A Hymn Of Grace -- By: Frances A. Mosher

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 08:2 (Autumn 1995)
Article: A Hymn Of Grace
Author: Frances A. Mosher

A Hymn Of Grace

Frances A. Mosher

Pianist, Christ Congregation
Dallas, Texas

Rock Of Ages1

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,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

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 Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

Whilst I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyestrings break in death;
When I soar through tracts unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

—Augustus M. Toplady (1740–1778)

The text for “Rock of Ages” first appeared in The Gospel Magazine, a British publication, in 1776. It was printed as the climax to an article by its author, Augustus M. Toplady. In the over two hundred years since its introduction it has surely become one of the best known and best loved hymns of the English-speaking church. Its strong declaration of Christ and His work on the cross as man’s only hope of salvation from the judgment his sin deserves, earns it a place of honor among hymns of grace.

The analogy of Christ to a rock has its roots in Scripture. Alluding to the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings, Paul writes, “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4). Paul is apparently referring to the event recorded in Exod 17:6. Moses, at God’s command, struck the rock in Horeb, miraculously bringing forth a needed supply of water for God’s people. The physical rock is a picture of Christ being struck to provide the “water” needed to satisfy sinful man’s spiritual need. In addition, there are numerous OT references to the Lord as a “Rock” or “Rock of salvation.”

The specific picture of Christ as a rock split open (cleft) to provide a place of spiritual refuge for sinful people is surely drawn from Moses’ experience recorded in Exod 33:20–23. Because Moses, a fallen man, could not see God’s face and live, God Himself protected Moses by placing him in the cleft of a rock as He passed by. In like manner, by being hidden in Chr...

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