Scripture Verse

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1


John Ellerton (1826–1893)

Words: John El­ler­ton, 1876. El­ler­ton wrote this hymn while rec­tor of Barnes (then in Sur­rey, now in London), at the re­quest of the Duke of West­min­ster, for the mar­ri­age of his daugh­ter to the Mar­quis of Or­monde. God­frey Thring pub­lished it four years lat­er.

Music: Au­re­lia Sam­uel S. Wes­ley, in A Se­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, by Charles Kem­ble (Lon­don: John F. Shaw, 1864), num­ber 122 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:


The Wedding, Church of St. Roch, Paris
Derick Kaemmerer (1839–1902)

O Fa­ther, all cre­at­ing,
Whose wis­dom, love, and pow­er
First bound two lives to­ge­ther
In Ed­en’s prim­al hour,
Today to these Thy child­ren
Thine ear­li­est gifts re­new,
A home by Thee made hap­py,
A love by Thee kept true.

O Sav­ior, Guest most boun­te­ous
Of old in Ga­li­lee,
Vouchsafe to­day Thy pre­sence
With these who call on Thee;
Their store of earth­ly glad­ness
Transform to hea­ven­ly wine,
And teach them, in the tast­ing,
To know the gift is Thine.

O Spir­it of the Fa­ther,
Breathe on them from above,
So migh­ty in Thy pure­ness,
So ten­der in Thy love;
That, guard­ed by Thy pre­sence,
From sin and strife kept free,
Their lives may own Thy guid­ance,
Their hearts be ruled by Thee.

Except Thou build it, Fa­ther,
The house is built in vain;
Except Thou, Sav­ior, bless it,
The joy will turn to pain;
But naught can break the un­ion
Of hearts in Thee made one;
And love Thy Spir­it hal­lows
Is end­less love be­gun.