Light Shining out of Darkness

Original Text: 
John Newton [and William Cowper], Olney Hymns, in Three Books, 5th edn. (London: J. Buckland and J. Johnson, 1788). Book III, no. 15, p. 255. BV 370 N48 1788 Victoria College Library.
1God moves in a mysterious way,
2    His wonders to perform;
3He plants his footsteps in the sea,
4    And rides upon the storm.
5Deep in unfathomable mines
6    Of never-failing skill,
7He treasures up his bright designs,
8    And works his sov'reign will.
9Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
10    The clouds ye so much dread
11Are big with mercy, and shall break
12    In blessings on your head.
13Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
14    But trust him for his grace;
15Behind a frowning providence
16    He hides a smiling face.
17His purposes will ripen fast,
18    Unfolding ev'ry hour;
19The bud may have a bitter taste,
21Blind unbelief is sure to err,
22    And scan his work in vain;
24    And he will make it plain.


20] Rendered "But wait, to Smell the flower" in the Maitland-Madan Commonplace Book, 113-14 (The Poems of William Cowper, ed. John D. Baird and Charles Ryskamp, Vol. I: 1748-1782 [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980]: 174-75; PR 3380 A2). Back to Line
23] interpreter: commentator. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
First appeared in print in two unrelated publications in 1774, the earlier being "Omicron" [i.e., John Newton], Twenty Six Letters on Religious Subjects. Newton later collected this with other hymns by Cowper in Olney Hymns, 1779.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.