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

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… 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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