Words: John Fawcett, Hymns Adapted to the Circumstance of Public Worship (Leeds, England: 1782).
"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." (http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/b/bbtttb.htm)
In heaven above, surely there will be harmony sweet. Never will there be a discouraging word, a cross look, a prejudiced thought. All will be kindness, unity, grace and love. How sweet it is when in Christian fellowship we can now experience the same. In the Church of Jesus Christ this is to be our vision, our goal, the mark to which we march toward. It is a blessed tie, a band of love, a bond of perfectness, and picture of Christ Himself.
Before our Father’s throne
It has often been my comfort to hear the prayers of the saints, and to pray with them. I love the singing, and I love the preaching, but the heavenward language of a heart’s prayer is edifying beyond imagination. Certainly it is more than a relief, it is an effectual pouring out of our soul’s desire, or our heart’s complaint. God from heaven hears, and relieves our struggles.
Together in prayer we’re blessed to pray in the presence of others so all know our trouble, our worry, our hope, our vision. Together we’re encouraged to hear such thoughts of the inward parts.
We share each other’s woes,
The scriptures tell us to rejoice with our brethren who rejoice, and we’re to weep with those that weep. I love to hear the requests of the saints for prayer, and more to hear them pour out their own prayers to God. In such times my heart pours forth to God for His help to them, during such moments my heart is drawn closer to them.
When we asunder part,
In times when the Spirit of God is attending us in the assembly, it is a grievous time to part with the saints. However, our consolation is to know that soon we’ll be gathered together again at the next Lord’s day, and if not then, in heaven itself.
This glorious hope revives
Each time I have to depart the Lord’s house, it truly is a revival to know that soon I’ll be gathered with His people again, and soon I’ll experience their encouragement. The day of the Lord’s service is a day of expectation for His faithful disciples, and is a favored time to their soul. How much more favored is the great day of anticipation where perfect love and harmony will be experienced at the end of time!
From sorrow, toil and pain,