Sunday, February 14, 2010

Come Thou Fount

I love the older hymns and I'm going to be posting some of the lyrics on the blog for awhile. I found a web site that gives a devotional and the story behind the hymn and I'd like to share them with you. Hope you are blessed by what you read:


You were like sheep going astray,
But now you have been returned to the Shepherd
and Overseer of your souls. 2 Peter 2:25

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love (from the 3rd stanza of our hymn…)

William Cowper was a well-known minister and hymn writer. (Among the hymns he wrote are "There is a fountain filled with blood" and "God moves in a mysterious way".) Yet, he had wandered. He wrote these words,

"Where is the blessedness I knew
when first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
how sweet their memory still,
But they have left an aching void
the world can never fill."

And so have many of us. Some have wandered by flirting with false teaching. Even in the early church, St. Peter warned that "false teachers…will secretly introduce false heresies." 2 Peter 2:1

Others wander by adopting a lifestyle that is at odds with God’s requirements. Recall the sorry story of the prodigal son. And then, think of one of the saddest sentences in the Bible: "Demas, because he loved this world has deserted me having loved this present world…" 2 Timothy 4:10.

And unfortunately, some have wandered from God taking both roads.

Thank God that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost—and the wandering. Remember the shepherd who left the 99 sheep to hunt, even at great peril to himself, the one who had wandered. Remember the woman who had lost a precious coin and would not stop searching until she found it?

The comic strip "Dennis the Menace" features a young boy constantly at odds with Mr. Wilson. Dennis says to his friend Joey, "Don’t every play hide and seek with Mr. Wilson. "He doesn’t seek!"

Thankfully, God does!The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, Help me to tear it from thy throne, so shall my walk be close with God…

William Cowper knew the joy of being found—and restored. And so can we! But, the most obvious question is: why would any of us "be prone to wander?" For as we know, it only brings grief. Why?
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for thy courts above.

Hymn Story:
Robert Robinson, following the tradition of ministers of the time, wrote "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" as a hymn-poem for the conclusion of his sermon for Whitsunday, 1758. He was 23 years old at the time. It was published the following year in A Collection of Hymns used by the Church of Christ in Angel Alley, Bishopsgate (1759). There has been some speculation that it was written by the Countess of Huntingdon, but it is generally agreed to be the work of Robinson.

Originally "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" had four stanzas. The fourth stanza was omitted by Martin Madan in Psalms and Hymns, 1860 and has not been used since.

The statement in stanza two, "Here I raise my Ebenezer" refers to I Samuel 7:12, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." Ebenezer is the Hebrew for "Stone of Help." Israel had suffered defeat because of its sin. But the people had repented of their sin, God had helped them and they were victorious. Samuel placed the stone to remind Israel that God had them, their victory was because of Him.

In stanza three, Robinson speaks of being "prone to wonder, prone to leave the God I love". This seems to be a forecast of his later life, when he lapsed into sin, unstableness and involvement with Unitarianism. There is a well-known story of Robinson, riding a stagecoach with a lady who was deeply engrossed in a hymnbook. Seeking to encourage him, she asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. Robinson burst into tears and said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of God's redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Original 4th stanza
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.


  1. I love the old hymns too. They bring back a flood of memories from my childhood ... following along in a hymnal ... always being the one to look up the song for my grandma as I sat quietly next to her in the pew.

  2. I love this hymn, we used to sing it a lot in church, but these days people prefer the modern songs. I was listening to the CDs you sent me today and really enjoyed the stately hymns.