Augustus Toplady wrote this hymn, which is included in “The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady,” page 897, under the overall heading “Juvenile Poems on Sacred Subjects.” A subtitle of the section indicates he wrote these hymns between the ages of 15-18. Let’s see, what was I doing at that age? Unfortunately, I wasn’t writing hymns. Even if I was, they wouldn’t have had the depth shown by Toplady.
Having been born in November of 1740, that would put the date of writing around 1756-1758, and publication in 1759. This hymn, in particular, is under a section called “Eucharistic Hymns.”
This is what was said of Augustus by his chroniclers in the preface to his works.
Our author early made it appear, that he was not afraid of literary labour; the valuable years of his youth were devoted to useful and honourable studies, rather than to frivolous occupations, such as too often engross the minds of young men at his age. He laid a solid basis for future years, and the superstructure was beautiful. Between the age of fifteen and eighteen, by way of relaxation from his studies, he employed himself in writing little poetic pieces, which were printed in a 12mo. volume, at Dublin, in the year 1759. They are by no means deficient in spirit and force ; some of the verses are truly poetical, and many of the thoughts new. Amidst the small inaccuracies of these juvenile compositions, there are indubitable marks of genius. The youth and inexperience of the writer must be looked upon as an extenuation, so as to preclude every idea of criticism. The ardour of piety and religion, which irradiated the morning of his life, increased with lustre in his maturer years.
Here, then is this hymn of thankfulness, giving thanks for the righteousness of 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.