Blest Be The Tie That Binds

by Aaron Dunlop

This hymn is often sung at weddings to celebrate the bond between a man and his bride. “Blest be the tie that binds” is in fact a celebration of the close bond between Christian and Christian, and more particularly between pastor and his people—read these words in all these applications, and I think it will be a sanctifying rebuke. In 1772, John Fawcett was in­vit­ed to Lon­don to suc­ceed Dr. John Gill as pas­tor of the Car­ter’s Lane Bap­tist Church. He ac­cept­ed the call and preached his fare­well ser­mon, packed his books and furniture and was ready to go. As he left Wains­gate his pa­rish­ion­ers were gath­ered around him in tears begging him to stay. His wife said, “Oh John, John, I can­not bear this.” “Neither can I,” he said, “and we will not go. Un­load the wa­gons and put ev­ery­thing as it was be­fore.” 

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 comforts and our cares.
 
We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
 
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
 
This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
 
From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.
 
John Fawcett (1740–1817)

170px-John_FawcettFawcett was con­vert­ed at age 16 un­der the min­is­try of George White­field (preaching on John 3:14). At first he joined the Meth­od­ists, but three years lat­er be­gan at­tend­ing the Bap­tist Church in Brad­ford, Eng­land. He was or­dained a Bap­tist min­is­ter at Wains­gate, York­shire.

IIn 1772, he was in­vit­ed to Lon­don to suc­ceed Dr. John Gill as pas­tor of the Car­ter’s Lane Bap­tist Church. On the day of his de­part­ure, he had preached his fare­well ser­mon, the wa­gons were load­ed, and he was ready to go. But he was so over­come by the thought of leav­ing the con­gre­ga­tion he had come to love, that he can­celed his plans and stayed in Wains­gate. In 1793, Fawcett was in­vit­ed to become pre­si­dent of the Bap­tist Aca­de­my in Bris­tol, but he sim­i­lar­ly de­clined.  

One Comment to “Blest Be The Tie That Binds”

  1. This both moved and educated me, to know that a Theologian I’ve studied, was to be replaced by another who was loved this much by his congregation. Very informative Aaron, John Gill is someone I doctrinally agree with. A Particular Baptist, Calvinist and Credo Baptist. John Fawcett I know less about but wish I knew him as well as his congregation did.

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