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The Story Behind the Song

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
as some count slackness,
but is longsuffering toward us,
not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, NKJV

A few Christmas' ago I asked for a devotional type book on hymns. I wanted something that would tell me about the author who penned the hymn and the story behind his/her writing it. My mom came through for me and found Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan. This book contains 300 of the world's greatest hymn stories. From "Rock of Ages" to "Amazing Grace" to "O How I love Jesus," these beautiful old hymns are given new life as one reads their story.

I was reminded of a magnificent hymn this week when I visited a friend's blog and just had to read more about it.

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" was written by Robert Robinson in 1758. Robert's father died when he was young, and his mother, unable to control him, sent him to London to learn barbering. What he learned instead was drinking and gang-life. When he was 17, he and his friends reportedly visited a fortune-teller. Relaxed by alcohol, they laughed as she tried to tell their futures. But something about the encounter bothered Robert, and that evening he suggested to his buddies they attend the evangelistic meeting being held by George Whitefield.

Whitefield was one of history's greatest preachers, with a voice that was part foghorn and part violin. That night he preached from Matthew 3:7: "But when He saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to His baptism, He said to them, 'Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?' " Bursting into tears, Whitefield exclaimed, "Oh, my hearers! The wrath to come! The wrath to come!"

Robert immediately sobered up and sensed Whitefield was preaching directly to him. The preacher's words haunted him for nearly three years, until December 10, 1755, when he gave his heart to Christ.

Robert soon entered the ministry, and three years later at age 23, while serving Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, he wrote a hymn for his sermon on Pentecost Sunday. It was a prayer that the Holy Spirit flood into our hearts with His streams of mercy, enabling us to sing God's praises and remain faithful to Him. "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," has been a favorite of the church since that day.

Robinson continued working for the Lord until 1790, when he was invited to Birmingham, England, to preach for Dr. Joseph Priestly, a noted Unitarian. There, on the morning of June 8, he (Robinson) was found dead at age 54, having passed away quietly during the night. (story taken from Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan, page 109.)

Listen to the beautiful words of Robert Robinson's "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing."


3 Lovely Thoughts Shared:

Michele Williams said...

Such truth in these old hymns... We need to sing them... Thank you for sharing this great story behind the song! God bless you dear friend.

shopannies said...

yes the story behind this song is indeed a true testimony

The Marshall's said...

This is one of my very favorite books. I challenge anyone just one and be unchanged. Thanks for sharing!