614. Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!

1 Day of judgment! Day of wonders!
Hark! the trumpet's awesome sound,
louder than a thousand thunders,
shakes the vast creation round.
How the summons
will the sinner's heart confound!

2 See the Judge, our nature wearing,
clothed in majesty divine.
You who long for his appearing
then shall say, "This God is mine!"
Gracious Savior,
own me on that day as thine.

3 At his call the dead awaken,
rise to life from earth and sea.
All the powers of nature, shaken
by his looks, prepare to flee.
Careless sinner,
what will then become of thee?

4 But to those who have confessed,
loved, and served the Lord below,
he will say, "Come near, you blessed,
see the kingdom I bestow;
you forever
shall my love and glory know."

Text Information
First Line: Day of judgment! Day of wonders!
Title: Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!
Author: John Newton (1774)
Meter: 87 87 47
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Judge, God/Christ as; Return of Christ; The New Creation (5 more...)
Source: Dies Irae, Latin, 13th cent., based on
Tune Information
Adapter and Harmonizer: Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750
Meter: 87 87 47
Key: a minor
Source: J. Neander's Alpha und Omega, 1680; Cantata 40 (harm. in)

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 3 = Matt. 25:41-46, Rev. 20:11-14
st. 4 = Matt. 25:34-40

John Newton (PHH 462) wrote this text during "the most of two days" in 1774, and it was published in the Olney Hymns (1779). The Psalter Hymnal includes the original stanzas 1-3 and 6. Newton's text borrows phrases and concepts from the thirteenth-century Latin sequence "Dies irae, dies illa," which has sometimes been attributed to Thomas of Celano (without specific evidence), a friend of Francis of Assisi. The "Dies irae" became part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass and was often included in dramatic musical settings that emphasized the judgment of sinners. Many of the various popular English translations of that ancient Latin text begin with the words, "Day of wrath, O day of mourning."

Although the "Dies irae" holds out judgment for the unrepentant sinner, it also contains prayers for mercy for the believer. Newton clearly announces the judgment of God on sin and sinners in his hymn text (st. 1, 3), but he also transforms the original prayers for mercy into comforting words of assurance for believers in Christ (st. 2, 4). The text concludes with a paraphrase of Jesus' words in Matthew 25:34, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

Liturgical Use:
Advent; other worship that focuses on Christ's return in glory "to judge the living and the dead."

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

MEINE HOFFNUNG received its name from its association with Joachim Neander's (PHH 244) text "Meine Hoffnung stehet feste" ("All My Hope on God Is Founded"). The tune was published with Newton's text in Neander's Alpha and Omega (1680). (The chorale found in Johann S. Bach's Cantata 40 is very loosely based on MEINE HOFFNUNG.)

To reflect the emphases in the text, sing stanzas 1 and 3 in unison and stanzas 2 and 4 in harmony. Singers and accompanists should note the built-in ritardando in the final long line; no further expressive device needs to be added in the final stanza.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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