My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.@Luke 15:24
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Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Horatius Bonar, 1883.

Ira D. Sankey, 1884 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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. 294-5

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Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908)

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

Refrain

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!

Refrain

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

Refrain

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

Refrain

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

Refrain

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

Refrain

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

Refrain