Monday, October 15, 2007


William Cowper thought he was not among the elect. This is apparent in his poetry, his depression, and even in some of his hymns. G. K. Chesterton saw it. In Orthodoxy, he claimed that Cowper was “damned by John Calvin.” Cowper was friends with John Newton [pastor and hymnist who wrote “Amazing Grace”] and lived with him for 12 years. Newton would write to William to encourage him in his fearful despair.

July 30, 1767 [excerpts]:

I can only advise you to resist to the utmost every dark and discouraging suggestion.

Though sin has abounded in us, grace has superabounded in him; though our enemies are many and mighty, Jesus is above them all; though He may hide himself from us at times, He has given us a warrant to trust him, even while we walk in darkness, He has promised to return, and gather us with everlasting mercies.

So, to renounce self, to live upon Jesus, to walk with God, to overcome the world, to trust the Lord when we cannot trace him, and to know that our duty and privilege consist in these things, may be readily or quickly learned; but, upon repeated trial, we find that saying and doing are two different things.

We please ourselves with agreeable prospects and proposals; but determination is with the Lord. We may rejoice that it is, He sees all things in their dependences and connexions, which we see not, and therefore he often thwarts our wishes for our good.

Let us strive and pray for a habitual resignation to his will; for He does all things well. It is never ill with us but when our hearts doubt or forget this plainest of truths.

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