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Reading the Hymns: Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior

November 21st, 2010 | 3 min read

By Kevin White

Fanny Crosby was one of the great, and greatly prolific, hymnwriters of the 19th century. Considering how that century was a bit of a golden age of hymn writing, that’s saying something. Did I say prolific? She almost sets her own definition for the term, considering that wrote over 8,000 hymns.

Some of her songs were criticized as being too emotionalistic or sentimental. In that way, she shows the pitfalls of populist hymnody, then and now. But she is hard to beat when she hits her stride. Her writing is filled with scriptural insight, with simple language that rewards deeper reflection. At her best, she is populist hymnody at its best.

And did I mention that she was blind from childhood? She composed her hymns mentally, from memorized sources, often working on several simultaneously before dictating them. All 8,000+ of them.

Her most well-known contributions include “Blessed Assurance” and “To God be the Glory.” Here, I want to highlight “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior”:

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Kevin White