Saturday, January 14, 2012
The Story Behind ~ Come Thou Fount
Robert Robinson was born of lowly parents in Swaffham, Norfolk, England, on September 27, 1735. His father died when Robert was eight, and at the age of fourteen he was sent by his mother to London to learn the barbering trade. He was then associated with notorious gang of hoodlums and had lived a morally corrupt life. One day, Robinson together with his gang went to a meeting where George Whitefield was preaching. At first, they were there for the purpose of "scoffing at the poor, deluded Methodists," but he was converted to Christ that day. Years after, he sensed that God's calling him to preach and enter the ministry of the Methodist church. After some time, he left for Cambridge and became a Baptist pastor; an able theologian through his writings of many theological works as well as several hymns.
Come, Thou Fount was written by Robinson when he was 23 years old. The interesting expression, however, is contained in the second stanza which says, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer-Hither by Thy help I'm come." This language is taken from 1Samuel 7:12, where the Ebenezer is a symbol of God's faithfulness. An expression in the third verse, "prone to wander-Lord, I feel it-Prone to leave the God I love," seems to have been prophetic of Robinson's later years, as once again his life became characterized by lapses into sin, unstableness.
The story is told that Robinson was one day riding a stagecoach when he noticed a woman deeply engrossed with a hymn book. During an ensuing conversation the lady turned to Robinson and asked what he thought of the hymn she was humming. Robinson burst into tears and said, "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."