1. Afflictions though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopp’d the prodigal’s career,
And caus’d him to repent
2. Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.
3. “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.”
4. “I’ll go and tell him all I’ve done,
Fall down before his face,
Unworthy to be called his son,
I’ll seek a servant’s place.”
5. His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and ran, and smiled,
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child.
6. “Father, I’ve sinned—but O forgive!”
“Enough!” the father said;
“Rejoice, my house, my son’s alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.”
7. “Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead, and lives again;
Was lost, but now is found.”
8. ’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.
King’s tune adds a chorus, with words that do not seem to be from Newton’s hymn:
O I die with hunger here, he cries,
And starve in a foreign land.
My father’s house hath large supplies,
And bounteous are his hands.