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“Return, return!” thy Father’s voice is pleading,
“Tho’ far astray, I bid thee turn again!
Thy robe is rent, thy tender feet are bleeding,
Thy heart is faint and sick with famine pain:
Return, my child: a welcome here awaits thee;
No longer in the distant country rove;
Resist the cruel tempter that belates thee,
And keeps thee from my dwelling and my love.”
Return, return! Thy Father’s loving-kindness
Thou long hast scorned, and done his grace despite;
Yet in his touch is healing for thy blindness,
And he can turn thy darkness into light.
Return in all thy rags of sin’s defilement;
Return with all thy want and sore distress;
Thy Father’s voice bespeaks his reconcilement:
Flee to his breast, and there thy guilt confess.
Return, return! Thy substance hath been wasted—
Thou hast not aught to bring but thy poor heart;
Yet art thou longing for the bread once tasted,
And for his paths of peace, and faith’s good part?
Return, for why shouldst thou delay the pardon
Thy Father’s great compassion waits to grant!
Arise and go, before thy doubts shall harden
The homesick yearnings of the penitent.
Return, return! Leave thou the swine and famine
And seek again the plenty of thy home!
Why dost thou toil among the husks of mammon,
When to his rest the Father bids thee come?
Return thou to his arms, his kiss, his blessing;
Accept the robe, the sandals, and the ring;
And there, thy sinfulness and guilt confessing,
Thou shalt be found, lost treasure of the King!
Return, return! The angel-hosts bend o’er thee—
They wait to bear the tidings’ joyful sound.
They have beheld the Savior dying for thee,
And will rejoice to sing, The lost is found!
Return, for he will heal all thy backsliding—
Will love thee freely, and will thus forgive;
Come, weary soul, rest in his love abiding.
Thou hast been dead—arise to-day and live!
F. G. BURROUGHS.
— October 15, 1892 —