Charles Frederick Hogg (1859-1943) used his outstanding gifts to
raise the standards among the Lord's servants and the church in
general. Born into a godly family in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the
year that revival swept the country, he was converted at the age of
nineteen. Soon he was preaching on the streets of that city.
Ever a cautious Bible student, he disparaged a sloppy, nonchalant
approach to holy things. How obvious it was to him that cajoling people
into a lukewarm profession of Christianity did harm and not good.
Preaching the gospel was more than saying, "Come to Jesus or you'll go
to hell." He labored to present the scope of the true gospel in its
glory and grace.
At the age of 25, he went as a missionary to China under the China
Inland Mission to pioneer in various provinces, as far as the borders
of Tibet. The severe climate and conditions wore out many strong men.
He married a Miss Sarah Muir in 1887. Of their six children, three are
buried in China.
In 1893, he moved his family to Shihtao, in Shantung province where
he labored in the gospel. That year he also left the China Inland
Mission to begin laboring with seven other couples who worked outside
any formal mission organization, but had simply been commended by their
home assemblies to the work of God. On the shore of the Yellow Sea,
Shihtao is at the foot of one of the province's highest peaks, almost
6,000 feet, making it look like scenic Norway. But the picturesque
setting had not immediately transferred to the hearts of the locals.
The city was to the missionaries "like Ephesus before the gospel came."
There were some 80 opium shops in the community. Charles bemoaned how
void of sincerity the citizens were. "Deceit was the rule without
exception, both in theory and in practice."
The missionaries' medical help was welcomed by the people, but their
spiritual assistance was often ignored or ridiculed. In time they
discovered that certain vile, immoral practices leavened the whole city
and surrounding villages. It was a hard eight years spent there, but
Hogg determined to "go on preaching the gospel of love, in love, to a
very unlovely people."
The Boxer Rebellion occurred in the summer of 1900. Most of the
martyrdoms of missionaries occurred in Shansi province. In Peking the
most brutal mass slaughter of Chinese believers occurred. There are
only estimates of how many Chinese were murdered. Of foreigners, 135
missionaries and 53 children died. The word "slaughter" is not used
loosely. Severed heads hung in wooden cages from city walls to warn
sympathizers of the "foreign devils." As the Christians died, there are
numerous reports that their hearts were torn out and examined to
discover the secret of the martyr's courage.
How this news affected the missionaries in neighboring provinces.
Co-workers, friends and converts, swept away! When Charles and Sarah
returned to England in 1901 for health reasons, they must have done so
with exhaustion, remorse, and considerable disappointment. It was at
such a time that they discovered how real is the saint's undergirding.
We in fact do have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the
excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard
pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in
despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
For the work in Shantung province, the reaping would be left to
national believers, such as the gifted Hsia Ch'en Mu commonly known as
"Summertime." Charles called him the "most intelligent preacher of the
gospel as well as the most natural" that he had met in China.
Summertime became a hugely successful evangelist across the whole
province of Shantung till his homecall in 1923. One sowed and another
watered, and after all our work is done, it is God who gives the
increase. By 1930, an awakening and gospel harvest time swept the
Charles had done what he could. He authored several Chinese tracts
and contributed articles to magazines, and in collaboration with
others, brought out a catechism as well as writing a book, The Golden
Compass, written in Chinese.
Back in England he was received as a veteran, an acquaintance of
legends such as C. T. Studd, the British athlete-turned-missionary, and
D. E. Hoste, the successor to Hudson Taylor. From their home at
Weston-super-Mare, Bristol, he worked diligently among assemblies,
preaching and teaching.
C. F. Hogg's writings are being widely circulated today, thanks to
the coattails of a certain schoolmaster named William Edwy Vine
(1873-1949). Around the year 1905, Hogg teamed up with Vine to conduct
The Exeter Correspondence School of Bible Study. These studies between
1908-1911 were later published in commentaries on 1 & 2
Thessalonians, and Galatians. F. F. Bruce calls these two volumes, "The
two outstanding commentaries in which Mr. Vine had a hand." According
to Bruce, "These two teachers made an ideal combination. They were
basically agreed in their interpretation of the great biblical
doctrines, and when Mr. Hogg's theological penetration and command of
felicitous and forceful English were united with Mr. Vine's special
gifts, the result was hard to match, let alone to surpass. For the
student of the English New Testament these two commentaries will long
remain standard works."
Several pieces of C. F. Hogg's written ministry are tucked into
Vine's collected writings. Of course W. E. Vine's great contribution to
the Church of God is his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
English-speaking Bible students are in his debt, and Hogg was there, as
a peer, confidant, and encourager for much of Vine's ministry.
Besides work in the United Kingdom, Hogg travelled to New Zealand,
Australia, and made several visits to the U.S. and Canada. He also went
to India and Central Africa.
Sarah Hogg passed into the presence of the Lord in 1935 at their
home in Highgate, London. In early 1936, he married a Miss Amy Burwick
of London. The last seven years of his life were in South Africa. He
went there to visit, but war conditions detained him there, and the
assemblies in the Capetown area then received the blessing. His
ministry was fresh and in the Spirit: it was clear cut and definite. He
once told a young missionary named T. Ernest Wilson that the three
rules of good Bible teaching were, "accuracy, accuracy, accuracy." In
1939, he toured Central Africa and wrote a book, What We Saw in Africa
which was laced with valuable counsel on missionary principles. One of
the missionaries there said, "Few visitors have helped us as Mr. Hogg
As a Bible student and teacher, he shone. His zeal for careful
statements and his firm grasp of Bible doctrine came out in
conversational Bible readings. Privately he was a fatherly counselor
that missionaries, elders, and preachers sought out. What he knew about
mission work caused him to strenuously advocate a rigorous inspection
of candidates for commendation to the work of evangelism here and
abroad. "Possibly there would be fewer workers, but possibly
compensation in power, and those who are called and fitted would be
Four days before his sudden homecall, he wrote, "Friends in New
Zealand urge another visit to them and a week ago a letter from U.S.A.
suggested our returning there with the hope of going to China! It is no
small mercy from God to have so many loyal friends in many parts."
On November 14, 1943, he was taken suddenly ill. Despite his wife's
loving attention, he was soon "absent from the body and present with
the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8) His ministry spanned 60 years and was fresh to the finish
Material for this article was taken from:
1. P. O. Ruoff, W. E. Vine: His Life and Ministry, 1951, Oliphants
2. R. Rendall, J. B. Watson: A Memoir and Selected Writings, 1957, Pickering & Inglis
3. W. E. Vine, The Collected Writings, 5 vol., Thomas Nelson
4. James G. Hutchinson, editor, Sowers, Reapers, Builders: A Record of Over Ninety Irish Evangelists, 1984, Gospel Tracts Publ.
5. C. F. Hogg, W. E. Vine, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the
Thessalonians, with Notes Exegetical and Expository, 1914, Pickering
6. C. F. Hogg, W. E. Vine, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the
Galatians, with Notes Exegetical and Expository, 1922, Pickering &
7. C. F. Hogg, J. B. Watson, On The Sermon on the Mount, 1933 Pickering & Inglis
8. C. F. Hogg, J. B. Watson, The Promise of the Coming, Pickering & Inglis
9. C. F. Hogg, W. E. Vine, W. R. Lewis, The Ministry of Women, Pickering & Inglis
10. C. F. Hogg, W. E. Vine, Touching the Coming of the Lord, 1919, Oliphants
11. C. F. Hogg, W. E. Vine, The Church and the Tribulation, 1937
12. C. F. Hogg , What We Saw In Africa, 1939