Fanny Crosby

The last meeting with her grandmother weighed deeply on her mind. Fanny had not experienced the distinct emotional “conversion experience” so important to her ancestor. She began to doubt her faith. She doubted her life was totally consecrated to the service of God, as she felt it should be.

Fanny had a close friend named Theodore Camp who suggested she go with him to the revivals at the Broadway Tabernacle. At first, she hesitated. Then one night she had a vivid and disconcerting dream:
“It seemed that the sky had been cloudy for a number of days and finally, someone came to me and said that Mr. Camp desired to see me at once. Then I thought I entered the room and found him very ill.” The “dying” Camp asked if she would meet him in heaven after their deaths. “Yes, I will,” Fanny said, “God helping me.” This was the response she had given her dying grandmother. In the dream, just before he died, Camp admonished, “Remember, you promised a dying man!” Fanny recorded: Then the clouds seemed to roll from my spirit, and I awoke from the dream with a start. I could not forget those words, “Will you meet me in heaven?” and, although my friend was perfectly well, I began to con­sider whether I could really meet him, or any other acquaintance, in the Better Land, if called to do so.

Fanny was convinced that as things stood, she could not. She felt there was something terribly lacking in her spiritual life.

She began to attend the revivals with Camp every evening in the autumn of 1850. In those days, the service was highlighted by a long, emotional sermon, punctuated by cries of “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” There were inarticulate cries, convulsive sobbings, and ecstatic outbursts. It was not uncommon for the frenzied worshipers to leap from their seats and run about or fall on the floor.

When the preacher concluded the sermon—usually spiced with abundant references to hellfire and the consequences of failure to heed the gospel message—those interested … were invited to come forward and be prayed over. People would go to the front of the tabernacle and kneel on the cold, dirty floor for as long as two hours while deacons and elders placed their palms on the candidates’ foreheads, pray­ing aloud for conversion.

Twice that fall, Fanny went to the altar. Twice she got down on her knees and the frenzied elders all but crushed her skull, laying hands upon her head and roaring prayers for her conversion. Twice the hours went by without her “getting happy.”

Finally, on November 20, Fanny, now torn with frustration and anxiety, was led for a third time to the altar. This time she was frantic. “It seemed to me that the light must come then or never.” No other candidates presented themselves that night. For hours, the deacons and elders prayed, but nothing happened.

The congregation began to sing Isaac Watts’s consecration hymn, “Alas and Did My Saviour Bleed.” At the fifth and last verse—”Here, Lord, I give myself away. Tis all that I can do.”—it happened. Suddenly, Fanny felt “my very soul was flooded with celestial light.” She leaped to her feet, shouting, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” In her ecstasy, “for the first time I realized that I had been trying to hold the world in one hand, and the Lord in the other.”

From: “Fanny Crosby the Hymn Writer” by Benard Ruffin

12 Responses to “Fanny Crosby”

  1. straight through August 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Wow! That’s an interesting slant.

  2. Anonymous March 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Hmm…they used Fanny Crosby and her story in the Baptist-based (I have nothing against Baptists) Christian School Curriculum, Accelerated Christian Education. They seem to have left a few parts out…Oh well, I’m a Christian and none of the subject matter in her story at the Revival is astonishing or surprising to me.

  3. josh June 6, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    When one is soundly saved according to John 3:3 and John 3:16, one is saved
    forever.

  4. Rosita August 15, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    I enjoyed “Here Lord I give myself away, Tis all that I can do!” This prayer from deep within her may have caused her to shout Hallelujah! All the ones who give to the Lord in such a way will receive the greatest gift of all, Christ! And be released from self.

  5. Daniel June 21, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    Hmmm…I’ve also felt doubt about my salvation because I never was filled with God’s love and presence as these stories show at conversion.
    But I have confessed jesus’ name and “believed”. It says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
    But I still feel so empty.

    • George December 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

      It also says that “if one is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away behold everything is new” (2 Corinthians 5:17), can you say this is true of your life? 1 John 4:17, also tells us that we have boldness in the prospect of the day of judgement. We mustn’t assume on God, there is assurance in God’s salvation, and if we lack such then, we can only but go back to Him and cry out to Him until he gives us the assurance, until He saves us or until we die.

  6. ??? October 11, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    All that happened, and she was blind? :O

    • Sarah January 24, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      Isn’t God amazing?

  7. Elizabeth January 18, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    I have also faced doubts many times. I see so many other Christians who have heard the call of God in their life. They know what God’s plan for their life is, while I still struggle with the fact that maybe I didn’t get saved. Maybe I don’t know God’s plan for my life because I’m not saved.

  8. Elizabeth January 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    Then I think about the night I prayed and asked him to come into my heart. I then have a struggle inside my mind. I know I prayed and asked him to come into my heart, but why do I not sense His voice telling me what I should do in my life?

  9. Sarah January 24, 2017 at 11:01 am #

    I have studied Fanny Crosby a lot, and I never cease to be amazed by how God used her, even in her salvation.

  10. David March 31, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    Mean business with God and He will mean business with you! That is what the preacher said to me. I had said the sinners prayer at least 5 times or so, and still felt that I was without life. I understood well that Jesus died for my sin, but bood theology does not make life! That night I said before God, “I quit” No more faking…if I have no life from you, I am quitting all this. Show me that you are real or I am walking away! It was then I was truly born again from above. And how do I know? Because within the next week Jesus through His Spirit reminded me over and over that He was with me…and it wasn’t about me.

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