The Tolling Bell

Full Text

1 Oft as the bell, with solemn toll,
Speaks the departure of a soul,
Let each one ask himself, "Am I
Prepared, should I be called to die?"

2 Only this frail and fleeting breath
Preserves me with the jaws of death;
Soon as it fails, at once I'm gone,
And plunged into a world unknown.

3 Then leaving all I loved below,
To God's tribunal I must go;
Must hear the Judge pronounce my fate,
And fix my everlasting state.

4 Lord Jesus! help me now to flee,
And seek my hope alone in thee;
Apply thy blood, thy spirit give,
Subdue my sin, and let me live.

5 Then, when the solemn bell I hear,
If saved from guilt, I need not fear;
Now would the thought distressing be,
Perhaps it next may toll for me.

6 Rather my spirit would rejoice,
And long and wish to hear thy voice;
Glad when it bids me earth resign,
Secure of heaven if thou art mine.

The Hartford Selection of Hymns from the most approved authors, 1799

Author: John Newton

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Oft as the bell, with solemn toll
Title: The Tolling Bell
Author: John Newton
Language: English

Notes

Oft as the bell with solemn toll. J. Newton. [Death and Burial.] First published in his Twenty Six Letters on Religious Subjects by Omicron. 1774, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "The Passing Bell." It was repeated in the same year in R. Conyers's Collection of Psalms & Hymns, No. 364, and again in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Book ii., No. 74. It is found in its full, or in an abridged form, in a few modern collections. In R. Bingham's Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, stanzas i., iii., v., vi. are rendered into Latin as "Ah! quoties animam solito campana sonore."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

[Oft as the bell, with solemn toll]


HAMBURG

Lowell Mason (PHH 96) composed HAMBURG (named after the German city) in 1824. The tune was published in the 1825 edition of Mason's Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music. Mason indicated that the tune was based on a chant in the first Gregorian tone. HAMBURG is a very simple tune with…

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Timeline

Instances

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A Choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Designed to Aid in the Devotions of Prayer, Conference, and Camp-Meetings #103Page Scan
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A Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs: in two parts, part I. containing the hymns; part II. containing the songs...(3rd ed. corr. and enl. by author) #H.CCCCXIPage Scan
A Selection of Hymns, adapted to the devotions of the closet, the family, and the social circle; and containing subjects appropriate to the monthly concerns of prayer for the success... #462Page Scan
A Selection of Hymns: including a few originals, designed to aid the friends of Zion in their private and social worship #202Page Scan
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A Selection of Psalms and Hymns: done under the appointment of the Philadelphian Association #CXXIIIPage Scan
A Selection of Psalms and Hymns: done under the appointment of the Philadelphian Association (4th ed.) #123Page Scan
A Selection of Psalms and Hymns: for every Sunday and principle festival throughout the year for the use of congregations in the Diocess of Quebec #104cPage Scan
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Additional Hymns, Adopted by the General Synod of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in North America, at their Session, June 1846, and authorized to be used in the churches under their care #292Page Scan
Bradbury's Sabbath School Melodies, and Family Choir: a complete collection of hymns and music for all Sabbath school occasions #26Page Scan
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Choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs #d58
Church Choral-Book: containing tunes and hymns for congregational singing, and adapted to choirs and social worship #117Page Scan
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David's Harp: or the Boston Sabbath school song book, containing a variety of pleasing tunes in all the various metres; also hymns, anthems, and chants...(2nd Rev. Ed.) #86Page Scan
Evangelical Hymns: for private, family, social, and public worship; selected from various authors (3rd ed. enl.) #407Page Scan
Hymns and Spiritual Songs (New ed.) #198Page Scan
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Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the Use of Christians. 8th ed. #d135
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Hymns for Youth, Suitable to be Used in Sabbath and Parochial Schools #395Page Scan
Hymns, Selected and Original, for Public and Private Worship #699Page Scan
Hymns, Selected and Original, for Public and Private Worship, published by General Synod for the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 68th ed. (8th rev. ed.) #d598
Hymns, Selected and Original: for public and private worship (1st ed.) #699TextPage Scan
Hymns, Selected from Various Authors, for the Use of Young Persons 3rd Am. from 9th London ed. #d187
Hymns, Selected from Various Authors, for the Use of Young Persons #d176
Hymns: original and selected, for public and private worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (16th rev. ed.) #699Page Scan
Hymns: selected and original, for public and private worship (4th ed. 3rd rev. ed.) #699Page Scan
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Hymns: selected and original, for public and private worship (60th ed., 1st rev. ed.) #699Page Scan
Maynard's Selected Sabbath School Hymns. 4th ed. #d143
Parish Psalmody #d636
Parish Psalmody #d648
Precious Gems No. l #84Page Scan
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Select Hymns #d341
Select Hymns: adapted to the devotional exercises of the Baptist denomination (2nd ed.) #535Page Scan
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The American Sunday-School Hymn-Book #301Page Scan
The Book of Worship #418TextPage Scan
The Brick Church Hymns, Designed for the Use of Social Prayer Meetings and Families, selected from the most approved authors #132Page Scan
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