Scripture Verse

We will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51–52

Introduction

Words: Charles Wes­ley, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems 1749.

Music: Mar­y­ton H. Per­cy. Smith, in Church Hymns with Tunes (Lon­don: 1874) (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Smith (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

portrait
Charles Wesley
(1707–1788)

The Me­thod­ist Hymn Book Notes, by Ste­ven­son, 1883, gives the or­i­gin of this hymn. It came about as a re­sult of Wes­ley’s visit to a Me­thod­ist so­ci­e­ty meet­ing in Leeds, Eng­land, March 14, 1744:

…in a cold up­per room, which was dense­ly packed, and crowds could not gain ad­mis­sion. He re­moved near­er the door that those with­out might hear, and drew the peo­ple to­wards him. In­stant­ly the raft­ers broke off short, close to the main beam, the floor sank, and more than one hund­red peo­ple fell, amidst dust and ruins, in­to the room below. Several were se­vere­ly injured, but none were killed. Charles Wes­ley him­self es­caped with slight in­jur­ies. I lift­ed up my head, he said, and saw the peo­ple un­der me, heaps up­on heaps. I cried out, Fear not, the Lord is with us; our lives are all safe, and then gave out, Praise God from whom all bless­ings flow.

This hymn, in 12 stan­zas, ap­peared five years lat­er in Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems, head­ed, Aft­er de­liv­er­ance from death by the fall of an house. In 1780, stan­zas 6–9, 11 & 12 were giv­en in the Wes­ley­an Hymn Book as one of the hymns Des­crib­ing Judg­ment.

Lyrics

The great archangel’s trump shall sound,
While twice ten thousand thunders roar
Tear up the graves, and cleave the ground,
And make the greedy sea restore.

The greedy sea shall yield her dead,
The earth no more her slain conceal;
Sinners shall lift their guilty head,
And shrink to see a yawning hell.

But we, who now our Lord confess,
And faithful to the end endure,
Shall stand in Jesus’ righteousness,
Stand, as the Rock of ages, sure.

We, while the stars from heaven shall fall,
And mountains are on mountains hurled,
Shall stand unmoved amidst them all,
And smile to see a burning world.

The earth, and all the works therein,
Dissolve, by raging flames destroyed,
While we survey the awful scene,
And mount above the fiery void.

By faith we now transcend the skies,
And on that ruined world look down;
By love above all height we rise,
And share the everlasting throne.