The Prodigal Returning to His Fathers

In his brief life Irving Spence (1799-1836) most famously left behind his Letters on the Early History of the Presbyterian Church in America, addressed to Robert M. Laird and published posthumously. 

Spence was not only a Presbyterian ruling elder, an attorney, a correspondent and an historian - he was also a poet. Among the handful of poems that we have from his pen recorded in this volume, one particular composition by Spence is given here for your devotional consideration. 


I will arise, and go to my Father, and will say unto him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.—Luke xiv. 18, 19.

Long the ways of sin I've trod.
Long have walked the downward road,
Long rebelled against my God,
And sovereign grace have spurn'd,
Mercy's calls I've all withstood,
Trampled on redeeming blood,
Fearless of that fiery flood,
Where all the tares are burned.

Hating God, his word, his cause,
People, government, and laws.
My dear Redeemer, and his cross.
My guilt how great its load!
Loving sin, I scorned to pray;
Harder made my heart each day;
Wandering farther from the way
To glory and to God.

Light now bursts upon my eyes:
Now I see with sad surprise.
How vile I am, and w^ill arise.
And to my Father go;
"Father, I'm a wretch undone!
For my sins can ne'er atone;
But the merits of thy Son,
Can save from endless wo.''

I for Christ my Saviour pant,
Jesus, thou art all I want;
Be thou mine, and to me grant.
To sit at thy dear feet:
I thy yoke no longer fear,
I will all thy burden bear,
Wage with sin unceasing war,
Dear Saviour, I submit.