ROCK of Ages

A Living and Dying Prayer for the holiest Believer in the World.




ROCK of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

2 Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

3 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, Saviour, or I die.

4 While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyelids 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.

This hymn properly stands first, for it has had great power over the minds of men. Its author was an English clergyman, the Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady, born in 1740. He was a man of feeble body but of intense feelings, and earnestly opposed the Methodist movement in the Church of England (see under No. 3). The hymn was first printed at the end of an article in the number for March, 1776, of the Gospel Magazine, of which Toplady was editor. He died in 1778. [NOTES.—Verse 1, line 1. Rock of Ages. Isaiah xxvi, 4, reads (in the margin) "Jehovah is the rock of ages." Cleft for me. See Psalm lxxviii, 15. Verse 1, line 2. See Exodus xxxiii, 22. Verse t, line 3. See St. John's Gospel xix, 34. Verse 4, line 2. Toplady wrote it, " When my eye-strings break in death." It was altered in 1815 by Dr. Cotterill, the editor of a hymn-book.]