The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Awake, Thou Careless World, Awake!

For Advent

Words: "Wach auf, wach auf, du sich're Welt," Rist, 1651

Source: Catherine Winkworth, The Chorale Book For England (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1863)

Awake, thou careless world, awake!
    That final Judgment day will surely come;
What Heav'n hath fix'd no Time can shake,
    Time never more shall sweep away thy doom.
Know what the Lord Himself hath spoken
    Shall come at last and not delay:
Though heav'n and earth shall pass away,
    His steadfast Word can ne'er be broken.

Awake! thou careless world, awake!
    For none can tell how soon our God may please
That suddenly that day should break,
    No human wisdom fathoms depths like these:
O flee earth's base delights and pride,
    For as the bird is in the snare,
Or ever of its foe aware,
    So comes that day so long denied.

Yet He in love delayeth long
    That awful day, and grants the sinner space
To turn away from sin and wrong,
    And mourning seek in time His love and grace.
He holdeth back that best of days
    Until the righteous shall approve
Their faith and hope, their constant love;
    So gentle us-ward are His ways!

And those found faithful then shall see
    That glorious morning dawn in love and joy,
Their Saviour comes to set them free,
    Their Judge Himself shall all their bonds destroy;
He the true Joshua then shall bring
    His people with a mighty hand
Into their promised fatherland,
    Where songs of victory they shall sing.

Arise, and let us night and day
    Watch for our Lord, and study o'er His word,
And in the Spirit ever pray,
    That we be ready when His call is heard;
Arise, and let us haste to meet
    The Bridegroom standing at the door,
That with the angels evermore
    We too may worship at His feet.

Sheet Music to "Original Tune" from William Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt, eds., The Chorale Book For England. (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1863), Translator: Catherine Winkworth, #27.

Note: A slightly different version of this hymn is found in Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth under the title "The Coming of the Day of the Lord"; Source: Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica: First Series, Songs for the Household, 1855.

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