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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By William Cowper (1731–1800)

Light out of Darkness

GOD 1 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        5
  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        10
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        15
  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.        20
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
  And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
  And He will make it plain.
Note 1. William Cowper became a poet at the suggestion of his friends, to relieve a melancholic mind from feeding upon itself. At the suggestion of the Rev. John Newton, the curate of Olney in Buckinghamshire, he co-operated with him in writing hymns for the church there. The sweetest of Cowper’s, “Hark, my soul,” is too well known to quote; but two others of the collection, which are rather poems than hymns are here given. For the rest, his verse, though often serious, offers no material for a “Lyra Sacra.” [back]