Transcription at Tuxguitar.
Listen to a MIDI version at:
The Lyrics for Blest Be the Tie That Binds were written by John Fawcett, and published in Hymns Adapted to the Circumstance of Public Worship (Leeds, England: 1782).
John Fawcett, Baptist preacher of England, was born January 6, 1739 (or 1740), in Lidget Green, near Bradford, Yorkshire. At the age of 16 he came under the influence of Whitefield and joined the Methodists, but three years later he became a member of the Baptist church of Bradford. In 1765 he was ordained to the ministry and was installed in the Baptist congregation of Wainsgate, Yorkshire. Seven years later, in 1772, he was called to London to succeed the famous Dr. J. Gills of Carter’s Lane. He accepted the call. After delivering his farewell sermon to the congregation at Wainsgate, six loads of household goods were brought up near the church preparatory to his leaving for London. But the congregation was not ready to bid him farewell. Men, women, and children thronged about their pastor and his family and wept. Fawcett and his wife also were moved to tears at the sight. Finally his wife said, “O John, I cannot endure this; I do not understand how we can leave this place.” “No, you are right,” he replied, “neither shall we leave.” Then all their belongings were unpacked and put in their old places. It has been thought that Fawcett upon this occasion wrote the famous hymn, “Blest be the tie that binds,” which is such a favorite in Reformed circles. In 1777 the congregation built a new church near Heddon Bridge, and about the same time he opened a school in Brearly Hall, where he lived. In 1793 he was offered the position of president of the Baptist academy at Bristol, but declined. In 1811 he received his diploma of doctor of theology from America. He died in 1817, at the age of 78. Dr. Fawcett wrote many treatises on theological themes, and a large number of hymns and spiritual songs. The greater number of his hymns are found in the collection, Hymns adapted to the Circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion, Leeds, Wright and Son, 1782, in all 166 hymns. About 20 of these are in general use. [Dahle, Library of Christian Hymns]
John Fawcett wrote this hymn in 1772. Miller, in his Singers and Songs Of the Church, 1869, describes the circumstances of its origin thus: “This favorite hymn is said to have been written in 1772 to commemorate the determination of its author to remain with his attached people at Wainsgate. The farewell sermon was preached, the wagons were loaded, when love and tears prevailed, and Dr. Fawcett sacrificed the attractions of a London pulpit to the affection of his poor but devoted flock.”
In Stanza 4, Line 1, Fawcett had:
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]
Lyrics in ELH 420:
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 our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When here our pathways part,
We suffer bitter pains,
Yet, one in Christ and one in heart,
We 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.
The tune BOYLSTON was written by Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
Mason showed an intense interest in music from childhood. He lived in Savannah, Georgia, for 15 years, working as a bank clerk, but pursuing his true love—music—on the side. He studied with F. I. Abel, improving his skills to the point where he began composing his own music. Numerous publishers in Philadelphia and Boston rejected his early work, until it was finally accepted in 1822 by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Massachusetts, his native state. However, the collection did not even carry Mason’s name:
I was then a bank officer in Savannah, and did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I had not the least thought of ever making music a profession.Little did he know that “rejected” collection would eventually go through 17 editions (some sources say 21) and sell 50,000 copies. It was adopted by singing schools in New England, and eventually church choirs.
After seeing the success of his work, Mason returned to Boston in 1826. He also became the director of music at the Hanover, Green, and Park Street churches, alternating six months with each congregation. Finally, he made a permanent arrangement with the Bowdoin Street Church, though he still held his job as teller at the American Bank. Music continued to pull on him, though; he became president of the Handel and Haydn Society in 1827.
It was in Boston that Mason became the first music teacher in an American public school. In 1833, he co-founded the Boston Academy of Music; in 1838, he became music superintendent for the Boston school system. Lowell Mason wrote over 1,600 religious works, and is often called the “father of American church music.”
His works include:
- The Choir, or Union Collection of Church Music, 1832
- Union Hymns, with Rufus Babcock, Jr. (Boston, Massachusetts: 1834)
- Carmina Sacra: or Boston Collection of Church Music (Boston, Massachusetts: J. H. Wilkins & R. B. Carter, 1844)
- Cantica Laudis: or The American Book of Church Music (New York: Mason & Law, 1850), with George J. Webb
- Musical Letters from Abroad (Boston, Massachusetts: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1853)
- The New Carmina Sacra (Boston, Massachusetts: Rice and Kendall, 1853)
- The Hallelujah: A Book for the Service of Song in the House of the Lord (New York: Mason Bros., circa 1854)
- The Diapason: A Collection of Church Music, edited by George F. Root (New York : Mason Brothers, 1860)
My transcription of BOYLSTON was done from the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary using TuxGuitar on Linux Mint.