Scripture Verse

How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. Luke 15:17

Introduction

portrait
John Newton
(1725–1807)

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 104. The pro­di­gal son.

Music: St. Mag­nus at­trib­uted to Jer­e­mi­ah Clarke, in The Di­vine Com­pan­ion, sec­ond ed­i­tion, by Hen­ry Play­ford (Lon­don: 1707). Har­mo­ny by Will­iam H. Monk, 1868 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
William H. Monk
(1823–1889)

Lyrics

Afflictions, though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal’s career,
And forced him to repent.

Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.

“What have I gained by sin, he said,
But hunger, shame, and fear;
My father’s house abounds with bread,
While I am starving here.

I’ll go, and tell him all I’ve done,
And fall before his face
Unworthy to be called his son,
I’ll seek a servant’s place.

His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and ran, and smiled;
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child.

Father, I’ve sinned—but O forgive!
I’ve heard enough, he said,
“Rejoice my house, my son’s alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.

Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead, but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found.

’Tis thus the Lord His love reveals,
To call poor sinners home;
More than a father’s love He feels,
And welcomes all that come.