It might seem strange that “Rock of Ages,” the timeless hymn of salvation and forgiveness would be written by a fiercely independent Christian named Augustus Montague Toplady. He was converted by a Methodist evangelist while attending the University of Dublin. In 1758, his theology changed to Calvinism after hearing the sermons of Dr. Manton on the seventeenth chapter of John. A change that brought him into bitter conflict with John Wesley and the Methodists.
This hymn was written to conclude a magazine article in which he emphasized, just as England could never repay its national debt, so humans through their own efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of God. He died of tuberculosis and overwork at the age of thirty-eight, two years after he published his own hymnal, in which "Rock of Ages" and Charles Wesley's "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" were placed side by side.
“Rock of Ages” has been played by Bob Dylan in concert on a number of occasions since 1999. Regardless of your denominational beliefs, it would be hard to diminish this heartfelt prayer for the living and the dying.