Words: Robert Robinson, 1758
Music: John Wyeth; Asahel Nettleton, 1813
Robert Robinson (1735-1790) was eight years old when his father passed away. As he grew older, he became more and more difficult for his mother to handle, so she sent him to London for an apprenticeship with a barber at the age of 14. Robert then began to take on a life of drinking and gambling.
At the age of 17, in a drunken stupor, Robert attended a church service with some of his friends, planning to make fun of the proceedings. George Whitfield was the preacher and was preaching on the wrath of God. When the sermon began, Robert felt as though Whitfield was speaking directly to him. While he did not give his life to the Lord that night, he spent the next several years haunted by what Whitfield preached.
On December 10, 1755, at age 20, Robert finally submitted his life to Christ. Soon thereafter he answered a call to the ministry. Shortly after, he was preparing to preach a sermon at a Calvinist Methodist Chapel and wrote the words to Come Thou Fount. The music was composed by Asahel Nettleton in 1813.[i]
What’s interesting to note is that verses 2 and 5 are rarely sung in modern-day congregations, yet really reflect the Christian’s walk in this life and earnest desire to experience his final rest in Heaven.
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.
Reflective Thoughts: The hymn writer asks God to tune his heart to sing His grace. He recognizes his own heart’s waywardness and clearly sees himself as a sinner who needs God to teach him. In what ways are you prone to wander? When you do, do you remember the Lord’s unceasing mercies and call upon Him to retake possession of your heart?
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Reflective Thoughts: The believer knows that life is full of hardship, persecution, afflictions, and distress. In spite of that, there is always hope! Consider what Paul wrote to encourage the Corinthian believers 1 Corinthians 6:1-10. Do you become weighed down by the difficulties of life? Do you become discouraged because of your own sin? Heed the words of the Psalmist, who wrote in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
Reflective Thoughts: God began to draw Robert Robinson while he was a drunken man intent on mocking God’s people. He experienced what Saul of Tarsus did on the road to Damascus: a sovereign God who interrupts the lives of sinners and brings them to Himself. Do you still remember when this happened to you? Take a moment and thank God for what He has done for you in Christ!
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.
Reflective Thoughts: The hymn writer knows that he is prone to wandering from God. He prays that God would keep him, bind him to Himself by His grace, and keep him. Thankfully we have God’s promise that He will keep all His own until the day of redemption. This comforts us when we feel the waywardness of our own hearts. True believer, make this your daily prayer!
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.
Reflective Thoughts: Tired of his own sin yet desiring to see the Lord, the hymn writer asks His sovereign God to take him home. Have you surrendered your life to Him? Are you ready for the Lord to take you home?