The Prodigal Count

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 3
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a Count when I was abroad. He had been most kind in directing me as to my journey. Knowing he was about to leave, I said I had come to thank him, and to express the hope that we should meet again.
“Not likely,” he replied, “at my time of life.”
“Yet, still,” I added, “I hope that some day we shall meet again.” Looking thoughtfully, he asked,
“Do you mean in heaven?”
“Yes,” I said.
“O! then,” rejoined he, with a sigh, “I shall never be in heaven. I am too great and too old a sinner ever to be in heaven.”
Turning to the Countess, who was near, I said,
“Madam, do you believe what your husband is saying?”
Bursting into tears, she responded, “I was brought up in the church—but have lived in every folly. We are both great sinners; and I am like one without a home—with no father. What would you do with a child who had left her father’s house?”
“I would read to her the fifteenth of Luke.”
“What is that?” she asked; and taking out my Bible, I read. When I came to that part where the prodigal began to be in want, the Count stopped me, saying,
“Is that me?”
“Yes; and me!”
He wept when I explained how a sinner separated from God, must come to be in want—be in dire necessity. He may seem to be rich, and have need of nothing; but, not having Christ, he is wretched and miserable (as to eternal things), and poor, and blind, and naked (Rev. 3:1717Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:17)).
Reading on, I came to the passage where the father is represented as running to meet his son, embracing him, saying,
“This my son.”
“Sir,” interrupted the Count, “is that God?”
“Yes,” I said; “that is God, and God is love.”
I described to him how it was that God had never lost sight of man, though man had gone from God; how, though man had changed, God had never changed; how He, in love to us, had given His Son to die for us; and how the death of Christ enables God righteously, as well as in love, to receive and embrace the oldest and vilest of sinners.
They both wept.
“Let me record this chapter and those verses in my pocket book, saying, as it were, ‘That prodigal is myself; that Father is God.’”
With more such words, he took me by the hand, saying,
“Thank you, thank you very much; yes, thank you. We shall meet again.”
“Passing onward, quickly passing,
Time its course will quickly run.
Still we hear the fond entreaty
Of the ever-gracious one—
‘Come and welcome,
‘Tis by Me that life is won.’”