Scripture Verse

Let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant. 2 Samuel 7:29

Introduction

Words: Stan­zas 1–4, James Ed­mes­ton, Sac­red Lyr­ics 1820. Stan­zas 5–6, Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth, 1876.

Music: Ev­en­ing Pray­er (Steb­bins) George C. Steb­bins, 1878 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Ed­mes­ton (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

portrait
George C. Stebbins (1846–1945)

Aneccote

It rare­ly falls to the lot of any hymn to be sung un­der such trying cir­cum­stanc­es as was this, dur­ing the [1900] out­break in Ch­ina, by a com­pa­ny of be­leagu­ered mis­sion­ar­ies who had ga­thered to­ge­ther one night in great fear lest they should have to suf­fer the fate of so ma­ny who were giv­ing up their lives ra­ther than deny their Lord.

The fol­low­ing ac­count of the sing­ing is fur­nished by Miss Hel­en Knox Strain, one of the mis­sion­ar­ies pre­sent that night.

The Wo­man’s Un­ion Mis­sion­ary So­cie­ty has a mag­ni­fi­cent work just out­side of the ci­ty of Shang­hai. No harm had come to us up to this time, but ser­i­ous threats and un­plea­sant ru­mors were rife; we dared not so much as put our heads out at night, though forty lit­tle soldier-men played at keep­ing us safe

Our mis­sion­ar­ies have two cen­ters at that place, and the they meet oft­en for pray­er and con­sul­ta­tion. At this par­ti­cu­lar time the ru­mors were so fright­ful, and the threats to burn our homes that ve­ry night so dis­tress­ing, that we had a me­mo­ra­ble meet­ing. Sep­a­rat­ed from home and friends, fac­ing death in a far-off land, and full of ten­der­est feel­ing, we lift­ed our hearts in song…

Out of the storm each soul, re­new­ing its strength, mount­ed up with wings as ea­gles and found peace in the sec­ret of His pre­sence.

Our Sav­iour breathed, in ve­ry deed, an ev­en­ing bless­ing up­on us, the frag­rance of which re­mains ev­en un­to this day.

The last verse of the hymn, Should swift death this night o’er­take us, was omit­ted. It seemed too prob­a­ble it might. We want­ed on­ly to think of the safe-keep­ing, and such, thank God, it proved to be.

Sankey, pp. 155–59

Lyrics

Savior, breathe an ev­en­ing bless­ing
Ere re­pose our spi­rits seal;
Sin and want we come con­fess­ing:
Thou canst save, and Thou canst heal.

Though de­struc­tion walk around us,
Though the ar­row past us fly,
Angel guards from Thee sur­round us;
We are safe if Thou art nigh.

Though the night be dark and drea­ry,
Darkness can­not hide from Thee;
Thou art He who, ne­ver wea­ry,
Watchest where Thy peo­ple be.

Should swift death this night o’er­take us,
And our couch be­come our tomb,
May the morn in Hea­ven awake us,
Clad in light and death­less bloom.

Father, to thy holy keep­ing
Humbly we our­selves resign;
Savior, who hast slept our sleep­ing,
Make our slum­bers pure as thine

Blessèd Spi­rit, brood­ing o’er us,
Chase the dark­ness of our night,
Till the per­fect day before us
Breaks in ev­er­last­ing light.