Most hymn historians agree that “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” is one of the finest hymns ever written. This triumphant hymn was anonymously published in 1779 in The Gospel Magazine, edited by Augustus Toplady, the author of “Rock of Ages.” The hymn appeared with extensive changes that had been made by a Baptist pastor, John Rippon, in “Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors” in 1787. The version in most hymnals has four or five stanzas based on these alterations. (Melody Publication’s “Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs” has the original seven stanzas and also includes three by Rippon.)
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” describes the triumphant scene in heaven when people from every tribe and nation join the heavenly choir to praise the Lord. In Rippon’s edition, the stanzas were given subtitles, identifying those who are called to join in that worship: Spiritual Beings, Martyrs, Converted Jews, Gentile Believers, Sinners of Every Age, Sinners of Every Nation and Ourselves.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).
This hymn’s popularity is evident because it appears in many hymnals with three different tunes. “Miles Lane,” the tune originally sung with the text, was written by William Shrubsole, Perronet’s close friend. It has been more widely used in England and Europe than in America. “Coronation,” the most common tune, was composed by American Oliver Holden in 1792, the year of Perronet’s death. A stately tune, it has the character of a coronation march. “Diadem” was composed by James Ellor in 1838. This tune is written in the style of a choir anthem with beautiful four-part harmony in the refrain. While singing this hymn, one can imagine one day singing the “everlasting song” with the “yonder sacred throng” of the redeemed.
It was eventually learned that Edward Perronet, an author who often used a pseudonym or no name at all, had written the hymn. He was born in Sundridge, England, in 1726, and he was a descendant of French Huguenots who had come to England to escape religious persecution. The Church of England ordained him, but he didn’t agree with many of the practices of the State Church. He worked with John and Charles Wesley in their evangelical revivals. These men of faith and courage faced much opposition and sometimes even violent persecution in their ministry. In his diary, John Wesley said, “Edward Perronet was thrown down and rolled in the mud and mire. He got a deal of abuse thereby, and not a little dirt, both of which he took very patiently.” Perronet became convinced that they all should separate from the Anglican Church and form another denomination. The Wesleys were not ready to do this, so he founded an independent church in Canterbury, where he served until his death in 1792. His last words were:
Let angels prostrate fall;
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
crown him, crown him;
And crown him LORD of all,
Before his face who tunes their choir,
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