Rock of Ages Lyrics
By Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)
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 the 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 eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Rock of Ages first appeared in 1776, during the time Toplady was editor of The Gospel Magazine, the oldest English magazine, which has been published continuously since 1766. (All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name also was first published in this magazine in 1789.)
The metaphor of Christ as the “Rock of Ages,” whose life, death and resurrection is the only hope of salvation for the sinner, has given comfort to many, especially those facing death or tragic circumstances. Paired with the tune, Toplady, by American music teacher and composer Thomas Hastings, it was reputed to be the favorite hymn of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd U.S. president, the only one he ever tried to sing.