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Posts Tagged ‘William Cowper’

 

ON THIS DATE

Reportedly William Cowper wrote his “O for a closer walk with God” on 12/6/1769, during the illness of a close friend.  His father was the chaplain to George II, King of England, and he himself trained for law but did not practice it.  William was a man who suffered some from mental imbalance yet produced both “secular” material, The Task” for example, and sacred hymns being known mainly for “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”  His years were 1731 – 1800, and is reported to have died with such a bright face that he seemed to have seen Jesus in that critical hour.

He said about “O for a closer walk with God,” “I be­gan to com­pose them yes­ter­day morn­ing be­fore day­break, but I fell asleep at the end of the first two lines. When I awaked again, the third and fourth vers­es were whis­pered to my heart in a way I have of­ten ex­per­i­enced.”

O for a closer walk with God, A calm and heavenly frame,

A light to shine upon the road That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I saw the Lord?

Where is the soul refreshing view Of Jesus and His Word?

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O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

William Cowper died this date, 4/25/1800, at East Dereham, Norfolk, England. Cowper (pronounced “koo’ pur”) trained to be a lawyer but did not become one.  He is credited with over sixty hymns/gospel songs among which are “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” and “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”

In spite of long-standing depression Cowper left not only the above (a spiritual literary legacy) he also wrote “The Negro’s Complaint” an anti-slavery work, and “The Task” – a work some 5,000 lines in length.  He was back-fence neighbors with John Newton, the author of famous “Amazing Grace.”  Cowper was born 11//15/1731, at Great Berk­hamp­stead, Hert­ford­shire, Eng­land.

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Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See! the streams of living waters,
spring form eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint, when such a river
ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver,
never fails from age to age.

Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near.
Thus they march, their pillar leading,
light by night, and shade by day;
daily on the manna feeding
which he gives them when they pray.

Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in the Redeemer’s blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
makes them kings and priests to God.
‘Tis his love his people raises
over self to reign as kings:
and as priests, his solemn praises
each for a thank-offering brings.

Savior, if of Zion’s city,
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy Name.
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion’s children know.

 

John Newton on this date, 9/28/1774 is thought to have written (in a letter)

“We are always equally in danger in ourselves and always equally safe under the shadow of His wings.”  Newton was an Anglican minister and hymn writer best known for his “Amazing Grace.”  He was a personal friend and back-fence neighbor to William Cowper.

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“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.

 

William Cowper on this date, 7/6/1774, published “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”

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“Lord, I Approach, Thy Mercy Seat”

Lord, I approach, Thy mercy seat,
Where Thou dost answer prayer;
There humbly fall before Thy feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By war without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.

Be Thou my Shield, my hiding Place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died.

John Newton, famous for penning “Amazing Grace” also penned scores of other hymns, the present “Lord, I Approach, Thy Mercy Seat,” being one of them.  Newton died this date 12/21/1807 in London, England the same city in which was was born 7/24/1725.  He and William Cowper shared backyard fences.

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“There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”

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!
’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.

Cowper is pronounced as if spelled “Cooper.”  He also wrote a long poem, “The Task.”

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