^^M ^lLEXANDE mm ^rf^*"^**** (hD(£>(o Shelf PRINCETON, N. J. Division Section _-< / /r^<t4x» ( *_e^. Number % ■ V ■ I ■ j. x ■ n i ■ ■ > ■ I ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ F rP^ih ■vv.-« m ■ v. ■ ■ tw>..iii<i. THE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL. 1879 Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 900 Broadzuay, New York. THE ALEXANDER TABLET, ERECTED BY THE ALUMNI IN THE CHAPEL OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, AT PRINCETON, N. J., WAS UNVEILED ON THE 29TH OF APRIL, 1879, WHEN THE FOL- LOWING ADDRESSES WERE DELIVERED. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2011 with funding from Microsoft Corporation http://www.archive.org/details/alexandermemoriaOOnewy ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D.D. ADDRESS BY WILLIAM M. PAXTON, D.D. THESE tablets, as I understand them, put honor not only upon the names which they bear, but also upon the Alumni of Princeton Seminary. They tell to the world how much we loved these men, and simply to love such men is our highest praise. Archibald Alexander needs no tablet to perpetuate his name. There is his monument. Princeton Seminary is the record of his fame. He projected it, cradled it, nurtured it. He chose and gathered around him the honored associates who helped him to make it what it is. He watched over it for forty years. He commenced with three students, and lived to see the Seminary in its full-grown maturity, its class-rooms crowded with one hundred and sixty candidates for the ministry. As long as the fame of Princeton Seminary endures, the name of Archibald Alexander will not be for- gotten. He lives also in his children. Monumental sons rose up at his side, bright and polished shafts, that cast their radiance afar, sons who have inscribed their names side by side with that of their father upon this entablature of honor and worth. He lives also in his writings. The books of a few men live, but there are some men who live in their books. In that book on " Religious Experience " Dr. Alexander lives. The book itself is a breath of life. A front- ispiece gives us his picture, but the book is himself. The one shows us his face, the other makes us feel the pulsations of his heart. There was only one man who could have writ- ten the " Pilgrim's Progress," so there was but one who could have written this book on re- ligious experience. The name of John Bun- 9 yan will live as long as there is a pilgrim Zion- bound; so Dr. Alexander will live in this book as long as religious experience lasts. But Archibald Alexander still lives in the whole Presbyterian Church. John Wesley lived to impress his image and superscription upon, and to breathe his spirit into, a whole denomination, so that wherever in the wide world you see Methodism, there you see John Wesley. Dr. Alexander did not live in an age in which this could be done ; but in his measure and to an extent which can not now at this distance of time be readily understood, he impressed himself upon, and breathed his spirit into, the whole Presbyterian Church. It is true, indeed, that Dr. Alexander lived be- fore the Union ; but it is true also that he lived before the Division. I speak, therefore, of his influence as a power in the whole Pres- byterian Church for two reasons : first, because it is wicked now for any one to have memory enough to recollect that there ever was any- IO thing but one happy, undivided Presbyterian Church ; and, secondly, because it is a remark- able fact connected with the singular power of this extraordinary man, that his influence was as potent in one branch of the Church as in the oth- er. His students were in all the Synods, and wherever they scattered, no matter on which side of the fence they stood, they called him Father. When the news of his death arrived at the meeting of the New School Synod in Bloomfleld, New Jersey, the announcement sent a tide of sorrow through the whole as- sembly. They hung his portrait up on the wall of the church, and gathered around it like mourning, weeping children, and then passed a series of resolutions, the last clause of which is, " We crave the privilege to mingle our tears at the grave of a father." When I look back through a period of thirty years to the time when I entered the ministry, I remember well that there was no man in all the Church whose simple opinion II was so all-powerful and all-controlling as that of Dr. Alexander. Using the word " Pope " in its best sense, as a spiritual father, I may say that if the Presbyterian Church ever had a Pope it was Archibald Alexander. I do not know that any Council ever pronounced him infallible, but when I was a boy there was a strong belief among Presbyterians, and I do not believe that it has grown weaker since, that he came nearer to being infallibly right than any Pope. He spoke because he knew, and he seemed to know because he had seen. Paul was caught up to the third heaven, but was not permitted to tell about it ; but I have heard Dr. Alexander talk of heaven as if he had been there and knew all the angels. The people who read his " Religious Experience " had an indefinite impression that he was half inspired, that somehow or other he was the last of the Prophets, that he was born a little late, and for that reason did not get in before the Canon of the Scriptures closed. 12 The hold which he had upon the confidence of all good men and his influence in the Church, sprang from his wisdom and goodness. He was as humble as a child, so simple and single-hearted that no one who knew him ever suspected that he had a grain of self-interest in any project. He never aimed at position or grasped at power ; they simply came to him — he had power just as a magnet has, not by effort, but by a law of nature. He had greatness within, and the circumstances of power and influence gathered around him by the law of attraction. His power over men arose from a strange combination of faculties. He had genius in its best sense, a power to create, invent, and combined both in the department of thought and action. With these he combined that ex- traordinary power which we call sagacity. He had a clear insight into things, a quick percep- tion of connections and adjustments, an intui- tive judgment of means and ends. This, add- 13 ed to energy and prompt decision, made him an effective man. He was not a man whom circumstances made ; he made the circum- stances. Nature made him to be a ringleader. If he had been a bandit, he would have been the head of the band. If he had been a sol- dier, he would have been the Commander of the Army ; but as he was a Christian, he was the Captain of the Lord's Host. He had a rich experience of the Grace of God, and this gave balance and impulse to all his powers. He had no goodness by nature. He had as much sin in him as usually falls to the lot of man, but those who knew him constantly saw the Lion held in the chains of Grace. As a teacher the impression made upon the students was his power to penetrate a subject. The class to which I belonged heard his lect- ures upon Didactic Theology as well as those of Dr. Hodge. Dr. Hodge gave us a subject with massive learning, in its logical develop- ment, in its beautiful balance and connection H with the whole system. Dr. Alexander would take the same subject, and strike it with a javelin, and let the light through it. His aim was to make one point, and nail it fast. I always came from his lecture with these words running through my mind, "A nail driven in a sure place." He carried the spear of Ithuriel, and how often have we seen him touch with it a specious theory, when lo, it changed into a startling heresy ; as when from the whispering toad Satan sprang forth, full- armed and terrible. But time would fail to finish this hurried photograph of one whose life was written in letters of light. The stranger who in aftertime comes to read this tablet, like the traveler who now, in the Cathedral of St. Paul in London, reads the name of Christopher Wren, has only to look around him to see his monument. There are monuments in the world which express nothing but a sublime egotism. Great *5 kings in Egypt spent long lives in erecting those majestic Pyramids to be either a mau- soleum, or monument to themselves ; a monu- ment to names that have perished in the sand- drifts of time ; but here is one who never thought of self, whose whole life was spent for others, whose one motive was the glory of God ; and yet by the ordering of Providence the very work that grew around him is his monument, his own life is his eulogy, and his own works are his mausoleum. He was a workman who built for God, and God built this monument for him. Napoleon erected for himself an Arch of Triumph, in such a line that from the windows of the Palace of the Tuilleries he could see the setting sun behind it, and lighting up the v/hole Arch with the full radiance of its set- ting glory. This was his idea of apotheosis, to make everything in the world and even the splendor of the setting sun tributary to his own glory. But here is one who sought noth- 16 ing for himself; he hid himself in the shadow of the Cross. He sought not that its light might cast its splendor upon his fame, but that the light of his life might be reflected upon the Cross ; so that while he was nothing, Christ might be all in all. The result is better than an apotheosis, a position of everlasting re- membrance in the hearts of God's people, and a promise that " He shall shine as the bright- ness of the firmament, as the stars for ever and ever." JAMES WADDELL ALEXANDER, D.D. ADDRESS BY THEODORE L. CUYLER, D.D. THE name that has been assigned to me on yonder marble tablet represents three generations of devout pulpit eloquence ; for the blood of the Blind Preacher of Virginia mingled with the blood of the pa- triarch of this Seminary in the veins of James Waddell Alexander. He came into the world through Virginia, and the last scenes on which his closing eyes rested were the pict- uresque peaks of his beloved Blue Ridge. Through all his life he tethered to his native State ; and it was a sovereign mercy to his heart that he was called home to heaven just before that region of Virginia rang with the clash of resounding arms. James W. Alexander lived on earth fifty-five years — every one of them busy to the brim. 20 To condense them into ten minutes is like an attempt to cut Westminster Abbey on a cameo. Nearly one-half of his professional career was passed in this historic town. I first saw him in yonder college, when he was my Professor of Latin and English Literature. At that time, the Faculty of Nassau Hall was resplendent with the names of Torrey the chemist, Stephen Alexander the star-gazer, Albert B. Dod the brilliant mathematician and metaphysician, and Joseph Henry the king of American science. In this splendid Faculty Professor Alexander shone as a peer. He was a master of old La- tinitv, and the modern Humanities. We, his pupils, recall him now as, scrupulously dressed, he used to mount the steps to his lecture- room in the old " Whig Hall." We recall the pre- cise tones in which he used to quote Quintil- lian and Cicero, and would say to us students, " Sir ! please to say something about Pericles." While he was teaching us through the week, he loved to preach the Gospel of Jesus gratu- 21 itously — down in Witherspoon Street negro chapel — to the children of God carved in eb- ony. His connection with this Theological Semi- nary was very brief — extending from 1849 to 1 85 1 — and it was the most uneventful episode of his noble life. He had been for five years a much-loved pastor in New York ; and he hungered to get back to the pulpit which was his throne, and to his empire in the people's hearts. He wrote to his friend Hall, " I long to be back to my pastoral rounds, my sick folk, and my good old women." The pulpit of New York has had more thrilling orators, and more brilliant pyrotechnists ; but it never held a more symmetric, scholarly, spiritual, and satisfying minister of Jesus Christ than James W. Alexander. The word to describe him is — satisfying. He satisfied the intellect ; he satisfied the purest taste ; he satisfied the con- science ; he fed the innermost soul of the devout believer ; and it is no ordinary achievement to 22 have equally satisfied the culture of Fifth Av- enue, and the company of humble negroes who clung to him in the Witherspoon Street Chapel. If to-day both those surviving con- gregations could come to pay their homage before this tablet, I am sure that my departed friend would value more the " two mites" of poor old " Aunt Flora," the negro woman, than all the costlier tributes of Murray Hill millionaires. Dr. Alexander was not only an accomplish- ed Professor, and a most affluent preacher of the Word ; he was also a voluminous author. He put more thoughts into type than any man who has ever lived in Princeton. He was a most prolific writer for the daily and weekly press ; and he prepared an article for every number of old " Princeton Repertory." God be thanked for that grand old Repertory ! Presbyterian ministers who not only studied it, but steered by it, were certain never to run on the rocks. Dr. Alexander wrote thirty-five Sunday-school books for children, and left several volumes of Discourses which are as full of savor and sweetness as a pressed honey- comb. His rich and suggestive " Thoughts on Preaching" contain really the cream of all the series of lectures on Homiletics that have been delivered by various celebrated men at Yale. That book is marrow and fatness for every young minister. Of all the many productions of my beloved friend, I am inclined, however, to rate most highly his "Charles Quill" letters to workingmen — which have the simplicity and pith of Benjamin Franklin — and his cele- brated " Forty Years' Letters " to his friend Dr. Hall, of Trenton. James Hamilton, of London, once said to me that a perusal of them was the next best thing to a visit to America. The most brilliant Bishop in the Methodist Church also said to me that he regarded it as one of the dozen most remarkable works yet produced in this country ! To the future his- torian it will be as valuable a picture of the 24 times as Pepys' Diary and Burnet's Memoirs were to Lord Macaulay. That must have been a rich mental gold mine whose careless " washings " could yield such an auriferous pro- duct as the " Forty Years' Letters." But let me not forget to pay honest tribute to Dr. Alexander's beauty and nobleness as a personal friend. He often honored me with hours of intimate converse. Many of you remember how he varied in his moods, and sometimes suffered from fits of physical depres- sion. When the clouds of depression ran low along the steeps of his mind, he was quite un- approachable. But when the sunshine of cheerfulness burst forth, he was as sweet as summer. Most grave and devout in the pul- pit, he often relaxed by the fireside into a sportive humor, which had the delicate flavor of Charles Lamb's. Never shall I forget a most fertilizing afternoon talk I enjoyed with him in yonder parlor of his father's house. His flow of merriment was wonderful. As he 25 was then studying hymnology, I showed him a queer old Methodist camp-meeting hymn- book which contained this remarkable coup- let — "When I was blind, and could not see, The Calvinists deceived me ! " Dr. Alexander laughed till the tears ran down his face, and he begged the loan of the book, which proved to be permanent. But he more than repaid the loss by sending to me Charles Lamb's original copy of Vinny Bourne's Po- ems, with the autograph of Lamb's Latin epi- gram (the only one he ever wrote) on the fly- leaf of the precious volume. Oh ! at how many points my honored friend touched human life ! Touched its rich and varied scholarship — touched the sympathies of sorrow's home — touched the highest reach of society and its lowliest — and touched every key of devout emotion ! All his splendid at- tainments, all his many-sided and multiform 26 life-work, he laid as an humble offering before the Throne. I well remember meeting him, at the hour of sunset, in the valley of Interlaken. We stood together in an open field, and watched the icy diadem of the Jungfrau just as it was blossoming into ruddy gold. Dr. Alexander stood silent, gazing upward, and then turning to me with a reverent awe, he exclaimed, " The Almighty made that to show what He could do!" The last time I ever met him was a month before his death ; we met in the presence of Church's painting of " The Heart of the An- des." I observed that his hands were very trem- ulous, and the ashen hue of approaching death was already overshadowing his countenance. A few days afterward he set his face south- ward. He went back to the home of his in- fancy ; back to the crystal airs of his Virginia mountains ; back to the sincere gospel-milk he had been fed with at his mother's knee ; back 27 to the cross of his adorable and beloved Re- deemer ; and there he laid him down to die. He used often to say, " On my dying bed I want the Gospel to be self-evidencing" This joy was vouchsafed to him. For almost the last words which fell from his dying lips were, "/ know whom I have believed!' 1 It was beau- tiful to see how this great, erudite scholar just put the soft pillow of this sweet little text un- der his weary brain and calmly fell asleep in Jesus. And so our earth lost, and heaven welcomed, James Waddell Alexander. ^£*_. JOSEPH ADDISON ALEXANDER, D.D. ADDRESS BY WILLIAM C. CATTELL, D.D., LL.D. ]N the career of this eminent scholar we find that in a large and truthful sense the boy was father to the man. In his youth he was a marvel of genius and learning, and when he ceased from his labors in the full maturity of his powers, all Israel mourned his loss ; for his fame was in all the churches as a brilliant wri- ter, as an accurate, varied, and profound scholar, as a luminous and sagacious commentator, and as a preacher of marvelous power. His inti- mate friends and associates knew also that there was in him a vast reserve of power that never appeared to the public, and which seem- ed to them equal to far greater things than he accomplished, even in a career so brilliant. " Taking him all in all," said his life-long col- league — that great master upon whose memo- 32 rial tablet, in our recent sorrow, we look with moistened eyes to-day, and who knew what greatness was — " taking him all in all," said Dr. Charles Hodge, " he was certainly the most gifted man with whom I have ever been personally acquainted." But we are gathered here to-day as his old pupils, and this brief address is expected to re- call mainly his honored memory as an in- structor. Although, as an author and as a preacher, he was a Prince in Israel ; yet his great service to the Church was undoubtedly in training her sons for the Gospel ministry. To this exalted work and in this honored school of the Prophets, for a quarter of a cent- ury, he gave the whole force of his command- ing genius and the opulent resources of his varied and profound scholarship. For the most of the time he was engaged in the exe- getical criticism of the sacred volume, at first with the Hebrew, and in the latter part of his life with the Greek ; during the interval (from 33 1852 to 1859) ne occupied the Chair of Ec- clesiastical History in deference to the urgent wishes of others, but the duties were never to his taste. In one of his familiar letters refer- ring to the change, he expressed his dislike at " leaving the terra firma of inspired truth for the mud and sand of patristic learning," and he returned with undisguised joy to the more congenial duties of the critical interpretation of the inspired text. For this work he was admirably qualified by his wonderful knowl- edge of languages, for which, as I have inti- mated, he was distinguished from his youth. He began Latin at an age when most boys are still wrestling with their primers. At the age of ten he was pursuing the systematic study of Hebrew and other Oriental languages ; before he was twenty, as we gather from the cautious and modest statements in his private journal, he read easily and for the sake of then- literature, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, 34 and in the prime of his life he was a thorough master of all languages worth knowing. To these stores of linguistic learning was added a rare critical sagacity and a noble fidelity to the truth that wrought unweariedly to ascertain the exact meaning of the text. His crowning gift as an exegetical instructor was a devout and reverent love for the Bible, that influenced his whole life as a Christian and as a teacher. The sacred volume was to this erudite scholar far more than a venerable classic or an inter- esting subject for linguistic and critical studies. He read it constantly and prayerfully as a means of private devotion, often completing whole books at one reading, in the various languages with which he was familiar, and at other times dwelling long and lovingly upon each verse and line, as he says in his diary with reference to the Psalms, " drinking them in drop by drop." Highly favored indeed were we, preparing for the ministry of the Word, to sit at the feet of an exeeetical teacher 35 whose acute, learned, and exhaustive criticisms of the ipsissmia verba were in keeping with so great and so sacred a love for the inspired records. He taught us by precept and by ex- ample that every resource of learning and all the strength of the most cultured powers should be employed to ascertain simply the meaning of the inspired text, and then what those words taught should be received as the truth of God, toward which the attitude of scholar and theologian should be that of the believing child — Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth ! The manner and methods of such a man in the class-room, and his influence over his stu- dents generally, is something that may be im- agined, but which it is impossible to describe. It was unlike that of other men. We loved and revered all our teachers here, but there was a strange charm about Dr. Addison Alex- ander, this cloistered student, who was such an habitual recluse from society, and at the 36 same time the most accurate and discriminat- ing observer of men and things, and as famil- iar with all the current events in the Church and with the social life around him as he was with latest scholia of the German critics and with the voluminous and learned commenta- ries of the Rabbins upon the Talmud. We looked with something like awe upon the great scholar whose apparently exhaustless learning was poured forth hour after hour in the lecture-room, and who loved and sought the society of little children, and, with a heart as guileless and pure as theirs, would spend with them many happy, gleeful hours. Then he was oddly impatient of routine ; he would go at a bound from one extreme to another — leaving the quiet seclusion of his Princeton study he would seek a room on the ground- floor of a New York hotel, fronting upon the very noisiest street, where, through the sum- mer vacation, he wrote at the open window and amid all the din and confusion, eight or 37 ten hours a day upon his most learned com- mentaries, with no book at hand but the Bible ! A man of such apparent opposites, it must be confessed that he would now and then give a turn to affairs in the class-room that would throw us all into what would mild- ly be called a state of confusion. I need not harrow up the feelings of any of his old pu- pils here present by remarking that upon suit- able provocation he could sting like a nettle, or that a visit of ceremony, or of compliment to his room, or even a personal interview after class, unless the student had some good hon- est business in hand, was not altogether the most cheerful reminiscence of Seminary life ; or that upon a regular field day in Hebrew, horresco referens, he could produce an amount of consternation and dismay throughout the class that was frightful ! But upon these memorabilia I may not dwell this morning. It is enough to say that there was nothing in all these things that hid him for a moment from our sight as the great-souled teacher whose very presence was an inspiration. I lis genius and learning and piety combined with his personal magnetism — something, I know not what, in the eye or voice or in the very presence, that makes the true teacher greater than his book — all this never failed to quicken with strange delight and enthusiasm the pulse of every student who had in him any blood at all. Nor were we discouraged by the vast dis- tance between the resources and power of such a man and our own. It was his greatest triumph as a teacher to make the Bible so glo- rious to us that even the humblest felt that his future ministry of such Oracles need not be without honor and praise to their Divine Author. And there were, among his students, some who were drawn nearer to him than the some- what formal associations of the class-room al- lowed — members of the private classes whom he invited to pursue with him advanced studies 39 —and these knew what a gentle, tender, loving heart this great scholar had, and their personal attachment to him rose to an enthusiasm. I dare not trust myself to speak of the hours I passed alone with Dr. Alexander in his study, during my Post Graduate year, when at his in- vitation I pursued with him his favorite Ori- ental studies, but they are among the most precious and cherished memories of my stu- dent life. And when the great scholar and teacher died, and men everywhere spoke of the irreparable loss that this Seminary and the Church had sustained, many of us mourn- ed as in the deep shadow of a personal be- reavement ; for a deep and grateful love had been wrought into our reverent memories of the teacher to whom we owed so much, and as often as we have revisited these familiar Halls it has been to us a great and sacred sor- row that we should " see his face no more." j>&;-i;.'ii. 4-/^^', I ■ il* . •*,'• ■ H H • ■ ■ m m M ■ ■ #1 I I : •■•"■•■■.V.w-f-V.i-'*.