Come Thou Fount
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25
Our choir Anthem for this week is one of my very favorites due to its message and theme of Salvation by Grace, not of good works. The text was written by Robert Robinson (1735 – 1790) who was an influential Baptist and scholar, although when he wrote this text at age 23, he had recently converted to Methodism. Following the tradition of ministers of the time Robinson wrote “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” as a hymn-poem for the conclusion of his sermon for Whitsunday in 1758.
The statement in the second stanza, “Here I raise my Ebenezer” refers to the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us, “Ebenezer is the Hebrew for “Stone of Help.” “Israel had suffered defeat because of its sin. But when the people had repented of their sin, God helped them and they were victorious. Samuel placed the stone to remind Israel that God had helped them, their victory was because of Him.”
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing was set to melody by John Wyeth (1770-1858) a printer, manager of a printing company at age 21, and co-owner of a newspaper in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1793 he was appointed postmaster by President George Washington, a position he held for five years.
Mr. Wyeth compiled two volumes of Sacred Music, Repository of Sacred Music, 1810 and Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second, 1813. It is from this second volume that the melody known as NETTLETON was used for “Come, Thou Fount”
“Robert Robinson had always been prone to wander. Apprenticed to a barber at fourteen, he spent more time reading and playing with friends than cutting hair. Then, still a teen, he went to a George Whitefield meeting, intending to ridicule it, and instead was converted. After his apprenticeship was over, Robinson went into the ministry. He wrote this hymn at the age of twenty-three as he served at the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Norfolk, England.”
Please plan to be with us this Sunday November 24th at 11:00am as the Chancel Choir sings the Mack Wilberg arrangement of this beautiful, inspiring hymn.
Until next time…See you in the Choir Loft!
(This blog post was written by a contributor and the comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.)