By Request, ‘Rock of Ages’

The wise man’s house withstood the tempest, because it was founded on a rock…

Requested by Ina: Rock of Ages, sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir. Written in 1763 by Augustus Toplady.

4 comments on “By Request, ‘Rock of Ages’

  1. The Antrim Mennonite Choir does a splendid performance of this wonderful old hymn.

    This is one of the few hymns that can trace their origins to an angry theological battle. In the early 1770s, great theological arguments raged in England between the followers of John and Charles Wesley and those of John Calvin. Toplady found himself at philosophical odds over the Wesleyan doctrine of sanctification. That it was possible for a truly devout believer to attain a state of heavenly perfection here on earth and thus live without consciously sinning. Toplady, held to the belief of John Calvin, that only through the grace of God, that no amount of human effort or good intentions, could one ever become justified to God.

    There were public debates, religious pamphlets, sermons, and angry letters. Wesley and Toplady did theological battle. Toplady published this hymn as a rebuttal and his personal affirmation of his faith.

    Most believe the hymn was written after a young curate, Augustus Toplady, took shelter or refuge from a thunderstorm, under a small ledge between towering boulders, while the storm raged. And after it abated, took a scrap of paper from his pocket and hastily scrawled the inspired verses.

    That’s the romantic tale told today to visitors, to Burrington Combe, who are still directed to view the towering rocks and told this tale. Of course, one wonders, if Toplady would really mind all that much, given the comfort and security his stirring words have given to so many down through the years.

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