When some kind shepherd from his fold
Has lost a straying sheep,
Through vales, o’er hills, he anxious roves,
And climbs the mountains steep.
But O, the joy! the transport sweet!
When he the wanderer finds!
Upon his arms he takes his charge,
And to his shoulder binds.
Homeward he hastes to tell his joys,
And make his bliss complete;
The neighbors hear the news, and all
The joyful shepherd greet.
Such, and much greater is the joy
When but one sinner turns;
When the poor wretch with broken heart,
His sins and error mourns.
Pleased with the news, the saints below
In songs their tongues employ;
Beyond the skies the tidings go,
And Heaven is filled with joy.
Well pleased the Father sees, and hears
The conscious sinner weep;
Jesus receives him in His arms,
And owns him for His sheep.
Nor angels can their joys contain
But kindle with new fire;
A wandering sheep’s returned, they sing
And strike the sounding lyre.