God Be with You Till We Meet Again

Full Text

1 God be with you till we meet again,
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you,
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

2 God be with you till we meet again,
’Neath His wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still divide you,
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

3 God be with you till we meet again,
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing round you,
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

4 God be with you till we meet again,
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you,
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Amen.

The Hymnal: Published by the authority of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895

Author: Jeremiah Eames Rankin

Pseudonym: R. E. Jeremy. Rankin, Jeremiah Eames, D.D., was born at Thornton, New Haven, Jan. 2, 1828, and educated at Middleburg College, Vermont, and at Andover. For two years he resided at Potsdam, U.S. Subsequently he held pastoral charges as a Congregational Minister at New York, St. Albans, Charlestown, Washington ( District of Columbia), &c. In 1878 he edited the Gospel Temperance Hymnal, and later the Gospel Bells. His hymns appeared in these collections, and in D. E. Jones's Songs of the New Life, 1869. His best known hymn is "Labouring and heavy laden" (Seeking Christ). This was "written [in 1855] for a sister who was an inquirer," was first printed in the Boston Recorder, and then included in Nason's Congregational Hymn Book,… Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Acts 20:32
st. 3 = Deut. 33:27
st. 4 = Songs of Songs 2:4

Jeremiah E. Rankin (b. Thornton, NH, 1828; d. Cleveland, OH, 1904) says of his hymn text,

It was written as a Christian good-bye; it was called forth by no person or occasion, but was deliberately composed as a Christian hymn on the basis of the etymology of "good-bye," which means "God be with you." The first stanza was sent to two different composers, one of musical note, the other [William G. Tomer] wholly unknown and not thoroughly educated in music. I selected the composition of the latter, and with some slight changes it was published.

The first stanza was published in 1880 with the tune GOD BE WITH YOU by William G. Tomer in Gospel Bells; the 1883 edition of that hymnal included eight stanzas. A popular hymn, "God Be with You" gained currency through the evangelistic crusades of Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey (PHH 73). Modern hymnals usually print only four stanzas.

The text is essentially a parting blessing, a prayer that God will guide you (st. 1), feed you (st. 2), and protect you in life and in death (st. 3-4). Each stanza is framed by the phrase "God be with you till we meet again."

A graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont, and of Andover Theological Seminary, Newton Center, Massachusetts, Rankin served Congregational churches in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey (1855-1889). In 1889 he became president of Howard University, Washington, D.C., a school famous for its many prominent African American graduates. Rankin issued three volumes of poetry and hymn texts (of which "God Be with You" is his most well-known), collaborated in the compilation of hymnals such as The Gospel Temperance Hymnal (1878) and Gospel Bells (1880), and published German-English Lyrics, Sacred and Secular (1897).

Liturgical Use:
Though traditionally used when ministers, missionaries, or others take their leave from a congregation, this hymn is generally useful as a dismissal hymn, as a prayer for blessing, and as a sung benediction.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

GOD BE WITH YOU


RANDOLPH

Though the gospel tune by Tomer has enjoyed popularity, its overly sentimental character prompted a search for alternatives. Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England, 1872; d. St. Marylebone, London, England, 1958) composed the distinguished tune RANDOLPH for Rankin's text. T…

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Media

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Timeless Truths #112
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