Sometimes a light surprises

Full Text

1 Sometime a light surprises
the child of God who 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,
“Let the unknown tomorrow
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 longed-for fruit should bear,
though all the fields 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: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #800

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 Hastin… 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)



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Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #519Text
Celebrating Grace Hymnal #56Text
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #572Page Scan
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #800Text InfoTextAudio
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Hymnal: A Worship Book #603
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Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #571a
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #571b
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Hymns of the Saints: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #155
Rejoice in the Lord #159TextPage Scan
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The Cyber Hymnal #6199TextScoreAudio
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Include 336 pre-1979 instances