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William Cowper was an English poet and hymn writer born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, in 1731. His father was a rector of an Anglican church, and his aunt an English poet. In November 1737, less than three weeks before William’s sixth birthday, his mother died giving birth to his brother John. Seven children were born to John and his wife, but only William and his brother lived past infancy.

In young adulthood, Cowper began to suffer emotional and mental distress.  First being diagnosed as melancholy in 1763, he experienced depression and insanity.  He tried three times to commit suicide, after which he was sent to an asylum to recover.  There he wrote the poem “Hatred and Vengeance, My Eternal Portions.”  

After his recovery, Cowper stayed with a retired clergyman and his family. He also made friends with John Newton, the former captain of slave ships who had been transformed by Jesus and had devoted his life to the gospel. Newton asked Cowper for his contribution to a hymnal he was compiling.  The hymnal published in 1779 contains some of Cowper’s most beautiful hymns, including “Praise for the Fountain” (known as “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood”) and “Light Shining out of Darkness” (known as “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”).

Sadly, William Cowper succumbed to dropsy (edema) on April 25, 1800. He left behind all the sorrows and pains of a life filled with emotional and mental pain and, because of a “fountain of blood, joined his beloved mother, father, and siblings in heaven. 

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

The Story  – Who Was William Cowper?

Song — There is a Fountain


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