Spring

How many poets will be stirred by the works of their Creator? Below is John Newton’s (1725 – 1807) hymn for Spring.

Pleasing spring again is here!
Trees and fields in bloom appear;
Hark! the birds, with artless lays,
Warble their Creator’s praise!
Where, in winter, all was snow,
Now the flow’rs in clusters grow;
And the corn, in green array,
Promises a harvest–day.

What a change has taken place!
Emblem of the spring of grace;
How the soul, in winter,  mourns
Till the LORD, the Sun, returns;
Till the Spirit’s gentle rain,
Bids the heart revive again;
Then the stone is turned to flesh,
And each grace springs forth afresh.

LORD, afford a spring to me!
Let me feel like what I see;
Ah! my winter has been long,
Chilled my hopes, and stopped my song!
Winter threatened to destroy
Faith, and love, and every joy;
If thy life was in the root,
Still I could not yield thee fruit.

Speak, and by thy gracious voice
Make my drooping soul rejoice;
O beloved Savior, haste,
Tell me all the storms are past:
Pleasing spring again is here!
On thy garden deign to smile,
Raise the plants, enrich the soil;
Soon thy presence will restore
Life, to what seemed dead before.

LORD, I long to be at home,
Where these changes never come!
Where the saints no winter fear,
Where ’tis spring throughout the year:
How unlike this state below!
There the flow’rs unwith’ring blow,
There no chilling blasts annoy,
All is love, and bloom, and joy.

A Riddle

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I am just two and two, I am warm, I am cold,
And the parent of numbers that cannot be told.
I am lawful, unlawful — a duty, a fault,
I am often sold dear, good for nothing when bought;
An extraordinary boon, and a matter of course,
And yielded with pleasure when taken by force.

William Cowper (1780)

Note: I’ve provided the answer in the Comments

Behind the lines

William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) had severe bouts of depression throughout his life, but the answer to the riddle is not typically thought of as depressing.

Cowper (1731-1800) was a poet and hymn writer and his most famous hymns are, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” “O For a Closer Walk with God,” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”

He was good friends with John Newton (1725-1807) and included this riddle in a letter he wrote to him. Their joint hymns project, famously known as the Olney Hymns, produced the three above along with the most popular hymn of our time, “Amazing Grace.” The entire collection is available for free. Click here to download it as a PDF. 

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