William Cowper and Depression

Chris Brauns —  January 27, 2008 — 4 Comments

If you are someone who struggles with depression, you might appreciate the story of William Cowper who lived in the 1700′s.

Despite being a gifted poet and writer, Cowper struggled with depression so much that he was institutionalized.  It was in an asylum that he read the Bible and understood that salvation is found in Christ.

Despite being a Christian, Cowper was never completely free of depression.  He struggled with it on some level the rest of his life.  Still, through dark valleys, he wrote some of our greatest hymns.  It was William Cowper, who wrote There is a Fountain.

There Is A Fountain

1. There is fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

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

And stanza 5:

5. When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

If you have truly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then be sure of this. There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.  All your guilty stain has been washed away.  And, there is coming a day very soon when you will battle addiction or depression or pain no more.  It will be here very, very soon.

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4 responses to William Cowper and Depression

  1. I love that song – we need to sing it soon.

    And I love this quote. Cowper wrote this about his conversion (after he read Romans 3:25 from a Bible he found sitting on a bench at the asylum) . . .

    “Immediately I received the strength to believe it, and the full beams of the Sun of Righteousness shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement He had made, my pardon sealed in His blood, and all the fullness and completeness of His justification. In a moment I believed, and received the gospel … Whatever my friend Madan had said to me, long before, revived in all its clearness, with demonstration of the spirit and power. Unless the Almighty arm had been under me, I think I should have died with gratitude and joy. My eyes filled with tears, and my voice choked with transport; I could only look up to heaven in silent fear, overwhelmed with love and wonder (see note 8).”

    I found this quote at desiringgod.org – Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint.

  2. That is an incredible quote.

    It is one of my favorite hymns. I would love to have Tim over here to lead it.

  3. Do you have any quotes from where he says he thinks that Christ died for everyone except him [Cowper]?

  4. Thanks for finally writing about >William Cowper and Depression
    | A Brick in the Valley <Liked it!

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