He was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!@Matthew 14:29–31
Edwin S. Ufford (1851–1929)

Edwin S. Ufford, 1888.

The Rev. E. S. Ufford, well known as a Baptist preacher, lecturer, and evangelist, was witnessing a drill at the life-saving station on Point Allerton, Nantasket Beach, when the order to throw out the life-line and the sight of the apparatus in action, combined with the story of a shipwreck on the spot, left an echo in his mind till it took the form of a song-sermon. Returning home, he pencilled [sic] the words of this rousing hymn, and, being himself a singer and player, sat down to his instrument to match the lines with a suitable air. It came to him almost as spontaneously as the music of The Ninety and Nine came to Mr. Sankey. In fifteen minutes the hymn-tune was made—as far as the melody went. It was published in sheet form in 1888, and afterwards purchased by Mr. Sankey, harmonized by Mr. Stebbins, and published in Winnowed Songs, 1890. Included in Gospel Hymns, Nov 6, 1891.

Brown, pp. 374–75

Edwin S. Ufford; arranged by George C. Stebbins, 1890 (🔊 pdf nwc).

George C. Stebbins (1846–1945)

Throw out the life line across the dark wave;
There is a brother whom someone should save;
Somebody’s brother! O who then will dare
To throw out the life line, his peril to share?


Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
Someone is drifting away;
Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
Someone is sinking today.

Throw out the life line with hand quick and strong:
Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today
And out with the life boat! away, then away!


Throw out the life line to danger fraught men,
Sinking in anguish where you’ve never been;
Winds of temptation and billows of woe
Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.


Soon will the season of rescue be o’er,
Soon will they drift to eternity’s shore;
Haste, then, my brother, no time for delay,
But throw out the life line and save them today.


This is the life line, oh, tempest tossed men;
Baffled by waves of temptation and sin;
Wild winds of passion, your strength cannot brave,
But Jesus is mighty, and Jesus can save.


Jesus is able! To you who are driv’n,
Farther and farther from God and from Heav’n;
Helpless and hopeless, o’erwhelmed by the wave;
We throw out the life line, ’tis Jesus can save.


This is the life line, oh, grasp it today!
See, you are recklessly drifting away;
Voices in warning, shout over the wave,
O grasp the strong life line, for Jesus can save.

Christ Walking on the Sea
Charles F. Jalabert (1819–1901)