Rock of Ages, cleft for me

1
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,
Save me from its guilt and power.
2
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All could never sin erase,
Thou must save, and save by grace.
3
Nothing in my hands 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.
4
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.
168
Anonymous

This really helped


Ayorinde Kehinde

Lagos, Nigeria

God bless you!


Teodor Bic

Redhill, Surrey, United Kingdom

A priceless blessing over the centuries! Thank You Jesus that You are The Rock of Ages!


Precious

Lagos, Apapa, Nigeria

Am lifted Rock of Ages, thank you Jesus


Simeon

Leeds, United Kingdom

Thank you


Sylvia

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

I woke up singing this, thanks, I had to google it, I used to sing it at primary school, I realised I don't know all the lyrics and Googled, immediately when I woke up at 4am. God bless!


Cd

Alabama, United States

The Holy Spirit our this time on my heart tonight. Thank you for posting the words, as I haven’t memorized them. The final verse is so highly applicable to our times.


Ekoma Benjamin

Benin City, Edo, Nigeria

Rock of ages, save me from its guilty and power in Jesus Christ name,


Ana Lara

United States

The tune written for Toplady’s hymn, “Rock of Ages, ” was written by a renowned American church musician Thomas Hastings in 1830. Hastings was the first musician of sacred music to dedicate his life to elevate the music of churches all around America. He wrote at one time, “The homage that we owe to the Almighty God calls for the noblest and most reverential tribute that music can render. ”

Thomas Hastings was born on October 15, 1784, in Washington, Connecticut. Though his formal musical training was small, and he suffered eye problems throughout his life because he was an albino, he wrote more than fifty volumes of church music including 1000 hymn tunes and more than 600 original hymn texts as well as editing more than fifty music collections. In 1858 the University of the City of New York awarded him with the degree of Doctor of Music in recognition for his achievements. Along with Lowell Mason, Thomas Hastings is credited with being one of the most influential musicians in shaping the development of church music in the United States.

The hymn “Rock of Ages, ” has been preserved for over 200 years and has been enjoyed by Calvinists and Armenians alike despite its original inspiration born out of controversy.


Ana Lara

United States

This hymn has been ranked as one of the most popular hymns ever written of the English language. It has been described as a “hymn that meets the spiritual needs of all sorts and conditions of men from the derelict snatched from the gutter by the Salvation Army to Prime Minister Gladstone at whose funeral it echoed through the dim spaces of Westminster Abbey. ”

Whereas most hymns have been written out of some personal need or experience, this hymn was born in a spirit of “passionate controversy. ” Augustus Toplady was sixteen years old when he was saved while visiting Ireland. Augustus writes of his conversion:

“Strange that I, who had so long sat under the means of grace in England, should be brought right with God in an obscure part of Ireland, midst a handful of people met together in a barn, and by the ministry of one who could hardly spell his own name. Surely it was the Lord’s doing and is marvelous. ”

At first Toplady associated himself with the Wesley brothers and the Methodists but later he strongly followed John Calvin and the doctrine of “election” which radically opposed Arminianism promoted by the Wesleys. They carried theological warfare through pamphlets, public debates and sermons.

Toplady-I believe him (John Wesley) to be the most rancorous hater of the gospel system that ever appeared on the Island.... Wesley is guilt of Satanic shamelessness... of uniting the sophistry of a Jesuit with the authority of a pope.

Wesley-I dare not speak the deep things of God in the spirit of a prize fighter or a stage player, and I do not fight with chimney sweeps.

In 1776 Toplady published this hymn text in “The Gospel Magazine” as a climax to an article attempting to prove his argument that even as England could never pay her national debt, so man through his efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of a holy God. He entitled the hymn “A Living and Dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the World. ”

Some of the phrases in the hymn are satirical in nature against the teachings of the Wesleyan Arminian concepts:

Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no languor know, these for sin could not atone- Thou must save and Thou alone.

Dr. Louis J. Benson, a noted hymnologist, in “The Studies of Familiar Hymns, ” calls attention to the fact that Toplady actually plagiarized his text from a hymn that Charles Wesley had written thirty years ago in a collection, “Hymns on the Lord’s Supper. ” A paragraph of the preface from this collection reads as follows:

O Rock of Israel, Rock of Salvation, Rock struck for me, let those two streams of Blood and Water which once gushed out of Thy side, bring down Pardon and Holiness into my soul. And let me thirst after them now, as if I stood upon the Mountain whence sprang this Water; and near the Cleft of that Rock, the Wounds of my Lord, whence gushed this Sacred Blood.

Augustus Toplady was born at Farnham, England, on November 4, 1740, the son of Major Richard Toplady, who died while serving his country at the time Augustus was still a baby. Later Augustus graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and was ordained an Anglican minister in 1762. He also pastored the French Calvinist Chapel at Leicester Fields, London, where he became known as a powerful and zealous evangelical preacher. Although he was known as a controversial preacher for his opposition to the Armenian theology, Toplady was highly influential as a spiritual leader. Because of his delicate constitution and the strain that work had on his body, he died of tuberculosis at thirty-eight years of age. These are his final words before parting to be with the Lord:

My heart beats every day stronger and stronger for glory. Sickness is no affliction, pain no cause, death itself no dissolution.... my prayers are now all converted into praise.

After World War II there was a desire in the United States for new things; consequently, many new tunes were written for hymns. After twenty or thirty years, however, no one is singing the new tunes; people prefer the traditional tunes. Our hymnal includes almost all the good tunes for hymns. The old tunes are more solemn. This is evident with the tunes for "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee" (Hymns, #1058) and even for "Many weary years I vainly sought a spring" (#322), which has a little faster tempo. Proper tunes for hymns should be neither light nor embellished; on the contrary, they should be solemn and weighty. Brother Nee was very much against embellishing the hymns, because this does not build up our spirit. It is good to write new hymns, but we must adhere to the principle of mainly presenting the truth. I hope that we would understand the fine distinctions here.

We have a hymn in our hymnal (Hymns, #1058) that speaks of the double cure of God's full salvation through the blood and the water that flowed from Christ's pierced side (John 19:34), which save us from both the guilt and power of sin. The blood is for redemption, and the water is for the imparting of the divine life. Guilt is the result of the condemnation of sin, and the power of sin is the entanglement and tyranny of sin. For deliverance from the power of sin, we have God's salvation in the divine life, and for deliverance from the guilt and the condemnation of sin, we have Christ's redemption through the shedding of His blood. Romans 5:10 speaks of the two aspects of God's deliverance from sin: "If we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled." Here the reconciliation to God through the death of His Son points to Christ's redemption, which delivers us from the guilt and condemnation of sin, and the salvation in Christ's life delivers us from the power of sin.

God saves fallen human beings by resolving the problem of sins and by dealing with our sin. The hymn "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me" (Hymns, #1058) is a good Christian song. It is a valuable, classic Christian hymn. The key point of this hymn is found in the last lines of the first stanza: "Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power." Guilt is due to our outward sinful deeds and shows that we have received eternal punishment; power refers to the power of the sinful nature within us. How can we resolve the problem of sin and sins? It is through the water and the blood which flowed from the Lord's riven side. The blood redeems us from the eternal punishment related to our sins, and the water saves us from the power of sin. This is the double cure mentioned in this hymn. Therefore, this hymn is well written, and the truth in it is very clear.

This shows that we must have a thorough knowledge of the truth. "Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power." The Lord's blood washes away our outward transgressions and saves us from the guilt of eternal punishment. The water denotes the Lord's resurrection life, which enters into us and is the power to deliver us from the power of sin. In Romans 7:24 Paul said, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of this death?" He is speaking of our inward, sinful nature. In 8:1 Paul says, "There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." The condemnation here does not refer to being condemned to go to the lake of fire but to the condemning within us. Many husbands do not want to lose their temper with their wife. They set their will and pray, but they still lose their temper. After getting angry, they condemn themselves for being wretched, and they wonder who can save them. However, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life has freed us from the law of sin and of death (v. 2). This is what is referred to in the line of the hymn "Save me from its...power." The blood redeems us outwardly, and the life saves us inwardly. Redemption delivers us from our sinful deeds, and salvation delivers us from our sinful nature.

The hymns are another tool for preaching the gospel. We can preach the gospel to others by singing hymns, such as Hymns, #1058. I translated this hymn into Chinese, and Brother Nee polished it and made some improvements, including my translation of the line "Be of sin the double cure." The first cure for sin deals with the record of our sins before God, for which we should receive eternal punishment. The second cure for sin deals with the law of sin within us, which brings us under the ruling of the power of sin. This hymn also speaks of "the water and the blood" that flowed from the Lord's side. The blood deals with the record of our sins before God, and the water denotes the law of the Spirit of life. This law enables us to overcome the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:2). I mention this because I hope that some young people may be raised up to learn to write hymns.

Hymns, #1058, verse 1 says, "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, / Save me from its guilt and power." We have a double problem. On the one hand, we have a record of sins before God. On the other hand, we have the nature of sin within us. Only the blood and water can be the double cure for our sin. On the one hand, the redemptive blood redeems us that we may escape the eternal punishment for sins. On the other hand, the water of life saves us that we may be delivered from the power of sin. Sin not only causes man to suffer eternal punishment, but it also has the power, which is the law of sin, to dominate man from within. In our natural life we have no way to overcome the law of sin and of death, but the law of the Spirit of life can free us in Christ from the law of sin and of death. Only the precious blood can solve the problems concerning our condemned position and our record of sins. Only the Spirit of life can solve our problem concerning the law of sin and of death. God's full salvation consists not only of the redemption through the precious blood but also of the salvation by the Spirit of life.

The writer of this hymn refers to the "double cure." His redemption gives us a double cure. First He washes away our sins, and second He regenerates us. His blood saves us from the guilt of sin and His life saves us from the power of sin. In His redemption Christ can give us a double cure—He washes away our filthiness and He keeps away our death. This double cure is His redemptive work, yet for us to enjoy His redemptive work, we must be willing to be imprisoned in His death. While we are in His death, He has the position to secrete Himself around our being. Then we will surely receive the double cure and we will be produced as pearls for the entry into God's building.

Augustus Toplady

This very godly person, when he counted his sins, considered that every second he committed at least one sin. That is to say that in ten years, there were more than three hundred million sins. Therefore, he wrote that glorious hymn which caused millions of people, who were tired and oppressed by sin, to find rest—"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee"! He wrote:

Oh, is there one as pitiable as I in this world! Besides weakness and sin I have nothing. In my flesh there is no good thing, and how surprising that I could be tempted to view myself so high. The best work I have done in my life only qualifies me to be condemned.

But when he was dying of tuberculosis in London, he leaned his sinful head on the breast of the Savior and said, "I am the happiest man in this world."