Sometimes a light surprises

Representative Text

1 Sometimes a light surprises
the Christian while he sings;
it is the Lord who rises
with healing in His wings;
when comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
a season of clear shining,
to cheer it after rain.

2 In holy contemplation,
we sweetly then pursue
the theme of God’s salvation,
and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow,
we cheerfully can say,
“E'en let the unknown morrow
bring with it what it may.”

3 "It can bring with it nothing,
but He will bear us through;
who gives the lilies clothing
will clothe His people, too;
beneath the spreading heavens
no creature but is fed;
and He who feeds the ravens
will give His children bread."

4 Though vine nor fig tree neither
their wonted fruit should bear,
though all the field should wither,
nor flocks nor herds be there,
yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
for while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.

Source: Hymns to the Living God #309

Author: William Cowper

Cowper, William, the poet. The leading events in the life of Cowper are: born in his father's rectory, Berkhampstead, Nov. 26, 1731; educated at Westminster; called to the Bar, 1754; madness, 1763; residence at Huntingdon, 1765; removal to Olney, 1768; to Weston, 1786; to East Dereham, 1795; death there, April 25, 1800. The simple life of Cowper, marked chiefly by its innocent recreations and tender friendships, was in reality a tragedy. His mother, whom he commemorated in the exquisite "Lines on her picture," a vivid delineation of his childhood, written in his 60th year, died when he was six years old. At his first school he was profoundly wretched, but happier at Westminster; excelling at cricket and football, and numbering Warren Hasti… Go to person page >


Sometimes a light surprises. W. Cowper. [Joy and Peace in Believing.] Published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Book iii., No. 48, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed "Joy and Peace in Believing." It is in O. XJ. in its full and in an abbreviated form. There are also two centos therefrom in modern collections:—(1) "In holy contemplation, we sweetly then pursue," in the American Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858, and later editions; and (2) "Thy children, Lord, lack nothing," in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, 1870. -- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 20 of 20)

Ancient and Modern #519


Celebrating Grace Hymnal #56

Page Scan

Common Praise #572

Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #800


Hymnal 1982 #667

Hymnal #603

Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #108

Hymns and Psalms #571a

Hymns and Psalms #571b

Hymns of the Saints #154

Hymns of the Saints #155

TextPage Scan

Hymns to the Living God #309

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #159

The Baptist Hymnal #316

The Covenant Hymnal #94


The Cyber Hymnal #6199

The Willard Hymnary #14


Together in Song #128

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #621

Page Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #487

Include 338 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us