Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Nettleton)

Text by Robert Robinson 1758
Tune: Nettleton by John Wyeth 1813

Here is a recording I did of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
1. 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.

  1. Here I raise mine 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.

  2. 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.
    Robert Robinson 1787

As a student of history, I frequently read texts that are several centuries old. Two things often stand out, one is the very poetic and descriptive language used and the presence of archaic words and structures.

Most of our hymns have a two part history. The first is the poetry and the second is the tune and its harmonization. Sometimes we become so accustomed to singing a tune with a poem we never take a close look at the text. So we sing heartily about raising our Ebenezer and never stop to wonder: “What did I just do? Was it polite to do in mixed company?” And in our ignorance we miss the great theological truths of which we sing.

The first stanza speaks to the immeasurable mercies and grace which come from the mount of God’s unchanging love. And as only a poet can do, this mount of God’s unchanging love pivots into the opening phrase of the second verse.
In I Samuel 7:12 it says: “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer; saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.””

The Ark of the Covenant had just been returned to the Israelites by the Philistines after they had captured it in battle. The Israelites were struggling with their faithfulness to the one true God. After the Ark had been returned and their enemies vanquished, Samuel took a large stone and set it up between the cities of Mizpah and Shen to mark the help the Israelites had received from God. It became both a monument and a reminder of God’s faithfulness. So when we raise our Ebenezer we are placing a public monument, acknowledging God’s faithfulness to us.

So raising your Ebenezer is a very big deal and most certainly should be done in mixed company. It also speaks to the question: If you were arrested for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Have you raised an Ebenezer to God’s faithfulness?

Throughout the Old Testament, we read of monuments and alters being built in acknowledgement of Israel’s covenanting with and dependence upon God. Mr. Robert Robinson, back in 1787 reminds us today of the importance of publicly acknowledging our faith and covenant with God.

In the third verse, Robinson writes of his innate inability to remain faithful and his complete dependence upon God to hold himself bound to God. So this public Ebenezer is one more reminder for our ever failing and wandering heart to remember and bind ourselves to God’s everlasting love which he showed in its greatest splendor in the sacrificial love of the cross.


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Earlier this year, just before Easter, I effectively lost the use of my left hand due to arthritis. I had surgery to restore some functionality and while the surgery went fine, the infection which followed was devastating. When I was admitted to the hospital I feared that anything which hurt this much could not stay attached to my body. But through the grace of modern medicine, the skill and patience of my doctors and nurses, the love of my wife Diane, and the many prayers from my fellow Christians I survived and have been able to return to my seat behind the keyboard.

Throughout this episode I had the time to reflect on a number of questions. Before I knew for sure that my hand would work well enough to play again I considered why was it so important for me to play again?
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the parable of the master who gives his three servants various amounts of talents to manage in his absence. I had always assumed that my “talent” had been the ability to play and share my skill with others. For me to play is an act of worship. All of the many hours of preparation leading up to the first notes of the Prelude are an act of sacrifice and worship. Every day of the week I would rise and plan my day around the my preparation for each Sunday. And now I feared that this would soon end.

God and I had already faced the greatest test when my son Kurt died and I knew he was always faithful. So as I laid in the hospital and then spent weeks in occupational therapy I came to realize that my ability and opportunity to worship God extends to everything I do, not just my piano playing. How I treat my neighbor and how I encourage my brothers and sisters every day is an act of worship. The patience you show a restless child is an act of worship and the patience you show the careless driver is also an act of worship. The daily practice of life provides opportunities to worship our God. We don’t do this to “feel good” or for any other purpose. Worship is an expression than God is altogether worthy of worship and is deserving of our faithful worship for no other reason.

So Sunday morning as we gather together to worship corporately, when you first hear the piano or the band begin to play please join us for we are here to worship, we are here to bow down, and we are here to say that you’re our God.

This old Yiddish proverb has rung especially loudly in my life of late. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever open another piano store I would have stared at you mutely for a minute and simply said: “NO!” I also didn’t plan on losing the use of my left hand and having to endure three surgeries, nearly two weeks of hospitalization, and weeks of infusion antibiotics.

As I talked over my plans to reopen my store, my wise brother-in-law, Richard Southworth, shared this Yiddish proverb with me. It struck me as also quite a summary of my life. As the inveterate goal setter and planner, I am used to most of my plans and goals coming to naught. I always keep getting tripped up by the unexpected and the mundane of life.

A number of circumstances came together to make it almost inevitable that we would reopen our store so rather than sticking to a plan which was not working we decided to go ahead and reopen.
The new showroom is located at 2749 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, IL; just a few blocks west of our previous location. It is open by appointment only for now.

The more I thought about what Rich said to me I realized that this laughter of God is not in the context of mockery. When the three travelers told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, Abraham laughed out of joy and Sarah laughed in derision. However, when Isaac, (whose name means laughter), was born all the laughter came from joy.
It is easy to become discouraged when things don’t go our way and our plans are thwarted. I am sure that the lack of offspring was a source of great pain and frustration for Abraham and Sari for decades. For their entire lifetimes they watched as those around them had children, gave their children away in marriage, and bounced their grandchildren on their knees. This vital marker of a complete life, which they surely wanted as much as their next breath, had eluded them into their old age.

Yet, God brought laughter and joy to this yearning of theirs after waiting until they were very old, and out of this laughter came the salvation of the world.

When I was asked last year how I felt about closing the 8000 sq ft shop, I answered that I had mixed emotions: joy and happiness. And now that my plans have once more met with holy laughter, I must meet this new opportunity with the mixed emotions of joy and happiness.

If you know anybody who needs a good used piano give me a call… I have a few.

Andrew Remillard
2749 Curtiss St, Downers Grove, IL