Posted by: rcottrill | March 23, 2012

There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood

Words: William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) (b. Nov. 15, 1731; d. Apr. 25, 1800)
Music: Cleansing Fountain, an American camp meeting tune, arranged by Lowell Mason (b. Jan. 8, 1792; d. Aug. 11, 1872)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: A number of changes in William Cowper’s original have been made. Many hymn books have, in CH-2, “And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.” The author’s original version made it a personal confession: “And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away.” (I like Cowper’s version better.)

In the case of CH-5, the alterations made later provide a more positive statement. William Cowper wrote:

Then in a nobler sweeter song I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

With the use of the traditional tune, that calls for a repetition of “lies silent in the grave.” Editors since have changed the order of the lines to make the repeated phrase “I’ll sing Thy power to save.”

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save.

The last two stanzas (currently combined as CH-6 in the Cyber Hymnal) seem anticlimactic, if not inferior, and are usually omitted.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!

‘Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

If you’ve ever seen, even in passing, any of those “Ulimate Fighter” matches on television, you have witnessed crowds screaming for blood. The more the better! This mindless craving to see others be beaten bloody, as a form of entertainment, reminds me of the brutal contests in the Roman arena in ancient times.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, the raucous mob shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him” (Lk. 23:21). Pilate, convinced of the innocence of Christ, washed his hands before the multitude–a symbolic way of trying to evade responsibility for the execution. But the crowd was not to be deterred. Their terrible cry was, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:24-25). In contrast to this bloodthirsty mob, we have Peter’s stirring and reverent words:

“To you who believe, He is precious” (I Pet. 2:7). “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18-19).

We honour the Saviour, and His willingness to shed His blood on the cross, because it’s only by faith in His great Calvary work that we can be saved. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [no forgiveness of sins]” (Heb. 9:22).

CH-3) Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

CH-4) E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

CH-5) When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save.

1) What is the significance of Christ shedding His blood on the cross, according to the following verses (Lev. 17:11; Eph. 1:7)?

2) What is the reasoning behind professing Christians wanting to downplay references to the blood of Christ, in sermons, songs, and even in Bible versions? What do you think of this?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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