Scripture Verse

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. Hosea 11:4


Hans G. Nägeli

Words: 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.

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

Alternate Tune:

John Fawcett
National Portrait Gallery


Origin of the Hymn

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.

[Dwight] 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


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.