Archives For William Cowper

A wonderful treatment of this hymn by William Cowper (1731-1800)

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
To hear His pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child
And duty into choice.

No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do
Now if I feel its power within
I feel I hate it too.

Then all my servile works were done,
A righteousness to raise
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.

When the scriptures speak of the God of all Comfort meeting us in our pain and encouraging us to comfort others with the comfort we are given, I think of William Cowper. He suffered tragedy in his life and was often assaulted by depression that drove him to suicidal despair. Yet, Cowper has given the church some of her most beloved texts. This one, “God Moves in A Mysterious Way”, was originally titled “Conflict: Light shining out of Darkness.” It was published in 1779 and has been a source of great encouragement for those who struggle with doubt and despair yet cling to a Sovereign God.

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.

Lyrics: William Cowper

William Cowper

David Ward over at Reformed Praise has set the hymn to a new arrangement titled “You Are Mysterious.” He retains Cowpers lyrics and adds the chorus:

You are mysterious, my Lord,
Yet You reveal to me Your Word.
So come and take my anxious fears –
It’s all for good, so dry these tears;
You are mysterious, my Lord.

Listen to it here.

Chord Chart  / Piano Score / Lead Sheet