5918. Savior, Breathe an Evening Blessing

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

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

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

4. 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.

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

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

Text Information
First Line: Savior, breathe an evening blessing
Title: Savior, Breathe an Evening Blessing
Author (st. 1-4): James Edmeston (1820)
Author (st. 5, 6): Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth (1876)
Meter: 87.87
Language: English
Source: Stanzas 1-4, Sac­red Lyr­ics, 1820
Copyright: Public Domain
Notes: It rarely falls to the lot of any hymn to be sung under such try­ing cir­cum­stanc­es as was this, dur­ing the Box­er 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. 139-41
Tune Information
Name: EVENING PRAYER (Stebbins)
Composer: George Coles Stebbins (1878)
Meter: 87.87
Key: B♭ Major
Copyright: Public Domain

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