God moves in a mysterious way

God moves in a mysterious way. William Cowper* (1731-1800). This hymn appeared in John Newton’s Twenty-six Letters on Religious Subjects; to which are added Hymns, etc. by Omicron (1774) and in the Gospel Magazine (1774) before publication in Book III of Olney Hymns (1779). It was entitled ‘Light shining out of darkness’. In the First Edition of A&M (1861) it is headed by a reference to John 13:7 (footnoted to the last verse in Olney Hymns) although Genesis 40:8 is alluded to more directly. It was written in 1773 at a time when Cowper was soon to endure a major nervous breakdown, and it has been seen by some writers, notably Erik Routley*, as the work of a man ‘conquered by despair’...

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