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.
89
Bethany J Beyer

Minneapolis, MN, United States

This is a wonderful resource but is this version the original? I have sung it different ways:

Be of sin the double cure,

Save from wrath and make me pure

And:

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone

Also there are other changes: behold Thee on Thy throne

So I am wondering which is the original. Thanks


Steve Miller

Detroit, Michigan, United States

A British magazine invited its readers to submit a list of the 100 English hymns that stood highest in their esteem. "Rock of Ages" was the overwhelming favorite.

Augustus Toplady was born at Farnham, England. His father, an officer in the English army, was killed in action one year after his son's birth. The widowed mother eventually moved to Ireland to allow her son to be educated at the prestigious Trinity College in Dublin. It was here that 16 year old Augustus happened to visit a gospel service held in a nearby barn. The preacher was an uneducated layman, but his simple message was based on Ephesians 2:13 "You who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood."

So gripped the heart of the young man that he determined to give his life to God and His service.

Toplady wrote, "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, amidst 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 the age of 22 Augustus Toplady was graduated from Trinity college and was ordained as a minister of the Church of England. Though frail in body and always living under the threat of tuberculosis, he became known as a fervent evangelical preacher and writer until his death at the early age of 38. Someone described him in this way:

"He had an ethereal countenance. His voice was music. He had such simplicity in his words that to hear was to understand."

In his early ministry, Augustus was strongly attracted to the teachings of John and Charles Wesley and their Methodist followers. As time went on, however, Toplady changed his theological views and became a staunch proponent of the "election" doctrine of John Calvin as opposed to the "free will" or Arminian convictions promoted by the Wesleys. With public debates, pamphlets and sermons, Augustus Toplady and John Wesley began to carry on theological warfare:

Toplady: "I believe John Wesley to be the most rancorous hater of the gospel system that ever appeared on this island. Wesley is guilty of Satanic shamelessness - of uniting the sophistry of a Jesuit with the authority of a Pope."

John Wesley: "I dare not speak of the deep things of God in the spirit of a prizefighter or a stage player, and I do not fight with chimney sweeps ..."

In 1776, just 2 years before his death, Toplady published his "Rock of Ages" text in 'The Gospel Magazine', of which he was the editor.

The poem was the climax to an article he had written attempting to prove his argument that even as England could never repay her national debt, so man through his own efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of a Holy God. Toplady titled his poem "A Living and Dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the World".

The 2nd stanza appears to be a satirical swipe at the Wesleyan teaching that there had to be contrite and remorseful repentance involved in one's salvation experience.

In spite of this doctrinal controversy, Toplady was highly respected as a deeply spiritual leader. A few hours before his death he exclaimed, "My heart beats every day stronger and stronger for glory. Sickness is no affliction, pain no curse, death itself no dissolution. My prayers are all converted into praises."

The tune, named for Pastor Toplady, was written for this text more than 50 years later by a well-known American church musician, Thomas Hastings, composer of more than 1,000 hymn tunes and texts.

This hymn, despite the apparent argumentative intent of its author, has been preserved by God for more than 2 centuries to minister spiritual blessing to believers of both Calvinistic and Arminian theological persuasions. It reinforces these foundational truths of Scripture:

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12

"But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You." - Psalm 5:11

As we sing this favorite hymn, may these words by Augustus Toplady also be our earnest plea -

"When I soar to worlds unknown, and behold Thee on Thy throne -

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee." - '52 Hymn Stories Dramatized' by Kenneth W. Osbeck


Hope 4 CHRIST

Glory be to the LORD, He is the end of the law for righteousness, to anyone who believe.


Maurine E. Young

Crown Point, IN, United States

I love the lyrics...Grace...Salvation.....Christ's Cross.....we have a most wonderful, merciful Savior, Friend, & Father!😘


Cricket

Eloy, Arizona, United States

I heard this song off and on all my life. I'm 64 and im watching Warlock this western they was singing Rock of Ages I looked it up to see the fullness of the song & its touching especially the last of it. It's good to know how to sing the whole song.


Kyei Samuel Gyamfi

Ghana

Everyday I listen to this song I fill my spirit move up. Lord to You only I run to and cling myself to.


Princewill

London, United Kingdom

This is excellent melody. It brings back my memories of those years in Teachers' College back home in Nigeria. Each time I hear this tone I vividly my former Principal, Mr G.O Arungwa. I can picture all my old school mates and teacher, especially the Chapel prefect, Theophilus. This is great. I love it.


Janis B

Lester Prairie, MN, United States

My grandmother helped me learn to play this song on the organ when I was young. I use to play it over and over. I was in the car crying one day and parts of this song kept coming to me I felt my nana was reaching out to me. I am so glad I found all the words.


Nnamdi

Lagos, Nigeria

Could not sleep and just lying down thinking about life and everything associated only to realise that I was singing this within. It is well Rock of ages.


Mmasabata

Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Always resort to this song for comfort. Now listening as I was hurting from ending a long journey with my partner of 12 years, the father of my 3 kids, hope God to give me strength to pass through this....

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."