Perhaps one of the most popular hymns of all time is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. It just so happens to be my favorite song! The words speak truth to my heart and the tune inspires me. The words “bind my wandering heart to Thee” are probably my favorite part of the song. I have traveled for my whole life, never staying anywhere for more than six months at a time. Though my life has been full of literal wandering, I pray that my heart will never wander far from God. I have had times where I began to wander, but I am grateful for a God Who welcomes me back with loving arms!
Recently it occurred to me that I did not know the history of this well-loved hymn, which started me on some research. These are the original words of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, written by Robert Robinson. Take a few moments to read them and then see a brief history of the song at the end of this post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In short, Robert Robinson was a troubled young man who was sent to London by his mother to be a barber’s apprentice. He was saved sometime after hearing George Whitefield preach, and later went on to become a Baptist pastor. He wrote “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in 1757. However, the interesting part of the story is that Robinson was truly prone to wander, just as his song says. Late in his life, during a time when he was not walking with the Lord, he was confronted by the truth of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. A complete stranger shared the song with him, not knowing that he was the one who wrote it. Tradition says that he came back to the Lord after this encounter.
This hymn is a powerful personal testimony that we are being blessed by nearly 300 years later! Robert Robinson was honest in the writing of his lyrics. He offered the reflections of his heart to the world in his now-famous hymn. When I read the complete original words and absorb their meaning, I am convicted and encouraged. I do like a lot of newer songs, but this is what I love about the old hymns. They are rich with truth and doctrine.