This fine old Hymn, also sometimes titled "I WILL ARISE AND GO TO JESUS," has been called "the greatest of all the popular camp meeting songs." It was used commonly as a powerful "invitation hymn" to call sinners to the "mourner's bench" at the end of many an out-of-doors Gospel Sermon. The moving lyrics are actually based on the unforgettable statement of the Prodigal Son in Jesus' great parable, uttered by that profligate when at last he came to himself in the mire of the hog-pen:
"I will arise and go to my father,
and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee..."
The poem itself dates back to 1759 when it first appeared in print form attributed to English Hymnist and Minister Joseph Hart. The most familiar tune, however-- beautifully and simply entitled "Restoration," by William Walker-- was first joined with Hart's poem in Walker's landmark 1835 collection Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (New York: Hastings House. 1835)
Here is a pretty fine version of the song by someone named Martha Bassett. I found it was actually kind of hard to find a modern recorded version that did not alter the beautiful old melody, but then I stumbled onto this lady's traditional treatment which I thought was exceptional. ENJOY:
I really like that verse that says:
"Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him."
That's the truth, friends. The Father will take you just as you are. Put your trust not in yourself, but in the completed work of Christ on your behalf and you will be adopted forever!
AMEN and AMEN.