New-Fashioned Hymns: Rock of Ages

Time for another translation! This hymn, called Rock of Ages, was written by a dude named Augustus Toplady, and rumor has it that he wrote this song on account of being caught in a thunderstorm. Upon finding a rocky limestone glen to take cover under, he hid himself in the rock and wrote the words to this 1776 melody.

I think it’s so cool that, even after nearly three hundred and fifty years, the words to this song are still powerful and relevant. Praise the Lord for that – he is truly the timeless Rock!

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.

Forever a safe place
Where no one can find me or hurt me.
Your sacrifice on the cross is the two-fold remedy:
First, to save me from hell,
Then, to continually erase my hard-earned sin.

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.

I simply cannot work hard enough,
Your standard is higher than the moon.
My attempts at being passionate, diligent, or lachrymose
Bring no relief
Until you alone come and save me!

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.

The measly offerings I give to you can’t compare
To just having open hands before you.
I truly come to you with a trifle,
Wretched and hopeless without your grace.
If you don’t take my sinful, dirt-wrenched corpse
I will surely perish.

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.

Life, it doesn’t last.
Soon, you’ll take me home.
When I get to heaven
And meet you face to face, I will forever sing,
“My stronghold; split, broken in two to save me,
You have covered me amidst life’s storms.”

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