Matthew Bridges, 1800-1894 and Godfrey Thring, 1823-1903
His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns…
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19: 12,13)
Jesus Christ, the condescension of divinity and the exaltation of humanity.
– Phillips Brookes
The one who bore the crown of thorns while on the cross is now crowned with “many crowns” as the reigning monarch of heaven. Each crown in this hymn text exalts Christ for some specific aspect of His person or ministry: Stanza one for His eternal Kingship; stanza two for His love demonstrated in redemptive suffering; stanza three for His victorious resurrection and ascension; stanza four as a member of the Triune Godhead ever worthy of worship and praise.
This worshipful text is the combined effort of two distinguished Anglican clergymen, each of whom desired to write a hymn of exaltation to our suffering but now victorious Lord. Matthew Bridges’ version first appeared in 1851 with six stanzas. Twenty-three years later Godfrey Thring wrote six additional stanzas, which appeared in his collection Hymns and Sacred Lyrics. The hymn’s present form includes stanzas one, two, and four by Bridges and the third verse by Thring. The tune, “Diademata” (the Greek word for crowns), was composed especially for this text by George Elvey, a noted organist at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England, where British royalty often attend.
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne: Hark! How the heav’nly 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 thru all eternity.
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 wond’ring eye at mysteries so bright.
Crown Him the Lord of life: Who triumphed o’er the grave, who rose victorious to 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.
Crown Him the Lord of heav’n: One with the Father known; One with the Spirit thru Him giv’n from yonder glorious throne. To Thee be endless praise, for Thou for us hast died; be Thou, O Lord, thru endless days adored and magnified.
For Today: Romans 14:9; Hebrews 2:7-10; Revelation 1:5, 6; 5:11-14; 19:1
Let your soul rejoice in the truth that you are related to the One “who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.” Worship and praise Him even now with these musical lines -
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King thru all eternity.
Adapted from Amazing Grace – 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions by Kenneth W. Osbeck.