DEPTH OF MERCY

 

DEPTH OF MERCY

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)

 

Words: Charles Wes­ley, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems, 1740.

Music: Can­ter­bu­ry, Or­lan­do Gib­bons, in Hymns and Songs of the Church, by George Wi­ther, 1623 (MI­DI, score). Al­ter­nate tunes:

 

An ac­tress in a town in Eng­land, while pass­ing along the street, heard sing­ing in a house. Out of cur­i­o­si­ty she looked in through the open door and saw a num­ber of peo­ple sit­ting to­ge­ther sing­ing this hymn. She list­ened to the song, and af­ter­wards to a sim­ple but ear­nest pray­er. When she went away the hymn had so im­pressed her that she pro­cured a co­py of a book con­tain­ing it. Read­ing and re-read­ing the hymn led her to give her heart to God and to re­solve to leave the stage. The man­a­ger of the the­a­ter plead­ed with her to con­tin­ue to take the lead­ing part in a play which she had made fa­mous in other ci­ties, and fi­nal­ly he per­suad­ed her to ap­pear at the the­a­ter. As the cur­tain rose the or­ches­tra be­gan to play the ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the song which she was ex­pect­ed to sing. She stood like one lost in thought, and the band, sup­pos­ing her em­bar­rassed, played the prel­ude over a se­cond and a third time. Then with clasped hands she stepped for­ward and sang with deep emo­tion:

“Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?”

This put a sud­den stop to the per­for­mance; not a few were im­pressed, though many scoffed. The change in her life was as per­ma­nent as it was sin­gu­lar. Soon af­ter she be­came the wife of a min­is­ter of the Gos­pel.

Sankey, pp. 134-5

 

 

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I have spilt His precious blood,
Trampled on the Son of God,
Filled with pangs unspeakable,
I, who yet am not in hell!

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

Whence to me this waste of love?
Ask my Advocate above!
See the cause in Jesus’ face,
Now before the throne of grace.

Jesus, answer from above,
Is not all Thy nature love?
Wilt Thou not the wrong forget,
Permit me to kiss Thy feet?

If I rightly read Thy heart,
If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.

Jesus speaks, and pleads His blood!
He disarms the wrath of God;
Now my Father’s mercies move,
Justice lingers into love.

Kindled His relentings are,
Me He now delights to spare,
Cries, “How shall I give thee up?”
Lets the lifted thunder drop.

Lo! I still walk on the ground:
Lo! an Advocate is found:
“Hasten not to cut Him down,
Let this barren soul alone.”

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps and loves me still.

Pity from Thine eye let fall,
By a look my soul recall;
Now the stone to flesh convert,
Cast a look, and break my heart.

Now incline me to repent,
Let me now my sins lament,
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more.

 

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