198. The Prodigal Son

The abyss of many a former sin
Encloses me, and bars me in:
Like billows my transgressions roll:
Be Thou the Pilot of my soul;
And to Salvation’s harbour bring,
Thou Saviour and Thou glorious King!

My Father’s heritage abused,
Wasted by lust, by sin misused;
To shame and want and misery brought,
The slave to many a fruitless thought,
I cry to Thee, Who lovest men,
O pity and receive again!

In hunger now,—no more possessed
Of that my portion bright and blest,
The exile and the alien see
Who yet would fain return to Thee.
And save me, LORD, who seek to raise
To Thy dear love the hymn of praise!

With that blest thief my prayer I make,
Remember for Thy mercy’s sake!
With that poor publican I cry,
Be merciful, O GOD Most High!
With that lost Prodigal I fain
Back to my home would turn again!

Mourn, mourn, my soul, with earnest care,
And raise to CHRIST the contrite prayer:—
O Thou, Who freely wast made poor,
My sorrows and my sins to cure,
Me, poor of all good works, embrace,
Enriching with Thy boundless grace!

Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Author: Joseph of the Studium, Saint, 762-832

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