486. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

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1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

Text Information
First Line: Come, thou fount of every blessing
Title: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Author: Robert Robinson (1758, alt.)
Meter: 87 87 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Deliverance; Redemption (5 more...)
Tune Information
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: D Major
Source: J. Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rev. 21:6, Rev. 7:17
st. 2 = 1 Pet. 2:9-10, Col. 1:21-22
st. 3 = Eph. 2:7-8, 1 Cor. 1:22

Robert Robinson (b. Swaffham, Norfolk, England, 1735; d. Birmingham, England, 1790) wrote this text in four stanzas for Pentecost Sunday in 1758 when he was a pastor in Norwich. The text was published in A Collection of Hymns used by the Church of Christ in Angel-Alley, Bishopsgate (1759). Three of his four stanzas are included with some alterations, especially in stanza 2, which originally began "Here I raise my Ebenezer" (see 1 Sam. 7: 12).

In his youth, Robinson was apprenticed to a London barber. Although raised in the Church of England, he did not become a Christian until 1755 after hearing a sermon on "the wrath to come" by George Whitefield. He then became a pastor and briefly served a Calvinist Methodist chapel in Mildenhall, Suffolk, England, and an Independent congregation in Norwich. In 1759 he was rebaptized and began a long association with the Stone Yard Baptist Church in Cambridge, England. Following his retirement in Birmingham in 1790, he was influenced by Unitarianism. Robinson published a new edition of William Barton's Psalms (1768) and A History of Baptism (1790) and wrote thirteen hymns.

This fine text about divine grace and providence contains various biblical images: Christ is the "fountain of life" (Ps. 36:9; Zech. 13:1) from which "streams of mercy" come. But Christ is also our "rock" (often used in the psalms along with "mount" or "Ebenezer," which means "stone of help"); he "rescues me from danger." Christ also "sought me when a stranger" (Col. 1:21) and "binds" or "seals" his own even when they are "prone to wander" (see Matt. 18:11-14). That phrase may have had special meaning for Robinson, who became successively a Calvinist Methodist, Congregationalist, Baptist, and finally a Unitarian.

Liturgical Use:
A testimony hymn about Christ's love for us, which could be used throughout the church year at the beginning of worship, after confession/ assurance, or after the sermon.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

NETTLETON is a rounded bar form (AABA) with a harmonization easily sung in parts by congregations. Named for nineteenth-century evangelist Ahasel Nettleton, the tune was published anonymously with this text in John Wyeth's collection of folk hymnody, Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813). The tune may possibly be related to a group of folk melodies used for "Go Tell Aunt Rhody Her Old Grey Goose Is Dead."

A printer by trade, Wyeth (b. Cambridge, MA, 1770; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1858) is important in the history of hymnody as a compiler and publisher of early shape-note tunebooks. He worked briefly in Santa Domingo but had to flee when a revolt occurred. In 1792 he settled in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he lived for much of the rest of his life. A Unitarian, he was coeditor for some thirty-five years of the Federalist newspaper Oracle of Dauphin, a prominent source of news and opinion. Not a musician himself, Wyeth published Repository of Sacred Music (1810) and, with the help of Methodist preacher and musician Elkanah Kelsay Dare, Repository of Music, Part Second (1813). Intended for Methodist and Baptist camp meetings, these tune books contained a number of anonymous folk tunes as well as music by a number of composers, including William Billings. The two volumes influenced the next generation of tunebooks, such as Southern Harmony, and a number of the folk tunes have survived as hymn tunes in various modern hymnals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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