By Jerry Rushford
Robert Robinson (1735-1790) was 16 years old and running with the wrong crowd when he went by chance to hear the celebrated 37-year-old evangelist, George Whitefield, preach in London on May 24, 1752.
Three and a half years later, in December 1755, Robinson became a Christian and “found full and free forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.” He soon began preaching for Methodist and Baptist churches in the area around Norwich and Cambridge. In May 1758, when he was only 22 years old, Robinson penned “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” for his sermon on Pentecost Sunday. In the following year of 1759, the lyrics of this powerful hymn were included in a small hymnal entitled A Collection of Hymns Used by the Church of Christ in Angel Alley Bishopsgate.
More than 260 years later, Robinson’s memorable words continue to inspire and encourage each new generation. Under the direction of Dr. Ryan Board, the Pepperdine Concert Choir and a large number of choir alumni and the Pepperdine music faculty, virtually sang this hymn on Saturday, May 2, to honor the graduating students in the Pepperdine Class of 2020.
To see and hear this virtual rendition of the hymn, please see below.
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.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of God’s redeeming love.
Here I find my greatest treasure, Hither by Thy help I come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God;
He to rescue me from danger, Bought me with His precious blood.
O, to grace how great a debtor, Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter, Bind my wand’ring heart to thee;
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.
This blog post is part of a series on the history of hymns, by Dr. Jerry Rushford, Director of the Churches of Christ Heritage Center at the Pepperdine Libraries. For more information on the Pepperdine Special Collections and University Archives, including the Churches of Christ Heritage Center, please see our website.