By Taylor Brantley
With reach across the earth and throughout time, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name has been the subject of more than a few stories through history.
Edward Perronet was born in England, 1726. Edward seemed destined for preaching from a young age, for his father was both a minister and good friends with John and Charles Wesley – leaders of the Methodist movement. These men were highly influential to Edward, showing him how a man should live. Edward’s father served a congregation that was part of the church of England and naturally wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. But the footsteps Edward ended up following were those of the Wesley’s, and he became a Methodist minister.
Edward spent his entire life preaching, even to his very last words on earth:
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.
Most famous of Edward’s minster moments came when he was visiting John Wesley’s church. John insisted on Edward taking the pulpit during the visit, but Edward insisted otherwise. Edward – having grown up under mentorship of John – thought himself far below the task. Both men stubbornly refused to accept each other’s wishes, and it came to a climax that Sunday. John took the pulpit and proclaimed, “Now, we will hear a message from Minister Edward!” Edward was taken aback, but he quickly gathered his thoughts, took the pulpit, and proclaimed, “I will now deliver the greatest sermon ever preached on earth.” Edward opened his Bible, read the Sermon on the Mount, thanked the congregation for their time, then took his seat.
It wasn’t until Edward’s later years that he began writing hymns. He wanted no credit for these works and thus chose to publish anonymously in a series of small books. Of this series, only one remains known to us: Occasional Verses, Moral and Sacred. What made this particular book so special was its inclusion of All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.
The hymn’s popularity rose organically, reaching far beyond England. Today, the hymn is often called the ‘National Anthem of Christendom.’ With such popularity came a variety of stories with the hymn at center stage.
One story tells of a woman on her death bed who kept repeating the word “Bring.” Those taking care of her kept wondering what she wanted them to bring, until she finally sang “Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all!” and then fell over dead.
Another story tells of a missionary to India by the name of E.P. Scott. Scott was venturing to share the gospel with a primitive Indian tribe and as he arrived on their land, he was greeted with spears held high. The spearmen closed in on Scott, and all he could think to do was get out his violin and sing. Of course, he chose All Hail the Power, and when he reached the stanza “let every kindred, every tribe,” the spearmen lowered their weapons and welcomed Scott. Scott spent the remainder of his years ministering to those people.
Many other stories featuring All Hail the Power exist, and since the hymn refuses to wane in popularity, more are sure to come as God’s people continue to sing the hymn in this life and the next.
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