augustus toplady

I haven’t had a chance to blog about the rest of my trip to Georgia last week, which was great, but I did want to mention that while at Emory University, I was able to take a look at a collection of manuscript materials of August Toplady assembled by his early twentieth-century biographer, Thomas Wright. He’s not exactly a household name, but there are at least two things you should know about Toplady. First, he’s the author of a very well-known hymn: “Rock of Ages.” Second, he absolutely hated Methodist founder John Wesley because while Toplady was a Calvinist who believed that only an elect few would make their way into heaven, Wesley was an Arminian who argued, instead, that anyone who merited eternal salvation would receive it.

Toplady edited The Gospel Magazine, one of the Calvinist periodicals that spurred Wesley to start his Arminian Magazine in response.

Toplady died when he was only 38, and according to one anecdote there were rumors circulating as he was dying that he had expressed a desire to reconcile with Wesley. He apparently dragged himself off of his deathbed to come announce from the pulpit himself that he desired nothing of the kind.

Update: I should stop assuming everyone knows what era and country I’m talking about. This all took place in eighteenth-century England.

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