Come, Thou Almighty King


"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
(2 Corinthians 13:14)

Come, thou Almighty King,
help us thy name to sing,

help us to praise.  
Father, all glorious,
o'er all victorious,

come and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.

Come, thou Incarnate Word,
gird on thy mighty sword,

our prayer attend.  
Come, and they people bless,
and give thy Word success;

Spirit of holiness,
on us descend.  

Come, Holy Comforter,
thy sacred witness bear

in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art,
now rule in every heart,
and ne'er from us depart,
Spirit of pow'r.

To the great One in Three
eternal praises be,
hence evermore.
His sovereign majesty
may we in glory see, 
and to eternity
love and adore.

- Anonymous 


"Come, Thou Almighty King" is perhaps the most glorious trinitarian hymn ever written, and it has been published in hymnals consistently since it was written in 1757.  The hymn enjoyed great popularity immediately, and for 25 years after its writing, no hymnal was published without it.  Nevertheless, the author remains anonymous.  The hymn was first published as "An Hymn to the Trinity" in a 1757 leaflet, and that same year, it was included in George Whitefield's "Collection of Hymns for Social Worship."  From there it was propelled into popularity both in America and Europe, and it has retained its place as one of the great hymns of the church. 


This hymn is exquisitely simple and marvelously robust.  Just a glance at the opening words of each stanza reveals at once the hymnwriter's intent in penning this powerful invocation, "An Hymn to the Trinity."  

The first stanza addresses the Father, the "Almighty King" and "Ancient of Days," and asks for His help in our praise and worship as it praises His glorious and triumphant sovereign nature.  

The second stanza asks the Son, the "Incarnate Word," to come and attend to our prayers, bless us, and give His Word success as He sends His Spirit upon us.

The third stanza invokes the Holy Spirit (Comforter) to come and bear witness "in this glad hour" of worship.  We pray together that He might rule in every heart in our congregation and that He might never depart.

Finally, the fourth stanza moves to praise the "great One in Three," our Triune God, and transports us from this hour of worship into that bright eternity of worship in heaven.  We join with the angels in calling for eternal praises, and we join with Christians across time and space as we express our eternal yearning, "His sovereign majesty may we in glory see, and to eternity love and adore." 


This is one of those rare hymns where the lyrics and tune are so perfectly matched as to be almost inseparable.  In fact, the tune TRINITY was written specifically for these words.  The far-reaching popularity of this hymn is evidenced by the fact that the Italian composer Felice de Giardini was commissioned to compose the tune in 1769, twelve years after the hymn was originally published in English.  He was a well-regarded composer of his time, and the tune he composed has become inextricably bound to this great hymn - the broad, resonant first beats of each measure conferring on the hymn a rich majesty that befits the praise of a king.