my dear friend Kimchi has commanded me to blog, so here I am ... blogging away! (:
recently, I've gotten a new favorite hymn. I'm sure you can tell what it is by the title.
well, I admit, I was just going to write a blog about the lyrics and what they mean to me, but out of curiosity, I decided to Google the history to the song. I was totally amazed when I saw what was behind it. I mean ... God just always knows what we need! okay, so I'll tell you why ...
the hymn There Is A Fountain was written by William Cowper (pronounced Cooper in English).
he was born in England in 1731. His father was a prominent clergyman and his mother was from a royal family. He was privileged to be born into such a family and was educated in some of England's best schools. He was educated to become a lawyer, and after earning a degree in law, he passed his bar examination and was licensed to practice as a solicitor (whatever that is lol) in the lower courts of the English justice system.
Even though he was very intelligent and had remarkable success, William was physically and emotionally frail throughout his childhood. Something that contributed to that, was the fact that his mother died when he was just six years old. He was never able to deal with his grief, and it stayed with him throughout his life. In essence, he never stopped grieving for his mother. Even though he had already passed the bar, the final examination he was required to take overwhelmed him. He suffered a mental breakdown from which he never recovered, or so they say. Because of that, he never practiced law, but studied and wrote literature. Add to this a love affair that was an epic fail, and William was pretty much sick of living. He tried unsuccessfully to end his life and ended up being placed in an asylum for eighteen months. While there and suffering from deep depression, he spent much of his time reading the Bible. As he remembered the way he was raised as a child, he struggled with the question of his eternal destiny, salvation, and peace with God. One day, a verse in Romans settled it for him.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ: Whom God set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God." Romans 3:23 - 25
William finally realized his need of a personal Savior and was convicted of his sin. He accepted Christ at the age of 33 in 1764.
After a partial recovery from depression, William moved into the home of a retired minister named Morley Unwin. While there, he received the necessary spiritual encouragement he needed to continue on in his new life from Unwin and his wife, Mary. After five years, Unwin died and Mary decided, at the request of Minister John Newton (yes, thee John Newton that wrote Amazing Grace), to move the family to Olney, England. William was invited to come with them. Not surprisingly, William decided to accompany the family. While living in Olney, William and Newton became very close friends. Both were highly talented in the area of poetry and wrote religious poetry for the church. Newton became a spiritual father for William and helped him overcome his religious doubts, chronic depression, and emotional morbidity. Even after being converted, William still experienced serious doubts about the love of God and His hand in his life.
William and Newton authored the famous (although I've never heard of it) Olney hymn book. This book of 349 hymns became one of the most important hymnal contributions to evangelical Christianity.
William wrote about 67 of those hymns, the best known one being There Is A Fountain. The hymn testifies of Williams final peace with his Savior. While sitting at his desk one day after reading Zechariah 13:1 (On that day a fountain will be opened in the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity), William wrote these words ::
There is a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel's veins,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
loose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
For since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme
and shall be till I die.
not long after he wrote this hymn, William Cowper died in 1800. It was at the writing of these words that he became aware of Christ's complete atonement for his sins. Several years later, Lowell Mason, an American living in Boston set William's words to music.
In spite of severe depression, emotional instability, and spiritual doubts, God used the experience of one man, William Cowper, to encourage and inspire countless people, including me.
I had no idea that the person that wrote my favorite hymn suffered from the very same things I battle with. I am literally fighting tears right now at the goodness of God. This very hymn that has inspired, encouraged, and helped me in amazing ways, was written by someone like me.
I find that quite amazing, no? (:
I don't think I'll ever listen to this hymn the same way again ....
"... redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die ... "