14 November 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (all scripture is KJV)
The ways of God are truly mysterious. His hand moves behind the curtains of our lives and brings good out of bad when there seems no hope for good. The little catastrophes we face in life often turn out to amaze us for the loving outcomes they produce. This very biblically-centered hymn is authored by the amazing hymn writer of England, William Cowper (1731-1800), in 1774. The hymn is as much about Cowper as it is about the beauty of God’s Word. Cowper was educated to become and attorney, but spent more time as a poet and writer. His hymns are solemn but tinged with the beauty of hope and glory that reflect the reality of God’s Creation. The last two decades of his life were spent at Olney under the ministry of John Newton whom he assisted in worship services and also authored and compiled many of the hymns published in Newton’s Olney Hymns, printed in 1779. In fact, the Olney Hymns include sixty-eight hymns authored by Cowper. My preferred tune is, Dundee, by Ravenscroft. The ministry of Newton was influential in spiriting Cowper to compose more hymns.
Click here to listen and watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV4hwFnaJV4
GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm. Can any mortal know the beginning or end of the works of God? Compared to God the mind of man is without substance or meaning. It is He “Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind.” (Psalms 104:3) He is our Maker and the sustainer of our every heartbeat. He is not only the One who walks upon the wings of the wind, but the Master of the Wind and Sea.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill He treasures up His bright designs And works His sov’reign will. His Sovereign Will and prescient Councils were formed in the eternities past while yet there was not universe, no earth, no life on our planet, and no Light by which our feet are guided. The depth of His wisdom is unattainable except in those sciences of which He opens the mind of men to acquire hidden truths. He is the Father of all Science and Creator of the Natural Laws of the physical world.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head. The courage of God’s saints of every stripe are not indefatigable. They wax and wane, but are refreshed through the study and preaching of His Word and the attendant leading of the Holy Spirit which sits in the Throne-seat of the Heart as Teacher of the Temple. Our greatest worries never materialize and waste our hopes with vain superstitions.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face. Of course, we are not able to judge the Lord in any sense other than in ignorance and feebleness of a lack of reverence. Men of worldly renown have foundered time and again of the shoals of false science feigned scholarship. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21) The grace of God supercedes every penalty of the law and embraces the boundless Ocean Seas of love immeasurable.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r. The flowers of the meadow need no hand of man to cultivate their beauty. They are glimpses of the artful Hand of God. The Word of God is bitter to the lost sinner, but takes on a sweetness beyond imagination when consumed, digested and made a part of the Temple of God which we are who love the Lord. Not all of God’s beauty in Creation is made profoundly visible to the eye of man. As Thomas Gray has written in Elegy: “Many a gem of purest ray serene, the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear. Many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air.” Often the greatest servants of the Lord remain unheralded by a complacent world.
Blind unbelief is sure to err And scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain. How long must we struggle with the understanding of God’s Word strictly from an intellectual sense without the comforting and revealing aid of the Holy Spirit! “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Many claim a calling from God, they know the Bible, word-wise, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelations 22:21 but yet lack the slightest idea of what love and real meaning it expresses – all without the Holy Ghost as tutor and compass.