RESCUE THE PERISHING                                                            written in 1869

The Story

Fanny Crosby may be second only to the shepherd, David, when it came to writing hymns; she wrote about 8,500 hymns!

Though Fanny was blind, she loved to visit rescue missions in New York City. One hot summer night, she was talking to a group of men at a mission. Of that night, she said, “I made a pressing plea that, if there was a boy present who had wandered from his mother’s home and teaching, he should come to me at the end of the service. One young man, 18-years-old, came to me and said, ‘Did you mean me?’

After Fanny Crosby prayed with that young man, he rose from his knees and said enthusiastically, “Now I am ready to meet my mother in Heaven, for I have found God.”

A few days before that salvation encounter, William Doane had suggested to Fanny Crosby that she write a hymn based on the theme “Rescue the Perishing”, taken from Luke 14:23, where the master in one of Jesus’ parables tells his servant to go out into the highways and the byways and bring people in. That evening, Fanny could think of nothing else but that line: “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying”. After returning home from the mission that night, she wrote this hymn. The next day her words were written and forwarded to Doane, who wrote the beautiful and touching music as it now stands.

But, here’s the rest of the story…

In November, 1903 (34 years later), Fanny went to Lynn, Massachusetts, to speak before the Young Men’s Christian Association. She told them the incident that led her to write this hymn. After the meeting, a large number of men shook hands with her, and among them was a man who seemed to be deeply moved. He said, “Miss Crosby, I was the boy, who told you more than 30 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.” As he said this, he raised her hand to his lips; and walked away, never to be seen by her again.

He was just one of the millions who have been grateful for the ministry of Fanny Crosby.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – commit to becoming part of God’s rescue team!


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.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.


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)


Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,

feelings lie buried grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,

chords that were broken will vibrate once more.  (Refrain)


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 wand’rer a Savior has died.  (Refrain)


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