From Christian History

I thought of you when I read this quote from “The One Year Christian History (One Year Books)” by E. Michael Rusten, Sharon O. Rusten –

“March 8 BLESSED ASSURANCE It took only a few minutes to write, but its blessings will last forever. ALMOST from the day she was born, March 8, 1839, in New York City, Phoebe Palmer showed a keen interest in music. Growing up in the church as the daughter of the Methodist evangelist Walter C. Palmer, she loved its music. At sixteen she married a prominent Sunday school worker named Joseph Fairchild Knapp, who achieved wealth and fame as the founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Mrs. Knapp made a name for herself in her day as a composer of both music and verse. One day when Mrs. Knapp had composed a new melody about which she was particularly excited, she wondered what her good friend Fanny Crosby, the prolific blind hymn writer,[80] would think of it. She immediately went to Fanny’s house in Brooklyn, and after playing the tune once on the piano, Mrs. Knapp turned around to find Fanny kneeling in prayer. Thinking perhaps Fanny hadn’t paid attention, she played it again. Fanny later wrote of that afternoon: “My friend, Mrs. Knapp, composed a melody, and played it over to me two or three times on the piano. She then asked me what it said, and I immediately replied ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!’” Within just a few minutes Fanny Crosby had written three verses and a chorus for Mrs. Knapp’s new melody. Their joint effort, “Blessed Assurance,” was first published in 1873. The music and verses that we sing today remain the same as the day they were created in Fanny Crosby’s living room that afternoon: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Perfect submission—all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long. Mrs. Knapp published more than five hundred hymns during her lifetime, but of her many hymns only “Blessed Assurance” and “Open the Gates of the Temple” are commonly sung today. Both compositions are set to texts that Fanny Crosby wrote. Of the nearly nine thousand hymns Fanny Crosby wrote in her lifetime, “Blessed Assurance” is one of her most beloved as well. The first verse of the hymn was chosen for the inscription on her headstone at her death in 1915. Reflection Phoebe Knapp and Fanny Crosby left a glorious legacy in the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” Countless people across the world have been blessed and comforted by the inspiring words and beautiful melody combined that day by the two friends. Do you have the blessed assurance that Jesus is yours? If you do, praise your Savior “all the day long.” If you don’t, trust him today as your Savior, and you will be “born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” We have this assurance: Those who belong to God will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! ISAIAH 26:19”

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