Saturday, April 25, 2009

William Cowper

William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") was an English poet and hymn writer. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. He suffered from periods of severe depression, and although he found refuge in a deep and passionate faith in Jesus Christ, the inspiration behind his much-loved hymns, he often experienced doubt and feared that he was doomed to eternal damnation. His association with John Newton (who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace") led him to partner with Newton in writing a hymnbook that ultimately become famously known as Olney Hymns. On this day in history, 1800, the incredibly gifted but frequently and deeply depressed William Cowper died at the age of 68.

Click Here to view a video bio of Cowper'sife from Mars Hill Church. Below is one of his more well known poems which became a hymn entitled “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”.


God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

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