Archibald Alexander

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Archibald Alexander
ArchibaldAlexander.jpg
4th President of Hampden–Sydney College
Term 1797 – 1806
Predecessor Drury Lacy
Successor William S. Reid
Born (1772-04-17)April 17, 1772
South River, Rockbridge, Virginia
Died October 22, 1851(1851-10-22)
Alma mater Liberty Hall Academy
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse Janetta Waddel
Children James Waddel Alexander
William Cowper Alexander
Joseph Addison Alexander

Archibald Alexander (April 17, 1772 – October 22, 1851)[1] was an American Presbyterian theologian and professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary. He served for 9 years as the President of Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia and for 27 years as Princeton Theological Seminary's first principal from 1812 to 1840.

Biography[edit]

Alexander was born at South River, Rockbridge, and raised under the tuition and ministry of Presbyterian minister William Graham (1745–1799), a man who had been trained in theology by John Witherspoon. His grandfather, of Scottish descent, came from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1736, and after a residence of two years removed to Virginia. William, father of Archibald, was a farmer and trader. At the age of ten Archibald was sent to the academy of William Graham at Timber Ridge meetinghouse (since developed into Washington and Lee University), at Lexington. At the age of seventeen he became a tutor in the family of General John Posey, of The Wilderness, twelve miles west of Fredericksburg, but after a few months resumed his studies with his former teacher. At this time a remarkable movement, still spoken of as "the great revival," influenced his mind and he turned his attention to the study of divinity. He was licensed to preach October 1, 1791, ordained by the presbytery of Hanover 9 June 1794, and for seven years was an itinerant pastor in Charlotte and Prince Edward counties.

By the time he was 21 Alexander was a preacher of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed the president of Hampden–Sydney College,[2] where he served from 1797 to 1806 and from there he was called to the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. The Princeton Theological Seminary was established at Princeton, New Jersey in 1812 and Alexander was appointed its first professor, inaugurated on August 12, 1812. In 1824, he helped to found the Chi Phi Society along with Robert Baird and Charles Hodge. in 1843, he returned to Washington College to deliver an alumni address, which was one of his many publications.

Samuel Miller became the second professor at the seminary and for 37 years Alexander and Miller were considered together as pillars of the Presbyterian Church in maintaining its doctrines. Charles Hodge, a famous student and successor of Alexander, named his son Archibald Alexander Hodge after his mentor.

Family[edit]

On April 5, 1802, Alexander married Janetta Waddel, the daughter of a Presbyterian preacher, James Waddel (1739–1805), whose eloquence was described in William Wirt's Letters of a British Spy (1803).[3]

His eldest son, James Waddel Alexander (1804–1859) was a Princeton graduate and Presbyterian minister. He wrote the life of his father, and edited his posthumous works. His second son, William Cowper Alexander (1806–1874) served as president of the New Jersey State Senate and as the first president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society. His third son was Joseph Addison Alexander (1809–1860), a biblical scholar.

His grandson, William C. Alexander (1848–1937), was an executive with the Equitable Life Assurance Society, author, and founder of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. His great-grandson, James Waddell Alexander II (1888–1971), was a noted mathematician and topologist.

Archival Collections[edit]

The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a collection of Archibald Alexander’s personal papers dating from 1819 to 1851 including outgoing correspondence, manuscript articles and lecture notes.[4]

Works[edit]

  • Christ's gracious invitation
  • Biographical sketches of the founder, and principal alumni of the Log college : together with an account of the revivals of religion, under their ministry
  • Outlines of moral science
  • Love to an unseen saviour
  • A history of the Israelitish nation, from their origin to their dispersion at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans
  • A history of colonization on the western coast of Africa
  • Some problems of philosophy
  • An address to candidates for the ministry : on the importance of aiming at eminent piety in making their preparation for the sacred office
  • A day at a time : and other talks on life and religion
  • Suggestions in vindication of Sunday-schools, but more especially for the improvement of Sunday-school books, and the enlargement of the plan of instruction
  • The evidences of Christianity
  • The glory in the grey: forty-two talks on every-day life and religion by Arch. Alexander
  • Theories of the will in the history of philosophy
  • Thoughts on the education of pious and indigent candidates for the ministry
  • Thoughts on religious experience
  • Thoughts on religious experience' To which is added an appendix, containing "Letters to the aged," &c., &c
  • A discourse occasioned by the burning of the theatre in the city of Richmond, Virginia, on the twenty-sixth of December, 1811. By which lawful calamity a large number of lives were lost. Delivered in the Third Presbyterian church, Philadelphia, on the eighth day of January, 1812, at the request of the Virginia students attached to the medical class in the University of Pennsylvania
  • The canon of the Old and New Testaments ascertained
  • The canon of the Old and New Testaments ascertained; or, The Bible, complete, without the Apocrypha and unwritten traditions (Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1851 by A.W. Mitchell in the office of the Clerk of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.)
  • Evidences of the authenticity, inspiration and canonical authority of the Holy Scriptures
  • Practical sermons to be read in families and social meetings
  • Practical truths
  • A brief compend of Bible truth
  • A brief outline of the evidences of the Christian religion
  • A dialogue between a Presbyterian and a "Friend"
  • A theory of conduct
  • A Memorial of Mrs. Margaret Breckinridge
  • Love to an unseen saviour
  • Remarks on a paragraph in the Rev. Doctor Davidson's History of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky : in reference to the character of the late Mr. John Lyle, ruling elder in the Timberridge Church, Virginia
  • The way of salvation familiarly explained : in a conversation between a father and his children
  • A pocket dictionary of the Holy Bible. Containing, a historical and geographical account of the persons and places mentioned in the Old and New Testaments: and also a description of other objects, natural, artificial, civil, religious, and military; together with a copious reference to texts of Scripture under each important word
  • "Thomas Aquinas and the Encyclical Letter", The Princeton review 1, Jan-Jun 1880: 245–261  [5]
  • "Reminiscences of Patrick Henry", Southern literary messenger; devoted to every department of literature and the fine arts 16 (6), June 1850: 366–368 [6]

Sermons[edit]

  • Alexander, Archibald (1829); "Means of Growth in Grace"; National Preacher (New-York) III (8): 121–128; retrieved 2013-03-27. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carey, Patrick W.; Joseph T. Lienhard (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-313-03344-5. 
  2. ^ Benedetto, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches (2nd ed.). Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-8108-7023-9. 
  3. ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alexander, Archibald". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Archibald Alexander’s personal papers dating from 1819 to 1851
  5. ^ "Thomas Aquinas and the Encyclical Letter", The Princeton review 1, Jan-Jun 1880: 245–261 
  6. ^ "Reminiscences of Patrick Henry", Southern literary messenger; devoted to every department of literature and the fine arts 16 (6), June 1850: 366–368 
Attribution

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1891). "article name needed". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Drury Lacy
President of Hampden–Sydney College
1797—1806
Succeeded by
William S. Reid
New institution Principal of The Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey
1812–1840
Succeeded by
Charles Hodge