Scripture Verse

My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. Luke 15:24


Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Words: Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, 1883.

Music: Ira D. San­key, 1884 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Ira D. Sankey (1840–1908)

An ed­it­or of a pa­per in the South, says one who was con­nect­ed with the Flo­rence Mis­sion at the time this in­ci­dent oc­curred, “lost all through drink and dis­si­pa­tion, and one day left his wife and five child­ren to look af­ter them­selves. With­out bid­ding them good­bye he left home, de­ter­mined not to re­turn un­til he was a man and could live a so­ber life.

In New York he sank still low­er. One night he pawned some of his cloth­ing; but soon he was again pen­ni­less an had no place to sleep. He then wrote a note to his wife, bid­ding her good­bye, say­ing they would ne­ver see each other again, as he had de­cid­ed to die that night.

He was walk­ing to­ward East Ri­ver when the sound of mu­sic at­tract­ed his at­ten­tion. He looked up and saw the sign, ‘The Flo­rence.’ That was the name of his old­est daugh­ter. He list­ened; a lady was sing­ing a song his wife used to sing on Sun­day af­ter­noons at home, words that went to his heart, ‘In the land of stran­gers, whi­ther thou art gone’…

The song, cou­pled with the name that was his daugh­ter’s led him to think we were pray­ing for him. He came in, drunk as he was, and asked us to do so. He be­came a con­vert and an ear­nest Chris­tian wor­ker, and has a held a po­si­tion of re­spon­si­bi­li­ty in bu­si­ness for ma­ny years, he and his family hav­ing been re­unit­ed.”

Written for me by Dr. Bo­nar, in 1883, this hymn be­came the fa­vo­rite song of the choir of ov­er fif­teen hun­dred voic­es, led by Per­cy S. Fos­ter, at our meet­ings in the great Con­ven­tion Hall in Wash­ing­ton dur­ing the win­ter of 1894.

Sankey, pp. 294–95


In the land of stran­gers,
Whither thou art gone,
Hear a far voice call­ing,
My son! my son!


Welcome, wan­d’rer, wel­come!
Welcome back to home!
Thou hast wan­dered far away:
Come home! come home!

From the land of hun­ger,
Fainting, fam­ished lone,
Come to love and glad­ness,
My son! my son!


Leave the haunts of ri­ot,
Wasted, woe­beg­one,
Sick at heart and wea­ry
My son! my son!


See the door still op­en!
Thou art still my own;
Eyes of love are on thee,
My son! my son!


Far off thou hast wan­dered,
Wilt thou far­ther roam?
Come, and all is par­doned,
My son! my son!


See the well-spread ta­ble,
Unforgotten one!
Here is rest and plen­ty,
My son! my son!


Thou art friend­less, home­less,
Hopeless, and un­done;
Mine is love un­chang­ing,
My son! my son!