The Great Tribunal

Representative Text

1 John, in a vision, saw the day
When the Judge will hasten down;
Heaven 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 awful looks?
Shall I stand in judgment then,
When I see the opened books,
Written by the Almighty's pen?
If he to remembrance bring,
And expose to public view,
Every work and secret thing:
Ah, my soul, what can'st 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,
It 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 feeble worm
To believe thy promise now;
Justice will at last confirm
What thy mercy wrought below.

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians, 1803

Author: John Newton

John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumul­tuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: John, in a vision, saw the day
Title: The Great Tribunal
Author: John Newton (1779)
Source: Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), number 79
Language: English
Notes: Alternate tune: HEINLEIN, Nürnbergisches Gesangbuch, 1676. Melody attributed to Martin Herbst, 1654-1681; harmony by William H. Monk, 1823-1889
Copyright: Public Domain



NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND is a chorale derived from a chant. Among the simplest of the Lutheran repertoire, it is framed by identical lines–l and 4. Sing the entire hymn with antiphonal groups (the practice its original Latin author, Ambrose, strongly promoted). Sing some stanzas in unison and o…

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The Cyber Hymnal #3387
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The Cyber Hymnal #3387

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