“For mercies countless as the sands…”

John Newton, the famous hymn writer and pastor, certainly knew how to reflect on his life. Never forgetting his former life as a slave trader, womaniser and general no-good, he always approached life with a grateful heart, forever marvelling at the “amazing grace” he had known in his later life.

One birthday, towards the end of his life, he wrote the following in his diary:

My birthday…What a striking proof is my history of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the heart, and of thy [God’s] wonderful, long-suffering patience and mercy…

The gratitude with which he considered each year of God’s grace in his life is reflected in a hymn he wrote based on the second half of the beautiful Psalm 116. In celebration of my recent birthday, I have recorded my own musical version of the hymn, and am sharing it here in the hope that some of you might appreciate the chance to reflect on God’s grace in your own lives. You can read Newton’s words, along with my chords, here.

Psalm 116 – “For mercies countless as the sands”

Published by Matthew Pullar

Teacher, writer, blogger, husband, father, Christian. Living in Wyndham in Melbourne's west, on the land of the Kulin Nation. Searching for words to console and feed hearts and souls.

9 thoughts on ““For mercies countless as the sands…”

  1. Please do not post this comment right away, or else please edit heavily before you do.

    I was hoping to read the words before hearing the song, but the webpage seems to have been down.

    Also, I had a hard time hearing your voice over the piano, and thus could not hear the words.

    But all that aside, THIS WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL. I think a lot of people will want to sing it. Might you consider re-recording it, with the piano at a slightly lower volume (you played beautifully, by the way), and singing just a bit louder? Please?

  2. Sorry, my account automatically displays comments without giving me the chance to edit them! But not to worry. Thanks for your feedback – it was much appreciated. I’ve re-recorded the song and fixed up the link to the lyrics, now with my chords attached too. Hope it’s helpful.

  3. Mr. Pullar,

    Might you give me your kindly permission to use this beautiful melody you have written?

    Yesterday, through no fault (well, no intent) of my own, some words to fit this melody came dancing into my head. I caught them on paper, then finally typeset them today. And, although the refrain melody I hear in my head differs by a couple of notes from yours, basically, the melody I want to use for my own words is the original one written by you.

    I had in mind to distribute copies of my new poem, referencing your website and this post for the melody, and then a few days later, to post both the poem and the reference to your melody in my poetry blog: mybetterpoems.wordpress.com

    If you would like a copy of what I want to distribute, you can e-mail me at: gwennonblogs@ymail.com. I can then send you the pdf file of the document.

    Thank you for your time (and for composing such beautiful music!).

  4. That is so very kind of you. Thank you so much! I’ll plan to post the new poem “True” in the next couple of weeks.

    It really is a beautiful melody. There is a heavenly sweetness in it that is not always found in music these days. Thank you for allowing me to use it. I will be sure to reference the readers back to your blog so that you will get credit for the melody. (And, actually because I am not in a position to record anything for posting yet.)

  5. Dear Sir, I have just posted the poem for which you have graciously allowed me to use this beautiful melody, along with the reference to your very informative, intelligence-building blog. Thank you for your kindly permission. It was a great help.

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