Almighty God thy heavenly aid bestow,
O'er my rapt soul bid inspiration flow;
Let voice seraphic, mighty Lord, be mine,
Whilst I unfold this awful bold design.
No less a theme my lab'ring breast inspires,
Than earth's last throes and overwhelming fires,
Than man arising from his dark abode
To meet the final sentence of his God!
The voice of ages, yea of every clime,
The hoary records of primeval time;
The saints of Christ in glowing words display,
The dread appearance of that fateful day!
Oh! may the world for that great day prepare
With ceaseless diligence and solemn care,
No human wisdom knows, no human power
Can tell the coming of that fatal hour.
No warning sign shall point out nature's doom;
Resistless, noiseless it shall surely come,
Like a fierce giant rushing to the fight,
Or silent robber in the shades of night.
What heart unblenched can dare to meet this day,
A day of darkness and of dire dismay?
What sinner's eye can fearless then- behold
The day of horrors on his sight unfold,
But to the good a day of glorious light,
A day for chasing all the glooms of night.
For then shall burst on man's astonished eyes
The Christian banner waving in the skies,
Borne by angelic bands supremely fair,
By countless seraphs through the pathless air.
The heavenly sky shall Christ's proud banner form,
A sky unruffled by a cloud or storm;
The bloody cross aloft in awful pride
Shall float triumphant o'er the airy tide.
Then shall the King with splendour cloth'd on high
Ride through the glories of the golden sky,
With power resistless guide his awful course,
And curb the whirlwinds in their wildest force.
The white robed angels shall resound the praise,
Ten thousand saints their choral songs shall raise
Now through the void a louder shout shall roar
Than surges dashing on a rocky shore.
An awful silence reigns!- the angels sound
The final sentence to the worlds around;
Loud through the heavens the echoing blast shall roll,
And nature, startled, shake from Pole to Pole.
All flesh shall tremble at the fearful sign,
And dread to approach the judgment seat divine;
The loftiest hills, which 'mid the tempest reign,
Shall sink and totter, levelled with the plain.
The hideous din of rushing torrents far
Augment the horrors of this final war;
The glorious sun, the gorgeous eye of day,
Shall faint and sicken in this vast decay.
From our struck view his golden beams shall hide,
As when the Saviour on Calvaria died;
The lovely moon no more in beauty gleam,
Or tinge the ocean with her silv'ry beam;
Ten thousand stars shall from their orbits roll,
In dread confusion through the empty pole.
At the loud blasts hell's barriers fall around,
Even Satan trembles at the awful sound!
Far down he sinks, deep in the realms of night,
And strives to shun the glorious Son of Light.
'Rise from your tomb,' the mighty angel cries,
'Ye sleeping mortals, and approach the skies,
For Christ is thron'd upon his Judgment Seat,
And for his mercy may ye all be meet!'
The roaring ocean from its inmost caves
Shall send forth thousands o'er the foaming waves;
From earth the countless myriads shall arise,
Like corn-land springing 'neath benignant skies;
For all must then appear- we all shall meet
In dread array before Christ's Judgment Seat!
All flesh shall stand full in its Maker's view-
The past, the present, and the future too;
Not one shall fail, for rise with one accord
Shall saint and sinner, vassal and his lord.
Then Mary's Son, in heavenly pomp's array,
Shall all his glory to the world display;
The faithful twelve with saintly vesture graced,
Friends of his cross around his throne are placed;
The impartial judge the book of fate shall scan,
The unerring records of the deeds of man.
The book is opened! mark the anxious fear
That calls the sigh and starts the bitter tear;
The good shall hear a blessed sentence read,
All mourning passes- all their griefs are fled.
No more their souls with racking pains are riven,
Their Lord admits them to the peace of heaven;
The sinner there, with guilty crime oppressed,
Bears on his brow the fears of hell confess'd.
Behold him now- his guilty looks- I see
His God condemns, and mercy's God is He;
No joy for him, for him no heaven appears
To bid him welcome from a vale of tears.
Hark! Jesu's voice with awful terrors swell,
It shakes even heaven, it shakes the nether hell:
'Away ye cursed from my sight, retire
Down to the depths of hell's eternal fire,
Down to the realms of endless pain and night,
Ye fiends accursed, from my angry sight
Depart! for heaven with saintly inmates pure
No crime can harbour or can sin endure,
Away! away where fiends infernal dwell,
Down to your home and taste the pains of hell.
Behold his servants- Lo, the virtuous bands
Await the sentence which the life demands;
All blameless they their course in virtue run
Have for their brows a crown of glory won.
Their Saviour's voice, a sound of heavenly love,
Admits them smiling to the realms above:
'Approach, ye faithful, to the heaven of peace,
Where worldly sorrows shall for ever cease.
Come, blessed children, share my bright abode,
Rest in the bosom of your King and God,
Where thousand saints in grateful concert sing
Loud hymns of glory to th' Eternal King.'
For you, beloved, I hung upon the tree,
That where I am there also ye might be;
The infernal god (ye trembling sinners quake)
Shall hurl you headlong on the burning lake,
There shall ye die, nor dying shall expire,
Rolled on the waves of everlasting fire,
Whilst Christ shall bid his own lov'd flock rejoice,
And lead them upward with approving voice,
Where countless hosts their heavenly Lord obey,
And sing Hosannas in the courts of day.
O gracious God! each trembling suppliant spare-
Grant each the glory of that song to share;
May Christ, my God, a kind physician be,
And may He grant me bless'd Eternity!
Almighty God thy heavenly aid bestow,