Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778)

Six months before the death of Augustus Toplady at the tender age of thirty-eight, the London pastor determined to set his earthly affairs in order by making out a Last Will and Testament. In J. C. Ryle’s short biography of Toplady, he shares the following paragraph from that will:

“I most humbly commit my soul to Almighty God, whom I honour, and have long experienced to be my ever gracious and infinitely merciful Father, Nor have I the least doubt of my election, justification, and eternal happiness, through the riches of his everlasting and unchangeable kindness to me in Christ Jesus, his co-equal Son, my only, my assured, and my all-sufficient Saviour; washed in whose propitiatory blood, and clothed with whose imputed righteousness, I trust to stand perfect, sinless, and complete; and do verily believe that I most certainly shall stand, in the hour of death, and in the kingdom of heaven, and at the last judgement, and in the ultimate state of endless glory. Neither can I write this my last will without rendering the deepest, the most solemn, and the most ardent thanks to the adorable Trinity in Unity, for their eternal, unmerited, irreversible, and inexhaustible love to me a sinner. I bless God the Father for having written from everlasting my unworthy name in the book of life— even for appointing me to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord. I adore God the Son for having vouchsafed to redeem me by his own most precious death, and for having obeyed the whole law for my justification. I admire and revere the gracious benignity of God the Holy Ghost, who converted me to the saving knowledge ‘of Christ more than twenty-two years ago, and whose enlightening, supporting, comforting, and sanctifying agency is, and (I doubt not) will be my strength and song in the hours of my earthly pilgrimage.”

Who would have ever thought such a great summary of the work of the Trinity in the salvation of sinners could be found in a legal document? Is it no wonder that he was gifted to write the following words that have brought comfort to  hurting people over the last 230 years:

 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 from wrath and make me pure.

 

Not the labors of my hands

can fulfill Thy law’s commands;

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 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 mine eyes shall close 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.

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