“Blessed Be the Fountain of Blood”

"…I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps. 51.7)

     INTRO.: A song which pictures Jesus as the fountain by whom we can be made whiter than show is "Blessed Be The Fountain of Blood" (#544 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Eden Reeder Latta (1839-1915). Some of his hymns best known among us are "Come to Jesus" and "Live for Jesus." The tune was composed by Henry Southwick Perkins, who was born Mar. 20, 1833, at Stockbridge, VT, and inherited musical talent from his parents. His father was a noted singing teacher, and his mother was an excellent vocalist. His older brother, William O. Perkins, was also a hymn tune composer known for the melodies used with "Beyond the Sunset’s Radiant Glow," "Did You Think to Pray?", and "Here We Are but Straying Pilgrims." After receiving his first musical training from his father and attending some of the best literary schools in his youth, Henry began his formal music education in 1857 when he entered the Boston Music Schoool, where he graduated in 1861. For more than twenty years, he devoted considerable time to conducting music festivals and conventions all over America, from Maine to California, and to teaching "normal" music schools in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas.

     Serving as Professor of Music at the University of Iowa from 1867 to 1869, principal of the Iowa Academy of Music in Iowa City, IA, for five years, and head of the Kansas Normal Music School for five consecutive summers, Perkins also produced vocal music for choirs, Sunday schools, public schools, and choral societies. In addition, he helped organize the Music Teachers’ National Association in 1876, serving in nearly every official capacity in that organization between 1887 and 1897, and organized the Illinois Music Teachers’ Association in 1886, serving as its president for ten years. In 1872 he settled in Chicago, IL, where he was a noted music critic for the newspapers. "Blessed Be The Fountain of Blood" is dated 1881 but its first major hymnbook publication was in the 1887 Gospel Hymns No. 5, compiled by Ira David Sankey. In 1891, Perkins established the Chicago National College of Music, and he died at Chicago on Jan. 20, 1914. Among songbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use among churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater.  Today it may be found only in Sacred Selections, to my knowledge.

     The song emphasizes some of the blessings available to us from Jesus as the fountain of blood who can wash us whiter than snow.

I. Stanza 1 mentions the need for that fountain
"Blessed be the fountain of blood, To a world of sinners revealed;
Blessed be the dear Son of God: Only by His stripes we are healed;
Though I’ve wandered far from the fold, Bringing to my heart pain and woe,
Wash me in the blood of the Lamb, And I shall be whiter than snow."
 A. This fountain is revealed to a world of sinners because all have sinned: Rom. 3.23
 B. It was because of our sins that Jesus suffered for us so that we can be healed by His stripes: Isa. 53.4-5
 C. As a result of the fact that all have sinned, we have all wandered far from the fold: 1 Pet. 2.25

II. Stanza 2 mentions the means by which that fountain was made to flow
"Thorny was the crown that He wore, And the cross His body o’ercame;
Grievous were the sorrows He bore, But He suffered thus not in vain.
May I to that fountain be led, Made to cleanse my sins here below;
Wash me in the blood that He shed, And I shall be whiter than snow."
 A. To open the fountain, Jesus wore the thorny crown and was crucified for us: Matt. 27.29-35
 B. Therefore, we understand that Jesus suffered for us with the hope that His suffering would not be in vain: 1 Pet. 3.18
 C. The means by which we are led to that fountain to have our sins cleansed and washed in the blood of Christ is obeying His will in baptism: Acts 22:16

III. Stanza 3 mentions the decision to come to the fountain
"Father, I have wandered from Thee, Often has my heart gone astray;
Crimson do my sins seem to me, And I cannot wash them away:
Jesus, to that fountain of Thine, Leaning on Thy promise I go;
Cleanse me by Thy washing divine, And I shall be whiter than snow."
 A. We must realize that because we have wandered and gone astray, our sins are like crimson or scarlet: Isa. 1.18
 B. We must also realize that we, in and of ourselves, cannot wash them away: Jer. 2.22
 C. Therefore, we must accept the invitation of the Lord to go to the fountain that has been opened for sin and uncleanness: Zech. 13.1

     CONCL.: The chorus focuses on the benefit of being washed whiter than snow in this fountain:
"Whiter than the snow, Whiter than the snow;
Wash me in the blood of the Lamb, And I shall be whiter than snow."
When we come to recognize that we have transgressed the righteous will of the holy God who made us but that He loved us enough to send His own Son Jesus Christ to die in our stead and offer His life as an atonement for our sins so that we can be saved from our sins and reconciled with our God, then we will surely say, "Blessed Be the Fountain of Blood."


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