Mr. Doane came into a room in New York, once, where Fanny Crosby was talking with Mr. Bradbury, the father of Sunday-school music, and said to her: ”Fanny, I have written a tune and I want you to write words for it."
“Let me hear how the tune goes, ”she replied. After Mr. Doane had played it over for her on a small organ, she at once exclaimed: ”Why, that tune says, ' Safe in the arms of Jesus,' and I will see what I can do about it."
She at once retired to an adjoining room, where she spent half an hour alone. On returning she quoted to Mr. Doane the words of this now immortal hymn. It was first published in the book entitled ”Songs of Devotion."
A party of steerage passengers were gathered one foggy day below decks on an Allan liner near the entrance of the Belle Isle Straits. They were cold and cheerless and weary of the voyage, though only two days out, and a lady had come down to talk and sing to them. The subject was ”Stepping over the line,” and the song was” Safe in the arms of Jesus.” She told the story of a young sailor, who was summoned to his mother's death-bed. ”Willie,” said the mother, looking up at him with tearful eyes,” sing to me once more ' Safe in the arms of Jesus. '““Mother,” he replied,” I can't sing that song. It would be a lie; I am not safe, and I can't sing a lie.” The speaker said that she thanked God that the young sailor afterward stepped over the line and was safe. After the story was told and a hymn sung, a man suddenly left his place among the listeners. The lady was troubled. Had she offended him or was his conscience stricken? She watched for him day after day, but a storm succeeded the fog, and it was not until the last day of the voyage that she saw him again. Then, while the vessel was moored in Moville Harbor, and all was bustle on deck, the tall Scotchman sought her, saying:
“Oh, I am so glad that I have found you again! I could not leave without thanking you for those words you sang, ' Safe in the arms of Jesus.' I felt that I could not sing that hymn, as I was not safe. I have been to church all my life, and have taken the sacrament; but I was not safe, and I could not sing it. Then came the storm and I was miserable, for I thought we might go to the bottom and I should be lost."
Two little girls were playing in a corner of the nursery with their dolls, and singing as they played, '' Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on his gentle breast." Their mother was writing, only stopping now and then to listen to the little ones' talk, unobserved by them.
"Because I am holding Jesus with both my hands —tight !" was the reply.
The sister looked much troubled for a few moments, dropped her doll and thought deeply. Suddenly her face shone with joy, and she cried out, "Oh! I forgot! I forgot! Jesus is holding me with his two hands, and Satan can't cut his hands off; so I am safe!"
A party of friends, traveling in the Alps, commenced to sing the first verse of this hymn, when, much to their surprise, they heard the second verse taken up on another mountain peak, as a response; and though the two parties of tourists could not see each other, they sang the alternate verses and passed on their way.
A gentleman of London writes me as follows: "My dear little girl Mary, aged six, greatly loved the hymn,' Safe in the arms of Jesus,' and, having learned the tune, was continually singing it. One day, having a longing, wistful look in her eyes after singing it, I said to her:' What are you thinking of, darling?' She answered: ' I do want to go and be with Jesus." I asked her what I should do without her, she being my only little girl. She sighed and said: ' Very well, then I won't go just yet, though I should like to. 'A few weeks after this she was seized with scarlet fever of a very malignant type. She was buried in six days. The morning she was taken ill she said to her little brother, who was ill in the same room: ' Look here, Willie, I can find my own hymn myself now, "Safe in the arms of Jesus."' She showed it to Willie, who asked if they should sing it. 'No,' she said, ' I can't sing with my head this way.' She then became delirious and never spoke rationally again. She soon took her flight to the arms of Jesus, where she had so longed to be."
At the close of one of our meetings in the Circus in Glasgow a woman came to me when I was seated with an inquirer. After waiting until I was at liberty, she said: "Mr. Sankey, I want to tell you something about my daughter Maggie. She was converted when you were here eight years ago, but has now gone home to heaven, and I want to tell you what she said when she was dying. She asked me to get her little hymnbook, and when I brought it she asked me to turn to No. 25, saying, ' I want to sing it.' 'Why, my child,' said I, ' you are not able to sing.' 'Yes,' she said, ' I want to sing one more s6ng before I go; will you please turn to the twenty-fifth hymn, "Safe in the arms of Jesus." I found it for her and she began to sing at these lines,