The Rugged Cross


This dramatic gray granite monument erected in the Mount Carmel Cemetery at Hillsdale, Illinois, is a depiction of a line from the iconic hymn “Rock of Ages” written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady in 1763 and first published in 1775.  The hymn has been a popular Christian standard for over a century.

At the turn of the 19th Century, postcards depicted a dramatic scene of a woman in a flowing dress being buffeted by a storm surrounded by stormy white-crested waves clinging to a cross illustrating the first two lines of the third stanza from the hymn:

“Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling”

The image above is a sculpture of those two lines of the great hymn.  The woman symbolizes faith.  The raging sea (not depicted in this sculpture–the woman rests upon a rock) is a metaphor for the sea of sin in which humankind lives, and the cross is the hope to which sinners cling to be saved.


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