It will add to our appreciation of this hymn to know that on a certain occasion it was used most impressively in the South Sea Isles.
“King George, the ruler of the islands, gave his people a new constitution and exchanged the heathen for a Christian form of government. Under great spreading banyan trees the natives from Tongo, Fiji and Samoa gathered. It was Whitsunday, 1862. The people had assembled for worship. With them sat King George. Around the king were his old chiefs and warriors who had shared with him the rigors and dangers of many a battle. All were rejoicing in the new Christian spirit, and were radiant with Christian love, peace and hope.
“The service began that Pentecostal morning with Watts’ hymn: Jesus shall reign where’er the sun.
“As they sang they felt the power of the word of God as paraphrased into song, Jesus’ reign was transforming them. How completely His sway is felt when men come from the worship of idols to the service of the living God! That is the thought which is uppermost in this hymn, which, by reason of that fact, is a truly great missionary hymn.1
Lyrics Jesus Shall Reign Where’er The Sun
Jesus shall reign where'er the sun Does his successive journeys run; His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more. For Him shall endless prayer be made, And endless praises crown His head; His name, like sweet perfume, shall rise With every morning sacrifice. People and realms of every tongue Dwell on His love with sweetest song; And infant voices shall proclaim Their early blessings on His name. Blessings abound wher'er He reigns; The prisoner leaps to lose his chains; The weary find eternal rest. And all the sons of want are blest. Where He displays His healing power Death and the curse are known no more; In Him the tribes of Adam boast More blessings than their father lost. Let every creature rise and bring Peculiar honors to our King; Angels descend with songs again, And earth repeat the loud Amen.