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Designed by Visions-Online. Site Tools. Listen to Truth in History on Many Devices. A beloved hymn by William Cowper born in the midst of mental anguish, yet was destined to become the "redemption anthem" of the Church.
There Is A Fountain
A beloved hymn born in the midst of mental anguish, yet it has become an anthem of God's redeeming love. He was privileged to be born into the home of an English clergyman while his mother was from a prominent family of English royalty. In preparation for his life's work, he was educated in private schools as a small child and at Westminster School, earning a degree in law.
With that degree he later passed his bar examination and was licensed to practice as a solicitor in the lower courts of the English justice system. In spite of his intellectual achievements, William Cowper was physically frail and emotionally sensitive throughout his childhood. One of the traumatic experiences that contributed to his emotional instability was the death of his mother when he was only six years old.
Unable to properly deal with this grief that he experienced as a small child, it stayed with him throughout his life. He never stopped grieving for his mother. Even though he passed his law examination and was licensed as a lawyer, the very prospect of appearing before the bar for his final examination frightened him to the extent that he had a mental breakdown from which he never recovered. And these very sinners were the ones who betrayed Him, falsely tried Him, and then abandoned Him. Jesus carried his own cross up a hillside outside the city gate.
Then, at the cross, He bore our sins in His body on the tree. The One who was pure died in the place of the impure. The One who was clean bore the iniquities of the unclean. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God due sinners at the cross. He paid for our sins in full so that we could ascend the hill, so that we could be welcomed into the presence of Almighty God, so that we could be declared clean, pure, righteous. In light of our sin, Cowper points us to Calvary, likens us to the thief on the cross, and compels us to see that as Jesus atoned for the sins of a criminal, He has done the same for us.
In the United States, in East Asia, in South America, Afghanistan, Australia, and all points in between, a people is being gathered to stand before the throne and proclaim the eternal worth of Christ. Through a life plagued by struggle, and even a temptation to end his own life, Cowper did not look inward for the remedy to his condition but rather outward to Christ. He held to the hope that is in Christ. The story of his life is not finally about depression, the prevalence of suicide, or doubt, but the redemption that is in Jesus.
But with eyes of faith he wrote what he knew to be true—that even if he was as vile a sinner as the criminal on the cross nailed next to Jesus—that as that criminal found salvation through the shed blood of Christ for his sins, so Cowper and every other person who places their faith in Christ could be saved from their sins. This theme of redemption by the shedding of blood is a thread that runs all the way through the Scripture.
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I wish we had time just to do a whole series on this. You go through the Old Testament sacrificial system.
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What was that all about? Killing sheep, killing goats, killing bulls, slitting their throats, shedding their blood. It was a bloody religion, a bloody mess! But it was a picture, a symbol of something that God intended to do. And He did fulfill in Christ when He came to this earth.
So whose blood should be shed for my sins? My blood! The soul that sins, it will die. The life is in the blood.
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When you sin, you die. He gave in that Old Testament sacrificial system a picture of the fact that an innocent being could take the place—could be a substitute—could die in the place of the guilty sinner. All the dying, bleeding lambs were a picture of Christ the Lamb of God who would come to this world and would give His life for the salvation of the world, that our sins could all be washed away. We are all sinners desperately in need of a Savior. Now, some of us have been raised in church and by Christian parents and grew up knowing right and doing right.
This hymn reminds us that we are no less guilty than that dying thief on that cross and that there is no other way for our sins to be dealt with than by the blood of Christ. And then there are some who, maybe, have a rougher background. You may feel that your sins are so great that there is no way they could really be washed away. The thief on the cross could have felt plagued with shame. He could have felt unredeemable.
Here he is in his last dying moment paying—as he said—justly for the sins he had committed. I want to say to you, no matter what you have done, no matter how great your sin, the blood of Christ is sufficient for you.
There is a fountain filled with blood - Wikipedia
No matter how much you have not done—and may think you are okay—there is nothing that is sufficient for your sin other than the blood of Christ. Well, Cowper, as I said, struggled throughout his life—with depression, deep emotional issues, fear of being eternally condemned to Hell.
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- There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood | Sovereign Grace Music.
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So he says in the next stanza,. He shed His blood to deliver us from all sin, and He keeps delivering us. How do you like thinking about that? Bring it on, come, Lord Jesus! Do you think about it a lot? A little? Do you talk about it to others? How is it possible, I wonder, for us to have been redeemed from our sin and not to care? How is it possible to fritter our lives away in other pursuits and deeds?
I think about another writer who wrote more than a century later,. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.