Scripture Verse

The day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:12

Introduction

portrait
Charles Wesley
(1707–1788)

Words: Charles Wes­ley, Hymns for the Year 1756.

Music: Fal­kirk, from Tho­mas A. Arne (1710–1778) (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Thomas A. Arne
(1710–1778)

Origin of the Hymn

The earth­quake re­ferred to was that which de­stroyed the city of Lis­bon on No­vem­ber 1, 1755; the plague had ref­er­ence to a fa­tal dis­ease that had been de­stroy­ing the cat­tle by the thou­sands; and the war re­ferred to was the threat­ened in­va­sion of the French, which was im­mi­nent at that time.

These three cir­cum­stan­ces gave un­pre­ce­dent­ed so­lem­ni­ty to the fast day that called the peo­ple to pub­lic con­fes­sion on Feb­ru­ary 6, 1756. Wes­ley makes the fol­low­ing ent­ry in his jour­nal for this date:

The fast day was a glor­ious day, such as Lon­don has scarce seen since the Res­tor­a­tion. Ev­ery church in the ci­ty was more than full, and a sol­emn ser­i­ous­ness sat on ev­ery face. Surely God hear­eth the pray­er, and there will yet be a length­en­ing of our tran­qui­l­ity. Ev­en the Jews ob­served this day with a pe­cul­iar so­lem­ni­ty.

Nutter, p. 311

Lyrics

Stand the omnipotent decree!
Jehovah’s will be done!
Nature’s end we wait to see,
And hear her final groan.
Let this earth dissolve, and blend
In death the wicked and the just;
Let those ponderous orbs descend,
And grind us into dust.

Rests secure the righteous man;
At his Redeemer’s beck,
Sure to emerge and rise again;
And mount above the wreck;
Lo! the heav’nly Spirit towers,
Like flames o’er nature’s funeral pyre,
Triumphs in immortal powers,
And claps His wings of fire.

Nothing hath the just to lose,
By worlds on worlds destroyed:
Far beneath his feet he views,
With smiles, the flaming void;
Sees this universe renewed,
The grand millennial reign begun;
Shouts with all the sons of God,
Around th’eternal throne.

Resting in this glorious hope
To be at last restored,
Yield we now our bodies up
To earthquake, plague, or sword;
Listening for the call divine,
The latest trumpet of the seven,
Soon our soul and dust shall join,
And both fly up to Heaven.