John Fawcett (1740-1817)
Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing;
Fill our hearts with joy and peace;
Let us each Thy love possessing,
Triumph in redeeming grace.
O refresh us, O refresh us,
Traveling through this wilderness.
Thanks we give and adoration
For Thy Gospel’s joyful sound;
May the fruits of Thy salvation
In our hearts and lives abound.
Ever faithful, ever faithful,
To the truth may we be found.
So that when Thy love shall call us,
Savior, from the world away,
Let no fear of death appall us,
Glad Thy summons to obey.
May we ever, may we ever,
Reign with Thee in endless day.
John Fawcett is well known for his other hymn “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”. But he is also the writer of this hymn, Lord dismiss us. Now there are so many hymns that start with the same words as this one and often it creates confusion as to who exactly wrote this hymn. After much research, I found out that one eminent historian by the name of John Julian wrote and clarified in his book, the Dictionary of Hymnology. This hymn was written by John Fawcett.
About the Hymn Writer
Fawcett, John, D.D., was born Jan. 6, 1739 or 1740, at Lidget Green, near Bradford, Yorks. He was converted at the age of sixteen under the ministry of G. Whitefield. He started by joining the Methodists, but three years later he joined the Baptist Church at Bradford. He was soon a well known preacher and got ordained as a Baptist minister at Wainsgate, near Hebden Bridge, Yorks in 1765. In 1772 he was invited to London, to succeed the celebrated Dr. J. Gill, as pastor of Carter’s Lane; the invitation had been formally accepted, the farewell sermon at Wainsgate had been preached and the wagons loaded with his goods for removal, when the love and tears of his attached people prevailed and he decided to remain. In 1777 a new chapel was built for him at Hebden Bridge, and about the same time he opened a school at Brearley Hall, his place of residence. In 1793 he was invited to become President of the Baptist Academy at Bristol, but declined. In 1811 he received from America the degree of D.D., and died in 1817, at the age of 78. Dr. Fawcett was the author of a number of prose works on Practical Religion, several of which attained a large circulation. His poetical publications are:—
(1) Poetic Essays, 1767; (2) The Christian’s Humble Plea, a Poem, in answer to Dr. Priestley against the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1772; (3) Three hymns, in the Gospel Magazine, 1777; (4) The Death of Eumenio, a Divine Poem, 1779; (5) Another poem, suggested by the decease of a friend, The Reign of Death, 1780; and (6) Hymns adapted to the circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion, Leeds, G. Wright & Son. 1782. They are 166 in number, and were mostly composed to be sung after sermons by the author.
Whilst not attaining a high degree of excellence as poetry, they are “eminently spiritual and practical,” and a number of them are found in all the Baptist and Congregational hymn-books that have appeared during the last 100 years. The best known of these are, “Infinite excellence is Thine;” “How precious is the Book divine;” “Thus far my God hath led me on;” “Religion is the chief concern;” “Blest be the tie that binds;” “I my Ebenezer raise;” and “Praise to Thee, Thou great Creator.” These hymns, together with others by Fawcett, are annotated under their respective first lines. [Rev. W. R. Stevenson, M.A.]