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The Backslider’s Confession

“Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

When I was a little child,

O, what sweetness did I prove?

Then on me my Father smiled,

Clasp’d me in the arms of love;

Bore me all my infant days,

Gently by His Spirit led,

Dandled me upon His knees,

Made me on His promise feed.

But, alas! I soon rebell’d,

Would not cast on Him my care;

Swell’d with pride, with passion swell’d,

I could neither fall nor err.

I was strong and able grown,

I could for myself provide,

I had wisdom of my own:

Let the weaker seek a guide.

When to Him I would not look,

Grieved and hardly forced away,

Me my Guide at length forsook,

Me my Father left to stray.

Angrily He hid His face:

Careless of His smile or frown,

I pursued my evil ways,

Frowardly in sin went on.

Back recall’ d, I know not how,

Father, I my folly mourn:

If Thou art my Father now,

Now assist me to return.

Freely my backslidings heal,

Once again become my Guide;

Save me from my wayward will,

Empty of myself and pride.

Thou who all my ways hast seen,

Since I would from Thee depart,

Suffer me no more to lean

To my own deceitful heart.

O, repair my grievous loss,

Comfort to my soul restore:

Once a little child I was:

Lift me up to fall no more.

Give me back my innocence,

Give me back my filial fears,

Humble, loving confidence,

Praying sighs, and speaking tears.

Weak and helpless may I be,

To Thy only will resign’d,

Ever hanging upon Thee,

Simple, ignorant, and blind.

Abba, Father! Hear my cry,

Look upon Thy weeping child:

Weeping at Thy feet I lie;

Kiss me, and be reconciled:8787Wesley has marked this verse for omission, doubtless because of its familiar tone, which he deemed inconsistent with the reverence due to the Most High God, even from His children and friends. His views on this subject are fully expressed, and with admirable clearness and force, in his Sermon on “Knowing Christ after the Flesh.” Works, 3rd ed., vol. 7, p.294.

Take me up into Thine arms,

Let me hang upon Thy breast,

Hide me there secure from harms,

Lull my sorrowing soul to rest.

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