Scripture Verse

Behold, the day of the Lord comes. Zechariah 14:1

Introduction

portrait
Augustus M. Toplady
(1740–1778)
© National Portrait Gallery

Words: Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems (Lon­don: Dan­i­el Sedg­wick and Ham­il­ton & Ad­ams, 1775), pa­ges 127–28, alt.

Music: Fran­ces James McGran­ahan, 1901 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

portrait
James McGranahan
(1840–1907)

Lyrics

Behold, the awful day comes on,
When Jesus on His righteous throne
Shall in the clouds appear:
With solemn pomp shall bow the sky,
And, in the twinkling of an eye,
Arraign us at His bar.

But first th’archangel’s trump shall blow,
Our scattered dust its voice shall know,
And quicken at the sound:
The sea shall then give up her dead:
And nations, starting from their bed,
Shall cleave the opening ground.

Who shall withstand His righteous ire,
When Jesus sets the clouds on fire,
And makes the earth retreat?
In vain shall sinners then repent.
When each expiring element,
Shall melt with fervent heat.

The dead in Christ shall first awake,
The faithful few, who, for His sake,
On earth were justified:
Guarded by a seraphic band,
Aloft they mount to His right hand,
In whom they lived and died.

See next the guilty crowd arise.
Beholding, with reluctant eyes,
The glories of the Lamb;
While taunting fiends impatient wait
To hurl them from the judgment seat,
To hell’s eternal flame.

Hark, as they mount, by devils borne,
To meet their judge (on earth their scorn)
Despairingly they cry,
Fall on us, rocks, with all your load,
And screen us from the wrath of God,
And hide us from His eye.

In vain on rocks and hills ye call,
The rocks shall from their bases fall
And know their place no more:
The hills shall melt when God comes down,
And mountains crumble at His frown,
And groan beneath His power.

What thought can paint their black despair,
Who this tremendous sentence hear,
Irrevocably giv’n,
Depart, ye cursèd, into hell,
With everlasting burnings dwell,
Remote from Me and Heav’n
?

But, O Thou Savior of mankind,
Display Thy power, and to the blind
Effectual light afford:
Snatch them from unbelief and sin,
And now compel them to come in,
And tremble at Thy Word.

Methinks I hear Thy mercy plead,
The voice of Him that wakes the dead
Doth over sinners mourn:
“Why do ye still your God forget,
And madly hasten to the pit
From whence is no return?

Ye reasoners, make a rational choice;
Listen, in time, to reason’s voice,
Nor dare almighty ire:
Turn, lest the hottest wrath ye feel,
And find, too late, the flames of hell
No metaphoric fire.