Scripture Verse

Snatch others from the fire and save them. Jude 23


Fanny Crosby (1820–1915)

Words: Fan­ny Cros­by, 1869. Pub­lished in Songs of De­vo­tion (New York: Big­low & Main, 1870), num­ber 642. This song has ap­peared in ov­er 650 hym­nals.

Music: W. How­ard Doane (🔊 pdf nwc).

W. Howard Doane (1832–1915)

Origin of the Song

As I was ad­dress­ing a large com­pa­ny of work­ing men one hot Au­gust ev­en­ing, the thought kept forc­ing it­self up­on my mind that some mo­ther’s boy must be res­cued that ve­ry night or per­haps not at all.

So I re­quest­ed that, if there was any boy pre­sent, who had wan­dered away from mo­ther’s teach­ing, he would come to the plat­form at the con­clu­sion of the ser­vice.

A young man of eight­een came for­ward and said, Did you mean me? I have pro­mised my mo­ther to meet her in hea­ven; but as I am now liv­ing that will be im­pos­si­ble.

We prayed for him; he fi­nal­ly arose with a new light in his eyes; and ex­claimed tri­um­phant­ly, Now, I can meet mo­ther in hea­ven; for I have found her God.

A few days be­fore, Mr. Doane had sent me the sub­ject Res­cue the Per­ish­ing, and while I sat there that ev­en­ing the line came to me, Res­cue the per­ish­ing, care for the dy­ing. I could think of no­thing else that night.

When I ar­rived at my home I went to work on it at once; and be­fore I re­tired the en­tire hymn was rea­dy for a me­lo­dy. The next day my words were writ­ten and for­ward­ed to Mr. Doane, who wrote the beau­ti­ful and touch­ing mu­sic as it now stands.

In No­vem­ber, 1903, I went to Lynn, Mas­sa­chu­setts, to speak be­fore the Young Men’s Chris­tian As­so­cia­tion. I told them the in­ci­dent that led me to write Res­cue the Per­ish­ing, as I have just re­lat­ed it.

After the meet­ing a large num­ber of men shook hands with me, and among them was a man, who seemed to be deep­ly moved.

You may im­ag­ine my sur­prise when he said, Miss Cro­sby, I was the boy, who told you more than thir­ty-five years ago that I had wan­dered from my mo­ther’s God. The ev­en­ing that you spoke at the mis­sion I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a con­sis­tent Chris­tian life ev­er since. If we ne­ver meet again on earth, we will meet up yon­der.

As he said this, he raised my hand to his lips; and be­fore I had re­co­vered from my sur­prise he had gone; and re­mains to this day a name­less friend, who touched a deep chord of sym­pa­thy in my heart.

It is these notes of sym­pa­thy that vi­brate when a voice calls them forth from the dim me­mo­ries of the past, and the mu­sic is ce­les­ti­al.

Crosby, p. 145


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.

Though they are slight­ing Him, still He is wait­ing,
Waiting the pe­ni­tent child to re­ceive;
Plead with them ear­nest­ly, plead with them gen­tly;
He will for­give if they on­ly be­lieve.


Down in the hu­man heart, crushed by the tempt­er,
Feelings lie bur­ied that grace can re­store;
Touched by a lov­ing heart, wak­ened by kind­ness,
Chords that were brok­en will vi­brate once more.


Rescue the per­ish­ing, du­ty de­mands it;
Strength for thy la­bor the Lord will pro­vide;
Back to the nar­row way pa­tient­ly win them;
Tell the poor wan­d’rer a Sav­ior has died.