Rock of Ages, Cleft for me

Who would not recognize that line? Regardless of the denomination, you’ll find that church people are familiar with the aforementioned hymn. Written in the mid- 1700’s in England, it has outlived many church orders and doctrinal changes.

Speaking of doctrinal changes, its composer, Rev. Toplady included the hymn as a supplement to the article he wrote to refute Arminianism. Devoted to Calvinism, he spent most of his ministering years debating at length the issue between the two doctrines pertaining to salvation.

Regardless of his end belief, Rock of Ages was undeniably an endeared song by all believers. That said, why not sing along with this country legend who we’ve come to love?

Randy Travis in “Rock of Ages”

The Phrase ‘Rock of Ages”

It’s an endearment for God. Unlike capricious deities, he was depicted as the stable and unchanging God.

 It’s been reportedly said that Toplady wrote the initial wordings for Rock of Ages in the middle of a fierce storm. Still, on the road, he sought for shelter and found it in the cleft of a humungous rock. As for its exact location, there were several claims. Traditionally, it is believed that it could have been in the gorge of Burrington Combe. That’s in the Mendip Hills in England.

The Songwriter
Best Loved Hymns XI: Rock of Ages 1

Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady

(1740-1778)

A prolific essayist who could talk about a wide range of topics, he became the editor of the Gospel Magazine from 1771-1776. An active advocate of literature, he also published Psalms and Hymns for a Public and Private Worship in 1776.

He never married and spent his last three years preaching at a Calvinist chapel in London.

He died in 1778 from tuberculosis.

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