This hymn was written after a ship on Lake Erie crashed during a storm and many people were killed. The captain could not see the lower lights needed to guide him safely in the channel and avoid the rocks along the shore.
After hearing the story Bliss wrote the hymn to encourage us to make sure our “lights are burning” as a witness of the gospel to the lost.
Let the Lower Lights be Burning
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy, From His lighthouse evermore, But to us He gives the keeping Of the lights along the shore.
- Refrain: Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave! Some poor *struggling, fainting seaman You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled, Loud the angry billows roar; 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.