This week’s song is “Rock of Ages”. Click here for music
Scriptures for this song:
Samuel 22:2-3, 32-33 In thinking about the strength and solidness of a rock, one can appreciate the parallels between a rock and He who is the Rock of Ages. He provides the perfect place to “Let me hide myself in thee”.
Moses 6:57-60 Here I like the admonishment to teach our children truths we know.
Text by Augustus M. Toplady (1740=1778)
Music by Thomas Hastings (1784-1872)
The story behind the song:
Augustus M. Toplady is said to have been caught in a storm and found refuge in the cavity of a rock along a gorge when inspiration for this song struck. Here you can view a picture of where it is commonly thought that he took shelter. Toplady originally followed along with the teachings of the well-known John Wesley. Toplady wrote a publication in which he outlined his thoughts on salvation. Wesley reciprocated with his own thoughts. Toplady thought he made it sound as though Toplady approved of Wesley’s content when in fact he hadn’t and they had very differing views. Toplady believed that each individual isn’t saved by their own works, but by Christ, in spite of their works. Wesley believed that whoever was elected to be saved, would be saved, regardless of what they did. This dispute was pretty bitter, so it seems ironic that some of the text for this hymn are taken nearly directly from words of Charles Wesley (John Wesley’s younger brother).
Thomas Hastings is an American composer who has written about 1000 hymns. He was mostly a self-taught musician. It was over 50 years after Augustus Toplady penned the words that Hastings wrote the tune that is always used today to sing this hymn. Incidentally, Toplady’s original title for the hymn was, “A Living and Dying PRAYER, for the HOLIEST BELIEVER in the World.” Rock of Ages is certainly easier to remember!
I am doing a little research online to find these things out. I also have a book entitled “Our Latter-day Hymns The Stories and the Messages” by Karen Lynn Davidson from which I am finding information on these songs. If you want more info, the aforementioned book and the internet search engines can get you much more than the little bit I shared.
You can go to “Then Sings My Soul Saturday” to find other people’s favorite uplifting songs for the week.