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“CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS” The Story Behind the Hymn



“CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS”

This hymn was written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges and Godfred Thring. It was sung to the music of “Diademata.” It originally had two six-line verses. The first six stanzas were written by Bridges. The second six stanzas were written by Thring. The two six-line verses “shar[e] . . . the same melody and theme but different wording and theological points of interest.” [1]

Bridges (1800-1894) left the Anglican Church like many other contemporaries to “go home to Rome” (the Roman Catholic Church). These all followed the lead and influence of John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Newman was one of the leaders of the “Oxford Movement.” Devotees to Anglicanism believed the Anglican Church to be the primitive and “true church” going back to the Apostolic era. But, when the “adherents . . . [of] the movement studied the ancient history of the church, its doctrine, and especially its liturgy[,] . . . they discovered a wealth of Greek and Latin hymnody from the earliest centuries of the Christian church.”[2] It might be observed that this hymn follows those ancient liturgies and songs that were rediscovered.

Bridges published a couple of hymn volumes: The Passion of Jesus in 1852 and Hymns of the Heart in 1847. “‘Crown him with many crowns’” was published in the second edition of Hymns of the Heart in 1851 in six, eight-line stanzas.”[3] It has become a popular hymn of exaltation. And it has been published widely in many denominational hymns since then.

Now you know the rest of the story!

“CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS” Lyrics

Verse One:

Crown him with many crowns, The Lamb upon his throne; Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns All music but its own: Awake, my soul, and sing Of him who died for thee, And hail him as thy matchless king Through all eternity. Verse Two:

Crown him the Virgin's Son! The God Incarnate born,-- Whose arm those crimson trophies won Which now his brow adorn! Fruit of the mystic Rose As of that Rose the Stem: The Root, whence mercy ever flows,-- The Babe of Bethlehem! Verse Three:

Crown him the Lord of love! Behold his hands and side,-- Rich wounds, yet visible above, In beauty glorified: No angel in the sky Can fully bear that sight, But downward bends his burning eye At mysteries so bright! Verse Four:

Crown him the Lord of peace! Whose power a scepter sways, From pole to pole,--that wars may cease, Absorbed in prayer and praise: his reign shall know no end, And round his pierced feet Fair flowers of paradise extend Their fragrance ever sweet. Verse Five:

Crown him the Lord of years! The Potentate of time,-- Creator of the rolling spheres, Ineffably sublime! Glassed in a sea of light, Where everlasting waves Reflect his throne,--the Infinite! Who lives,--and loves--and saves. Verse Six:

Crown him the Lord of heaven! One with the Father known,-- And the blest Spirit, through him given From yonder triune throne! All hail! Redeemer,--Hail! For Thou hast died for me; Thy praise shall never, never fail Throughout eternity! Verse Seven:

Crown him with crowns of gold, All nations great and small, Crown him, ye martyred saints of old, The Lamb once slain for all; The Lamb once slain for them Who bring their praises now, As jewels for the diadem That girds his sacred brow. Verse Eight:

Crown him the Son of God Before the worlds began, And ye, who tread where He hath trod, Crown him the Son of Man; Who every grief hath known That wrings the human breast, And takes and bears them for His own, That all in him may rest. Verse Nine:

Crown him the Lord of light, Who o'er a darkened world In robes of glory infinite His fiery flag unfurled. And bore it raised on high, In heaven--in earth--beneath, To all the sign of victory O'er Satan, sin, and death. Verse Ten:

Crown him the Lord of life Who triumphed o'er the grave, And rose victorious in the strife For those he came to save; His glories now we sing Who died, and rose on high. Who died, eternal life to bring And lives that death may die. Verse Eleven:

Crown him of lords the Lord, Who over all doth reign Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, For ransomed sinners slain, Now lives in realms of light, Where saints with angels sing Their songs before him day and night, Their God, Redeemer, king. Verse Twelve:

Crown him the Lord of heaven, Enthroned in worlds above; Crown him the king, to whom is given The wondrous name of Love, Crown him with many crowns, As thrones before him fall. Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns, For He is King of all.

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[1] Referenced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Him_with_Many_Crowns, retrieved October 28, 2020.

[2] Hawn, “History of Hymns: Crown Him with Many Crowns,” Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church, Internet source: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-crown-him-with-many-crowns, retrieved October 28, 2020.


[3] Ibid.

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