Why I Would Have Liked to Go to Old Princeton

It remained for one of Alexander’s beloved students, Charles Hodge (1979-1987), to give classic expression to the Princeton Theology. Hodge began his ministry at Princeton when the seminary was still in her infancy. He made his debut as professor of biblical and oriental literature, a position that he held until 1840, when he transferred to the chair of systematic theology. In 1835, he published his Commentary on the Epistle of Romans. Charles H. Spurgeon once advised, “the more we use Hodge, the more we value him. This applies to all his commentaries.” He published a Systematic Theology between 1871 and 1873 in three massive volumes, and, even so, it was not complete since it lacked a secton on the doctrine of Ecclesiology that he had planned. Yet Charles Hodge was hardly a “dry theologian.” Students saw him shed tears in his classes when he talked of the love of Christ. He followed the old Puritan adage, “Beware of a strong head and a cold heart.” A student, W.S.C. Webster, recounts Hodge announcing a hymn one day in the Oratory: “As he read he came to the lines: ‘That blood can make the foulest clean, that blood availed for me.’ But he could not read them, try as he would. ‘That blood availed,’–he could not get beyond that. The strong man bowed before the storm of emotion, and, dropping into his chair he buried his face in his hands. But we students had no difficulty in singing the whole hymn.”

From In Pursuit of Purity, by David O. Beale

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