Sunday, April 09, 2006

All Hail the Power

They praised Him as He entered Jerusalem.
Yet just a few days later they crucified Him.

All hail the pow'r of Jesus' name, Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem. And crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem. And crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race, Ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him who saves you by His grace. And crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace. And crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred ev'ry tribe, On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe. And crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe. And crown Him Lord of all.

O that with yonder sacred throng, We at His feet may fall,
We'll join the everlasting song. And crown Him Lord of all.
We'll join the everlasting song. And crown Him Lord of all.

Lyrics by Edward Perronet, 1726-1792

Edward Perronet was born at Sundridge, Kent, England, in 1726. He was a descendant of a distinguished French Huguenot family who had fled to Switzerland and later to England because of the religious persecution in France. Edward's father, a pastor in the State Church of England,was strongly sympathetic with the evangelical movement spearheaded by the Wesleys and George Whitefield.

Edward, too, became a minister in the Anglican Church but was always critical of its ways. Once he wrote, "I was born and I am likely to die in the tottering communion of the Church of England, but I despise her nonsense." Soon, however, he broke from the Church and threw himself strenuously into the evangelistic endeavors of the Wesleys during the 1740's and 1750's. It was during this time that the Wesleys and their followers suffered much persecution and even violence from those who disagreed with their ministry. Concerning these experiences, Wesley made the following notation in his diary: From Rockdale we went to Bolton, and soon found that the Rockdale lions were lambs in comparison with those of Bolton. Edward Perronet was thrown down and rolled in mud and mire. Stones were hurled and windows broken. Another interesting account regarding the relationship between the Wesleys and Perronet concerns the incident when John Wesley announced to a congregation that Edward Perronet would preach at the next service. Being eighteen years younger than Wesley, Perronet had always refused to preach in the elder statesman's presence. Desiring to avoid a public conflict with Wesley, Perronet mounted the pulpit but quickly explained that he had never consented to preach. "However," he added, "I shall deliver the greatest sermon that has ever been preached on earth." He then read the Sermon on the Mount and sat down without comment. Eventually, Perronet's strong-mindedness and free spirit caused a break with the Wesleys, especially on the issue of whether the evangelists as well as the regular ministers could administer the sacraments. Perronet continued to the end of his days as pastor of an independent church at Canterbury, England. His last words have also become classic: Glory to God in the height of His divinity! Glory to God in the depth of His humanity! Glory to God in His all-sufficiency! Into His hands I commend my spirit. Though Perronet wrote many other hymns and forms of poetry, most of which he published anonymously, this is his only work to survive. The success of this text has, no doubt, been furthered by three fine tunes. "Coronation," composed by Oliver Holden, a Massachusetts carpenter, self-taught musician and respected singing-school teacher, is most widely used in America. "Miles Lane" by William Shrubsole, Perronet's personal friend, is the most popular in Great Britain, while the festive "Diadem" tune, composed in 1838 for this text by James Ellor, an English layman, is frequently used as a choir number.

Many interesting accounts have been associated with the use of this hymn. One of the most remarkable is a story told by E.P. Scott, a pioneer missionary to India. One day he was waylaid by a murderous band of tribesmen who were closing in on him with spears. On impulse the missionary took his violin out of his luggage and began to play and sing this hymn. When he reached the stanza "let every kindred, every tribe," he saw to his surprise every spear lowered and many of these tribesmen moved to tears. Scott spent the remaining years of his life preaching and ministering God's love and redemption to these people. God in His providence used a simple hymn as a means of introducing the gospel to a group of needy pagans.

H/T: 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth Osbeck


Rebekah said...

Great story! :) I love that hymn. One of the hardest to sing, but one of the best.

Gayle said...

We sing that in church often. Like Rebekah, I love it too. Unlike Rebekah, whom I almost never disagree with, I don't find it hard to sing. Probably because we sing it so much! :)

Wonderful post.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I love your hymn posts!!