John Fawcett (1739-1817)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Hymn #267.
This writer is perhaps best known for his hymn, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.”
John Fawcett was born at Lidget Green, England on January 6, 1739. When he was but twelve years of age, his father died and he was apprenticed for six years at Bradford. A heavy burden fell upon his widowed mother and his employment at a trade was helpful to her. At sixteen he heard George Whitefield preach on the words, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” and he got saved! He once remarked, “As long as I live, I shall remember both the text and the sermon.”
In 1758 he joined the Baptists at Bradford and later (1765) he became minister at Wainsgate. Two years later he wrote his “Poetic Essays” and in 1782 he collected his hymns, one hundred and seventy-six, in a volume entitled “Hymns adapted to Public Worship and Private Devotion.”
At Wainsgate his family and expenses so increased that his income was quite inadequate. An opportunity to remove to a Baptist Church in London at a greater stipend presented itself. His decision to go nearly broke the hearts of his parishoners who crowded round the six or seven wagons he was loading. Both he and his wife sat and wept at the thought of leaving; it was too much for them and so they unpacked and stayed under the financial hardship. This event led him to write:
“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love,
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear:
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.”
He continued preaching until 1816, at which time he was paralyzed by a stroke. He went to be with his Lord on July 25, 1817, at the age of 78. His last words were: “COME, LORD JESUS, COME QUICKLY!”