~Lead On, O King Eternal
Ernest Shurtleff, author of this text, was about to graduate from
Andover Seminary in 1887. His classmates, recognizing his poetic
ability, shortly before graduation one day approached Shurtleff with
“Ernest, why don't you write our class poem.
After all, you have already published two volumes of
poetry--What's the use of having a distinguished author in the
class if he cannot rise to the occasion and do his class the honor of
writing a good poem just for them?”
“Let's make it a hymn that we can all sing,” replied
Shurtleff, “We've been
spending days of preparation here at seminary. Now the day of march has
come and we must go out to follow the leadership of the King of kings,
to conquer the world under His banner.”
Although the metaphors and expressions in this hymn were intended
to challenge the graduating class of 1887 at Andover Seminary, the
truths of this hymn have challenged the world.
from Kenneth W. Osbeck
O King Eternal
(1) Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong,
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.
(2) Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin's fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords' loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums-
With deeds of love and mercy
The heavenly kingdom comes.
(3) Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning
Where'er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted o'er us,
We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest:
Lead on, O God of might.