward and said,

“Did you mean me? I have promised my mother to meet her in heaven; but as I am now living that will be impossible.”  We prayed for him; he finally arose with a new light in his eyes; and exclaimed triumphantly, “Now, I can meet mother in heaven; for I have found her God.”

A few days before, Mr.Doane had sent me the subject “Rescue the Perishing,” and while I sat there that evening the line came to me, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying.”

I could think of nothing else that night. When I arrived at my home I went to work on it at once; and before I retired the entire hymn was ready for a melody. The next day my words were written and forwarded to Mr. Doane, who wrote the beautiful and touching music as it now stands.

In November [of] 1903, I went to Lynn, Massachusetts, to speak before the Young Men’s Christian Association. I told them the incident that led me to write “Rescue the Perishing,” as I have just related it.  After the meeting, a large number of men shook hands with me, and among them was a man, who seemed to be deeply moved.  You may imagine my surprise when he said, 

“Miss Crosby, I was the boy who told you more than thirty-five years ago that I had wandered from my mother’s God. The evening that you spoke at the mission I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since. If we never meet again on earth, we will meet up yonder.” 

This powerful hymn should not be merely something we sing – it ought to be our way of life. There is no telling what our Savior can do with your witness! You never know how God is working to bring others to Himself; allow him to use you today!

1. 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.

(Refrain)
Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.

2. Though they are slighting Him,
Still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe. (Refrain)

3. 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 were broken will vibrate once more. (Refrain)

4. Rescue the perishing,
Duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. (Refrain)

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