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Posts Tagged ‘Archibald Alexander [1772-1851]’

Dr. Alexander’s Last Sermon (1851)

In Archibald Alexander on 26/10/2012 at 17:11

From THE PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE, IV.2 (February 1854): 94.

DR. ALEXANDER’S LAST SERMON.

It was in the First Presbyterian Church at Princeton, and on the 20th of July, 1851. The Sabbath was one of the most beautiful I ever saw. The harvest was just over, and the farmers, who made up the country portion of the congregation, had finished reaping the fruits of their year’s toil, and had carefully housed their crops. Many of them were present with their faces bronzed by the harvest suns. Judge, therefore, the appropriateness of Dr. Alexander’s subject. His text was I Cor. iii. 9. “Ye are God’s husbandry.” I can, of course, give but an imperfect outline; but he said:—”These words apply to the Church universal, or its members taken individually. The agriculturalist who wishes to raise a good crop does four things: 1. He prepares the ground. 2. He sows the best seed he can procure. 3. He takes care of the grain when growing. 4. He reaps and stores away the harvest. So, in spiritual things it is necessary for us : 1. To make ready our hearts to receive the impressions of the truth—to come to Christ repenting of all our sins, and asking forgiveness of them for his sake. 2. We must plant the good word of God; and 3. We must cultivate the good seed by prayer, self-examination, and the use of all the means of grace. We must learn the precepts the Bible lays down, and practice them in our walk and conversation. As the husbandman is never free from solicitude and care until he gets the cropt stowed safely away, so the spiritual man can never cease to watch or relax his diligence till life is over. 4. He will reap his reward, to some extent, here, but the great reward shall be hereafter.”

HIS TOMB.

Dr. Alexander’s tomb has the following inscription :

Sacred to the memory
of
ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER
Doctor of Divinity
and
First Professor of the Theological
Seminary in this place :
Born in what is now Rockbridge county,
Virginia, April 17th, MDCCLXXII :
Licensed to preach the gospel
October 1st, MDCCXCI :
Ordained by the Presbytery of Hanover
June 9th, MDCCXCIV :
A Pastor in Charlotte and Prince Edward
for some years :
Chosen President of
Hampden Sidney College in MDCCXCVI :
Pastor of the Third Presbyterian
Church in Philadelphia in MDCCCVII :
Professor of Didactic and Polemic
Theology in MDCCCXII :
He departed this life
In the faith and peace of Christ,
October 22d, MDCCCLI.

[He forbade all words of praise upon his tomb.]—PRESBYTERIAN.

Image source : The Alexander Memorial. New York: Anson D.F. Randolph & Company, 1879.

 

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Recollections of Archibald Alexander [1772-1851]

In Princeton Theological Seminary on 12/01/2012 at 15:40

Two recollections on the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, first professor of the Princeton Theological Seminary. The first of these is found on page 1 of THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, vol. 48, no. 45 (10 November 1869), though the author of the piece is identified solely by the pseudonym “Memor.” The second account is drawn from RECOLLECTIONS OF USEFUL PERSONS AND IMPORTANT EVENTS, by S.C. Jennings, D.D. (1884), pp. 99-100. The portrait of Dr. Alexander is taken from Nevin’s PRESBYTERIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA.

For the Observer and Commonwealth
REV. DR. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER

Dear good old Dr. Alexander! How we loved him in New Jersey! Many a time have I seen people stop and look at him as he passed—even those who had never seen him loved and admired. The true Christian knew why. In the pulpit he was very different from many of the present day, but we all felt that he was indeed a minister of Jesus Christ unto us, and in the sacred desk, and at the communion table we seemed to be brought near to God and to Heaven. In this respect few were his equals and this power is a great gift. Many living servants of God know that they feel his influence to this day and thank God for it. Sabbath afternoon we met in the lecture room for conversation up on some subject before announced. Any student said what he wished, and they spoke freely, moderately and well. But our spiritual feast was when Dr. Alexander and Dr. Miller, and young professor Hodge, as he was then, sitting in their chairs would give us the essence of their matured thoughts. At the time I admired and relished it, but in riper years only could I really appreciate our privilege. There was no apparent effort, but the spring of living thought seemed to pour forth spontaneously. In this exercise Dr. Alexander excelled, and I thought could condense more ideas in a few sentences than any man I ever met. He was so devout and spiritual and earnest that we felt his words. “Pray”—on one occasion, he said, “pray on. And if in the closet alone with God you desire to remain longer and God seems indeed to be there,—Pray on; and if your heart inclines you to tarry longer—pray on and hour after hour—hour after hour. It is a heavenly gale, and you may make more advances than you have in a year, ‘Pray on.’ ”  —Memor.


The Christian Observer 48.45 (10 November 1869): 1.

“Between the years 1824 and 1827, Drs. Alexander and Miller and Professor Hodge were (in the Presbyterian Church) the only public instructors of theological students. Dr. Alexander commenced this work in 1812. Twelve years afterward he was still vigorous in mind. In body he was rather small, with some gray hairs. As he sat in the recitation room, reclining his head upon his hand, small, piercing eyes looked upon the students, ready to approve their performances; or, when need be, to correct their mistakes. He appeared rather reserved, and yet in private was very paternal, exercising his thorough knowledge of human nature with great skill.

“A peculiarity in him was the clearness of his style in teaching and preaching. His great learning enabled him to use the very wordsmostly of Saxon originby which his hearers comprehended the truth easily. This example of his should be imitated by young ministers of our time. While he adapted language to his subject, as when he wrote his volume on the Canon of Sacred Scriptures, and that on the Evidences of Christianity, his manner of preaching was more like his admirable book of Christian Experienceclear, practical and searching. There was no going outside of the themes of the Bible to find something new and entertaining. He condemned unprofitable speculations in the class room, and never practiced them in the pulpit. In his lectures on pastoral care to the students, he recommended special seasons of labor to promote revivals, wisely chosen, with the choice of proper persons to give aid in the preaching. I remember when there was a revival at Princeton, he went to give instruction to the young.”


— Jennings, S.C., Recollections of Useful Persons and Important Events within Seventy Years. Vancefort, PA: J. Dillon & Son, 1884. Pp. 99-100.