Thirty Years to Nothing

Upon his thirtieth birthday (December 1827), Charles Hodge wrote the following:

This night thirty years ago I was born. Thirty years of love and mercy. Thirty years of sin. Thirty years and nothing done. Oh my God, from my soul I pray thee, grant me thy Holy Spirit that if permitted yet longer to live, it may be to more purpose,–that my time may be better improved in working out my own salvation and the salvation of my fellow-men.[1]

God was gracious to Mr. Hodge in giving him many more years of life and Christian ministry. He completed many more years of teaching at Princeton Seminary, composed three volumes of Systematic Theology and commentaries on Ephesians and 1,2 Corinthians. Even more, he invested in the lives of many through his regular teaching, preaching, and mentoring ministry. He did much for the gospel because he was a recipient of God’s grace, and he regularly recalled the depth of his own depravity and the magnitude of the Savior’s mercy and love. Yet, it’s striking that much of Hodge’s focus was on his own sinfulness in light of God’s indescribable love and mercy. All things come to nothing apart from God’s sovereign kindness toward helpless, undeserving sinners. I am 27 years old, and I understand much of what the eminent Mr. Hodge has written, for my heart resembles that of his, upon his 30th birthday. At times, it feels as though I’ve spent 27 years squandering God’s grace toward me… that reality brings me great sadness and stirs up a resolve to invest wisely in the next 27, should the Lord provide such continued mercy.

May we never forget that which we’ve been given–for it is only in this vein that we shall be keen enough to ask for more grace that we might know more of Christ’s person and bear more fruit through the ongoing work of His Spirit! 


[1] David Calhoun, Princeton Seminary: Faith and Learning (1812-1868) (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1996), 121.


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Filed under History, Sanctification, Spiritual Leadership

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