This is another popular hymn, written by Fanny J. Crosby, and set to music by Silas Jones Vail, who was born at Southold, Long Island, N. Y., October 6, 1818. He was a hatter by trade, but wrote a large number of songs for Philip Phillips, who was the first to publish any of Vail's compositions, among which may be mentioned, ”Gates Ajar,” “Nothing But Leaves,” and ”Scatter Seeds of Kindness.” He died in Brooklyn, N. Y., May 20, 1883.
The late Silas J. Vail, having composed this tune, brought it to Fanny Crosby, and requested her to write words for it. As he was playing it for her on the piano, she said: ”That refrain says: ' Close to Thee; Close to Thee.'“ Mr. Vail agreed that that was true, and it was agreed that it should be a hymn entitled” Close to Thee."