Title : Various contributions both in verse and prose to the Gospel Magazine for 1771 and the following years  
Author : edited by Augustus Montague Toplady  

Toplady was the editor of "The Gospel Magazine" between December 1775 and August 1776 and before, during and after this period he contributed many pieces to this publication. His most famous contribution was the first ever publication of that great hymn "Rock of Ages" in March 1776 at the close of an article entitled "A remarkable CALCULATION: Introduced here, for the sake of the SPIRITUAL IMPROVEMENT subjoined. QUESTIONS and ANSWERS, relative to the NATIONAL DEBT" which is reproduced below:

A remarkable CALCULATION: Introduced here, for the sake of the SPIRITUAL IMPROVEMENT subjoined.



Qu. 1. SUPPOSING this debt to be only 130 millions of pounds sterling at present (although it is much more), and that it was all to be counted in shillings: that a man should count at the rate of 100 shillings per minute, for twelve hours each day until he had counted the whole; how much time would he take in doing it? 

Ans. 98 years, 316 days, 14 hours, and 40 minutes.


Qu. 2. The whole of this sum being 2600 millions of shillings, and the coinage standard being 62 shillings in the Troy pound, what is the whole weight?

Ans. 41 million, 935 thousand, 484 Troy pounds.


Qu. 3. How many carts would carry the weight, supposing a ton in each?

Ans. 20,968 carts.


Qu. 4. Supposing a man could carry 100 pound weight from London to York; how many men would it require to carry the whole?

Ans. 419 thousand, 355 men.


Qu. 5. If all these men were to walk in a line at two yards distaace from one another, what length of road would they require?

Ans. 476 miles, half a mile, and 70 yards.


Qu. 6. The breadth of a shilling being one inch, if all these shillings were laid in a straight line close to one another's edges, how long would be the line that would contain them? 

Ans. 41,035 miles; which is 16,035 miles more than the whole circumference of the earth.


Qu. 7. Supposing the interest of this debt to be only 3« per cent per annum, what does the whole annual interest amount to?

Ans. Four million 550 thousand pounds sterling.


Qu. 8. How doth the government raise this interest yearly?

Ans. By taxing those who lent the principal, and others.


Qu. 9. When will the government be able to pay the principal?

Ans. When there is more money in England's treasury alone than there is at present in all Europe.


Qu.10. And when will that be?

Ans. Never.



Spiritual IMPROVEMENT of the foregoing: By another Hand.


Qu. What is the moral law of God?

 Ans. The transcript of his own most holy nature, and the standard of human purity and obedience.


Qu. Will this law make any allowance of human infirmity, or admit any abatement of the perfect conformity which it demands?

Ans. It makes no allowance for the former, nor will it dispense with a single grain of the latter.


Qu. How does that appear?

Ans. It appears from the undeniable current of scripture: where the language of the law is, Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matt.5:48). Cursed is everone who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. Gal.3:10. The indispensible requisition is, Thou shall love the Lord with all thy heart, abd with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Luke 10:27. Hence, in the eye of the law and the estimation of the law-giver, the risings of wrath are tantamount to murder; the calling any man a fool exposes us to the penalty of hell-fire; an impure thought brings us under the condemnation of actual adultery. Matt. c.22, 28.


Qu. What is the grand inference from these alarming premises?

Ans. That inference which the apostle terms an evident one, and eveident indeed is, viz.: that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God. Gal.3:11. For a single breach of the law renders us guilty of the whole: James 2:10. And one idle word lays us open to the vengeance of God, according to the tenor of the covenant of works. Matt.12:36.


Qu. Supposing a person was to break the law once in 24 hours; to how many would his sins amount in a life of ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, or eighty years?

Ans. If he was to fail in moral duty but once a day his sins at ten years of age would amount to 3 thousand 6 hundred and 50. At twenty years' end, the catalogue wold be 7 thousand 3 hundred. At thirty, to 10 thousand nine hundred and 50. At forty, to 14 thousand 6 hundred. At fifty, to 18 thousand 2 hundred and 50. At sixty, to 21 thousand 9 hundred. At seventy, to 25 thousand 5 hyndred and fifty. At eighty, to 29 thousand 2 hundred.


Qu. What if a person's sins are supposed to bear a double proportion to the foregoing estimate? That is, let us imagine him to sin twice a day, or once every twelve hours.

Ans. In that case his sins at the age of ten years will be multiplied to 7 thousand 3 hundred. At twenty, to 14 thousand 6 hundred. At thirty, to 21 thousand 9 hundred. At forty, to 29 thousand 2 hundred. At fifty, to 36 thousand 5 hundred. At sixty, to 43 thousand 8 hundred. At seventy, to 51 thousand 1 hundred. At eighty, to 58 thousand 4 hundred.


Qu. We must go further still. What if a man's sins keep exact pace with every hour of his life? i.e. we will suppose him to sin 24 times a day.

Ans. His sins will then amount, in a life of ten years, to 87 thousand, 6 hundred. At twenty years of age they will accumulate to 175 thousand, hundred. At thirty, to 262 thousand 8 hundred. At forty, to 350 thousand 4 hundred. At fifty, to 438 thousand. At sixty, to 525 thousand 6 hundred. At seventy, to 613 thousand 2 hundred. At eighty, to 700 thousand and eight hundred.


Qu. Is there a single minute from the first of our existence to the very article of death, wherein we come up to the whole of that inward and outward holiness which God's all-perfect law requires?

Ans. Most certainly not.


Qu. Of how many sins then is each of the human race guilty, reckoning only at the rate of one sin for every minute?

Ans. At ten years old we (according to that method of calculation) are guilty of no fewer than 5 millions 256 thousand sins. At twenty, of 10 millions and 512 thousand. At thirty, of 15 millions 568 thousand. At forty, of 21 millions and 24 thousand. At fifty, of 26 millions and 280 thousand. At sixty, of 31 millions and 536 thousand. At seventy, of 36 millions and 792 thousand. At eighty, of 42 millions and 48 thousand.


Qu. May we not proceed abundantly further yet? Sixty second go to a minute. Now, as we never in the present life rise to the mark of legal sanctity, is it not fairly inferrable that our sins multiply with every second of our sublunary duration?

Ans. It is too true. And, in this view of the matter, our dreadful account stands as follows. -- At ten years old, each of us is chargeable with 315 millions, and 36 thousand sins. -- At twenty, with 630 millions, and 720 thousand. -- At thirty, with 946 millions, and 80 thousand. -- At forty, with 1261 millions, 440 thousand. At fifty, 1576 millions, and 800 thousand. At sixty, 1892 millions, and 160 thousand. At seventy, 2207 millions, and 520 thousand. At eighty, with 2522 millions, 800 thousand.


Qu. When shall we be able to pay off this immense debt?

Ans. Never. Eternity itself, so far from clearing us of the dreadful arrear, would only add to the score by plunging us deeper and deeper into even to infinity. Hence the damned will never be able to satisfy the justice of the Almighty Creditor.


Qu. Will not divine goodness compound for the debt by accepting less than we owe?

Ans. Not all the angels in heaven, nor all the men that ever did or ever shall exist. Others cannot help us, nor can we help our own selves.


Qu. If so, are we not lost, without remedy and without end?

Ans. In ourselves we are. But (sing, O heavens!) God's own arm brought salvation.


Qu. How so? What is there wherewith to counterbalance such an exceeding and astonishing weight of guilt?

Ans. `Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law; being made a curse for us.' Gal.3:13. -- This, this will noo only counterbalance, but infinitely overbalance, all the sins of the whole believing world.


Qu. If the personal short-comings and misdoings of each sinner in particular amount to so vast a multitude, who can calculate the extent of the whole national debt, the entire aggregated sum, which (abstracted from her union with Christ) lies on the Church at large, that elect nation whom he has redeemed from among men?

Ans. The arithmetic of the angels would be unable to ascertain the full amount. 

O thou covenanting, thou incarnate, thou obeying, thou bleeding, thou dying, thou risen, thou ascended, thou interceding Son of God: not all the seraphs thou hast created, not all the innumerable saints thy love hath ransomed, will be able to comprehend, much less to display, along the endless line of eternity itself, the length, the breadth, the depth, the height, of a sinner's obligations to thee.


Qu. If, on the one hand, we are each constrained to cry out with the believers of old, Enter not into judgment with thy servant, o Lord, for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified by works of human performance; -- Who can tell how oft he offendeth? -- How shall man be just with God? -- If thou contend with him for his transgressions, he cannot answer thee for one of a thousand; -- My sins are more in number than the hairs of my head; -- Forgive us our debts, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea; what has faith to say?

Ans. Faith, on the other hand, can reply in the very words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and there is now no condemnation [i.e: not one condemnation] to them that are in Christ Jesus. So that we may sing, with Dr. Watts,

Believing sinners free are set,
For Christ hath paid their dreadful debt.


We may add, with another sweet singer in Israel,

Who shall now urge a second claim?
The law no longer can condemn;
Faith a release can shew;
Justice istelf a friend appears;
The prison-house a whisper hears,
Loose him, and let him go!


Qu. What return can believers render, to the glorious and gracious Trinity, for mercy and plenteous redemption like this?

Ans. We can only admire and bless the Father, for electing us in Christ, and for laying on him the iniquity of us all: -- the Son, for taking our nature and our debts upon himself, and for that complete righteousness and sacrifice whereby he redeemed his mystic israel from all their sins; -- and the co-equal Spirit, for causing us (in conversion) to feel our need of Christ, for inspiring us with faith to embrace him, for visiting us with his sweet consolations by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, for sealing us to the day of Christ, and for making us to walk in the path of his commandments.

A living and dying PRAYER for the HOLIEST BELIEVER in the World

Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
Let the Water and the Blood,
From thy riven Side which flow'd,
Be of Sin the double Cure,
Cleanse me from its Guilt and Pow'r.

Not the Labors of my hands
Can fulfill thy Law's demands:
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for Sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and thou alone!

Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for Dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly:
Wash me, SAVIOR, or I die!

Whilst I draw this fleeting breath
When my eye-strings break in death
When I soar through tracts unknown
See thee on thy Judgment-Throne
ROCK of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in THEE!










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