Hymn Story and Text: Rock of Ages by August Toplady

Aug 22, 2023

Hymn Background: 

Legend has it that August Toplady wrote this hymn during a big storm in England. He was traveling in a narrow valley called Burrington Combe when the storm hit. He found a small space in the rocks to hide from the storm and that's where he wrote the song. Some people aren't sure if this story is true, but there's now a sign on the rock that says: "Rock of Ages: This rock is named after a famous hymn written in 1762 by Rev. A. M. Toplady, who got the idea while hiding here during a storm."

Rock of Ages

by August Toplady, 1776

Rock of Ages, cleft for me!
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side that flowed,
Be of sin the perfect cure;
Save me, Lord! and make me pure.

Not the labors 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 Thy 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 eyelids close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment-throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!

Hymn testimonial:

This is a wonderful hymn both devotionally and theologically. It emphasizes the essential truth of our utter lostness and complete dependence on Christ's love and work for us. "Naked, come to thee for dress; Helpless, look to thee for grace! Vile, I to the fountain fly! Wash me, Saviour, or I die!"

— Jonathan C.

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