Scripture Verse

Behold, the day of the Lord comes. Zechariah 14:1


Augustus M. Toplady (1740–1778)
National Portrait Gallery


Words: Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems (Lon­don: Da­ni­el Sedg­wick and Ham­il­ton & Ad­ams, 1775), pa­ges 127–28, alt.

Music: Fran­ces James McGran­ahan, 1901 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

James McGranahan (1840–1907)



Behold, the aw­ful day comes on,
When Je­sus on His right­eous throne
Shall in the clouds ap­pear:
With so­lemn pomp shall bow the sky,
And, in the twink­ling of an eye,
Arraign us at His bar.

But first th’arch­an­gel’s trump shall blow,
Our scat­tered dust its voice shall know,
And quick­en at the sound:
The sea shall then give up her dead:
And na­tions, start­ing from their bed,
Shall cleave the op­en­ing ground.

Who shall with­stand His right­eous ire,
When Je­sus sets the clouds on fire,
And makes the earth re­treat?
In vain shall sin­ners then re­pent.
When each ex­pir­ing element,
Shall melt with fer­vent heat.

The dead in Christ shall first awake,
The faith­ful few, who, for His sake,
On earth were jus­ti­fied:
Guarded by a se­ra­phic band,
Aloft they mount to His right hand,
In whom they lived and died.

See next the guil­ty crowd arise.
Beholding, with re­luct­ant eyes,
The glo­ries of the Lamb;
While taunt­ing fiends im­pa­tient wait
To hurl them from the judg­ment seat,
To hell’s eter­nal flame.

Hark, as they mount, by de­vils borne,
To meet their judge (on earth their scorn)
Despairingly they cry,
Fall on us, rocks, with all your load,
And screen us from the wrath of God,
And hide us from His eye.

In vain on rocks and hills ye call,
The rocks shall from their bas­es fall
And know their place no more:
The hills shall melt when God comes down,
And mount­ains crum­ble at His frown,
And groan be­neath His power.

What thought can paint their black des­pair,
Who this tre­men­dous sen­tence hear,
Irrevocably giv’n,
Depart, ye curs­èd, in­to hell,
With ev­er­last­ing burn­ings dwell,
Remote from Me and Heav’n

But, O Thou Sav­ior of man­kind,
Display Thy pow­er, and to the blind
Effectual light af­ford:
Snatch them from un­belief and sin,
And now com­pel them to come in,
And trem­ble at Thy Word.

Methinks I hear Thy mer­cy plead,
The voice of Him that wakes the dead
Doth over sin­ners mourn:
“Why do ye still your God for­get,
And mad­ly hast­en to the pit
From whence is no re­turn?

Ye rea­son­ers, make a ra­tion­al choice;
Listen, in time, to rea­son’s voice,
Nor dare al­migh­ty ire:
Turn, lest the hot­test wrath ye feel,
And find, too late, the flames of hell
No me­ta­phor­ic fire.