Scripture Verse

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

Introduction

portrait
James Montgomery
(1771–1854)

Words: James Mont­gom­e­ry, 1821.

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

portrait
William H. Monk
(1823–1889)

Origin of 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;
Love, joy, and 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 oceans
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.