PASS ME NOT, O GENTLE SAVIOR                                           written in 1868

The Story

            William Doane was a businessman in Cincinnati, Ohio, who liked to write Gospel music. So, he searched out Fanny Crosby, who could write words to a song at the drop of a hat. Despite her blindness, she already had a reputation as a song-writer, and William wanted to see if they could work together on some songs. He was surprised when he found her living in a dilapidated tenement building in Manhattan’s lower east side.

A few days later, he returned and asked her to write lyrics for a song that would begin, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior”. He didn’t have a tune yet, and he didn’t have any more ideas for any further words.

Fanny Crosby usually came up with hymn lyrics very quickly, but this idea stumped her for several weeks. Then one day she went, as she did often, to speak at services in a prison close to her tenement. The room was full of angry criminals as she began to speak. Then she heard one of the prisoners cry out, “Good Lord!  Do not pass me by!” These men had been forgotten by society, but this man did not want to be forgotten by God.

With that in mind, Fanny went home, wrote this hymn, and sent it to William Doane to be put to music. It was the first hymn on which they collaborated. After this hymn, they worked together on many more hymns.

The Song

Read this hymn, and – today – use it to thank God for his constant presence.

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry;
while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry;
while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy find a sweet relief;
kneeling there in deep contrition, help my unbelief.  (Refrain)

Trusting only in Thy merit, would I seek Thy face;
heal my wounded, broken spirit, save me by Thy grace.  (Refrain)

Thou the spring of all my comfort, more than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee, Whom in Heav’n but Thee?  (Refrain)

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