A Word of Joy

Sometimes a light surprises The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises With healing in his wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining To cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation, We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation, And find it ever new:
Set free from present sorrow, We cheerfully can say,
E'en let th' unknown tomorrow Bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing But he will bear us thro';
Who gives the lilies clothing Will clothe his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens, No creature but is fed;
And he who feeds the ravens Will give his children bread.
Though vine, nor fig tree neither, Their wonted fruit should bear,
Tho' all the fields should wither, Nor flocks, nor herds, be there:
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

William Cowper

The life of Cowper is a study in the grace of God and his work through the weakness of his own servants. The following is a brief History of this man's tormented life, and the testimony to the grace of God he bore. COWPER (koo'pcr or kou'per), WILLIAM (1731-1800), English poet and hymn writer, horn at Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England, the son of a British chaplain, educated in a private school and at Westminster School, studied law in England. Though admitted to the bar, he never practiced law, preferring literature instead. Naturally inclined to morbid brooding and worry. Suffering from an unhappy love affair and worrying over an examination resulted in a mental break that took him to an asylum for a year and a half. After recovering somewhat he lived in the home of Morley Unwin, a retired clergyman of the evangelical party at Huntingdon. Five years after Unwin's death in 1767 Cowper became engaged to Widow Unwin; but his further derangement of mind interfered; they never married. In 1773, cowper was seized By a fit religious melancholia, from which his recovery was due partly to the patient care of Mrs. Unwin, who encouraged him to write poetry. Cowper moved with the Unwin family to Olney, where he became intimate with the pastor, John Newton, and helped him in parish work as a sort of lay curate. He assisted Newton in writing The Olney Hymns. Among the sixty-eight of Cowper's hymns are the following: " Oh for a Closer Walk God," "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood," "God Moves in a Mysterious Ways, " "Hark, My Soul, It is the Lord," and "Jesus Where'er Thy People Meet." He became excessively pious and devout, yet was ever a prey to deep religious doubts and hallucinations and often fell into deep depression. The last decade or more of his life was a period of deep gloom and a settled notion that God had cast him off. In 1785 Cowper became famous upon the publication of his long poem in blank verse, The Task. He also wrote To Mary, a touching lyric tribute to Mrs. Unwin, and On the Royal George. Shortly before his death he wrote Castaway, in which be expressed his spiritual torment. "There is no gentler purer more winning character among the English poets than William Cowper; and there is no better letter-writer among English authors." Cowper authored the famous ballad, John Gilpins Ride.

From Elgin S. Moyer, Who Was Who In Church History
William Cowper
(1731-1800