Nothing In My Hand I Bring

To this man we must ever be indebted for one hymn that has stood the test of time and come through as one of the most popular hymns ever written; "Rock of Ages" by Augustus Toplady.
  It is, indeed, a rich theological hymn and full of praise to the Almighty; however, be that as it may, the hymn was born not out of a personal need or experience, though indeed, Toplady was inspired to write it when he found himself caught in a storm and found shelter underneath a large, overhanging rock by the side of the road, but the hymn itself is an aimed spear shaft at the fundemental teachings of Arminianism of which John Wesley was a leader. The two men had been friends in their youth when Toplady was a young christian and still held to the Methodist teachings but this changed drastically when he became convinced of the doctrines of Predestination, Election and other similar teachings that make up reformed teaching. The disagreements became so sharp that Wesley and Toplady became bitter enemies and were continually sparring with eatchother for the rest of their coexistence. There was fault on both sides and black marks on both of these men's  records but I have not introduced this man to speak of those things. 
  But you can see the frequent jabs at Arminianism in the verses; notice where he says, "Be of sin the double cure, save me from its guilt and power."  which is a direct stab at the Methodist doctrine which states that there are two processes in the saving of a man; first he is saved from his sin nature by the blood of Christ when he repents and asks him into his heart; and then he is cleansed wholly from inward sin by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We know this teaching is erroneous for it not only teaches that the blood of Christ is inadequate to save us wholly, but it also teaches that full Sanctification can be achieved before death! But, any way, Toplady turned this to his own use and asked Christ to be his complete "Double Cure" as opposed to needing the Holy Spirit to help things along. Some say that Toplady actually wrote "Be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.But after doing a bit of research on the subject I have become convinced that his original verse consisted of the former version. Also notice the lines "Could my zeal no languor know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone thou must save and thou alone!" Which is yet another stab at the idea that we could do something to save ourselves and consequently could lose our salvation. Which, I must say, is a horrible thought. Because if I had anything to do with my own salvation; I would most assuredly be damned. I am such a fallen creature that, as John Macarthur so aptly stated, "If I could lose it (salvation) I would lose it!"  it is also fearfully presumptuous to say that it is possible for us to get ourselves to heaven! I am so glad that God hasn't left any part of our salvation up to us!  
  But I fear I have just succeeded in boring my readers to the point of scrolling hastily through the rest of the page and  leaving the half of it unread and unwanted. So, here are the four verses of the hymn, as far as I can figure, in their original state and want to leave you with one note: the last verse has often, in more recent years, been changed to read "When I soar to worlds unknown, and behold Thee on Thy throne!"  Instead of "When I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on Thy judgement throne!"  
 I believe this was done to escape thinking about God's judgement or merely because in this day people can't stand the thought of God judging any one; this change vexes me sorely and I must admit I rather fear that this may eventually become the accepted version. So please, sing it the right way and teach it to your children that it may not be lost! We don't want to lose the balance of grace or truth!
          
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save me from its guilt and pow'r.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no languor  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 the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eye-strings break in death
 When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

May God be our Rock and may we find in Him our hiding place!

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