Afflictions, though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal's career,
And caused him to repent.
Although he no relenting 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 in bread,
Whilst I am starving here!
"I'll go and tell him all I've done,
Fall down before his face;
Not worthy to be called his son,
I'll seek a servant's place"
He saw his son returning back;
He looked, he ran, he smiled,
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child!
Father, I've sinned, but O forgive.
And thus the father said;
Rejoice, my house! my son's alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.
Now let the fatted calf be slain,
Go spread the news abroad,
My son was dead, but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found.
'Tis thus the Lord himself reveals,
To call poor sinners home,
More than a father's love he feels,
And bids the sinner come.