Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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The Poems of William Cowper

Cowper's name will always be associated with that of John Newton, his friend and pastor. Together they wrote many hymns familiar to us today.

Cowper suffered from bouts of acute depression. Newton saved him from suicide several times. In fact, because his nervous system was so delicate, he was unable to hold a job. Therefore he spent his time in literary persuits, including writing poetry.

His poetry was quite influential. Many people who scorned evangelicals as "Methodists" would read Cowper's poems. He addressed many social issues, such as African slavery, as well as spreading the Gospel.

One of Cowper's critics says that Newton was a bad influence, causing him to "indulge and inflame his sensiblity in the dark ecstasies of Calvinism, while at the same time affronting all that was reasonable and humane in his nature." (H I Faussett) Judge for yourself.

I am told that he pronounced his name "Cooper."

Olney Hymns

     Walking With God
     On Opening a Place for Social Prayer
     Exhortation to Prayer
     Light Shining Out of Darkness
     The Heart Healed and Changed by Mercy
     Grace and Providence
     Peace After a Storm

Extracts from Longer Poems

     What is Man? (from "Truth")
     God's Criminal (from "Hope") Perhaps a defence of George Whitfield?
     Hope's Triumph (from "Hope")

Poems by John Newton

Newton wrote many hymns, both with Cowper and on his own. He also wrote poetry. While he is not as elegant a poet as Cowper, his poetry has a clarity and simple charm that is appealing.

     On Dreaming
     The World
     Praise for the Incarnation
     Men Honoured Above Angels
     Saturday Evening
     At the Close of the Year
     Joy and Peace in Believing
     The Day of Judgement
     Bitter and Sweet
     Prayer Answered by Crosses

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