Scripture Verse

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. Titus 3:5


Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Words: Charles Wes­ley, Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems 1740.

Music: Can­ter­bu­ry Or­lan­do Gib­bons, in Hymnes and Songs of the Church, by George Wi­ther, 1623 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625)


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. 150–51


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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.