Scripture Verse

He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. Psalm 72:1–2

Introduction

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James Montgomery (1771–1854)
National Portrait Gallery

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Words: James Mont­go­me­ry, 1821. Ap­peared in his Songs of Zi­on (Lon­don: Long­man, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1822), pag­es 59–63.

Music: El­la­combe, Ge­sang­buch der herz­ogl. wir­tem­berg­isch­en ka­tho­lisch­en Hof­ka­pel­le (Würt­tem­berg, Ger­ma­ny: 1784). Adapt­ed and har­mo­nized by Will­iam H. Monk in the 1868 ap­pendix to Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, num­ber 366 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

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William H. Monk (1823–1889)

Origin of the Hymn

[This hymn] is a met­ric­al ver­sion of the Se­ven­ty-se­cond Psalm. It was wri­tten as a Christ­mas hymn and was first sung on Christ­mas Day, 1821, at a great con­vo­ca­tion of the Mo­ra­vi­ans in their set­tle­ment at Ful­neck.

At a Wes­ley­an mis­sion­ary meet­ing, held in Li­ver­pool on Apr­il 14 of the fol­low­ing year, 1822, when Doc­tor Adam Clarke pre­sid­ed, Mont­go­me­ry made an ad­dress and closed it by the re­cit­al of this hymn with all of its vers­es…Doctor Clarke lat­er used it in his fa­mous Com­men­ta­ry in con­nect­ion with his dis­cuss­ion of the Se­ven­ty-sec­ond Psalm.

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Lyrics

Hail to the Lord’s an­oint­ed!
Great David’s great­er Son;
Hail in the time ap­point­ed,
His reign on earth be­gun!
He comes to break op­press­ion,
To set the cap­tive free;
To take away trans­gress­ion,
And rule in eq­ui­ty.

He comes, with suc­cor speedy
To those who suf­fer wrong;
To help the poor and needy,
And bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sigh­ing,
Their dark­ness turn to light,
Whose souls, con­demned and dy­ing,
Were pre­cious in His sight.

By such shall He be fear­èd
While sun and moon en­dure;
Beloved, ob­eyed, re­ver­èd;
For He shall judge the poor,
Through chang­ing ge­ne­ra­tions,
With jus­tice, mer­cy, truth;
While stars main­tain their sta­tions,
Or moons re­new their youth.

He shall come down, like show­ers
Upon the fruit­ful earth,
And love, joy, hope, like flow­ers,
Spring in His path to birth:
Before Him, on the mount­ains,
Shall peace, the her­ald, go,
And right­eous­ness in fount­ains,
From hill to val­ley flow.

Arabia’s de­sert rang­er
To Him shall bow the knee;
The Ethi­op­ian stran­ger
His glo­ry come to see;
With of­fer­ings of de­vo­tion,
Ships from the isles shall meet,
To pour the wealth of ocean
In tri­bute at His feet.

Kings shall fall down be­fore Him,
And gold and in­cense bring;
All na­tions shall ad­ore Him,
His praise all peo­ple sing;
For He shall have do­min­ion
O’er ri­ver, sea and shore,
Far as the ea­gle’s pin­ion
Or dove’s light wing can soar.

For Him shall pray­er un­ceas­ing
And dai­ly vows as­cend;
His king­dom still in­creas­ing,
A king­dom with­out end:
The mount­ain dews shall nour­ish
A seed in weak­ness sown,
Whose fruit shall spread and flour­ish
And shake like Le­ba­non.

O’er ev­ery foe vic­to­ri­ous,
He on His throne shall rest;
From age to age more glo­ri­ous,
All bless­ing and all blest.
The tide of time shall ne­ver
His co­ve­nant remove;
His name shall stand for­ev­er,
His name to us is—Love.