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 unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m 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.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now 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.
We sang this in choir at Stake Conference this morning. If there’s a hymn that better and more movingly acknowledges our human tendency to go astray and God’s kindness and understanding of our weaknesses, I don’t know it. It was written by Robert Robinson, a 22-year-old Methodist preacher in the 1750s. He lost his father at ten, and by the age of seventeen was engaged in unspecified riotous living (wine, women and song, I presume) as a barber’s apprentice in London, when he and his friends got a fortune teller drunk and made her tell them their fortunes. She told Robert that he’d live a long life, which so horrified him that he decided to turn over a new leaf and become a preacher.
I’m not sure whether he would have retold this hilarious conversion story very often (Mr Robinson, tell us the one about the drunk fortune teller again!), but he knew well enough what it was like to wander, which is what makes this hymn feel so touchingly personal, I suppose. I wish it were in the hymn book.