Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phoebe Knapp – Fanny Crosby

Joseph Fairchild Knapp was a prominent Sunday School teacher who married Phoebe Palmer. Phoebe was sixteen when she married Joseph Knapp. Her husband became the founder of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Phoebe Palmer was born on March 8. 1839 in New York City and was keenly interested in music throughout her childhood. Phoebe was the daughter of the Methodist Evangelist Walter C. Palmer. Phoebe became a well known composer of music and verse.

She displayed exuberant excitement after composing a new melody. Phoebe's close friend was the blind composer Fanny Crosby. She wondered what her good friend would think of her new composition. She went to Fanny's home in Brooklyn to perform her new melody. After playing the melody once on the piano she turned to discover Fanny kneeling in prayer. Assuming that Fanny hadn't paid attention to her performance of her melody; she played the composition once again.

Later, Fanny wrote of that eventful afternoon: “My friend, Mrs. Knapp, composed a melody, and played 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 the next few moments, Fanny Crosby wrote three verses and a chorus to the beautiful melody of Phoebe Knapp's melody. Their beautiful collaboration “Blessed Assurance” was published in 1873. The music and verses which Phoebe Knapp and Fanny Crosby composed have remained unchanged. The song we sing remains the same which they composed in Fanny Crosby's living room.

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 blessed;
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. Phoebe Knapp published more than five hundred hymns throughout her life. Of the many beautiful songs which she composed only “Blessed Assurance” and “Open the Gates of the Temple” are sung today. Both compositions are set to the lyrics which her friend – Fanny Crosby – composed.

Fanny Crosby composed nearly nine hundred hymns in life lifetime. “Blessed Assurance” is among the most popular beloved songs which she wrote. Consequently, the first verse of the hymn was inscribed on the headstone in 1915 where her body reposes waiting for the day of resurrection.

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