Scripture Verse

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


Horatius Bonar

Words: Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, 1883.

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

Ira D. Sankey

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!