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EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS,
STUDENTS OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE.
PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE IN THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
PUBLISHED BY GRIGG & ELLIOT,
NO. 9 NORTH FOURTH STREET.
ENTERED, according to the act of Congress, in the year 1835, by CHARLES HODGE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of New Jersey.
PRINCETON: PRINTED BY JOHN BOGART.
WHEN Paul and the other apostles were called to enter upon their important duties, the world was in a deplorable and yet most interesting state. Both Heathenism and Judaism were in the last stages of decay. The polytheism of the Greeks and Romans had been carried to such an extent as to shock the common sense of mankind, and to lead the more intelligent among them openly to reject and ridicule it. This scepticism had already extended itself to the mass of the people, and become almost universal. As the transition from infidelity to superstition is certain, and generally immediate, all classes of the people were disposed to confide in dreams, enchantments, and other miserable substitutes for religion. The two reigning systems of philosophy, the Stoic and Platonic, were alike insufficient to satisfy the agitated minds of men. The former sternly repressed the best natural feelings of the soul, inculcating nothing but a blind resignation to the unalterable course of things, and promising nothing beyond an unconscious existence hereafter. The latter regarded all religions as but different forms of expressing the same general truths, and represented the whole mythological system as an allegory, as incomprehensible to the common people as the pages of a book to those who cannot read. This system promised more than it could accomplish. It excited feelings which it could not satisfy, and thus contributed to produce that general ferment which existed at this period. Among the Jews, generally, the state of things was hardly much better. They had, indeed, the form of true religion, but were, in a great measure destitute of its spirit. The Pharisees were contented with the form; the Sadducees