A.A. Hodge, Professor in Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1877 until his death in 1886, urged that the aim of every Christian teacher should be to produce a vitalising impression- giving students ‘theology, exposition, demonstration, orthodoxy, learning, but giving all this to them warm.’ ‘He taught the knowledge of God,’ said one of his hearers, ‘with the learning of a scholar and the enthusiasm of a loving Christian’. These qualities not only crowded his classrooms, they also led to frequent appeals for the delivery of popular lectures, and therein lay the origin of this volume; the contents are made up of nineteen lectures delivered in Philadelphia early in 1886.
Many elements of Hodge’s make-up combine in these pages. Here, as Patton writes, is the professor and preacher at his best, giving a defence of those truths which are, for the most part, the common inheritance of all who love the Lord. Here, too – for the addresses are shorthand reports – are the asides and colloquialisms not to be found in his other writings, as well as burning convictions on national and social issues which the passage of time has only rendered more critical. Certainly these pages reveal what W.G.T. Shedd called Hodge’s ‘uncommon ability to popularise scientific theology.
Pastor, preacher, missionary, theologian, educator, and churchman, Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823 – 1886) was the first-born son of Charles and Sarah Hodge. He served several years as a Presbyterian missionary to India. He received a call, in 1864, to serve as Professor of Systematic Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1878 he returned to Princeton Theological Seminary as Professor of Didactic and Exegetical Theology. His outlook predates modern evangelicalism’s interest in the integration of faith with learning and the development of a Christian worldview which seeks to integrate all aspects of the created order under Christ’s lordship.