“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:23-26
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About Edward Hopper
Jesus Savior Pilot Me was written in 1871 by Edward Hopper. The tune Pilot was composed by John Edgar Gould. Martin in Songs of the Spirit writes the following:
Born in New York City, Hopper became a Presbyterian minister. After pastoring 2 Presbyterian churches in New York, he pastored a small church [Church of Sea and Land] in the New York harbor, ministering to many sailors. It was while he was there that he wrote this hymn anonymously. When asked to write a hymn for the Seamen’s Friend Society, he instead read this already published hymn. It was then that the people, who already knew this song, became aware of its author.
The Hymn writer
“Major D. W. Whittle told me the following incident in connection with this hymn:
‘I went with General O. O. Howard to hold meetings for the soldiers at Tampa, Florida, and one day while going through the camp I found a young man dying of fever. I knelt by his side and asked him if he was a Christian. He replied that he was not, but said that his father and mother were Christians; and he asked me to pray for him. I did so, but no deep impression was made upon his heart. I went away with a sorrowing heart and promised to return another day.
Two days later I visited him again and, praying with him, the Lord put into my mind to sing, ‘Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.’ The dying soldier said: ‘Oh, that sounds good; it puts me in mind of my beloved sister in Michigan, who used to sing this hymn for me before I entered the army.’ He wanted me to repeat it over and over again for him, and finally he asked: ‘Will Jesus be my pilot into the haven of rest?’ I told the young man that Jesus would. ‘Then,’ he said, ‘I will trust him with all my heart.’ The next day I called to see him again, but his comrade said: ‘He passed away during the night.’”
– From Story of Gospel Hymns by Ira Sankey
"Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" by Edward Hopper, 1818-1888 1. Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life's tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee: Jesus, Savior, pilot me. 2. As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild; Boisterous waves obey Thy will When Thou say'st to them, "Be still!" Wondrous Sovereign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me. 3. When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar 'Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on Thy breast, May I hear Thee say to me, "Fear not, I will pilot thee." Hymn #649 The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Matthew 8:26 Author: Edward Hopper, 1871 Composer: John Edgar Gould, 1871 Tune: "Pilot"
A writer to Hymnal.net includes these additional stanzas:
2. While th'Apostles' fragile bark Struggled with the billows dark, On the stormy Galilee, Thou didst walk upon the sea; And when they beheld Thy form, Safe they glided through the storm. 3. Though the sea be smooth and bright, Sparkling with the stars of night, And my ship's path be ablaze With the light of halcyon days, Still I know my need of Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me. 4. When the darkling heavens frown, And the wrathful winds come down, And the fierce waves, tossed on high, Lash themselves against the sky, Jesus, Savior, pilot me, Over life's tempestuous sea. The original last stanza is different: When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar 'Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on Thy breast, May I hear Thee say to me, "Fear not, I will pilot thee."