Scripture Verse

He was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me! Matthew 14:29–31


Edwin S. Ufford

Words: Ed­win S. Uf­ford, 1888.

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

George C. Stebbins

Origin of the Hymn

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, har­mo­ny by Mr. Steb­bins, and pub­lished in Win­nowed Songs, 1890. In­clud­ed in Gos­pel Hymns, Nov 6, 1891.

Brown, pp. 374–75


Christ Walking on the Sea
Charles F. Jalabert

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.