Crosby Fanny

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face to face 12.2.1915


FANNY JANE CROSBY was descended from an intrepid family who emigrated to America’s New England in the 17th century.  She was born in 1820 in New York State, and when only six weeks old, having inflammation of the eyes, a doctor recommended hot poultices which destroyed her sight.  When speaking of this in later years Fanny said, ‘I have not for a moment felt a spark of resentment against him, for I have always believed the good Lord, in His infinite mercy, by this means consecrated me to the work that I am still permitted to do.  When I remember how I have been blessed, how can I repine?”


Her father died before she was a year old, and her mother, grandmother and a Christian lady in whose house they lived, were her first instructors.  Her longing for knowledge became a passion and when quite a child she learned by heart the four Gospels and a large part of the first four books of the Old Testament.  She did not long for restoration of sight but for mental enlightenment.


With others, Fanny was taken to Congress to demonstrate the good results attending systematic teaching of the blind, and she held her audience captive by the recitation of a poem she had written for the occasion.  From that time she was a friend of United States presidents, including Abraham Lincoln.


Frances Jane Crosby married Alexander Van Alstyne, also blind, at the age of 38, and it is by the name of Frances Jane Alstyne that she appears in our Baptist Hymnal.


Her writing of hymns is prolific:


All the way my Saviour leads me

Pass me not, O gentle Saviour

Some day the silver cord will break

To God be the Glory

Praise Him, Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer

Jesus, keep me near the cross



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