Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I wouldn’t call myself a hymn person—per-say. Don’t get me wrong, I like hymns as much as the next Gen-Xer, but they aren’t my first choice if I want to listen to worship music. However, I feel like the language and tradition in many classic hymns puts much of our “contemporary” worship music to shame. And, no, this is not a post on worship styles—so don’t worry.


One of the things that makes some hymns great, in my humble opinion, is how a piece of music, and the message within, will stand the test of time, and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing has surely endured the test of time!

Written in 1757 (that’s 255 years ago, people!) by Pastor, and hymnist, Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount has gained recent popularity being covered by bands like David Crowder and Jars of clay—just to name a few.

At the age of 17 Roberts, as the story goes, was involved with a questionable group of friends, and started sensing a needed change in his life. So he convinced a group of friends to go see the famous Methodist preacher, George Whitefield, so that he and his friends could heckle the minister while he was giving his message. unbeknownst to his friends Roberts had ulterior motives for the visit, and so did God.

That day Whitefield preached on Matthew 3:7.

Matthew 3:7

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

After hearing that message Roberts left feeling a deep sense of conviction and dread. That message remained with Roberts until the age of 20, when he publicly declared that he would enter the ministry and live a life dedicated to the message of the cross.

Two years later, at the young age of 22, Roberts penned the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

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
I’ll praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

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 Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

My favorite stanza from this hymn is:

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 Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

This last verse may have been foreshadowing a season in Roberts life. Although unverifiable— the story goes that one day, many years after writing the hymn, Roberts boarded a stagecoach in which a young lady happen to be humming Come Thou Fount. When the lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming— he responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

Do you have a favorite hymn? what is it? what is your favorite line from it? Do you know the story behind your favorite hymn?

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  • Margaret Wright

    Same favorite stanza, gets me every time.

  • Bhicks1052

    “It is Well With My Soul” is my favorite.
    The third verse rings well with my soul:

    “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

    Horatio Spafford’s story and the back story to this hymn is incredible.
    This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone . . .”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

    Phillip Bliss, the composer of the music, called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.

    It was also Jamie’s favorite hymn, which makes it terribly hard to sing, now.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of my favorite hymn. I really like the instruments in it, especially when it’s on a high cores. What a great story.

  • Tommy Corcoran

    This is a great hymn. I enjoy hymns…maybe because I was raised in the Episcopal Church, or sometimes the melody, but most often because of the words.

    In this hymn I love the words that sandwich your favorite lines.

    Bind my wandering heart to Thee…
    Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
    Seal it for Thy courts above

    But as I sing and listen to that song, the emphasis of the words in your favorite lines jump out as the music hits the crescendo. It opens up a aspect of the heart. Strange how the words read alone will prick one point of your soul and with the tune another is awakened and roused.

    Maybe you should blog about how music is one of the most rapid and common ways that people are struck in their heart/soul/mind.