While attending a service of the famous preacher-evangelist D.L. Moody, Philip P. Bliss sat and listened intently as
Bro. Moody spoke. At the close of his message Moody told the story of a an endangered ship and a brave captain. Moody spoke of a night so dark and dreary night upon the sea. The waves rolled like mountains, Moody said, and not a star was to be seen in the clouded sky. As the ship neared the Cleveland harbor the captain peered through curtain of darkness and rain, attempting to find some beacon of light in order to bring his boat to safety. The winds howled and the storm raged, the boat violently rocking back and forth. Then at a chance the captain spotted a light from a near by lighthouse. The captian then turned to his pilot and asked:
“Are you sure this is Cleveland harbor?”
“Quite sure, sir,” the pilot replied.
“Then where are the lower lights?” the captain continued.
“Gone out, sir,” the other man answered.
“Can you make the harbor?” the captain asked anxiously.
“We must, or perish, sir,” the pilot replied.
Despite the pilot’s bravery and courageous heart, he would miss the channel in the darkness, and the vessel would be smashed into the rock slowly sinking to its watery grave. The Congregation now intently listening, Moody concluded his message with a charge to the Christians:
“Brethren, the Master will take care of the great lighthouse; let us keep the lower lights burning.” It was this story that would inspire the listening Philip Bliss to write his heralded hymn “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.