The Great Tribunal

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 2, hymn 79

John in vision saw the day
When the Judge will hasten down;
Heav'n and earth shall flee away
From the terror of his frown:
Dead and living, small and great,
Raised from the earth and sea;
At his bar shall hear their fate,
What will then become of me?

2. Can I bear his aweful looks?
Shall I stand in judgment then,
When I see the opened books,
Written by th' Almighty's pen?
If he to remembrance bring,
And expose to public view,
Every work and secret thing,
Ah, my soul, what canst thou do?

3. When the list shall be produced
Of the talents I enjoyed;
Means and mercies, how abused!
Time and strength, how misemployed!
Conscience then, compelled to read,
Must allow the charge is true;
Say, my soul, what canst thou plead
In that hour, what wilt thou do?

4. But the book of life I see,
May my name be written there!
Then from guilt and danger free,
Glad I'll meet him in the air:
That's the book I hope to plead,
'Tis the gospel opened wide;
Lord, I am a wretch indeed!
I have sinned, but thou hast died.

5. Now my soul knows what to do;
Thus I shall with boldness stand,
Numbered with the faithful few,
Owned and saved, at thy right hand:
If thou help a foolish worm
To believe thy promise now;
Justice will at last confirm
What thy mercy wrought below.

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