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There Is a Fountain
Zechariah 13:1
CLEANSING FOUNT  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: William Cowper, 1731-1800
Musician: Old Melody
Arr. P. J. Mansfield

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

Refrain:
Hallelujah to the Lamb
Who died on Mount Calvary:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow'r,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E're since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song
I'll sing Thy pow'r to save.



HYMN HISTORY:

Mention has already been made, in this book, of William Cowper, English poet and hymn writer who lived from 1731 until 1800.

It was Cowper, working in collaboration with the great John Newton, who complied and produced "Olney Hymns" a publication to which he personally contributed at least sixty-four original hymns.

"There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood," is his most famous; but before we can tell the story of the hymn it is necessary to set the scene by looking briefly at the life of the man himself.

William Cowper was born in Great Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire in November 1731. His mother died when he was only six years old and this tragedy left a life-long scar of grief. When he was ten he was sent to boarding school and there his suffering was added to by the cruelty of the older boys.

However, he survived and at eighteen began to study law. Although he passed all the bar examinations he never achieved much success in his profession. In nine years of law practice, so-called, Cowper never once felt worthy to serve people nor could he manage to attract business for himself.

Next, a clerkship in the House of Lords was arranged for him, but still he felt unfit for the task and was in such misery that he made several attempts to take his own life. The failure of these suicide efforts, compounded by two unhappy love affairs, increased his feelings of self contempt; so that as he walked the streets he felt that all eyes were fixed upon him in scorn.

Because of his suicidal tendencies Cowper was confined, for a brief period, in St. Albans Asylum and, remarkably, it was during this time that his famous hymn was written.

A visiting relative sought to ease the sick man's depression by telling him of Jesus' power to save. Cowper burst into tears saying, 'It is the first time that I have seen a ray of hope.' When the friend had gone the poet opened his Bible at random and, in the providence of God, his eyes fell on those words in Romans Ch. 3 v 25: 'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.'

This scriptural account of Christ's redeeming work touched Cowper's heart, causing him to later testify thus:

'There shone upon me the full beams of the sufficiency of the atonement that Christ has made; my pardon in His blood; the fulness and completeness of my justification and, in a moment, I believed and received the gospel.'

So thrilled was he by his new-found hope that he described it in verse, basing it on the words of Zechariah Ch. 13 v 1: In that day there shall be a fountain opened up for sin and uncleanness.'

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Loose all their guilty stain.

It was William Cowper's great hope that other troubled souls would be helped by his hymns.

Surely it must be said that he has succeeded far beyond his wildest expectations. How many countless thousands have been helped, blessed and encouraged by the singing of "There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood."

Personally, I never like to conduct a gospel meeting without singing at least one hymn about the blood of Christ, and this is one of my favourites.

The great 'Prince of preachers', Charles Haddon Spurgeon was so taken with the words of this hymn that instructions were given for some of the lines to be inscribed on his tomb. To this day visitors to the Spurgeon grave at Norwood cemetery, South London, can read:

E're since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

What better way to sum up the whole theme of the hymn than by quoting

Dear dying Lamb! Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.


BIBLE PASSAGE:

1 ¶ In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.



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