Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) is probably best known for his hymn “Rock of Ages.” Originally a follower of Wesley, in 1758, he adopted Calvinist doctrine. In his early twenties he was ordained an Anglican priest after his studies in London and Dublin. In 1775, he left the Church of England and began to preach at a French Calvinist church in London. A staunch Calvinist, he wrote such books as The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted and Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 38. Banner of Truth has a great short article on Toplady which includes a poem he wrote at the age of 15 about the nature and character of God.
Toplady wrote the following hymn in 1774 which we will sing at Parish Pres on Sunday. It beautifully weaves the themes of substitutionary atonement, imputed sin, imputed righteousness, the need for the Incarnation, and the joy of salvation in Christ.
Fountain of never ceasing grace,
Thy saints’ exhaustless theme,
Great object of immortal praise,
We bless Thee for the glorious fruits
Thine incarnation gives;
The righteousness which grace imputes,
And faith alone receives.
Whom heaven’s angelic host adores,
Was slaughtered for our sin;
The guilt, O Lord was wholly ours,
The punishment was Thine:
Our God in the flesh, to set us free,
Was manifested here;
And meekly bare our sins, that we
His righteousness might wear.
Imputatively guilty then
Our substitute was made,
That we the blessings might obtain
For which His blood was shed:
Himself He offered on the cross,
Our sorrows to remove;
And all He suffered was for us,
And all He did was love.
In Him we have a righteousness,
By God Himself approved;
Our rock, our sure foundation this,
Which never can be moved.
Our ransom by His death He paid,
For all His people giv’n,
The law He perfectly obeyed,
That they might enter Heav’n.
As all, when Adam sinned alone,
In his transgression died,
So by the righteousness of One,
Are sinners justified,
We to Thy merit, gracious Lord,
With humblest joy submit,
Again to Paradise restored,
In Thee alone complete.
Our souls His watchful love retrieves,
Nor lets them go astray,
His righteousness to us He gives,
And takes our sins away:
We claim salvation in His right,
Adopted and forgiv’n,
His merit is our robe of light,
His death the gate of Heav’n.