From Daytonian in Manhattan:
Three blocks to the north, on Ninth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street, the New York Asylum for the Blind had stood since 1831. In 1839 it had taken in a 19-year old student, Franny J. Crosby, who quickly was recognized for her talent in writing poetry and hymns. Fanny had been blinded by an incompetent physician at the age of six months. But never having remembered seeing, she was pragmatic about her condition, saying “she could climb a tree or ride a horse as well as anyone.”
By the time the Chelsea Methodist Episcopal Church was completed, Fanny was an instructor in the Asylum, teaching rhetoric, Greek, Roman, and American History. She had written her first poem at the age of eight.
Fanny J. Crosby joined the Chelsea Methodist Episcopal Church in 1850 and became its most celebrated member. By the time she died at the age of 95 on February 12, 1915 she had written over 8,000 hymns, including the popular “Blessed Assurance.”
From Vance Christie:
Now, in the autumn of 1850, revival meetings were held at the Methodist Broadway Tabernacle on Thirtieth Street. Fanny and some others from the NYIB attended the meetings each night. Twice when a public invitation was given at the close of the service, she went forward, seeking peace from her inner spiritual struggles, but found none.
Finally on November 20 it seemed to her “that the light must indeed come then or never.” That evening she went to the altar alone. As she prayed the congregation began to sing Isaac Watts’ grand old hymn, “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?” When they reached the great words of consecration contained in the last verse – “Here, Lord, I give myself away” – Fanny expressed that commitment as the desire of her heart, yielding her life to Christ. Immediately her “very soul was flooded with a celestial light,” and she sprang to her feet, literally shouting, “Hallelujah!”
Through faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, Fanny found the spiritual forgiveness, peace and life for which she had been searching. For the remainder of her life she was a devoted disciple and servant of Jesus. Eventually she was led into her primary ministry as a hymnwriter. She composed the lyrics for nearly 9,000 hymns, including a number that are still sung today. She also traveled widely, ministering fruitfully in churches, Bible conferences, rescue missions, YMCAs and various other settings.
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