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 Issues | Church History | Augustus M. Toplady

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778)

Evangelical leader & Hymn-writer



  • Born November 4, 1740, Farnham, Surrey.
  • 1755 moved to Ireland and erolled in Trinity College, Dublin.
  • 1755 Converted after hearing a sermon preached by James Morris in a barn in Codymain, co. Wexford.
  • Toplady initially held Arminian views but in 1758 became a convinced Calvinist after reading Thomas Manton's 17th Century sermon on John 17 and Jerome Zanchius's Confession of the Christian Religion (1562).
  • 1759 Published his first book, Poems and Sacred Subjects.
  • 1760 after graduating from Trinity College, returned to Westminster and was influenced by prominent Calvinist ministers including Whitefield and Romaine.
  • 1762, ordained as deacon and appointed as curate of Blagdon, Bath and Wells diocese.
  • 1763, wrote his famous hymn "Rock of Ages."
  • Ordained as presbyter in 1764 and served as curate of Farleigh Hungerford for 1 year.
  • 1766 became vicar of Broadhembury in Devon until his death in 1778.
  • 1769 pubished The Church of England Vindicated from the Charge of Arminianism, which argued that Calvinism, not Arminianism, was the historical position of the Church of England.
  • 1769 also saw Toplady publish his translation of Zanchius' Confession of the Christian Religion (1562)
  • 1774 after long running debate with John Wesley about whether the Church of England was historically Calvinist or Arminian he published his 700-page The Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England, a lengthy study which traced the doctrine of predestination from the time of the early church through to Anglican Archbishop William Laud.
  • 1776-1778 spent last 3 years of his life preaching regularly in a French Calvinist chapel.
  • 11 August 1778, died of tuberculosis.


     (Augustus Montague Toplady, from the Gospel Magazine, 1777)


Church Society articles on Toplady

Toplady on Predestination. Churchman article by Cecil Proctor.

Thoughts on Perseverance by Augustus Toplady. (Cross†Way article). 

Toplady and the Perseverance of the Saints. Cross†Way article by Don Elcoat.

'A Debtor to Mercy Alone' by Augustus M. Toplady - A devotional appreciation by Gary Townsend

Restless Endeavour - A Study of the Hymns of A M Toplady. Churchman article by Arthur Pollard.


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