Monday, September 25, 2006

Come, Thou Fount

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 Thy 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, wand’ring 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 wand’ring 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.

Robert Robinson (1735-1790), a Methodist preacher in 18th century England, began his walk with Christ at the age of twenty. Raised in a poor family, Robinson set to work at a very young age. He did not have the guidance of a father’s hand to steer him down an upright path. Robinson quickly found himself in the company of wayward men. After witnessing a group of his companions pursue a drunken gypsy, Robinson heard the words of Methodist preacher, George Whitefield. Whitefield preached the words of John the Baptist recorded in Matthew 3:7, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Robinson walked away from that sermon convicted of the sinful life he had been living. He lived in guilt and dread for three years. At the age of twenty, the Lord worked in Robinson’s heart, turning him from sin toward a life for Christ.

In 1757, Robinson went to work penning the words to the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount,” which tell of his life. The second stanza depicts his conversion experience. Notice the beginning of this stanza: “Here I’ll raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ll come.” In I Samuel 7, the children of Israel have gathered together at Mizpeh when the Philistines came against them. Mercifully, the Lord struck down the Philistines. It is recorded in I Samuel 7:12: “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.” According to
Strong’s Concordance, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” Samuel is acknowledging the fact that the Lord delivered Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. In the words to the hymn, Robinson is likewise acknowledging that the Lord is his “stone of help,” that brought him out of the depths of sin.

In the third stanza, Robinson confesses his debt to God that is impossible to repay. He also recognizes his natural tendency to wander and stray from the footsteps of the Lord. Only God can keep us and ‘bind [our] wand’ring heart to thee.” Robinson did indeed stray from his Methodist roots and became a Baptist preacher. It is also supposed that he later followed Joseph Priestly in the Unitarian beliefs.

As we raise our voices in praise to our God and King, let us remember that He is our “Fount of every blessing.”

"For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:13-15

1 comment:

strem said...

I had this hymn in my head this morning, so it was extra-wonderful to read this post today. Thank you!