Robert Grant was of Scottish ancestry, born in India. His father, Charles Grant, director of the East India Company, was respected throughout India as one of Britain’s finest statesman. He was also a deeply committed evangelical Christian, who used his position to encourage and support Christian mission in India.
Robert was six years old when the family returned to Britain, as his father became an MP for Inverness. His son, Robert grew up in a world of power, politics, and privilege. But he also grew up as a devout and most committed follower of Christ. He attended Magdalene College, Cambridge, and entered the legal profession. His intelligence and integrity were obvious. He became King’s Sergeant, and in 1818 he entered Parliament. Among his legislative initiatives was a bill to remove civil restrictions against the Jews.
As Robert was studying Psalm 104, he compared the greatness of the King of kings with the majesty of the British royalty, and found that they cannot compare!
- Verse 1: “O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendour and majesty.”
- Verses 2-3 tell us that God covers Himself with light as a garment and makes the clouds His chariot.
- Verse 5 reminds us that God laid the foundations of the earth.
- Verse 24 proclaims that all of creation reflects God’s greatness.
- Verse 31: “May the glory of the LORD endure for ever.”
Robert filled his heart with these verses, and from his heart came a magnificent hymn of praise:
O worship the King all glorious above,
And gratefully sing His power and His love:
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendour and girded with praise.
In 1832, Robert was appointed Judge Advocate General; this praise was published in 1833, and he was knighted in 1834. Soon thereafter he returned to India, the land of his early childhood, to be Governor of Bombay. He died there in 1838. A nearby medical college was built and named in his honour. But his most lasting memorial is this hymn of praise, calling us to worship the King of kings.