A fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.@Zechariah 13:1
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William Cowper (1731–1800)

Will­iam Cow­per, in Con­yer’s Collection of Psalms and Hymns, 1772.

Cleansing Foun­tain 19th Cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can camp meeting tune (🔊 pdf nwc).

This is one of the first hymns Cow­per wrote af­ter his first at­tack of tem­po­ra­ry mad­ness. He had been pro­mised a post as Clerk of the Jour­nal to the House of Lords, but was dis­mayed up­on learn­ing he would have to un­der­go a pub­lic ex­am­in­a­tion in the House be­fore be­gin­ning his du­ties. This ar­ti­cle from the North Amer­i­can Re­view, Jan­u­a­ry, 1834, des­cribes his di­lem­ma, and how God pre­vent­ed him from de­stroy­ing himself:

As the time drew nigh, his ag­o­ny be­came more and more in­tense; he hoped and be­lieved that mad­ness would come to re­lieve him; he at­tempt­ed al­so to make up his mind to com­mit su­i­cide, though his con­science bore stern tes­ti­mo­ny against it; he could not by any ar­gu­ment per­suade him­self that it was right, but this des­per­a­tion pre­vailed, and he pro­cured from an apo­the­ca­ry the means of self-de­struc­tion. On the day be­fore his pub­lic ap­pear­ance was to be made, he hap­pened to no­tice a let­ter in the news­pa­per, which to his di­sor­dered mind seemed like a ma­lig­nant li­bel on him­self. He im­me­di­ate­ly threw down the pa­per and rushed in­to the fields, de­ter­mined to die in a ditch, but the thought struck him that he might es­cape from the coun­try. With the same vi­o­lence he pro­ceed­ed to make has­ty prep­a­ra­tions for his flight; but while he was en­gaged in pack­ing his port­man­teau his mind changed, and he threw him­self in­to a coach, or­der­ing the man to drive to the Tow­er wharf, in­tend­ing to throw him­self in­to the river, and not re­flect­ing that it would be im­pos­si­ble to ac­comp­lish his pur­pose in that pub­lic spot. On ap­proach­ing the wa­ter, he found a por­ter seat­ed upon some goods: he then re­turned to the coach and was con­veyed to his lodg­ings at the Tem­ple. On the way he at­tempt­ed to drink the lau­da­num, but as oft­en as he raised it, a con­vul­sive ag­i­ta­tion of his frame pre­vent­ed it from reach­ing his lips; and thus, re­gret­ting the loss of the op­por­tu­ni­ty, but un­a­ble to avail him­self of it, he ar­rived, half dead with ang­uish, at his apart­ment. He then shut the doors and threw him­self up­on the bed with the lau­da­num near him, trying to lash him­self up to the deed; but a voice with­in seemed con­stant­ly to for­bid it, and as ofte­n as he ex­tend­ed his hand to the poi­son, his fin­gers were con­tract­ed and held back by spasms.

At this time one of the in­mates of the place came in, but he con­cealed his agi­ta­tion, and as soon as he was left alone, a change came ov­er him, and so de­test­a­ble did the deed ap­pear, that he threw away the lau­da­num and dashed the vi­al to piec­es. The rest of the day was spent in heavy in­sen­si­bil­i­ty, and at night he slept as usu­al; but on wak­ing at three in the morn­ing, he took his pen­knife and lay with his weight up­on it, the point tow­ard his heart. It was bro­ken and would not pen­e­trate. At day break he arose, and pass­ing a strong gar­ter around his neck, fast­ened it to the frame of his bed: this gave way with his weight, but on se­cur­ing it to the door, he was more suc­cess­ful, and re­mained sus­pend­ed till he had lost all con­scious­ness of ex­ist­ence. Af­ter a time the gar­ter broke and he fell to the floor, so that his life was saved; but the con­flict had been great­er than his rea­son could en­dure. He felt for him­self a con­tempt not to be ex­pressed or im­ag­ined; when­ev­er he went in­to the street, it seemed as if ev­ery eye flashed up­on him with in­dig­na­tion and scorn; he felt as if he had of­fend­ed God so deep­ly that his guilt could ne­ver be for­gi­ven, and his whole heart was filled with tu­mul­tu­ous pangs of des­pair. Mad­ness was not far off, or ra­ther mad­ness was al­rea­dy come.

After re­cov­er­ing, Cow­per came to real­ize how God can erase the stain of any sin.

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

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

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

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.
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

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

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared,
Unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!
A golden harp for me,
A golden harp for me;
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;
No other name but Thine,
No other name but Thine;
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name but Thine.