Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior

Fan­ny Cros­by wrote the words of this song in 1868; which first ap­peared in Songs of De­vo­tion by How­ard Doane (New York: 1870).

The music was composed by W. How­ard Doane in 1870.

Wordings of the song

  1. Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
    hear my humble cry;
    while on others thou art calling,
    do not pass me by.
    Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry;
    while on others thou art calling,
    do not pass me by.
  2. Let me at thy throne of mercy
    find a sweet relief,
    kneeling there in deep contrition;
    help my unbelief.

  3. Trusting only in thy merit,
    would I seek thy face;
    heal my wounded, broken spirit,
    save me by thy grace.

  4. Thou the spring of all my comfort,
    more than life to me,
    whom have I on earth beside thee?
    Whom in heaven but thee?

The story behind the song

Just a little history. An ear­nest Christ­ian pas­tor told of a young man about whom he had long felt much an­xi­e­ty, as he had seemed so un­con­cerned about his soul, and was, in re­al­i­ty, a real cause of dis­turb­ance and in­ter­rupt­ion in class­es for other young men.

Meet­ing him one day, the lov­ing pas­tor sought once more to in­flu­ence him, urg­ing, “We want you for Christ and his ser­vice.” There was a cer­tain change in his man­ner which did not es­cape the eye of the pray­er­ful watch­er for souls, and—lack­ing time to do more—he seized the op­por­tun­i­ty to se­cure the pre­sence of his young friend at a Christ­ian En­dea­vor meet­ing soon to be held.

True to his prom­ise he was there. When an op­por­tun­i­ty was giv­en for some of the young men to choose a song, it was seen that he was urg­ing his com­pan­ion to se­lect some par­tic­u­lar hymn. The other, yield­ing to his re­quest, asked if the hymn, “Pass me not, O gentle Sav­iour,” might be sung; and both young men joined in the sing­ing with ev­i­dent in­ter­est and heart­i­ness. Lat­er in the ev­en­ing it was re­quest­ed that all who were def­in­ite­ly on the Lord’s side would con­fess their al­le­giance by stand­ing. Where­up­on the one over whom the heart of the pas­tor was spe­cial­ly yearn­ing rose at once, and with de­ci­sion.

“Tell me about your con­ver­sion,” the thank­ful pas­tor re­quest­ed at the close of the meet­ing, when hands were clasped in glad, bro­ther­ly wel­come and re­cog­ni­tion.

“Oh, yes,” as­sent­ed the other. “It was all through that hymn we have just sung. I was work­ing on the canal at G–, and there was a meet­ing be­ing held at the Mar­in­er’s Cha­pel, near­by. The words float­ed out over the wa­ter, and from the tug where I was work­ing I could hear them plain­ly enough. When they were just go­ing to sing those lines—‘While on others Thou are call­ing, Do not pass me by!’ a great fear came over me, and I thought, ‘Oh, if the Lord were to pass me by, how ter­ri­ble it would be!’ Then and there, on the tug, I cried out, ‘O Lord, do not pass me by.’ And”—with a bright smile—“he didn’t pass me by. I am saved.’”