Sunday, August 26, 2012

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Here is a hymn for this wonderful Sunday!

Title: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Tune: Nettleton

Numeric Outline:

Composer: J. Wyeth, Repository of Sacred Music, Part II 1813

Author: Robert Robinson (1735-1790)

     Much like the baby Christ, this man of note came from a family that was not of any kind of importance. Born September 27th, 1735 in Swaffham, Norfolk, England, Robert Robinson was a child of low parentage. When Robinson was only eight years old, his family moved to the nearby town of Scarning, where only a few short months later, Robinson's father passed away. His mother, who was always considered to be a Godly woman, had always dreamed of her son becoming a clergyman of the church, but because of their depth of poverty, Robert was indentured at the age of 15 (1749) to a barber and a hair dresser in London, England. Because Robinson was such a bookworm, his master thought he was more interested in reading all day rather than doing his actual profession. In 1752, Robinson was released from his state of being indentured even though he had almost passed his position as apprentice into becoming a master. While out for a walk with his friends one day, he came across a fortune teller who seemed to have been drunk. To have some fun with the fortune teller, he and his friends decided they were going to let the woman predict their futures, all the while they would make fun of her for her outrageous comments. When it came time for Robinson's future to be told, it was foreseen that he would live to see his children and his grandchildren grow up. This got to Robinson and made him think quite a bit.
     After hearing what the fortune teller had said to him, Robinson threw himself even deeper into his reading to try and educate himself even more. He was so engrossed in learning more, that one day he went to hear the prominent preacher, George Whitefield, give a sermon on Mathew 3: 7. This particular passage warns people of the wrath of God that is coming one day to this Earth, and with it, the end of time. This particular sermon seemed to strike a chord with Robinson, and it haunted him for several years. Almost six years after hearing the sermon, Robinson wrote a letter to Whitefield proclaiming that he had lived in the dark for almost three years, but in his 20th year of living, he found the glory of God. In one of Robinson's personal books, there was a note written on a blank page in Latin that read "Robertus, Michaelis Mariseque Robinson filius. Natus Swaffhami, comitatu Norfolciae, Saturni die Sept. 27, 1735. Renatus Sabbati die, Maii 24,1752, per predicationem potentem Georgii Whitefield. Et gustatis doloribus renovationis duos annosque septem absolutionem plenam gratuitamque, per sanguinem pretiosum Jesu Christi, inveni (Tuesday, December 10, 1755) cui sit honor et gloria in secula seculorum. Amen." The text roughly translated means "Robert, the son of Michael Robinson Mariseque. Born Swaffhami, county of Norfolk, on Saturday September. 27, 1735. Rene on Saturday, May 24.1752, by the powerful preaching of George Whitefield. And tasted the pain of renewal for two years, seven full absolution gratuitamque through blood for the precious Lord Jesus Christ, I have found (Tuesday, December 10, 1755) to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever., Amen." It was only a short two years later that Robinson penned the text to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," to share his excitement and his belief in the wonders of Christ.
     After his awakening, Robinson remained in London until 1758, where he attended sermons read but several Evangelical preachers, some of whom were Gil and Wesley. Earlier in 1758, Robinson had been invited as a Calvanistic Methodist to oversee a congregation in Mildenhall, Norfolk, but it wasn't until January 8th 1759 that Robins actually accepted the call to preach at a Baptist Church in Cambridge and gave his first sermon. At first, this call was only to fill in the position for just that Sunday, but his popularity grew so much that he was requested over and over again, until he finally gave in and accepted the call to be the Minister of the church in 1761. From that point on, Robinson began to write several different works that would dig into the history of each of the different churches he was a part of. Because of the extensive amount of research he had done between 1781 and 1790, regarding the history of being Baptized and the Baptist Church, he finally retired early in 1790. It was June 9th, 1790 when all of his work had caught up with him, and Robinson finally passed away. 
     The history of the tune "Nettleton" is fairly rocky, in that no one really knows where it came from for sure. Ashel Nettleton was an American born preacher who studied at Yale University and finally graduated with his Doctorate in Divinity in 1809. In 1811, he was finally licensed to preach, and in 1817, he was ordained. Though he was an ordained minister, he never actually settled into one call over a congregation. Though he didn't have a congregation of his own, his sermons played a large part in the Second Great Awakening period throughout the young and growing America. The Tune "Nettleton," was found written down in his collection Village Hymns, published in 1824, and because there was no other information as to where the tune had come from, Nettleton was given credit for the tune. It was later discovered that while he was out preaching, Nettleton would write down many of the tunes he had heard and had published them in this collection.

The Text:

(1) Come Thou fount of every blessingTune my heart to sing Thy graceStreams of mercy, never ceasingCall for songs of loudest praiseTeach me some melodious sonnetSung by flaming tongues abovePraise the mount, I'm fixed upon itMount of Thy unchanging love
(2) Here I raise my EbenezerHere there by Thy help I comeAnd I hope by Thy good pleasureSafely to arrive at homeJesus sought me when a strangerWandering from the fold of GodHe to rescue me from dangerInterposed His precious blood
(3) Oh, to grace how great a debtorDaily I’m constrained to beLet that grace now, like a fetterBind my wandering heart to TheeProne to wander, Lord I feel itProne to leave the God I loveHere’s my heart, oh, take and seal itSeal it for Thy courts above
(4) Come Thou fount of every blessingTune my heart to sing Thy graceStreams of mercy, never ceasingCall for songs of loudest praiseTeach me some melodious sonnetSung by flaming tongues abovePraise the mount, I’m fixed upon itMount of Thy unchanging love.
 My Take on the Hymn

     This hymn is one that shows that God has promised us his love. Even when we are not following the wants of Christ, and we are living for ourselves as a people selfish in everything that we have, God still calls us home and wants us to be with Him. We must not forget that we can run from God, but one way or another He will find us. God loves us and wants us to be happy, whether we like it or not, He plays a part in our every day lives and the things that we are given. We should be thankful to God for the things that we are given, and we should also be thankful for the things that we are denied, because no matter how hard it may seem right now, it has been done for a reason. 

The Hymn:

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