Lo! in the last of days behold
a faithless race arise;
Their lawless lust their only rule;
and thus the scoffer cries;
Where is the promise, deemed so true,
that spoke the Saviour near?
E’er since our fathers slept in dust,
no change has reached our ear.
Years rolled on years successive glide,
since first the world began,
And on the tide of time still floats,
secure, the bark of man.
Thus speaks the scoffer; but his words
conceal the truth he knows,
That from the waters’ dark abyss
the earth at first arose.
But when the sons of men began
with one consent to stray,
At Heav’n’s command a deluge swept
the godless race away.
A diff’rent fate is now prepared
for Nature’s trembling frame;
Soon shall her orbs be all enwrapt
in one devouring flame.
Reserved are sinners for the hour
when to the gulf below,
Armed with the hand of sov’reign pow’r,
the judge consigns his foe.
Though now, ye just! the time appears
protracted, dark, unknown,
An hour, a day, a thousand years,
to heav’n’s great Lord are one.
Still all may share his sov’reign grace,
in ev’ry change secure;
The meek, the suppliant contrite race,
shall find his mercy sure.
The contrite race he counts his friends
forbids the suppliant’s fall;
Condemns reluctant, but extends
the hope of grace to all.
Yet as the night-wrapped thief who lurks
to seize th’ expected prize,
Thus steals the hour when Christ shall come,
and thunder rend the skies.
Then at the loud, the solemn peal,
the heav’ns shall burst away;
The elements shall melt in flame,
at Nature’s final day.
Since all this frame of things must end,
as Heav’n has so decreed,
How wise our inmost thoughts to guard,
and watch o’er ev’ry deed;
Expecting calm th’ appointed hour,
when, Nature’s conflict o’er,
A new and better world shall rise,
where sin is known no more.
Scottish Psalms and Paraphrases