I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.@Hosea 11:4
John Fawcett (1740–1817)
© National Portrait Gallery

John Fawcett, Hymns Adapted to the Circumstance of Public Worship (Leeds, England: 1782). This hymn was sung in the 1940 movie Our Town, which was nominated for several Academy Awards.

Dennis Hans G. Nägeli (1773–1836); arranged by Lowell Mason in The Psaltery, 1845 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Dr. John Fawcett was the pastor of a small church at Wainsgate, and was called from there to a larger church in London in 1772. He accepted the call and preached his farewell sermon. The wagons were loaded with his books and furniture, and all was ready for the departure, when his parishioners gathered around him, and with tears in their eyes begged of him to stay. His wife said, Oh John, John, I cannot bear this. Neither can I, exclaimed the good pastor, and we will not go. Unload the wagons and put everything as it was before. His decision was hailed with great joy by his people, and he wrote the words of this hymn in commemoration of the event. This song, and God be with you until we meet again, are the most useful farewell hymns in the world.

Mr. Moody used to tell of a Sunday-school teacher, to whom he had given a class of girls, who one day came to Mr. Moody’s store much disheartened. He had suffered from hemorrhage of the lungs, and his doctor had ordered him to leave Chicago. He was sad because he felt that he had not made a true effort to save his class. At Mr. Moody’s proposal that they go visit each of the class members, they took a carriage and at once began the work, the young man in his feebleness saying what he could to each. At a farewell meeting where they were all gathered, they endeavored to sing Blest be the tie that binds, but their hearts were full and their voices failed. Every member of the class yielded her heart to God.

Sankey, pp. 123–24

Hans G. Nägeli (1773–1836)

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.