“…whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
John 6:37 (NIV)
One of the truly great English poets of his generation was a man named William Cowper (1731-1800). His mother was a descendant of the great English poet John Donne (1572-1631) and his father was chaplain to King George II of England. Cowper was a sad man who had many emotional breakdowns during his lifetime.
His depression caused him to attempt suicide more than once. On a couple of occasions he was admitted to an institution for mentally ill people. Then he had times when he felt assurance of God’s presence in his life. He was especially blessed to have John Newton (author if the hymn Amazing Grace) as a neighbour for some years. Newton was able to encourage Cowper to write poems around themes of his sermons.
Newton would take Cowper’s poems and put them to music and have his congregation sing them after he delivered the message spoken of in the new hymn. In fact Newton and Cowper jointly published a hymn book of their compositions. My copy, first published in 1797, has each hymn with a text from Scripture and divided according to books of the Bible and seasons in the Christian life.
Cowper was a very godly man whose great desire in life was to walk with his Creator. He longed for intimacy with God. One of his hymns was entitled, Oh for a closer walk with God. This was Cowper’s lifelong desire. A couple of the verses go as follows:
O for a closer walk with God, A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view Of Jesus and His Word?
Some timid Christians today have the same struggles with depression that Cowper experienced. They do believe, they want to believe, yet they are hesitant to speak confidently of their faith. They seem to have a lack of the peace spoken of in Scripture. The final poem poor Cowper wrote just months before his death was entitled The Castaway. This was the expression of a tragic figure who decided he was predestined to eternal separation from God. He sensed he was abandoned by God.
Somehow Cowper could not find comfort in such Scriptures as John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life…” (NIV) or John 6:37 :…and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (NIV).
Jesus is presented in Scripture as being willing to receive all who come to Him. He has promised to receive all who turn to Him. Jesus is as good as His word. The message of Christmas is for all who will take it for themselves and come to the One Who humbly came for sinners. If you feel your need today you are fully qualified to take Jesus for your own. If Jesus could rescue a thief at the hour of death (Luke 23:33-43) surely He can deliver such as ourselves although we are not that close to the end. Reader, if you are sorrowful as was Cowper, you are fully qualified to come and receive all you need in Jesus. He bids you come. Come and come today.