Scripture Verse

Come unto Me. Matthew 11:28

Introduction

portrait
John H. Yates
(1837–1900)

Words: John H. Yates, 1891.

Music: Ira D. San­key (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Ira D. Sankey
(1840–1908)

Anecdote

John H. Yates, a hum­ble lay­man who lived at Ba­ta­via, New York, wrote this hymn after read­ing the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent in a news­pa­per: We were near­ing a dan­ger­ous coast, and the night was draw­ing near. Sud­den­ly a hea­vy fog set­tled down upo­n us. No lights had been sight­ed, and the pi­lot seemed anx­ious and trou­bled, not know­ing how soon we might be dashed to pieces on the hid­den rocks along the shore. The whis­tle was blown loud and hard, but no res­ponse was heard.

The captain or­dered the en­gines to be stopped, and for some time we drif­ted about on the waves. Sud­den­ly the pi­lot cried, Hark! Far away in the dis­tance we heard the wel­come tones of the har­bor bell, which seemed to say, ‘This way, this way!’ Again the engines were start­ed, and, guid­ed by the wel­come sound, we en­tered the har­bor in safety.

On re­ceiv­ing this hymn from Mr. Yates, in 1891, I at once set it to mu­sic. It has been found use­ful in meet­ings for sail­ors and fish­ermen.

Sankey, p. 265

Lyrics

Our life is like a stormy sea
Swept by the gales of sin and grief,
While on the windward and the lee
Hang heavy clouds of unbelief;
But o’er the deep a call we hear,
Like harbor bell’s inviting voice;
It tells the lost that hope is near,
And bids the trembling soul rejoice.

Refrain

This way, this way, O heart oppressed,
So long by storm and tempest driv’n;
This way, this way, lo here is rest,
Rings out the harbor bell of Heav’n.

Refrain

O let us now the call obey,
And steer our bark for yonder shore,
Where still that voice directs the way,
In pleading tones forevermore;
A thousand life wrecks strew the sea;
They’re going down at every swell;
Come unto Me, come unto Me,
Rings out th’assuring harbor bell.

Refrain

O tempted one, look up, be strong;
The promise of the Lord is sure,
That they shall sing the victor’s song,
Who faithful to the end endure;
God’s Holy Spirit comes to thee,
Of His abiding love to tell;
To blissful port, o’er stormy sea,
Calls Heav’n’s inviting harbor bell.

Refrain

Come, gracious Lord, and in Thy love
Conduct us o’er life’s stormy wave;
O guide us to the home above,
The blissful home beyond the grave;
There safe from rock, and storm, and flood,
Our song of praise shall never cease,
To Him who bought us with His blood,
And brought us to the port of peace.

Refrain