Rescue the Perishing
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore.
Touched by a loving hand, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
These selected verses remind us of the value of our Christlike kindness to people who are in any sort of need: physical, emotional or spiritual. Whether we help a nearby neighbour or a family member, or become a “Good Samaritan” tending to the needs of a stranger, we follow Jesus’ teaching.
Fanny Crosby wrote these words after an interesting encounter with a teenager in Cincinnati, Ohio. Near the close of a speaking engagement, she felt a sense that “some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or not at all.” To the crowd she said, “If there is a dear boy here tonight who has perchance wandered away from his mother’s home and teaching, would he please come to me at the close of the service?”
Following the meeting, a boy of about eighteen approached Miss Crosby and asked, “Did you mean me? I promised my mother to meet her in Heaven, but the way I have been living, I don’t think that will be possible now.” Of course Fanny Crosby had the joy of leading him to Christ. Returning to her room, she wrote the complete hymn, and Howard Doane wrote the music the next day.
More than thirty-five years later, in Lynn, Massachusetts, Fanny told the story behind the hymn. A man approached her afterwards and said, with quivering voice, “I was that boy. I sought and found peace, and have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since.” Fanny Crosby describes the incident as one of the most gratifying of her life.
Little-known is the fact that at age sixty, Fanny Crosby chose to live in poverty near New York City’s “Bowery” – the haunt of alcoholics. Daily she went there to “rescue the perishing”, so fulfilling the challenge of her hymn. Click To Tweet