A Family Heritage of Presbyterian Ministers —
Back on January 6 when we began this day in Presbyterian history, our focus was on a Presbyterian minister by the name of Moses Drury Hoge. Today, our focus is on a Presbyterian minister by the name of Moses Hoge. He was the grand father of that earlier Hoge. And what was more remarkable is that there was a virtual family of Presbyterian ministers by the name of Hoge. How is it that one family can produce three sons, all of whom were Presbyterian ministers?
The easy answer is that the God of the Bible is sovereign and, as a result, He calls whom He will, not only to salvation, but also to service in His kingdom. And so in this case, we simply have that God-ordained call to one family to produce sons who would in turn answer the call to gospel ministry. And yet, there is more to it than that. God ordinarily works through means, although he is not restricted to means. And the means toward the God-glorifying end here was a family who was committed to gospel truths in the home, to say nothing of their Presbyterian church.
Moses Hoge, who was born on February 15, 1752 in Middletown Virginia, was a student in Culpeper County under an Associated Reformed Church minister. After a time, he entered the major conflict which was taking place in the colonies by joining the Continental Army to fight for freedom from England. Shortly after that enlistment, he left to enter Liberty Hall Academy (now Washington and Lee University) under the venerable William Graham, in 1778, graduating two years later from the Academy. In the same year, Moses Hoge became a candidate for the gospel ministry under care of the Presbytery of Hanover. Further preparation in theology took place under the tutelage of James Waddel. Finally he was licensed in November of 1781 and ordained on December 13, 1782 at Brown’s Meeting House, in Augusta County, Virginia, near Hebron, Virginia.
Upon the resignation of Archibald Alexander, Moses Hoges was next appointed president of Hampden-Sydney College in 1807. In fact, so much was his God-given intellect appreciated that when the Synod of Virginia voted in 1812 to begin a seminary, Dr. Hoge was appointed to be its first professor. But the press of business was such that his health began to suffer. On a trip back to from the General Assembly, he died on July 5, 1820.
He and his wife Elizabeth had four sons, three of whom became pastors: the Rev. James Hoge, the Rev. John Blair Hoge, the Rev. Samuel Davies Hoge. [The fourth son, Dr. Thomas P. Hoge, became a physician]. The two sons of Rev. Samuel Davies Hoge also became ministers: the Rev. William Hoge and the Rev. Moses Drury Hoge, that latter of whom we wrote about on January 6. What a legacy! What a remarkable praise to God for His work among men!
To be sure, God’s sovereignty is such that He thrusts out laborers into His harvest field. But also true is that God uses godly parents to both teach and live Biblical principles and practices before their family. When that is done faithfully, then great expectations can be realized in their upbringing and eventual choice of life.
Words to live by: This writer comes from a Christian home in which both sons were converted and called into the Presbyterian ministry, thus joining their father who was also a Presbyterian minister. God can wonderfully use the Christian home to call spiritual laborers into the fields white unto harvest. Concentrate on that, Christian reader. Make your home a solidly Christian home, with examples of true worship, solid education, and zealous service for Christ, taught and lived before your children. Then watch God work in the lives of your family.
For further study: The Hoge Family Papers are preserved at the Presbyterian Historical Center, in Philadelphia.
Through the Scriptures: Hebrews 8 – 10
Through the Standards: An affirmation and denial of church assemblies
“All synods or councils, since the Apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.”
The PCA Historical Center is grateful to have preserved a copy of Rev. Hoge’s sermons, Sermons Selected from the Manuscripts of the late Moses Hoge, D.D., which was published in Richmond, VA by N. Pollard Publisher, 1821. Conveniently, that work is also available on the Internet, here or here. (“you young kids don’t know how easy you have it. In my day. . . “)