Come Thou Fount
The year was 1773. A group of boys from one of the local gangs had cornered a poor gipsy woman and were drowning her in liquor. They were determined to get her to the place that she was so drunk that she would tell them their fortunes for free. Turning to one in the circle of young men, she told him that evil fortune awaited him. “She’s drunk, she doesn’t know what she’s saying.”
She then turned to young Robert Robinson, and told him, “You will live to see your children and grandchildren.” Robinson suddenly paled and said, “You are right, she doesn’t know what she is saying. Lets get out of here.”
Although he tried to act unconcerned, Robinson was haunted for the rest of the day. He could not get the gypsy woman out of his head. What she had said had scared him. If he was going to live to see his children and grandchildren, he was going to have to change his lifestyle. So that very night, he suggested to his pals that they go to a local revival meeting, on the pretense of making fun of the preacher. The preacher that night was George Whitfield. He preached from Matthew 3:7, and it deeply affected Robinson. He felt that the preacher was speaking directly to him. Over 2 years passed, however, before he accepted Christ as his Saviour.
After his conversion, Robinson joined the Methodist church, and soon after was called to preach. He was appointed by John Wesley to the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England. Three years after his salvation, to celebrate Pentecost, He penned his spiritual autobiography in this song.
The second verse reads, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’m come.” This phrase was taken from the book of I Samuel, in which Samuel raised up a stone after a battle fought with the Philistines. He called it “Ebenezer,” saying, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
Although he wrote many other hymns, “Come Thou Fount” remained the best-loved and most well-known. He died in 1790, at the age of 55, just as he always wished to, “soft suddenly, and alone.”
~Ernest K. Emurian, Living Stories of Famous Hymns