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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Who changed Toplady's words in Rock of Ages?

Someone claiming to be Reformed quotes from Methodist and Pentecostal hymn books to substantiate that Augustus Toplady said that the "double cure" was to make us pure.  Interestingly it is not until we're half way down the discussion page that someone gets it right.  It truly is amazing how Arminian so-called Calvinists have become these days:  

The original lyric was actually "Cleanse me from its guilt and power", "save from wrath and make me pure." was a later alteration. Your modern hymnal is therefore actually "original".
The original words to "Rock of Ages" were as follows:

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 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!


I believe that it was Thomas Cotterill who in his 1815 "Selection of Psalms and Hymns" that repaced the original final line of the first verse with "Save from wrath, and make me pure"

Samuel Rogal in his 2003 work "An analysis of various versions of A.M. Toplady's Rock of Ages, cleft for me (1774-2001) (which I am sad enough to own) suggests two reasons at page 12, namely:

a) The pronounciation of practice changed so that "-ure" ceased to rhyme with "-our".

b) Cotterill found Toplady's calvinistic imagery unpalatable, being more interested with the end result of salvation rather than the process leading to it.

Interestingly the song was first published in the March 1776 edition of the Gospel Magazine in an article that read:

A remarkable Calculation: Introduced here, for the sake of the spiritual Improvement subjoined. Questions and Answers, relative to the National Debt. The object and end of this " Calculation " will be gathered from the closing questions and answers:—
Q. 8. How doth the government raise this interest yearly ?
A. By taxing those who lent the principal, and others.
Q. 9. When will the government be able to pay the principal ?
A. When there is more money in England's treasury alone, than there is at present in all Europe.
Q. 10. And when will that be ?
A. Never.

This article is signed " J. F." Immediately underneath, the subject is continued as a Spiritual Improvement of the foregoing: By another Hand.

The aim of this " Improvement " is to ascertain how many sins " each of the human race" is guilty of "supposing a person was to break the law (1) but once in 24 hours "; (2) twice in the same time; (3) once in every hour; (4) once in every minute; (5) once in every second. As this last is the climax, we will give the question and the answer.
Q. May we not proceed abundantly further yet? Sixty seconds go to a minute. Now, as we never, in the present life, rise to the mark of legal sanctity, is it not fairly inferrible, that our Sins multiply with every second of our sublunary durations ?
A. Tis too true. And in this view of the matter, our dreadfull account stands as follows.—At ten years old, each of us is chargable with 315 millions, and 36 thousand sins.—At twenty, with 630 millions, and 720 thousand.—At thirty, with 946 millions, and 80 thou¬sand.— At forty, with 1261 millions, 440 thousand.—At fifty, with 1576 millions, and 800 thousand.—At sixty, with 1892 millions, and 160 thousand.—At seventy, with 2207 millions, and 520 thousand.—At eighty with 2522 millions, 880 thousand.
Q. When shall we be able to pay off this immense debt?
A. Never.....
Q. Will not divine goodness compound for the debt, by accepting less than we owe ?
A. Impossible.....
Notwithstanding this frightful helplessness, there is hope, as the answer, a little further on, makes clear :—
A. " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law; being made a curse for us." Gal. iii. 13.—This, This, will not only cownter-balance, but infinitely overbalance, all the sins of the whole believing world.

Questions and Answers follow, The last answer is :—

ROOK OF AGES
A. " We can only admire and bless the Father, for electing us in Christ, and for laying on Him the iniqui¬ties of us all:—the Son, for taking our nature and our debts upon Himself, and for that complete righteousness and sacrifice, whereby he redeemed his mystical Israel from all their sins:—and the co-sequal Spirit, for causing us (in conversion) to feel our need of Christ, for in¬spiring us with faith to embrace him, for visiting us with his sweet consolations by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, for sealing us to the day of Christ, and for making us to walk in the path of his commandments.
" A living and dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the World."

The text for "Rock of Ages" then followed.

I would love to sing the original "When my eyestrings break in death" lyric, this mirrored the belief at the time that in death the optic nerves snapped. It is a shame that it was changed to "when my eyelids close in death" just to keep medical students happy.
Click here to see the original discussion at the Puritan Board:  Who changed Toplady's words in Rock of Ages?

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