1 Afflictions, though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal's career,
And forced 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.
2 "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;
Unworthy to be called his son,
I'll seek a servant's place"
3 His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and run, and smiled;
And threw his arms around the neck,
Of his rebellious child.
"Father, I've sinned--but O forgive!
I've heard enough" he said,
"Rejoice, my house, my son's alive,
For whom I mourn'd as dead.
4 "Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found."
'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.
Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs: for the use of religious assemblies and private Christians 1800
John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumultuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >
ST. MAGNUS first appeared in Henry Playford's Divine Companion (1707 ed.) as an anonymous tune with soprano and bass parts. The tune was later credited to Jeremiah Clark (b. London, England, c. 1670; d. London, 1707), who was a chorister in the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of James II in…
Display Title: Afflictions, Though They Seem SevereFirst Line: Afflictions, though they seem severeTune Title: ST. MAGNUSAuthor: John NewtonMeter: CMSource: Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), number 104