‘O Worship the King’

Born in India, Sir Robert Grant (1779–1838) was the son of Charles Grant, an evangelical Scottish Christian. Charles Grant was known for his impeccable integrity and benevolence, as well as for serving in the British Parliament, being a director in the East India Company, supporting and befriending William Wilberforce in his fight against slavery, sending missionaries to India (including William Carey), and for writing about the plight of Asians within the British Empire. Under his father’s influence, therefore, Robert received a godly heritage that instilled within him a love for Jesus and for people.

Upon returning to England with his father in 1790, Robert received a privileged education and, in January 1807, entered the legal profession. A few months later, he witnessed the British Parliament pass the Act for Abolition of the Slave Trade. In 1818 he was elected to the House of Commons.

No doubt his father’s legacy of compassion for the downtrodden, his own sense of justice, and his solid biblical upbringing moved Robert in 1830 to draft a bill giving equal rights to Jewish people in England. To this point, the Anglican Church had prohibited English Jews from holding certain positions in Parliament and elsewhere because those positions required swearing an oath “on the true faith of a Christian.”

Grant believed this restriction was unfair and proposed his bill twice. Both times it was voted down. It would not be until 1858, 20 years after Grant’s death, that English Jews would be given full rights.

Grant was also a hymn writer. Once, when reading a translation of Psalm 104 in a 1561 psalter, Grant decided to write his own hymn based on that psalm. In 1833, the same year Grant was fighting for the rights of England’s Jews, his hymn “O Worship the King” was published.

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