A Lenten Message
Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady, 1740-1778, only shared 38-years in his earthly-journey, but he left with us a legacy-of-words where 260-years later we still find comfort.
At age 22 he was ordained Anglican priest. One day he was caught in a thunderstorm in Burrington Coombe. Taking shelter in a barn and afraid; however, as the storm pounded the roof he began to write in the dark on a piece of paper the resolve of his faith, “Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me Let me Hide Myself in Thee".
The storm was doing its worst but his faith kept him focused from where he was in shelter. Hear his words written “While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee”.
In this Lenten season these words are of comfort to all. For Toplady it was a cry for relief from the storm, but today we use them for relief from the storms of our lives “Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Wash me, Savior, or I die”
It was said that when British-Prime-Minister Sir William Gladstone lay dying he asked that this hymn be sung for him to hear. Then in another story it was told that when a doomed ship was lost at sea in Biscay Bay England, January 11, 1866, the crew sang with voices raised “Rock of Ages.” American President Benjamin Harrison also requested this hymn to be sung at his funeral, it was the only hymn he ever tried to sing.
For 260 years and more this hymn has given inspiration and comfort to many. Take these words with you this Lenten season, do not let a miracle pass you by, within all our toils and troubles we can find comfort in the “Rock of Ages”.
The hymn... Rock of Ages
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,
Let me hide myself in Thee.