The life of William Cowper was defined by extended periods of depression and spiritual agony. At age twenty-three, after leaving school, Cowper began to study law, but stopped because of severe depression. He recovered, but soon relapsed, and was hospitalized; while in the asylum he converted to Evangelicalism. Once released, he lived with a reverend and his wife. After the reverend's death, Cowper became engaged to the wife, with whom he lived for twenty-three years, until her death. In "Light Shining Out of Darkness," Cowper explores the relationship between God and the world and how to react to God's unfathomable power.