Hymn Spotlight: Blest Be the Tie That Binds


Orphaned when he was twelve, then forced to work 14 hours a day, John Fawcett learned to read by candle-light. He was converted at the age of 16 under the preaching of George Whitfield, and he was ordained a Baptist minister at the age of 25. He and his new bride Mary began their ministry at a poor church in Wainsgate in northern England. The small congregation could only afford to pay a minimal salary, partly in potatoes and wool.

After seven years of devoted service in meager circumstances, they received a call to the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London. After the wagons were loaded for the move, the Fawcett’s met their tearful parishioners for a final fare-well. “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” “Nor can I either,” said the saddened pastor. “We shall remain here with our people.” The order was then given to unload the wagons. Not long after, he wrote this hymn for the congregation at Wainsgate.

John and Mary Fawcett carried on their faithful ministry in the little village of Wainsgate for a total of fifty-four years. Their salary was estimated to be never more than the equiv-alent of $200 per year despite Fawcett’s growing reputation as an outstanding evangelical preacher, scholar, and writer. Among his noted writings was an essay, “Anger,” which be-came a particular favorite of King George III. It is reported that the monarch promised Pastor Fawcett any benefit that could be conferred. But the offer was declined with this statement: “I have lived among my own people, enjoying their love; God has blessed my labors among them, and I need nothing which even a king could supply.” He recognized that the bond of love he knew there was worth more than any material wealth. Such was the man who gave us these loving words:

Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comfort and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.

When we assunder part it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.

Appreciate anew your Christian friends and fellow church members. Seek to show, as John Fawcett did, a loving concern for the needs of others.

Read Psalm 133; Matthew 18:20; John 13:34-35; and Hebrews 13:1.

taken from Osbeck’s Inspiring Hymn Stories for daily devotion and One Year of Great Songs of Faith devo-tional.