Pious Sorrow

The great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge wrote the following to his brother who had just lost a son:

“Pious sorrow, that is sorrow mingled with pious feeling, with resignation, confidence in God, hope in his mercy and love, is [in] every way healthful to the soul; while melancholy is irreligious, and is a cancer to true peace and spiritual health. The great means of having our sorrow kept pure is to keep near to God, to feel assured of his love, that he orders all things well, and will make even our afflictions work out for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory.”

This is cited in W. Andrew Hoffecker’s Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton (p. 220). All true believers can attest to the truth of Hodge’s statement. Our answer is always our God and in order to keep our sorrows pure we must be “near to God.” When we commune with our Savior, we find comfort and strength in the midst of heavy sorrow. Only His everlasting shoulders can bear our heavy burdens.

This book has been a rich blessing. It is well researched and bound to be one of the standard biographies on Charles Hodge. It is 460 pages long (with the index). However, the book only goes to 360 pages;  add about 70 pages of endnotes, 17 pages for the bibliography and additional pages  for the index. For those who may understand, this book confirms my conviction that true Presbyterians are always new side – old school!

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