JESUS shall reign where'er the sun
This is another of the " Imitations" of the Psalms which Dr. Watts published in 1719 (see under No. 2). An incident will best illustrate the meaning of the hymn. One day, in 1862, King George of the South Sea Islands was to give a hew constitution to his people, exchanging a heathen for a Christian form of government. " Under the spreading branches of the banyan trees sat some 5000 natives, assembled for Divine worship. Foremost among them all sat King George himself. Around him were seated old chiefs and warriors. But old and young alike rejoiced together in the joys of that day. It would be impossible to describe the deep feeling manifested when the solemn service began by the entire assembly singing the hymn, < Jesus shall reign where'er the sun.' Who, so much as they, could realize the meaning of the poet's words ? For they had been rescued from the darkness of heathenism and cannibalism, and they were that day met for the first time under a Christian constitution, and with Christ himself reigning in the hearts of most of them. That was indeed Christ's kingdom set up in the earth."