Music Monday: All Thou Art Is Mine (Toplady)

On this edition of Music Monday, I want to share Augustus Toplady’s hymn called “Divine Aid.” I didn’t have time this morning to find a tune that fits – although I’m sure they’re out there. Anyway, here’s the wonderful hymn. May it give you Christian comfort and hope today!

1 The power of hell, the strength of sin,
My Jesus shall subdue:
His healing blood shall wash me clean,
And make my spirit new.

2 He will perform the work begun,
Jesus, the sinner’s friend;
Jesus, the lover of his own,
Will love me to the end

3 No longer am I now afraid,
The promise shall take place,
Perfect his strength in weakness made:
Sufficient is his grace.

4 When thou dost in my heart appear,
And love erects its throne;
I then enjoy salvation here,
And heaven on earth begun.

5 Lord, I believe and rest secure,
In confidence divine;
Thy promise stands for ever sure,
And all thou art is mine.

Augustus M. Toplady, The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 6 (London; Edinburgh: William Baynes and Son; H. S. Baynes, 1825), 417.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

Election and Good Works (Toplady)

 When it comes to the doctrine of unconditional election, some have objected by saying this doctrine leads people to neglect to do good works.  They reason this way: if God doesn’t elect people based on good things they’ve done, why would anyone do good works?  It’s not a new objection!  Augustus Toplady (d. 1778) answered this objection in one of his sermons on sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:10).  He wrote that if election is unconditional and not dependent upon anything we do,

…Then (may some say) “farewell to gospel obedience; all good works are destroyed.” If by destroying good works you mean that the doctrine of unconditional election destroys the merit of good works and represents man as incapable of earning or deserving the favor and kingdom of God, I acknowledge the force of the objection.

Predestination does most certainly destroy the merit of our works and obedience, but not the performance of them since holiness is, itself, one end of election (Eph. 1:4), and since the elect are as much chosen to sanctification on their way as they are to that ultimate glory which crowns their journey’s end – and there is no coming at the one but through the other.

So that neither the value, nor the necessity, nor the practice of good works is superseded by this glorious truth of unconditional election.  Our acts of evangelical obedience are no more than assembled and consigned to their proper place and restrained from usurping that praise which is due to the alone grace of God.  And our acts of evangelical obedience are restrained from arrogating that office which only the Son of God was qualified to discharge.

The edited quote is found in Augustus M. Toplady, The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 3 (London: Richard Baynes, 1825), 21–22.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

God Never Seeks in Vain (Toplady)

The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 5

In Luke 15 Jesus gave a parable about a shepherd that lost one of his one hundred sheep. He asked, “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it?” (Lk 15:4 NET). Among other things, this parable reminds us of how the Lord seeks and saves the lost. Here’s how Augustus Toplady explained it in a sermon on Luke 15:7:

Christ is a faithful and watchful shepherd. He will not suffer [allow] so much as one of his sheep to be finally lost. If an individual saint wanders from the fold, Christ goes after that soul; and never ceases from his labor of love, until that soul is found. If you or I happen to lose anything on which we set a value; we may find it, or we may not: our search may issue in the recovery of the lost object, and it may all prove fruitless and unsuccessful. Herein is a very wide difference between God’s seeking, and man’s seeking. God never seeks in vain. An earthly shepherd may lose many a sheep, and lose them beyond retrieval. But Christ never lost a sheep, which he did not seek; and never sought a sheep, which he did not find.

[The emphasis above is mine. The (sheepish) humor below is Toplady’s:]

And, when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing. He does not suspend the return of the sheep, on the sheep’s own free-will, (which would he very sheepish policy indeed); nor stand expostulating, and giving the sheep, what Arminianism would call, “a gentle pull” by the fleece: but actually lays hold on the wanderer; takes it up in his arms; layeth it upon his shoulders, by main strength; nor lets it go, until he has actually and finally brought it home. 

 Augustus M. Toplady, The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 3 (London: Richard Baynes, 1825), 240–241.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

Predestination: The Axe that Cuts Down Pride (Toplady)

The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 5 As a follower of Jesus, I am very much aware than any truly good deed that I do is a result of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit at work in me.  I can’t take credit for any good thing I’ve done; the credit goes to God.  Here’s a great commentary by Augustus Toplady on predestination and how it glorifies God and humbles man:

When God does, by the omnipotent exertion of his Spirit, effectually call any of mankind in time, to the actual knowledge of himself in Christ; when he likewise goes on to sanctify the sinners he has called, making them to excel in all good works, and to persevere, in the love and resemblance of God, to their lives end; the observing part of the unawakened world may be apt to conclude, that these converted persons might receive such measure of grace from God, because of some previous qualifications, good dispositions, or pious desires, and internal preparations, discovered in them by the all-seeing eye: which, if true, would indeed transfer the praise from the Creator, and consign it to the creature.

In other words, when God sovereignly calls and regenerates sinners and begins to sanctify them, some unbelievers might think that God was kind to them because they did something to deserve it.  However, Toplady argues, that would mean the creature gets the glory instead of the Creator.  He continues:

But the doctrine of predestination, absolute, free, unconditional predestination, here steps in, and gives God his own [glory]. It lays the axe to the root of human boasting, and cuts down (for which reason, the natural man hates it) every legal, every independent, every self-righteous imagination, that would exalt itself against the grace of God and the glory of Christ. It tells us that God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in his Son; according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, in order to our being afterwards made holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1). Of course, whatever truly and spiritually good thing is found in any person, it is the special gift and work of God: given and wrought, in consequence of eternal, unmerited election to grace and glory.

I agree; not only does the biblical doctrine of predestination humble man, it also leads us to give God all the glory!

 Augustus M. Toplady, The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, vol. 5 (London: Richard Baynes, 1825), 289–290.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

A Poem for the Ill (Toplady)

 Here are a few verses from a poem Augustus Toplady wrote for those suffering with sickness:

Jesus, since I with thee am one;
Confirm my soul in thee,
And still continue to tread down
The man of sin in me.

Let not the subtle foe prevail
In this my feeble hour
Frustrate all the hopes of hell
Redeem from Satan’s power

Arm me O Lord from head to foot
With righteousness divine;
My soul in Jesus firmly root,
and seal the Savior mine.

Proportioned to my pains below,
O let my joys increase,
And mercy to my spirit flow
In healing streams of peace.

In life and death be thou my God,
And I am more than safe;
Chastised by thy paternal rod,
Support me with thy staff.

Lay on me Savior what thou wilt,
But give me strength to bear;
Thy gracious hand this cross hath dealt,
Which cannot be severe.*

As gold refined may I come out,
In sorrow’s furnace tried;
Preserved from faithlessness and doubt,
And fully purified.

*(“Severe” here means “unnecessarily extreme” or “harsh in an unloving way.”)

There are other verses; these are just a few.  The entire poem can be found in the Works of Augustus Toplady, volume six.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI