Friday, 27 March 2015

"Hail to the Lord's Anointed" - James Montgomery, 1771-1854

James Montgomery, born in Scotland, the son of a Moravian clergyman, was an editor by profession. Though as a child he had joined the Moravian Church, he lost his early piety when he became a young man; but later in life he was converted, and joined the Moravian Church again at the age of forty-three. Thus, he became a Christian warrior, such as he describes, standing 

In all the armor of his God ; 
The Spirit's sword is in his hand, 
His feet are with the gospel shod. 

He and Cowper hold the foremost place among laymen of the church who are eminent hymn- writers. 

His hymn, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed," he wrote in 1821, seven years after he joined the church a second time. It 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 Moravians in their settlement at Fulneck. At a Wesleyan missionary meeting, held in Liverpool on April 14 of the following year, 1822, when Dr. Adam Clarke presided, Montgomery made an address and closed it by the recital of this hymn with all of its verses, some of which are omitted in this hymnal. Dr. Clarke later used it in his famous Commentary in connection with his discussion of the seventy-second psalm. 

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