Scripture Verse

Come unto Me. Matthew 11:28


John H. Yates

Words: John H. Yates, 1891.

Music: Ira D. San­key (🔊 pdf nwc).

Ira D. Sankey


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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.