A beautiful story is told of the origin of the well-known hymn, "Blest be the tie that binds." It was written by Rev. John Fawcett, an English Baptist, who died in 1817, after he had spent nearly sixty years in the ministry. It was in 1772, after a few years in pastoral work, that he was called to London to succeed the famous Dr. Gill. His farewell sermon had been preached in his country church in Yorkshire. The wagons stood loaded with his furniture and books, and all was ready for departure. But his loving people were heartbroken. Men, women and children gathered and clung about him and his family with sad and tearful faces. Finally overwhelmed with the sorrow of those they were leaving, Dr. Fawcett and his wife sat down on one of the packing-cases and gave way to grief. "Oh, John!" cried Mrs. Fawcett at last. "I cannot bear this! I know not how to go!" "Nor I, either," returned her husband, "and we will not go. The wagons shall be unloaded, and everything put in its old place." His people were filled with intense joy and gratitude at this determination. Dr. Fawcett at once sent a letter to London explaining the case, and then resolutely returned to his work on his pitifully small salary. This hymn was written to commemorate the event. It expresses sentiments so nearly universal that it is one of our hymns immortal. —The Watchman-Examiner.
A group of invading Japanese cavalry was billeted in a Chinese village. On their arrival, they discovered a mud church bearing the notice, "This is a Jesus Chapel." Eight of the cavalrymen proved to be Christians, and they fairly hugged the old Chinese pastor, explaining how glad they were to find a Christian home in the place. During the time they were in the village, they attended worship, praying and singing hymns with their Christian brethren. When they left, they gave every house where they had stayed the equivalent of two dollars, as well as a large bag of oats.—Sunday School Times.
As we tread the narrow way,
Together sing, together pray,
What is sweeter here below
Than the fellowship we know?
Comfort for the hearts that bleed,
Sympathy in hours of need,
Kindly things that others say,
Brighten up the dreary day.
Friendship, fellowship, and love,
Blessed gifts from Heaven above.
Glad am I that in God's plan
There was fellowship for man!—Selected.
O Master, let me walk with Thee;
I fear to journey on alone;
The night is dark, no star I see,
The path is steep and edged with stone.
Then, Master, let me hold Thy hand,
For like a child I halt in fear;
I dread the unknown path beyond,
I dread the step before me near.
O Master, let me walk with Thee
When sorrows deep my spirit rend,
When naught but empty grief I see,
Be Thou my never-failing Friend.
And, Master, when temptations sweep
Like storms of night across my way,
My faith renew, my spirit keep,
Guide to a brighter, better day.
O Master, I would walk with Thee!
Though dark the way, what need I more?
Thy rod—Thy staff, they comfort me,
For Thou halt walked this path before.
Yea, Master, let me walk with Thee,
Then shall I reach the goal at length;
In Thee my confidence shall be,
In Thee my joy, my peace, my strength. —Kathryn Blackburn Peck, in Herald of Holiness.
Christian Brotherhood in a Strange Land
A sailor, member of the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles, states: On a South Pacific island my first night was a lonely one, and I went for a walk, wishing fervently for a Christian companion to talk with. Following three young men carrying Bibles I came to a hut where twenty or thirty men were assembled. I found that these men met here nightly to sing hymns and study the Word together. There was a chaplain who made occasional appearances in the meetings. Our "church" was the mess hall by day. Our music was an accordion—when the accordionist wasn't on watch. When he couldn't be present, we "sang the Lord's song in a strange land" without benefit of accompaniment. The order of service was not complex: we started off with a couple of hymns, then had the newcomers stand up and say "howdy"; we interspersed a few more songs with testimonies and Scripture verses. Finally the teacher, a chief yeoman, brought before us a selected chapter and we took it apart. There were soldiers at these meetings as well as sailors, and in that little room it was not "GI Joe" or "matie," but "brother." I don't believe anyone can truly appreciate that word as much as a man who is in a strange land thousands of miles from home, when he walks up to a total stranger and is met with a smile, an outstretched hand, and "Welcome, brother!" and knows that he is a Brother in Christ.—King's Business.
Walking is dull, I must sadly own; walking is dull if one walks alone: no one to talk with of what one sees,—flowers and meadows and birds and trees. Walking is fine if a comrade true, loving and eager, goes with you. Merry the chat and merry the song as the comrade spirits trudge along. The miles are short and the views are fair, and sweet and cool in the magic air, and a wondrous charm is the brotherly weather as you and your comrade walk together. And so, O Spirit divinely high, the Lord of the earth and the arching sky, Thy love bends down from infinity, and even descends to walk with me. What beautiful prospects grow around as Thou and I tread the hallowed ground! What hopes upspring and exultantly grow as Thou and I are traveling so! What strength in the body, what joy in the heart, as Thou art taking the comrade part! I am firm as iron and light as a feather when I and the Spirit are walking together!—Amos R. Wells, in The Sunday School Times.