Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and passed through the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
I Corinthians 10:1, 3 & 4

This fervent plea for Christ our eternal rock to grant salvation through His sacrifice and to be a place of refuge for the believer is one of the most popular hymns ever written. With strong emotional impact, it proclaims Christ's atonement on the cross to be the only means of salvation, making man's tears and efforts to justify himself of no avail. Also it urges us to find consolation and security in Christ our Rock--even at the time of death.

Augustus Toplady's strong and passionate lines were actually written as the climax to an article that he wrote in The Gospel Magazine in 1776. In the article, he argued that, as England could never pay her national debt, even more so man through his own efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of a holy God. God has preserved this hymn for more than 230 years to bring blessing to believers around the world.

At the age of 16, as he sat in a barn and listened to the preaching of an uneducated man, Toplady was dramatically converted. Later, he became a powerful and respected minister. While he was busy pastoring several churches in England, Augustus Toplady wrote many hymn texts, but few have survived. "Rock of ages" is the one for which he is known today.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure:
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone!

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

*For Today*: Exodus 17:1-6, 33:17-23; Psalm 78:35; Acts 4:12

Give sincere praise to Christ our "Rock of Ages" for His great gift of salvation and for His provision of a place of refuge for us, even unto death.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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