363

Blessed Assurance: Jesus Is Mine

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Blessed Assurance" is a typical gospel hymn of the late nineteenth century. It is simple, truly evangelical in spirit, and has an emotional appeal that comes from its rousing tune and from the personal experience described in the text. It is a fine testimonial hymn of praise to Christ for his work of redemption (st. 1), for the Spirit's work of sanctification (st. 2), and for the joy of serving Jesus (st. 3).
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This is the testimony of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1 in song! “I belong, body and soul, in life and death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ” and “because I belong to him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Tune Information

Name
ASSURANCE
Key
D Major
Meter
9.10.9.9 refrain 9.9.9.9

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

This text and 'To God Be the Glory" are probably the best known texts by Fanny J. Crosby. She said the following about her writing of the text:   
 
Sometimes a tune is furnished me for which to write the words. The hymn titled "Blessed Assurance" was made in this manner. My dear friend Phoebe Palmer Knapp (Mrs. Joseph), so well-known as a writer and singer of most excellent music and as an aid and inspiration to all who knew her, had composed the tune; and it seemed to me one of the sweetest I had heard for a long time. She asked me what it said. I replied, "Blessed assurance." I felt while bringing the words and tones together that the air and the hymn were intended for each other
-from Fanny Crosby's Memories
 
Crosby's text and Knapp's tune were published in John R. Sweney's Gems of Praise in 1873. The hymn was also published in both the American and British editions of the Ira D. Sankey hymnals and was more recently featured in Billy Graham Crusades. It is an immensely popular hymn in English-speaking Christendom.
 
“Blessed Assurance” is a typical gospel hymn of the late nineteenth century. It is simple, truly evangelical in spirit, and has an emotional appeal that comes from its rousing tune and from the personal experience described in the text.
 
The eight phrases of ASSURANCE use, with just one slight variation in the second phrase, the same rhythmic pattern throughout, sung over a static bass line. Sing in parts. Observe a moderate pace for the slow-moving harmony.
 
ASSURANCE is one of the several tunes composed for Crosby’s text by Phoebe Palmer Knapp. As a young girl Knapp displayed great musical talent; she composed and sang children’s song at an early age. The daughter of the Methodist evangelist Walter C. Palmer, she was married to John Fairfield Knapp at the age of sixteen. She was a founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and after her husband’s death shared her considerable inherited wealth with various charitable organizations. She composed over five hundred gospel songs, of which the tunes for “Blessed Assurance” and “Open the Gates of the Temple” are still popular today.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Fanny (Francis) Jane Crosby (b. Brewster, New York, March 24, 1820; d. Bridgeport, Conneticut, February 12, 1915) attended the New York City School for the Blind, where she later became a teacher. She began writing poetry when she was eight and publishing several volumes, such as A Blind Girl, and Other Poems (1844). Married to musician Alexander Van Alstyne, who was also blind, Crosby began writing hymn texts when she was in her forties. She published at least eight thousand hymns (some under various pseudonyms); at times she was under contract to her publisher to write three hymns a week and often wrote six or seven a day. Crosby's texts were set to music by prominent gospel song composers such as William B. Bradbury, William H. Doane, Robert S. Lowry, Ira D. Sankey, and William J. Kirkpatrick. Her hymns were distributed widely and popularized at evangelistic services in both America and Great Britain. Crosby was one of the most respected women of her era and the friend of many prominent persons, including presidents of the United States.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a young girl Phoebe Palmer Knapp (b. New York, NY, 1839; d. Poland Springs, ME, 1908) displayed great musical talent; she composed and sang children’s song at an early age. The daughter of the Methodist evangelist Walter C. Palmer, she was married to John Fairfield Knapp at the age of sixteen. She was a founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and after her husband’s death shared her considerable inherited wealth with various charitable organizations. She composed over five hundred gospel songs, of which the tunes for “Blessed Assurance” and “Open the Gates of the Temple” are still popular today.
— Bert Polman

Song Notes

Ira Sankey, good friend of hymn author Fanny Crosby, once related this story about the comfort “Blessed Assurance” provides:
“’During the recent war in the Transvaal,’ said a gentleman at my meeting in Exeter Hall, London, in 1900, ‘when the soldiers going to the front were passing another company whom they recognized, their greetings used to be, “Four-nine-four, boys; four-nine-four;” and the salute would invariably be answered with “Six further on, boys; six further on.” The significance of this was that, in ‘Sacred Songs and Solos,’ a number of copies of the small edition of which had been sent to the front, number 494 was ‘God be with you till we meet again’; and six further on than 494, or number 500, was ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.’”
From the very day she wrote them, Crosby’s words have provided comfort for millions of Christians in the face of fear, persecution, sorrow, and doubt. In spite of all the trials that may come, we know that we serve a Savior who came to bring the Kingdom of God on earth, and as we serve him, we participate in, and belong to, that Kingdom. We each play our own part in that “glorious foretaste” of what is still to come. We belong to Christ and his Kingdom – what an assurance this is!
— Laura de Jong
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