Her voice then seemed to fail her, and she said: ' Mother, lift me up.' I put my arms under her and lifted my poor girl up, and then she raised her eyes to heaven and said: ' Jesus, I am coming; Jesus, I am coming.' The doctor, who was standing by her side, said:' How can you sing when you are so weak? ' She replied: ' Jesus helps me to sing; Jesus helps me to sing.' And with those words upon her lips, she died in my arms." The mother said that she took the little hymn-book and laid it upon the girl's breast; it was buried with her.
Once when laboring in London I went to Basel, Switzerland, for a few days' rest. The evening I got there I heard under my window the most beautiful volume of song. I looked out and saw about fifty people, who were singing "Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on his gentle breast" in their own language, but I recognized the tune. I spoke to them through an interpreter. The next evening I held a song service in an old French church in that city. The church was packed with people, and many stood outside on the street.
Dr. John Hall, of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, in New York, said of this hymn, in a great Sunday-school convention in Brooklyn, that it gave more peace and satisfaction to mothers who had lost their children than any other hymn he had ever known. It has become very famous throughout the world, and was one of the first American hymns to be translated into foreign languages.
Fanny Crosby is one of the most celebrated of hymn-writers, and has written more than five thousand hymns, many of which have become very widely known. She was born in 1820, and lost her eyesight when six months old, through the ignorant application of a hot poultice to her eyes. In 1835 she entered the New York Institution for the Blind, where she was graduated in 1842. She was a teacher at this institution from 1847 to 1858, when she was married to Mr. Alexander Van Alstyne, who also was blind. Mrs. Van Alstyne has written her hymns under her maiden name.
The Rev. Dr. George Duffield, just before his death, said of her work: ”I rather think her talent will stand beside that of Watts and Wesley, especially if we take into consideration the number of hymns she has written. ”At her present age of eighty-five she is still active, and she is always happy.