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All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

Rev E P Scott, a missionary to India, one day saw a man who was very clearly a stranger in the city. He knew that this man was lost and unsure as to where he was trying to get to. Mr Scott approached the man and started to engage in conversation with him. It turned out that the stranger was a member of a tribe that lived in a very remote location in the mountains of India far away from any civilisation. After seeking to make further enquiries of the man, Scott realised that this tribe were heathen and had never been reached with the Gospel because it had been too dangerous for any missionary to do so. This burdened and broke his heart that there were still those in that land who had never been reached with the Gospel and so he was determined that he was going to carry the Gospel to them. He started to make his preparations for leaving to go into the mountain regions, but many of his fellow missionaries sought to discourage him and urged him not to go. They said, “It is madness for you to go,” but Scott replied, “I must carry Jesus to them.”

After some days of travelling into the mountains, he finally located the tribe he was seeking to reach. However very quickly they came out and surrounded Scott and pointing their spears toward him, made to kill him. Expecting to die, he decided to glorify God with his last breath. So taking out his violin that he always carried with him, he began to play and sing, ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name’, in their native language, as best he could. One verse led to another but when he reached the verse, ‘Let every kindred every tribe, On this terrestrial ball, To Him all majesty ascribe, And crown him Lord of all’, he opened his eyes and he couldn’t believe what he saw. Every spear had fallen to the ground and this gathering of people stood with tears in their eyes. Scott’s worship of the Lord had melted the hard hearts of those who sought his death. He was then invited by the tribe into their homes and for two and half years, he laboured and ministered amongst them.

The hymn, ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name’, that Scott sang and played that day was written by Edward Perronet, some 200 years previous. Perronet was a descendent of a distinguished Huguenot family, who because of their faith were greatly persecuted in their native France. As a result the family moved to England and Edward’s father, who was an earnest evangelical, ministered in a church in Shoreham in Kent and became a close associate of John Wesley. Edward himself, after ministering in a number of churches, went to pastor a small but strong evangelical witness in Canterbury. He was a man who was very passionate and desirous to glorify God in all of his life and through what he did.

He wrote a variety of hymns but perhaps the most well known is, ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name’; it is often referred to as the ‘National Hymn of Christendom’. It sets forth very clearly Perronet’s desire in worship and praise to exalt the name of his Lord. For him his life was to be a witness and testimony to the glory of God and surely even the account of how the words of this God exalting hymn, moved and melted the hearts of that tribe in the remote mountains of India, remind us again of the truth that “whosoever offereth praise glorifieth me.” (Psalm 50:23). When our lives glorify God and when we offer the sacrifice of our lips to God in praise, then others will take notice, our lives will tell for Him. Through our worship of Christ and the exalting of His great name, lives can be impacted and changed for eternity and others can be led to worship Him also. This crowning jewel of a hymn commands our attention in worship, ‘All Hail’ and it calls for our adoration in worship, ‘Crown Him’. May our lives as well as our lips, crown Him Lord of all.

Rev. Garth Wilson.