The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Awake! Thou Careless World, Awake!

For Second Sunday in Advent

Words: Rist, 1651, Translation "The Coming of the Day of the Lord, Catherine Winkworth, 1855

Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
From the Gospel

Music: "Original Tune"

Source: Lyra Germanica: First Series, Songs for the Household, 1855.

See: The Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

1. Awake, thou careless world, awake!
    The final day shall surely come;
What Heaven hath fix'd Time cannot shake,
    It cannot sweep away thy doom.
Know, what the Lord Himself hath spoken
    Shall come at least and not delay;
    Though heaven and earth shall pass away,
His stedfast word can ne'er be broken.

2. Awake! He comes to judgment, wake!
    Sinners, behold His countenance
In beauty terrible, and quake
    Condemn'd beneath His piercing glance.
Lo! He to whom all power is given,
    Who sits at God's right hand on high,
    In fire and thunder draweth nigh,
To judge all nations under Heaven.

3. Awake, thou careless world, awake!
    Who knows how soon our God shall please
That suddenly that day should break?
    We fathom not such depths as these.
Oh guard thee well from lust and greed;
    For as the bird is in the snare,
    Or ever of its foe aware,
So comes that day with silent speed.

4. The Lord in love delayeth long
    The final day, and grants us space
To turn away from sin and wrong,
    And mourning seek His help 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!

5. But ye, O faithful souls, shall see
    That morning rise in love and joy;
Your Saviour comes to set you free,
    Your Judge shall all your bonds destroy:
He, the true Joshua, then shall bring
    His people with a mighty hand
    Into their promised father-land,
Where songs of victory they shall sing.

6. Rejoice! the fig-tree shows her green,
    The springing year is in its prime.
The little flowers afresh are seen,
    We gather strength in this great time;
The glorious summer draweth near,
    When all this body's earthly load,
    In light that morning sheds abroad,
Shall wax as sunshine pure and clear.

7. Arise, and let us day and night
    Pray in the Spirit ceaselessly,
That we may heed our Lord aright,
    And ever in His presence be;
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 from William Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt, eds., The Chorale Book For England. Congregational Edition. (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1863, Supp. 1865), Translator: Catherine Winkworth, #27.

Note: Found in a slightly altered version in Catherine Winkworth, The Chorale Book For England, 1863: Awake, Thou Careless World, Awake! - Version 2.

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