~* LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING *~
Words & Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

I do not ask for mighty words to leave the crowd impressed,
But grant my life may ring so true my neighbors shall be blessed.
I do not ask for influence to sway the multitude;
Give me a "word in season" for the soul in solitude.
~Author Unknown

The lower lights surrounding a lighthouse guide the boats in the harbor away from the treacherous rocks and into the channel. The interesting analogy in this hymn was suggested to author and composer Philip P. Bliss as he listened to D. L. Moody tell a sermon anecdote about a pilot during a storm.

"On a dark, stormy, night, when the waves rolled like mountains, and not a star was to be seen, a boat, rocking and plunging, neared the Cleveland harbor. 'Are you sure this is Cleveland?' asked the captain, seeing only one light from the lighthouse.
'Quite sure, sir,' replied the pilot.
'Where are the lower lights?'
'Gone out, sir.'
'Can you make the harbor?'
'We must, or perish, sir!' And with a strong hand and a brave heart, the old pilot turned the wheel. But alas, in the darkness he missed the channel, and with a crash upon the rocks the boat was shivered, and many a life lost in a watery grave.

"Brethren," concluded Mr. Moody, "the Master will take care of the great Lighthouse. Let us keep the lower lights burning."
Bliss, as he often did, immediately put this challenging thought into a hymn. He usually worked rapidly, completing both the text and the music in one sitting.

Bliss first met Dwight L. Moody in Chicago in 1869 and soon joined him and his music associate, Ira Sankey, in their evangelistic campaigns. A prolific composer of gospel hymns, Bliss continued to write and publish until his death at the age of 38 in a tragic train accident at Ashtabula, Ohio, during the Christmas season of 1876. Yet his many songs, including "Jesus Loves Even Me," "Hold the Fort," "Hallelujah, What a Saviour," "Wonderful Words of Life," and many more, still live on today to bless and inspire our lives.

We are not the Lighthouse, the great Light of the World that Jesus is. We may not even be a beacon of a lesser light like Mr. Moody, Ira Sankey, or Philip Bliss. But God calls us each to be "lower lights" wherever we are to guide some fainting, struggling person to the eternal Haven with deeds that direct all the praise to our heavenly Father.


Brightly beams our Fatherís mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor, weary, wand'ring seaman may be rescued, may be saved!



*For Today*: Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:1-16; James 5:19 & 20

Resolve to keep your light burning true for Christ by words and actions, so that some seeking individual may be directed into the safe harbor of eternal salvation.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Return to Hymn Devotionals Index


Caleb's Country Corner *_*

The Christian Counter