Who was Robert Robinson? A hymnast–he penned one of my favorite old hymns, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. He was also a preacher, pastor, writer, and avid reader.
Born into poverty in Swaffham, Norfolk (England), in 1735, Robinson had a rough start. His mother was said to be a godly woman, who longed to see him become a clergyman. But in those days, a calling took money and position. His father died when Robinson was quite young, so the boy was indentured to a barber and hairdresser in Crutched Friars, London. He loved to read and read as much as he was able. After hearing a sermon preached by George Whitefield, he found “peace by believing” — after about three years of struggle (wandering–according to Robinson).
During a time of many great preachers like Whitefield, Gill, and Wesley, Robinson read, studied, and eventually agreed to speak in a Methodist church. His sermon well accepted, he was invited to fill the position. He would eventually move from the Methodist persuasion to the Baptist. He’d eventually pen some well-known sermons, poems, and hymns.
To me, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is not only a hymn — it’s poetry. I love reading the lyrics. Some hymns are very simplistic, but this one seems to reach deeper and is well based in scripture.
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 find my greatest treasure*;
hither by thy help I’ve 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,
bought me with his precious blood.
Oh, 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.
[The Psalter Hymnal, 1987]
A fourth verse not included in some hymnals:
Hallelujah! I have found it,
The full cleansing I had craved,
And to all the world I’ll sound it:
They too may be wholly saved.
I am sealed by Thy sweet Spirit,
Prone no longer now to roam;
And Thy voice, I’ll humbly hear it,
For Thy presence is my home.
*Interesting, the original text for the second stanza begins, “Here I raise my Ebenezer,” (which is how I remembered it being sung in the movie, Little Women.) –What in the world did the author mean by that?
You’ll find the answer in 1 Samuel 7:12 — “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (NIV)
During this Easter season, many congregations will get out some of the old hymns and sing them. What’s your favorite?
May God bless your Easter celebration!
I hope you’ll enjoy listening to Chris Tomlin’s version of the song, via You Tube:
[Some information for this article from Hymnary.org]