Robert Robinson was born in 1735 in Swaffham, Norfolk, England. His father died when Robert was very young and he turned to a life of reckless abandon. One night, Robert and his friends harassed a drunken gypsy, demanding that she tell their fortune for free. She pointed directly at him and told him that he would live to see his children and grandchildren.
These words shook Robert, and he lived in fear of where his life would lead him were he not to change.
This led Robert, under the guise of going to mock him with his friends, to hear the preaching of Methodist evangelist George Whitefield. Whitefield’s sermon, dealing with John the Baptist’s words, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). These words filled him with a deep conviction of sin. After three years of wrestling, Robert repented of his sin and became a Methodist Pastor.
Two years later, he wrote his best known hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.This hymn, with its passionate portrayal of our tendency to wander from our gracious and merciful God, is still a favorite of many Protestant Christians today. The original lyrics of which are reprinted 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 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.
Robert Robinson died on June 9, 1790, at the age of 55. His legacy has endured, with his hymns continuing to bring praise to Jesus to this day.