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Where is the soul-refreshing view?
Of Jesus, and his word?
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.”
People in Cowper’s era read poetry. For one hundred
years after his death, Cowper was a household
name in England. He has been regarded as one of
England’s greatest poets.

O ften when Cowper was gripped by depression,
he came to the vicarage for help from his pastor,
John Newton. Both John Newton and his wife,
Mary, had great affection for “Sir Cowper.” William
Cowper was a great man—a great man propped up
by those whom God put in his path. There had been
Dr. Nathanael Cotton, John Newton, and others.

All of these had calmed William Cowper in his
hours of need.

Did Cowper have assurance of his salvation? Yes! Did
he have doubts in times of depression and sickness?
Yes! This writer is certain that William was saved
and that in normal and ordinary times he had great
assurance, based on his experience and the Word of
God. After all—we too, must hold to the promises
and not to OUR feelings that come and go.

Read again the great hymn “There Is a Fountain”
and feel the assurance that gripped Cowper’s soul.

NO ONE—NO ONE—could write such words
without assurance.

“There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day,
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.”
A few months before his death, William Cowper,
looking at his mother’s picture, penned, “I shall
meet thee on that peaceful shore.”
A pril 25, 1800, at the age of 69, William Cowper
lay down to die. John Newton stated the
following: “About half an hour before his death, his face, which
had been wearing a sad and hopeless expression,
suddenly lighted up with a look of wonder and
inexpressible delight. It was as though he saw his
Saviour. ” 3 Those who attended his funeral, at which
John Newton preached, said that this look of
wonder remained even as he lay in his coffin.

The “poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue” lay silent
in the grave—yet, for centuries since, that tongue
has lifted the hearts of condemned men to God.

Through that noble writer of hymns, throngs of
souls in conflict have found assurance and peace.

Perhaps, dear reader, YOU should go to Olney and
sit there in the park, meditate, and say with William
Cowper. . .

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only Thee.”
“And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.”
—William Cowper
14 3 Jane Smith & Betty Carlson, Favorite
Men Hymn Writers, (Wheaton:
Crossway Books, 1997) 57.