Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, June 23, 2014

23 June 1833 A.D. Charles Hodge’s Children Write a Letter

23 June 1833 A.D.  Charles Hodge’s children as children write a letter.

Dr. Rusten tells the story. 

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. Available at:

Charles Hodge’s 3000 students were important to him and he to them.  But, Prof. Hodge’s children were important to him.

On 23 June 1823, two of Hodge’s children, Archibald Alexander and Mary Elizabeth Hodge, wrote a letter to Mr. (Rev.) James Eckard.

The backstory.

Prof. Hodge’s children were important to him.  He read the Scriptures covenantally.  His children were active and busy.  They played in, around and on the grounds of the large house at PTS and around the seminary grounds. When not in class, the old Prof. was at home in his study.

In the summer of 1833 to winter of 1836, Prof. Hodge taught courses in his home.  In the back parlor or study, faculty meetings were often held.  Often, seminary professors, college faculty, or students met with the Professor.  Almost every night, a colleague, pastor, or scholar stopped by.  The children learned much by watching and listening.

There were two doors to Prof. Hodge’s study, one to the outside and another to the main hallway.  The study was always available to the children.  There, the family held morning worship and he rehearsed a written prayer, consecrating himself and family anew.

Many students were familiar to the family.  One such man was Rev. James Eckhard.

The two children, Archibald Alexander Hodge and Mary Elizabeth Hodge, heard that Rev. Eckhard was going to Ceylon as a missionary.

The two children wrote the prospective missionary a letter on 23 June 1833:

“Dear Heathen:

The Lord Jesus Christ hath promised that the time shall come when all the ends of the earth shall be His kingdom.  And God is not a man that He should lie nor the son of man that He should repent.  And if this is promised by a Being who cannot lie, why do you not help it come sooner by reading the Bible, and attending the words of your teachers, and loving God, and renouncing your idols, take Christianity into your temples? And soon there will not be a Nation, no, not a space of ground as large as a footstep, that will not want a missionary.  My sister and myself have, by small self-denials, procured two dollars which are enclosed in this letter to buy tracts and Bibles to teach you.

Archibald Alexander Hodge and Mary Elizabeth Hodge

Friends of the Heathen”

Archibald Alexander Hodge would go on to succeed his father as a Professor of Systematic Theology at PTS.


Calhoun. Princeton Seminary. 1: 192-193.

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