Scripture Verse

The King shall…say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:40–41


John Newton

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 2, num­ber 74. The toll­ing bell.

Music: St. Cris­pin George J. El­vey, 1862 (🔊 pdf nwc).

George J. Elvey
National Portrait Gallery



Oft as the bell, with solemn toll,
Speaks the departure of a soul;
Let each one ask himself: Am I
Prepared, should I be called to die?

Only this frail and fleeting breath
Preserves me from the jaws of death;
Soon as it fails, at once I’m gone,
And plunged into a world unknown.

Then, leaving all I loved below,
To God’s tribunal I must go;
Must hear the Judge pronounce my fate,
And fix my ev­er­last­ing state.

But could I bear to hear Him say,
Depart, accursèd, far away!
With Satan, in the lowest hell,
Thou art for ever doomed to dwell.

Lord Je­sus! help me now to flee,
And seek my hope alone in Thee.
Apply Thy blood, Thy Spi­rit give,
Subdue my sin, and in me live.

Then, when the solemn bell I hear,
If saved from guilt, I need not fear;
Nor would the thought distressing be,
Perhaps it next may toll for me.

Rather, my spirit would rejoice,
And long, and wish, to hear Thy voice;
Glad when it bids me earth resign,
Secure of Heav’n, if Thou art mine.