Charles Hodge.

Conference papers: or analyses of discourses, doctrinal and practical; delivered on Sabbath afternoons to the students of the Theological Seminary online

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Online LibraryCharles HodgeConference papers: or analyses of discourses, doctrinal and practical; delivered on Sabbath afternoons to the students of the Theological Seminary → online text (page 1 of 40)
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Hodge, Charles, 1797-1878
Conference papers



D. D., LL. D., of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Complete in three vols. 8vo, tinted paper. Price
in half calf, per set of three vols., including Index,
bound in with Vol. III., $22.50; in cloth, vols. I. and
II., $4.50 each; Vol. III., $5.00; Index Vol., $1.00;
the set in a neat box $15 00

THE SAME, complete in three vols., including index 12 00

The latter sold only in .sets.

WHAT IS DARVT-INISM ? 1 vol., 12mo, clotli 1 50


contributions to the Princeton Review, arranged by
Eev. William Durant, with a Preface by Kev.
A. A. Hodge, D D. One vol., 8vo . . . . $3 50









743 AND 745 Beoadwat.




Electrottpees and Pbintees.

Philadelphia, Pa.


From the time of its foundation it has been the habit of the pro-
fessors of Princeton Theological Seminary to meet the students every
Sabbath afternoon, for prayer and conference on themes relating to the
life of God in the soul, and to the practical duties having their root
therein. The members of all the successive classes Avill bear testimony
to the unique character and singular preciousuess of these Sabbath
afternoon Conferences in that sacred old Oratory^ whose walls are still
eloquent to them with imperishable associations. Here the venerable
professors appeared rather as friends and pastors than as instructors.
The dry and cold attributes of scientific theology, moving in the sphere
of the intellect gave place to the warmth of personal religious expe-
rience, and to the spiritual light of divinely illuminated intuition.
Here in the most effective manner did these teachers of teachers set
the crown upon their work, and herein they exerted by far, their most
widely extended and permanent influence. Here they sought rather
to build up Christian men, than to form accomplished scholars, and to
infuse into their pupils the highest motives, and to instruct them in the
wisest methods for their future work of saving souls and of edifying
the Church of Christ.

The text or topic for consideration was announced at the preceding
meeting. The professors presided in turn, and were called upon to
speak in the inverse order of seniority, the professor presiding for the
day coming last. For many years, the discussion was opened by re-
marks volunteered by the students, but in later times, the entire hour
has been occupied by the professors.


The historical character of this remarkable service is of course de-
rived from the peerless endowments, intellectual and spiritual, of the
first three professors in the institution. Men so different, yet together
constituting such a singular completeness of excellence by the combi-
nation of their complementary graces.

Dr. Miller, the model Christian gentleman and typical divine, whose
original, generous and genial nature had been transfigured by the long
indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and whose outward manner had evi-
dently been conformed by long self-training to the highest models,\
would have been the first to attract the eye and to impress the ear
of the stranger. His long and active life had furnished him with
rich stores of experience of men as well as a vast volume of learning
derived from books. All this he poured forth with a deliberate and
stately copiousness, in a manner serene and dignified, yet full of im-
pressive force and tender unction. His adoring sense of the majesty
of God, and of the seriousness of human life, of the reality and so-
lemnity of divine things, and of the obligations attending the Chris-
tian profession, and above all attending the ofiice of the Christian
ministry gave form and color to all he said. His instructions were
always wise and practical, and were characteristically illustrated from
an inexhaustible fund of apt and often witty, but always dignified
anecdote, drawn from all literature, sacred and profane, and from his
own extensive intercourse with men as a pastor and as a citizen.

Dr. Archibald Alexander, incomparably the greatest, as he was the
first of that illustrious family, though neither more learned, nor more
holy than his older colleague, was far more original. He was modeled
upon nothing, but every thing in him and about him to the last detail
of thought or glance, or inflexion, or gesture was immediately deter-
mined by spontaneous forces working straight outward from within.
It was this entire absence of self-consciousness, this absolute simplicity
of thought, emotion and expression, and its spontaneous directness to
its point, which, added to his other natural and gracious endowments,
gave this great teacher his singular pre-eminence. His intellect was
intuitive rather than logical. Although he exhibited flashes of acute
analysis, as sharp and rapid as a Damascus blade, yet he did not char-
acteristically excel in broad views of truths in their relations, nor in
lengthened processes of consecutive thought. He was eminently quick


in his observation, and penetrating in his insight, accurately noting
facts and reading character in rapid glances. He held in his retentive
mind the spoils of a vast and widely selected reading. All the trea-
sures of divine wisdom and grace, which the Holy Ghost communicates
to life-long students of the word, when to high intellect is added all
the simplicity and docility of a little child, irradiated his soul, and
made it luminous to others. All the secrets of the human heart and
its various experiences under the discipline of the natural conscience
and of the word and Spirit of God were known to him, and he pos-
sessed the finest skill in interpreting and in treating with acute preci-
sion, the states and frames of all who sought his counsel or listened
to his instructions.*

This utter simplicity, this all-penetrating insight, accompanied with
a wonderful spontaneousness of thought, imagination and speech were
personal attributes, inseparable from his presence and manner, and
incapable of being transmitted to the printed page. During his later
years, when urged to put the results of his studies and reflections in
the permanent form of writing, he often said, " No, if I have any
talent, it is to talk sitting in my chair." And however much he may
have been mistaken in failing to recognize the value of his writings to
the Church, there is no doubt that his gifts as a talker on the themes
of Christian experience were without parallel among his contempora-
ries. He more than any man of his generation, appeared to those who
heard him to be endued with the knowledge, and clothed with the
authority of a prophet sent immediately from God. He was to us as
the highest peak of the mountains, on whose pure head the heavens,
beyond the common horizon, pour the wealth of their iridescent radi-

In his early and middle life he had been an orator endowed with

* " For Dr. Alexander I have the most profound reverence and respect, and
particularly for this thing, which impressed me more than any thing else, his won-
derful knowledge of the human heart, and of the Christian heart, in all its morbid
and its healthful exercises, so that you may call him the Shakspeare of the
Christian heart. I have never seen a man, nor do I ever expect to see the man,
who has impressed me more in this particular." Dr. Theodore D. Woolsey, ex-
President of Yale College, at Dr. Hodge's Semi-Centennial Commemoration
April 24th, 1872.


singular powers of dramatic representation. In his old age he was al-
ways calm and quiet, but such was his intense sense of the reality of
the subjects on which he discoursed, that often, as he spoke of angels,
of heaven, of the beatific vision of saints, of Christ, and of his second
coming and judgment, his hearers felt that their eyes also were opened
to discern the presence of things invisible and eternal.

Every Wednesday evening Dr. Alexander presided at the public
prayers in the Oratory. The instant the students were in their seats
he came in rapidly, his cloak hanging, often diagonally, from his bent
shoulders, his head inclined as in revery, yet flashing sudden glances
on either side with his piercing eyes, which seemed to penetrate all the
secrets of those upon whom they fell. He sat down with his back to
the windows and his right side to the students ; sitting low, almost hid-
den by the desk. Drawing the large Bible down before him he seem-
ed to lose at once all sense of human audience, and to pass alone into
the presence of God. As he read, and mused, and ejaculated the ut-
terances of all the holy exercises of his soul upon the Divine Word, a
solemn hush fell upon us, and we felt, not as those who listen to a
teacher, but as those who are admitted to approach with the shoes from
off their feet, to gaze in and listen through an opened window to the
mysterious workings of a sanctified soul under the immediate revela-
tions of the Holy Ghost.

Dr. Hodge was by a whole generation younger than these venerable
fathers. Hence during the first years of his professorship his part in
these Sabbath afternoon Conferences, although regularly discharged, was
less prominent than theirs. During the long period, however, from
about 1848 to his death in 1878, he was recognized by all as the cen-
tral sun which gave light and heat to the entire service.

As all acquainted with his life-work know. Dr. Hodge's distinguish-
ing attributes were, great tenderness and strength of emotion, and the
power of exciting it in others — an habitual adoring love for Christ,
and absolute submission of mind and will to His word — a chivalrous
disposition to maintain against all odds, and with unvarying self-con-
sistency through all the years' of a long life, the truth as he saw it —
crystalline clearness of thought and expression — and an unsurpassed lo-
gical power of analysis, and of grasping and exhibiting all truths in
their relations. Dr. Alexander once said to a friend tbat the mental


constitution of Dr. Hodge was more than that of any man he knew —
like that of John Calvin, without his severity. As he sat in the Con-
ference he spoke freely, without paper, in language and with illustra-
tion spontaneously suggested at the moment. To the hearer the entire
exercise appeared extemporaneous. The matter presented was a clear
analysis of the scriptural passage, or theme, doctrinal or practical,
chosen for the occasion. An exhaustive statement and clear illustra-
tion of the question. An exhibition of the evidence of the doctrine, and
of the grounds and reasons and of the methods, conditions and limits of
the experience or duty. A development of each doctrine on the side of
experience and duty, and a demonstration of the practical character of
all doctrine, and of the doctrinal basis of all genuine religious experi-
ence and practice.

As to the manner the entire discourse was in the highest degree ear-
nest, fervent and tender to tears ; full of conviction and full of love.
While the temporary impression made upon most hearers was less re-
markable than that produced by Dr. Alexander, in his happiest moods,
all the students, and especially those who were diligent in taking notes,
felt that they took away with them from Dr. Hodge a far larger mass
of coherent thought for permanent use, than from any of the rest. The
reason for this is abundantly evident when the drawers of his study are
opened, and the large accumulation of careful preparations for this ex-
ercise are examined. He prepared and wrote out a careful analysis or
skeleton of every Conference discourse. Although designed to meet no
eye but his own, these analyses are fully written out, and are verbally
comi^lete in all their articulations. And although his audience was
completely changed every three years, it appears that he never used
the same preparation twice, but prepared, even after he had passed his
80th year a new paper for each Conference, often constructing analyses
of the same theme several times.

This was his method of mental preparation. He habitually thought
with his pen in his hand. He prepared an analysis of his subject be-
fore he wrote his sermons. He did the same before writing his theolo-
gical lectures, or the several divisions of his Systematic Theology. He
also made a written analysis of every important book he read, espe-
cially if it presented views of truth antagonistic to his own.

A volume of these papers is now published, not only because they


"will afford a reminiscence of past sacred scenes, grateful to his surviv-
ing pupils, but chiefly because it is believed that in their present form
they will be widely usefiil. Although the brain and heart, which
through the beaming countenance and tremulous voice, infused these
skeletons with life, are absent, they yet remain in themselves very re-
markable examples of that analysis, that logical grouping and perspic-
uous exhibition of truth which is an essential faculty of the effective
preacher. They present in this analytic form an amount and quality
of homiletical example and suggestion probably not surpassed in the
same number of pages in the English language. As an effective exhi-
bition of the great principle that all genuine religious experience is
only the realization in experience of Christian doctrine, and that all
true doctrine does immediately go out into the practical issues of the
inward and outward life, this volume is eminently fitted to vindicate
and supplement the three volumes of Systematic Theology, which were
the last work of the author's life.

The classification of these papers is entirely the Avork of the editor.
The reader will find instances of repetition, some of which, under the
circumstances are neither avoidable nor objectionable ; some of which
may be attributed to the incompetence of the editor, but none of which,
if the several dates and original purpose of these papers be considered,
can be regarded as the fault of the beloved and venerated author.
As there is no Index of Subjects, the Table of Contents is made uu-
usually, and it is hoped, sufficiently full and explicit.

A. A. HoPGE.
Princeton, March 30, 1879.



God and His Attributes 1-24

1. Omnipresence of God 1

2. In Him we Live, and Move, and have our Being. Acts 17 : 28 2

3. The Sovereignty of God.. i

4. The Lord Reigneth. P.s. 93:1

5. Dependence on God 7

6. Thy Word is Truth 8

7. God is Light K)

8. God is Love. John 4: 8 and 14 12

9. The Love of God to u.s 13

10. The Tender Mercies of God. Ps. 146:9 14

11. God so Loved the World. John 3: 16 16

12. Who will have all Blen to be Saved and to come unto the Knowledge of

the Truth 18

13. The Promises of God 20

14. The Wrath of God against Sinners 21

15. Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. Amos 4: 12 23


Christ, His Person and Offices 25-07

16. The Advent 25

17. The Advent 20

18. Immanuel 27

19. For in Him dwelleth all the Fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col. 2: 9 20

20. The Unsearchable Riches of Christ. Eph.3:8 31

21. The Love of Christ 32

22. The Death of Christ 31

23. The Death of Christ 34

24. For where a Testament is. there must also of necessity be the death of the

Testator. Heb. 9: 16 36

25. Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together

with Him. 1 Thess.5: 10 37

26. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of

Man be lifted up .'!')

27. Christ, the Lamb of God 41



28. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1 : 7.. 42

29. Christ our Priest 4-1

30. Christ our Passover 4G

31. Christ the end of the Law for Righteousness. Rom. 10:4 47

32. The Intercession of Christ 48

33. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ

the Righteous, etc. 1 John 2: 1 50

34. The Presence of Christ with His Church 51

35. How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto u.s and not unto the world ?

John 14: 22 53

3G. Christ our Life 54

37. I am the Bread of Life. John 6 : 48 55

38. Christ our Example 57

39. Christ our Physician 58

40. Christ the Bridegroom 59

41. The Transfiguration 59

42. The Memory of Christ, and the Reason it should he Cherished 61

43. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Rev. 22:21 63

44. Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Heb. 2:9 64

45. The Coming of Christ 66


The Holy Spirit and His Offices 68-89

46. The Promise of the Spirit. Gal. 3: 14 68

47. Dependence on the Holy Ghost 69

48. Dependence of the Believer and the Church on the Holy Ghost. Ps.51:ll 72

49. He will Reprove the World of Sin, because they believe not on me. John

16 : 8, 9 73

50. The Necessity of the Spirit's Teaching in order to the Right Understand-

ing of the Scriptures 75

51. The Indwelling of the Spirit 77

52. The Spirit giveth Life. 2 Cor. 3: 6 78

53. The Spirit's Intercession. Rom. 8: 26 80

54. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. Rom.

8: 14 81

55. The Spirit itself Beareth "Witness with our Spirit, that we are the Children

of God. Rom. 8: 16 83

56. Who hath also sealed us, and given the Earnest of the Spirit in our

Hearts. 2Cor.l2:2. Eph. 1 : 13; 4: 30. 1 Tim. 2: 19 84

57. The Holy Ghost as the Paraclete. John 14: 16 86

58. Grieve not the Spirit 88


Satan and His Influence— Sin and Sins 90-115

59. Satanic Influence 90

60. Temptation 91

61. Indwelling Sin 93

62. Indwelling Sin 94

63. The Deceitfulness of Sin 96

64. Tlie Sin of Unbelief 97

65. Doubting in Believers 98

66. Hardness of Heart. Ps. 31:12. Rom. 2:5 100

67. Pride 101


C3. Spiritual Pride 103

60. Ambition 105

70. The Sacrifice of the Wicked ia Abomination. Prov. 21 : 27 lOG

71. Every Idle Word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in

the Day of Judgment. Matt. 12: 36 108

72. Cleanse Thou me from Secret Faults. Ps. 10:12 110

73. Backsliding 112

74. The Unpardonable Sin 113

CoxvEESiON— Entrance upon the Christian Life 116-141

75. Salvation by Grace 116

70. The Value of the Soul 117

77. The Conversion of Paul 119

78. Conviction of Sin 120

79. Conviction of Sin 122

80. Repentance 123

81. Except ye be Converted, and become as Little Children, ye shall not enter

into the Kingdom of Heaven. Matt. 18:3 124

82. The Sorrow of the World, and the Sorrow after a Godly Sort. 2 Cor. 7 :

10, 11 125

83. Strive to Enter in at the Strait Gate 126

84. Coming to Christ 128

85. Come unto me all ye that Labor and are Heavy Laden, and I will give you

Rest:— Matt. 11: 28 129

86. My Son give me thy heart. Prov. 23 : 20 131

87. Submission to God 132

88. Work out your own Salvation with Fear and Trembling. Phil. 2 : 12 133

80. Work out your own Salvation, &c. Phil. 2: 12 135

90. Regeneration 136

91. Evidences of Regeneration 137

92. Confession of Christ 139

93. Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do? 140


Christian Experiences, Characteristics and Privileges 142-236

94. If any Man be in Christ, he i.s a New Creature. 2 Cor. 5: 17 142

95. The Christian Race 144

90. Justification by Faith 145

97. Sanctified by Faith that is in me. Acts 26: 18 147

93. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the Affections and

Lusts. Gal. 5: 24 149

99. Mortify the Deeds of the Body 150

100. Living by Faith 152

101. Walking with God 154

102. Dying unto Sin, and living unto Righteousness 155

103. Living Hope through the Resurrection of Christ 156

104. Now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity ; but the greatest of these is Charity.

ICor. 13: 12 157

10.5. Unbelief (or Doubts) in Believers. Matt. 6 : 30; Mark C : 6 159

106. Contentment. ITim. 6: 6 161


107. Submission 1:2

108. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus 1G4

109. Growth in Grace 1G6

110. Growth in Grace 1C7

111. Blessed are the poor in Spirit 1C8

112. Conscience 170

113. Conscientiousness 171

114. Diseased Conscience 172

115. Spiritual-mindedness 173

116. To be Carnally-minded is death, but to be Spiritually-minded is life and

peace 174

117. Spiritual Discernment. 1 Cor. 2 : 15 176

118. Spiritual Consolation 177

119. The Spirit of Adoption. Rom. 8: 15 179

120. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. Rom.

8: 14 180

121. The Liberty wherewith Christ has made us free 181

122. He that is called in the Lord, being a Servant, is the Lord's Freeman.

1 Cor. 7: 22 182

123. Ye Believe in God, Believe also in me 184

124. Ye are Bought with a Price. ICor. 7: 23 1C5

125. Who are Kept by the Power of God through Faith unto Salvation, ready

to be revealed in the Last Time. iPet. 1: 5 187

126. Security of Believers 188

127. Ye are Complete in Him. Col. 2: 10 190

128. The Priesthood of Believers 192

129. The Priesthood of Believers 193

130. Who is he that overcomcth the World, but he that Balieveth that Jesus

is the Son of God? 1 John 5: 6 195

131. Ye are Christ's. lCor.3: 23 197

132. The Lord is my Strength 199

133. Good Hope through Grace , 200

134. Assurance 201

135. Hope maketh not ashamed, because the Love of God is shed abroad in

our Hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Rom. 5: 5 203

13G. Faith as the Source of Love and Joy. 1 Pet. 1 : 8 204

137. The Love of God 205

138. Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not,

yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

1 Pet. 1: 8 207

139. Religious Joy and Despondency 208

140. Singleness of Heart. Acts 2 : 46 210

141. The Beauty of Holiness 211

142. The Nature and Evidences of Union with Christ 213

143. The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. Phil. 3: 8... 214

144. Ye are not your own : for ye are bought with a Price. 1 Cor. 6 : 19, 20 215

145. Do all to the Glory of God. 1 Cor. 10: 31 , 210

140. Glorying in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gal. 6: 14 218

147. The Love of Christ constraineth us. 2 Cor. 6: 14 219

148. And this is the victory that overcometh the World, even our Faith. 1

John 5 : 4 221

149. It pleased God to reveal his Son in me. Gal. 1 : 10 _ 223

150. Humility 224

151. Humility. 1 Pet. 5 : 5 226

152. For we are the Circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice

in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the Flesh. Phil 3:3 227

153. Hope, the Helmet of Salvation. 1 Thess. 5: 3 229

154. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 6 : 24. If

any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Marana-

tha. 1 Cor. 16: 22 230

155. That Christ may dwell in our hearts by Faitb. Eph. 3 : 17 232

156. The Communion of Saints 233



Christian Responsibilities and Duties

157. Pure Religion and undeSled before God and the Father is this: To visit

the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction, and to keep himself un-
spotted from the World. Jas. 1: 27 230

158. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the Doctrine, whether it be

of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7: 17, and John 8: 47 233

159. Be not conformed to this World. Rom. 12 : 3 240

160. And he that taketh not his Cross, and foUoweth not after me, is not wor-

thy of me. Matt. 10: 38 242

161. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil. 2: 1-5 244

162. Living for Christ. Col. 3: 24; 2 Cor. 5: 14 245

163. Having therefore these Promises, dearly Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves

from all filthiness of the Flesh and Spirit, &c. 2Cor.7: 1 246

1G4. And have no Fellowship with the unfruitful Works of Darkness, but ra-
ther reprove them. Eph. 5: 11 247

165. Delighting in the Law of God 249

166. Fidelity in the Service of God 250

167. Therefore, my Beloved Brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always

abounding in the Work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your

labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:58 252

168. Walking with God

169. Walk in Wisdom towards them that are without, Redeeming the Time.

Col. 4: 5 255

170. Earnestness in the Service of God 256

171 Self-Knowledge 257

Online LibraryCharles HodgeConference papers: or analyses of discourses, doctrinal and practical; delivered on Sabbath afternoons to the students of the Theological Seminary → online text (page 1 of 40)