Robert Robinson had always been prone to wander. Apprenticed to a barber at fourteen, he spent more time reading and playing with friends than cutting hair. He became the leader of a notorious gang, and he shammed his family so much that they practically disowned him. Then, still a teen, he and some of his drinking buddies went to an evangelistic meeting by George Whitefield, to make fun of the proceedings and instead, he almost fell asleep in it. But then the preacher shouted out a Bible verse: “O generation of vipers; who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7, KJV). That evening began young Robinson’s conversion.
Three years later, as he was preparing to preach a sermon at the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, Robert wrote “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” to complement his sermon. The music for the hymn was composed by Asahel Nettleton in 1813.