Scripture Verse

Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20


William Cowper (1731–1800)

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, 1769.

Music: Mal­vern Lo­well Ma­son, The Psal­tery 1847 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Lowell Mason (1792–1872)

Origin of the Hymn

1769. In a let­ter to Mr. Clu­nie, in Ap­ril, Mr. New­ton speaks of a jour­ney to Ket­ter­ing [North­amp­ton­shire], and of his preach­ing there, and says, I have been pret­ty full-hand­ed in preach­ing late­ly. I trust the Lord was gra­cious­ly with us in most or all of our op­por­tun­i­ties.

We are go­ing to re­move our pray­er meet­ing to the great room in the Great House. It is a no­ble place, with a par­lour be­hind it, and holds one hund­red and thir­ty peo­ple con­ven­i­ent­ly. Pray for us, that the Lord may be in the midst of us there, and that as He has now giv­en us a Re­ho­both, and has made room for us, so that He may be pleased to add to our num­bers, and make us fruit­ful in the land.

It was for this oc­casion that two of the hymns in the Ol­ney Se­lect­ion were com­posed, the 43rd and 44th of the se­cond book. The first, be­gin­ning ‘O Lord, our lan­guid frames in­spire,’ by Mr. New­ton; and the se­cond, ‘Je­sus, wher­e’er Thy peo­ple meet,’ by Mr. Cow­per.

J. Bull, John New­ton of Olney and St. Mary Wool­noth


Jesus, where’er Thy people meet,
There they behold Thy mer­cy seat;
Where’er they seek Thee Thou art found,
And every place is hal­lowed ground.

For Thou, within no walls con­fined,
Inhabitest the humble mind;
Such ever bring Thee, where they come,
And, going, take Thee to their home.

Dear Shepherd of Thy chos­en few,
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here, to our waiting hearts, pro­claim
The sweetness of Thy sav­ing name.

Here may we prove the pow­er of pray­er
To strengthen faith and sweet­en care;
To teach our faint de­sires to rise,
And bring all Heav’n be­fore our eyes.

Behold at Thy com­mand­ing word,
We stretch the cur­tain and the cord;
Come Thou, and fill this wid­er space,
And bless us with a large in­crease.

Lord, we are few, but Thou art near;
Nor short Thine arm, nor deaf Thine ear;
O rend the heavens, come quick­ly down,
And make a thousand hearts Thine own!