God Moves in a Mysterious Way

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God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Hymn
William Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott.jpg
William Cowper, author of the hymn text
Full Conflict: Light Shining out of Darkness
Text by William Cowper
Meter 8.6.8.6 (CM)
Melody
  • London New (The Psalmes of David in Prose and Meeter)
  • Dundee
Published 1774 (1774)

"God Moves in a Mysterious Way" is a Christian hymn, written in 1773 by William Cowper from England.

Words[edit]

The words were composed by William Cowper (1731–1800). Comprising six verses, they were written in 1773, just before the onset of a depressive illness, during which Cowper attempted suicide by drowning. The text was first published by Cowper's friend, John Henry Newton, in his Twenty-six Letters on Religious Subjects; to which are added Hymns in 1774. The hymn was later published in Olney Hymns which Cowper co-wrote with Newton. Entitled Conflict: Light Shining out of Darkness, it was accompanied by a text from Saint John's Gospel, Chapter 13: Verse 7, which quotes Jesus saying to his disciples; "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter."[1]

First verse:

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm."

The first line of the hymn has become an adage or saying, used to justify unfortunate or inexplicable events,[2] and is referenced in many literary works.[3]

Music[edit]

The hymn tune London New comes from the The Psalmes of David in Prose and Meeter of 1635. In Common Praise, it is in D major. A popular alternative and rather similar tune is Dundee, which comes from the Scottish Psalter of 1615; the harmony was arranged by Thomas Ravenscroft (1592-1635) in 1621.[4] Other traditional tunes include Manoah, first published by Henry Wellington Greatorex in Boston, Massachusetts in 1843 but sometimes attributed to Joseph Haydn,[5] and Irish by Charles Wesley, first published in 1749.[6]

Inclusion in other works[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Audio clips[edit]

Video clips[edit]