“Rock of Ages”

And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” – Exodus 33:19-22 (ESV)

Rock of Ages, written by Augustus Toplady in the mid-1750s, is a beloved, well-known Christian hymn. A legend of the song’s origin includes Toplady taking shelter in the cleft of a rock during a fierce storm. Whether this is true or not, this hymn has been a blessing to Christians for generations. It is a solid testimony of our Lord’s powerful sacrifice and informs the weary Christian of the shelter, protection and Sabbath rest afforded by our Savior.

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 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 my eyes shall 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.

– Words: Augustus M. Toplady (1776); Music: Thomas Hastings (1830) © Public Domain