Charles Hodge

He matriculated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1812, and after graduation entered in 1816 Princeton Theological Seminary, having among his classmates his two lifelong friends, John Johns, afterward Episcopal bishop of Virginia, and Charles P. Mollvaine, afterward Episcopal bishop of Ohio. In 1819 Hodge was licensed as a minister by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and he preached regularly at the Falls of Schuylkill, the Philadelphia Arsenal, and Woodbury, New Jersey over the subsequent months. In 1822 he was appointed by the General Assembly professor of Biblical and Oriental literature. In 1822 he married Sarah Bache, great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. Soon after he went abroad (1826–1828) to prosecute special studies, and in Paris, Halle, and Berlin attended the lectures of Silvestre de Sacy, Friedrich Tholuck, Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, and August Neander. There he also became personally acquainted with Friedrich Schleiermacher.

In 1824, he helped to found the Chi Phi Society along with Robert Baird and Archibald Alexander. In 1825 he founded the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, and during forty years was its editor and the principal contributor to its pages. In 1840 he was transferred to the chair of didactic theology, retaining, however, the department of New Testament exegesis, the duties of which he continued to discharge until his death. He was moderator of the New Jersey General Assembly in 1846.

Fifty years of his professorate were completed in 1872, and the event was most impressively celebrated on April 23 of that year. A large concourse, including 400 of his own pupils, assembled to do him honor. Representatives from various theological institutes, at home and abroad, mingled their congratulations with those of his colleagues; and letters expressing deepest sympathy with the occasion came from distinguished men from all quarters of the land and from across the sea.

Hodge enjoyed what President Woolsey, at the jubilee just referred to, hoped he might enjoy, “a sweet old age.” He lived in the midst of his children and grandchildren; and, when the last moment came, they gathered round him. “Dearest,” he said to a beloved daughter, “don’t weep. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. To be with the Lord is to see him. To see the Lord is to be like him.” Of the children who survived him, three were ministers; and two of these succeeded him in the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary, C. W. Hodge, in the department of exegetical theology, and A. A. Hodge, in that of dogmatics. A grandson, C.W. Hodge, Jr., also taught for many years at Princeton Seminary.

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