Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Story Behind All Hail the Power

This majestic hymn, often called the National Anthem of Christendom, was penned by Edward Perronet in 1779. It first appear anonymously in Gospel Magazine that same year. Many years passed before the authorship of this hymn was discovered.

Edward knew hardship and persecution. He was friends with the Wesleys for a while, but a rift developed between them over theology and Edward spent the rest of his days ministering to a small Congregational church.

Both of the most popular tunes, Coronation and Diadem, were written by nineteen-year-old young men. Oliver Holden, a Boston musician, wrote Coronation in 1793 just for All Hail the Power. John Ellor, and Englishman, wrote Diadem in 1838. The original tune is was set to, Miles Lane, appeared with the first version of the hymn and was written by William Shrubsole. You can listen to that music here.

The story goes that missionary to India P.E. Scott went to a remote tribe and was soon surrounded by warriors, spears drawn. Knowing his death was near, he took out his ever-present violin and began to sing the hymn in their native language. When he looked up from the final verse, the warriors had lowered their spears and many were in tears. Needless to say, he survived and went on to serve that tribe for many years.

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