At 17, Robert and some of his drinking buddies decided to attend an evangelistic meeting, with a plan to make fun of the proceedings. When George Whitfield began to preach, Robert felt as if the sermon was just for him. He did not respond to the altar call that night, but the words of the evangelist would haunt him for the next three years.
On Dec. 10, 1755, at age 20, Robert finally yielded his life to Christ, and very soon thereafter answered a call to the ministry. Three years later, as he was preparing to preach a sermon at the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, Robert wrote Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing to complement his sermon. The music for the hymn was composed by Asahel Nettleton in 1813.
The song has since been included in most protestant hymnals of England and the U.S., has been recorded by several artists, including Jars of Clay and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and is a recurring background theme of the film Love Comes Softly, which is based on a Janet Okey novel.
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.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
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, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.