He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Psalm 50:4
Words: Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David 1719.
The last judgment.
Music: Sovereign Summons, from Harmonia Sacra, by Joseph Funk (1778–1862) (🔊 pdf nwc).
The Lord, the sovereign, sends His summons forth,
Calls the south nations and awakes the north;
From east to west the sounding orders spread,
Through distant worlds and regions of the dead:
No more shall atheists mock His long delay;
His vengeance sleeps no more: behold the day!
Behold, the Judge descends, His guards are nigh;
Tempest and fire attend Him down the sky:
Heav’n, earth, and hell, draw near; let all things come
To hear His justice, and the sinner’s doom:
But gather first My saints, the Judge commands,
“Bring them, ye angels, from their distant lands.
“Behold, My covenant stands for ever good,
Sealed by th’eternal sacrifice in blood,
And signed with all their names; the Greek, the Jew,
That paid the ancient worship or the new,
There’s no distinction here; come, spread their thrones,
And near Me seat My favorites and My sons.
“I, their almighty Savior and their God,
I am their judge: ye heav’ns, proclaim abroad
My just eternal sentence, and declare
Those awful truths that sinners dread to hear:
Sinners in Zion, tremble and retire;
I doom the painted hypocrite to fire.
“Not for the want of goats or bullocks slain
Do I condemn thee; bulls and goats are vain
Without the flames of love; in vain the store
Of brutal offerings that were Mine before;
Mine are the tamer beasts and savage breed,
Flocks, herds, and fields and forests where they feed.
“If I were hungry, would I ask thee food?
When did I thirst, or drink thy bullocks’ blood?
Can I be flattered with thy cringing bows,
Thy solemn chatterings and fantastic vows?
Are My eyes charmed thy vestments to behold,
Glaring in gems, and gay in woven gold?
“Unthinking wretch! how couldst thou hope to please
A God, a Spirit, with such toys as these?
While with My grace and statutes on thy tongue,
Thou lov’st deceit, and dost thy brother wrong;
In vain to pious forms thy zeal pretends,
Thieves and adulterers are thy chosen friends.
Silent I waited with long-suffering love,
But didst thou hope that I should ne’er reprove?
And cherish such an impious thought within,
That God, the Righteous, would indulge thy sin?
Behold My terrors now: My thunders roll,
And thy own crimes affright thy guilty soul.
Sinners, awake betimes; ye fools, be wise;
Awake before this dreadful morning rise;
Change your vain thoughts, your crooked works amend,
Fly to the Savior, make the Judge your friend;
Lest, like a lion, His last vengeance tear
Your trembling souls, and no deliverer near.