Monday, 27 February 2012

Rock of Ages

Over the course of the last two weeks I have been reading a book called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I have always avoided reading her books (probably due to hype, which seems to be a trend with me), so this is the first time I have read one. And what an amazing book. There are two things that have really come out at me from this book, but I'm only going to discuss one of them in this post - I will reserve the other topic for another post.

A week ago I was reminded of an unhappy incident in my life from about fifteen years ago. Associated with this incident is a book by a South African author, Marguerite Poland, called Shades. This book, which I read as an English setwork novel in my final year of school, upset me and instilled me a very strong dislike for the hymn Rock of Ages. I couldn't see past the setting of the book, and the way in which the hymn was used, to the truth of the hymn.

I now find that I have read a second book that includes this hymn, but this time in a far more positive light that has in a sense, redeemed the hymn for me. It no longer leaves a sour taste in my mouth and a series of negative images. So I thought I'd just share this with you.

Rock of Ages is a Christian hymn that was written in 1763 by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady.

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
Let the Water and the Blood,
From thy riven Side which flow'd,
Be of Sin the double Cure,
Cleanse me from its Guilt and Pow'r.

Not the labors 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 eye-strings 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!