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Hymn Author

William Cowper


TUNE: Dundee

God moves in a mysterious way

Together with John Newton, Cowper produced what has become known as the ‘Olney hymns’. Cowper himself suffered from depression and Newton saved him from suicide on several occasions. Cowper followed a literary path producing many poems as well as hymns. His writings included translations of the works of Madame Guyon.

Cowper was going through a bad time with his depression. He decided to end it all. One evening he summoned a horse drawn cab to take him to the river where  would throw himself into it. On the way there the fog descended and the cabbie could not find his way at all. Cowper asked if he could find his way back to his home, the cabbie said yes and did so. On returning to his abode Cowper paid the driver, who objected that he had not taken the poet anywhere. Cowper replied that he had save his life! That night Cowper sat down and wrote this well known hymn.

Light shining out of darkness


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 flow.


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