1. 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. 2. 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. 3. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Cords that are broken will vibrate once more. 4. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it Strength for your labor the Lord will provide; Back to the narrow way patiently win them, Tell the poor wand'rer a Savior has died. Chorus: Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Frances Jane (Fanny J.) Crosby
Music: William Howard Doane
Meter: 22.214.171.124. with Refrain
Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915
Fanny Crosby recalled how she wrote this hymn:
I remember writing that hymn in the year 1869. Like many of my hymns, it was written following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission. I usually tried to get to the mission at least one night a week to talk to “my boys.” I was addressing a large company of working men one hot summer evening, when the thought kept forcing itself on my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or he might be eternally lost. So I made a pressing plea that if there was a boy present who had wandered from his mother’s home and teaching, he should come to me at the end of the service. A young man of 18 came forward—
“Did you mean me, Miss Crosby? I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but as I am now living, that will be impossible.”
We prayed for him and suddenly he arose with a new light in his eyes— “Now I am ready to meet my mother in heaven, for I have found God.”
A few days before, William Doane, composer of the music, had sent Fanny Crosby a tune for a new song to be titled “Rescue the Perishing.” It was to be based on the text “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23).