John Fawcett (1740-1817) was born of poor parents in Lidget Green, Yorkshire, England. He was converted to Christ at the age of sixteen through the ministry of George Whitefield. At twenty-six, he was ordained as a Baptist minister and accepted a call to pastor a small and impoverished congregation at Wainsgate in Northern England. After spending several years at Wainsgate where his salary was meager and his family growing, he received a call to succeed the well-known Dr. Gill to minister in a large and influential Cater's Lane Baptist Church in London. During the day of departure, with the saddened parishioners gathered around the wagons, Mrs. Fawcett finally broke down and said, "John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!" "Nor can I either," said the saddened pastor. The order was soon given to unpack the bags and they stayed at Wainsgate. During one of his ensuing sermons, the pastor shared this hymn text with his congregation. It was printed in 1782 in a collection of 166 of Fawcett's poems and was titled "Brotherly Love". Fawcett continued to minister at Wainsgate for fifty years never receiving a salary of more than $200 per year. However, he became a scholar and an author and in 1811, Brown University conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity Degree. A paralytic stroke caused his death in 1817. This is another hymn that continues to be sung almost two centuries after its writings. It has often been sung at the close of services or camp meetings or at other times of departures. But it is always a sound reminder of the deep bond that should be shared by brothers and sisters in Christ, especially as we share our burdens, our fears and our hopes. Most hymnals include just the first four verses, but I am sharing all six that Fawcett actually wrote.
(1) Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
(2) Before our Father's throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
(3) We share each other's woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
(4) When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
(5) This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
(6) From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.
Listen to it here. LISTEN